DVIDS – News – Delivering In The Clutch: 1034th CSC Provides Clean Water to Northern Strike

CAMP GRAYLING, Michigan– Northern Strike 21-2 is well under underway at Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center and the most important resource on planet earth is front and center of the exercise. Seventy-percent of Earth is covered in it; sixty-percent of the human body is made of it; it is responsible for weather patterns and preserving ecosystems; and, it is a necessity for humans to consume and clean. Yes, it’s H2O.

Water purification specialists assigned to the 1034th Composite Supply Company, 185th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, Iowa Army National Guard, are in place at Base Camp Hawkeye producing and providing this vital resource to all participating units in support of the Northern Strike exercise.

U.S. Army Sgt. Elizabeth Scheer, the water purification non-commissioned officer in charge of the water point located at Howe’s Lake, says that the process to begin producing clean water, choosing an appropriate site, is imperative.

“We conduct a water reconnaissance prior to selecting a water purification site,” said Sheer. “We test a site for total dissolved solids, turbidity and pH levels to ensure we select a suitable site to purify our water. It’s also important to identify a site close to the water where our tactical water purification system (TWPS) can sit . It needs a flat area to operate properly, no more than ten degrees one way or another.”

After the source has been selected as an appropriate place to produce water, it’s time for the eight water purification specialists at Howe’s Lake to get to work. Scheer says that the process can be complicated and lengthy.

“We first emplace the strainer, which receives the water from the source and then feeds into the raw water pump,” said Scheer. “From there, the micro-filtration pump takes the water from the micro-filtration system through the reverse-osmosis process, removing all the impurities and gunk from the water. We then add chemicals to the water to include chlorine to kill and remove any bacteria before we send our water out.”

Reverse osmosis is a water purification process that uses a partially permeable membrane to separate ions, unwanted molecules and larger particles from drinking water. Although it may seem like the process can be time consuming, Scheer says that once the TWPS is up and running, they can produce incredible amounts of clean, potable water.

“The TWPS can produce up to 15,000 gallons of water from a freshwater source,” said Scheer. “We have four load handling water tank racks (HIPPO) that each hold 2,000 gallons that we use to deliver water across the Northern Strike area of operations. We also have three bladders on site that hold 3,000 gallons each that we can service our customers’ water buffaloes and other small water requests.”

Sheer added that so far, they estimate that 30,000 gallons have been distributed across Base Camp Hawkeye and other areas throughout the Northern Strike area and could be expected to produce an estimated 100,000 gallons of water by the end of the exercise.

Other than the obvious life-sustaining purposes for clean water such as drinking water and water used for cooking in the field kitchens, one of the largest needs for bulk, clean water comes from the 126th Quartermaster Company, Illinois Army National Guard, also participating in Northern Strike.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jason Sears, a shower, laundry and clothing repair non-commissioned officer assigned to the 126th QM CO says their need for water is rather substantial.

“We operate the shower system with a 3,000 gallon bladder and the laundry system with a 3,000 bladder,” said Sears. “Doctrinally, we can support 500 Soldiers a day with this amount of water and set-up.”

Sears also says they discovered a way that can be more efficient when it comes to field shower operations.

“Typically, our shower operation is staged in a large, maintenance bay-sized tent,” said Sears. “We realized that our shower system could actually fit inside a general purpose small tent (GP small). Instead of having the shower bays facing each other with one aisle, we faced them back to back, creating two, six-stall bays for showers.”

This allowed the 126th QM CO maximum flexibility, that if needed, showers can be conducted by both males and females simultaneously with maximum privacy.

Laundry operations for the 126th QM CO is also a well-oiled machine. Sears described the process of how completing laundry services in bulk works.

“Soldiers bring their laundry to our head table and we place their load into a mesh bag with a number on the bottom. That number goes on to their laundry slip to keep their clothes separate,” said Sears. “This way, we can maximize the amount of laundry we are able to wash, which is about 25-30 bags per load.”

Although it can take a large amount of fuel to run, and with an initial fill of 460 gallons of water, the mobile laundry facility has a unique way of being efficient in other ways when it comes to operating the facility.

“This laundry system only disposes seven gallons of water per load completed,” Sears said. “Not only that, but the remaining water will be recycled throughout the system itself and refill. We can operate ten hours before an hour of maintenance is required on this system.”

Sears has been a shower, laundry and clothing repair specialist for his entire eleven year career in the National Guard. He says that although the job can be thankless at times, coming to culminating training events such as Northern Strike makes it all worth it.

“You don’t really see the appreciation for our craft until you see the morale of the Soldiers on ground change,” said Sears. “After hot days and working hard, it is obvious these Soldiers are very appreciative of the services we provide.”

Northern Strike is a joint forces, multi-component, multinational exercise designed to build readiness and enhance interoperability with coalition forces to fight and win, held July 31, 2021 through Aug. 14, 2021. The exercise provides sustainment brigade and support battalion commanders with a low-cost exercise that stresses staff interaction, planning and decision-making allowing units to practice their core mission of sustainment in a realistic, constructive training environment.

Date Taken: 08.08.2021
Date Posted: 08.08.2021 15:57
Story ID: 402566
Location: GRAYLING, MI, US 

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