FORWARD OPERATING BASE WHITEHOUSE, Afghanistan --
With a budding interest in joining the military beginning at a young age, Sgt. Xuchill Laput, a regional site manager with 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward), never really considered another option.
While he originally enlisted to be a combat engineer, over the years, Laput has come to appreciate the importance of being a bulk fuel Marine. He recognizes that every mission requires fuel, and it is up to the Bulk Fuel Platoon to keep that mission fulfilled.
Laput says his interest in the military was solidified by one man in particular: his Reserve Officers Training Corps instructor in high school, Senior Chief Petty Officer Mark Williams. While attending Lincoln High School in Stockton, Calif., Laput stayed involved with the ROTC program and says he gleaned so much from it, to this day he continues to return to visit his mentor.
“I grew up without a strong male figure,” began Laput. “[Williams] was that figure for me in a lot of ways. He didn’t tell me what to do, but he gave me advice on how to do the right thing, even in hard situations.”
It is this lesson that Laput says has carried over most throughout his Marine Corps career, both in general, and as a bulk fuel specialist. He says that everyone, not just Marines, should wake up in the morning with a goal to do the right thing throughout the day. This attitude carries over into his daily routine as a fuel farm manager.
Laput stressed the fact that every morning at the fuel farm, he and his Marines wake up early and go through an extensive checklist of all of the equipment.
He further explained the checklist procedures to include walking every inch of the fuel lines to look for leaks and tears, checking valves, cleaning filters and ensuring log books are up to date. While these procedures do not necessarily need to be done every day, the habit the Marines have gotten into by doing them every single morning solidifies Laput’s belief in doing the right thing.
“I can’t expect my Marines to do the checks and keep the farm up if I don’t get up early and do it with them,” Laput said.
His dedication to maintaining high standards at the FOB Whitehouse fuel farm led his command to give him more responsibility. More specifically, Laput is now a manager of not one, but four fuel farms in the area. He says he intends to implement the same routine to keep military specifications and environmental regulations up to code at the other three sites.
“The Marine Corps has taught me to make do with what you have,” Laput concluded. “Our officer in charge takes care of us, so I’m going to take care of all the Marines [at each site]. In turn, they will take care of the fuel farms.”