45th SB troops prep for worldwide H2O competition

| November 15, 2013 | 0 Comments
Sgt. Frances Ross, 45th Sig. Bde., 8th TSC, reviews the guidelines for water purification during a training exercise with the LWP on Ford Island Naval Reservation, Oct. 31.

Sgt. Frances Ross, 45th Sig. Bde., 8th TSC, reviews the guidelines for water purification during a training
exercise with the LWP on Ford Island Naval Reservation, Oct. 31.

Story and photo by
Spc. Erin Sherwood
45th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs, 8th Theater Sust. Command

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM — “Drink water!” It’s a command so common in training that Soldiers hear it in their sleep.

In the hot climate of Hawaii, even the most basic field training exercises can’t happen without water.

And while it may be easy to forget water’s importance when compared to the full battle rattle and weapons Soldiers need, Soldiers can’t fight if they’re not alive.

For water purification specialists with 45th Sustainment Brigade, 8th Theater Sust. Command, this basic survival source is anything but simple.

Troops from the brigade’s 6th Quartermaster Company demonstrated their commitment to providing their fellow Soldiers with the water that keeps the fight going by exercising the Lightweight Purification System (LWP) on Ford Island Naval Reservation, here, Oct. 24.

The LWP involves multiple pieces in a phased process that produces approximately 125 gallons of purified freshwater per hour and 75 gallons of saltwater per hour, which can support a platoon-sized element.

Soldiers must know each part of the LWP in detail, explain what it does and monitor multiple machines constantly to make adjustments and chemical additions.

“The water we produce with our systems is cleaner than bottled water,” said team member Staff Sgt. Okooti Aluu, 45th Sig. Bde.

“We got to test the equipment to make sure it’s running smoothly and practice for the upcoming competition,” added Sgt. 1st Class Carlos Zapata, the unit’s senior water treatment noncommissioned officer.

The competition Zapata mentioned is the Reverse Osmosis Purification Unit Rodeo, to take place in May 2014, at Fort Lee, Va.

During the annual competition, Army, National Guard and Marine Corps purification specialists from around the world are tested on their ability to make water drinkable through purification.

The competition also gives purification specialists a chance to meet their peers and establish ties throughout the water-treatment community, which heavily emphasizes teamwork and training.

Zapata said water purification specialists often deploy with small mobile units, like Special Forces, that don’t have ample water sources, and their duties can range from providing drinking water, to providing water sources for cooking, showering and laundry services.

They also provide clean water to civilians during natural disasters.

“It’s possible for us to be requested halfway across the world at a moment’s notice,” said Zapata, “so we must be prepared for missions like hurricanes, typhoons and drought relief, as well.”

 

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