USACE Omaha District, Air Force, Wisconsin celebrate groundbreaking for new fuel facility at General Mitchell Airfield

USACE Omaha District
Published April 24, 2024
Current commander of the Air National Guard’s 128th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Col. Charles Merkel (middle), is joined by previous 128th ARW commanders — Col. Adria Zucarro, Col. Michael Guch, and Col. Ted Metzger; Brig. Gen. David May, Assistant Adjutant General - Air, Wisconsin National Guard, Command Sgt. Maj. Chad Workman, Sean Giese, resident engineer, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Omaha District Fort McCoy Office to break ground during a ceremony at General Mitchell Air National Guard Base, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This ceremony celebrates the construction commencement of a state-of-the-art Type III Petroleum, Oils and Lubricants facility.

Current commander of the Air National Guard’s 128th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Col. Charles Merkel (middle), is joined by previous 128th ARW commanders — Col. Adria Zucarro, Col. Michael Guch, and Col. Ted Metzger; Brig. Gen. David May, Assistant Adjutant General - Air, Wisconsin National Guard, Command Sgt. Maj. Chad Workman, Sean Giese, resident engineer, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Omaha District Fort McCoy Office to break ground during a ceremony at General Mitchell Air National Guard Base, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This ceremony celebrates the construction commencement of a state-of-the-art Type III Petroleum, Oils and Lubricants facility. This two-year, $35 million construction project is being spearheaded by the Omaha District’s Fueling Systems Mandatory Center for Expertise, and the ceremony signifies the culmination of years of planning, advocacy, and meticulous justification by the 128th ARW, as well as federal and state leadership, who have emphasized the need for modernization and reinvestment in General Mitchell Airfield’s fueling infrastructure.

Col. Charles Merkel, commander of the 128th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), General Mitchell Air National Guard Base, , addresses members of the 128th  ARW, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, and local media during a groundbreaking ceremony for a new Type III Petroleum, Oils and Lubricants facility at General Mitchell Airfield in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Col. Charles Merkel, commander of the 128th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), General Mitchell Air National Guard Base, , addresses members of the 128th ARW, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, and local media during a groundbreaking ceremony for a new Type III Petroleum, Oils and Lubricants facility at General Mitchell Airfield in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District and 128th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), in attendance for a groundbreaking ceremony at General Mitchell Airfield. This ceremony celebrates the commencement of a state-of-the-art Type III Fueling System.

Members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District and 128th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), in attendance for a groundbreaking ceremony at General Mitchell Airfield. This ceremony celebrates the commencement of a state-of-the-art Type III Fueling System. This two-year, $35 million construction project is being spearheaded by the Omaha District’s Fueling Systems Mandatory Center for Expertise, and the ceremony signifies the culmination of years of planning, advocacy, and meticulous justification by the 128th ARW, as well as federal and state leadership, who have emphasized the need for modernization and reinvestment in General Mitchell Airfield’s fueling infrastructure. The new facility will feature two bulk fuel storage tanks with secondary spill containment, capable of storing over 400,000 gallons of fuel within a secure perimeter. A modern Type III pump house, equipped with advanced monitoring and control systems, will facilitate the distribution of Jet A fuel to the existing ramp hydrant system, with the capability of receiving fuel via the national pipeline.

Col. Charles Merkel, commander of the 128th Air Refueling Wing, General Mitchell Air National Guard Base, speaks with local CBS news affiliates following a groundbreaking ceremony for a new Type III Petroleum, Oils and Lubricants facility at General Mitchell Airfield in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

MILWAUKEE – Col. Charles Merkel, commander of the 128th Air Refueling Wing, General Mitchell Air National Guard Base, speaks with local CBS news affiliates following a groundbreaking ceremony for a new Type III Petroleum, Oils and Lubricants facility at General Mitchell Airfield in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This two-year, $35 million construction project is being spearheaded by the Omaha District’s Fueling Systems Mandatory Center for Expertise, and the ceremony signifies the culmination of years of planning, advocacy, and meticulous justification by the 128th ARW as well as federal and state leadership, who have emphasized the need for modernization and reinvestment in General Mitchell Airfield’s fueling infrastructure.

MILWAUKEE — Ground has been broken and a significant milestone reached as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard, 128th Air Refueling Wing and the state of Wisconsin kicked off the construction of a state-of-the-art Type III Petroleum, Oils and Lubricants facility at General Mitchell Airfield in Milwaukee.

This endeavor is being spearheaded by the Omaha District’s Fueling Systems Mandatory Center for Expertise, and the ceremony signifies the culmination of years of planning, advocacy, and meticulous justification by the 128th ARW as well as federal and state leadership, who have emphasized the need for modernization and reinvestment in General Mitchell Airfield’s fueling infrastructure.

“There is a huge network of stakeholders that are beyond thrilled to see this project get off the ground, and we couldn’t have gotten here without the enthusiasm and commitment from all of them, ranging the folks at Mitchell Field to the construction team on both the government and contractor side of the house,” said Emily Robota, the military construction program manager, Fuels Division, USACE Omaha District. “All projects have their hurdles, and this team has risen to the occasion time and again to overcome. We look forward to handing over a state-of-the-art system.”

The event was attended by key stakeholders, including three previous 128th ARW commanders — Col. Adria Zucarro, Col. Michael Guch, and Col. Ted Metzger; Brig. Gen. David May, Assistant Adjutant General - Air, Wisconsin National Guard, Command Sgt. Maj. Chad Workman, several 128th ARW Community Council Members and more than 50 Airmen from across the wing.

The ceremony emphasized the importance of this facility for both military and regional fuel resiliency in Southeast Wisconsin and the greater Midwest region.

The new facility, anticipated to be a two-year, $35 million construction project, will feature two bulk fuel storage tanks with secondary spill containment, capable of storing over 400,000 gallons of fuel within a secure perimeter. A modern Type III pump house, equipped with advanced monitoring and control systems, will facilitate the distribution of Jet A fuel to the existing ramp hydrant system, with the capability of receiving fuel via the national pipeline.

Additionally, the facility will house an updated and innovatory operations building, complete with a fuels testing laboratory, covered fuel truck on/offloading capability, and a consolidated-refueler truck parking area. The entire facility will be backed up by a modernized generator and electrical distribution system, ensuring operational continuity and safety.

Following completion, engineers will coordinate the demolition and environmental remediation of the existing facility, addressing environmental concerns. Plans also include the design of a fuels pipeline tap, providing uninterrupted access to 10 million gallons of fuel stored locally, ultimately eliminating the need for over-the-road fuel delivery.

“Investment in the fueling infrastructure (at General Mitchell Airfield) is essential for us to maintain the proper amount of deterrence of any potential aggression and establish this wing as an ideal choice for the KC-46A Pegasus,” May said.

The KC-46A Pegasus is the first phase in recapitalizing the U.S. Air Force's aging tanker fleet.

The project, led by the Omaha District with prime contractor NOVA Group, highlights the collaboration between various agencies and engineering expertise required for its success.

Upon completion, the new facility is expected to create more than 200 direct jobs, and an additional 150 indirect jobs, in the Milwaukee area, infusing more than $14 million into the local community.

The groundbreaking ceremony not only signifies progress for the 128th ARW, but also underscores the USACE’s ongoing commitment to national defense and regional resilience.


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