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Fort Campbell unit purifies water for "car wash" at FOB Warhorse

Jan 26, 2010

By 1st Lt. Lanea Sudweeks, 15th Sustainment Brigade

FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARHORSE, Iraq -- The 102nd Quartermaster Company, 80th Ordnance Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), produced over 150,000 gallons of potable water in August for the 25th Brigade Support Battalion to clean their equipment for redeployment.

The Fort Campbell, Ky., company cross-trained for water purification missions, but Sgt. Dustin Maxfield, a 102nd QM Co. petroleum supply specialist, said he never imagined his first water purification mission would be "a car wash".

Maxfield, a native of Covington, Ind., and a squad leader for the 102nd QM Co., volunteered to be the noncommissioned officer in charge of the mission.

Pfc. Mark Arthur, a native of Yuba, Calif., and Pfc. Gregory Willis, a native of Indianapolis, both 102nd QM Co. petroleum supply specialists with experience operating the water purification equipment, accompanied Maxfield to Forward Operating Base Warhorse.

Spc. Adam Standish, a quartermaster and chemical equipment repairer and Albion, N.Y., native, also assisted the team.

Maxfield said they faced several challenges, beginning with engineers needing to level the site.

"They pretty much built the site in a day," he said.

All of the other water sites Maxfield's platoon operated were well-established and required only site maintenance. As a result, one of the challenges was setting up the site quickly in order to start the mission. The site was built next to a dirty-water pit mine, something that made setup a challenge, Maxfield said.

"Have you ever tried to carry a raw water pump into a pit mine!" he exclaimed illustrating the difficulty the team faced.

A camel spider also made its residence in the water purification equipment, which Maxfield said made it a "nerve-wracking experience" for the Soldiers that had a strong aversion to them.

Despite these challenges, Maxfield and his team successfully completed their mission. The added availability of water allowed the BSB to redeploy on time and have their equipment turned into the reset program. The mission was successful, and Maxfield moved to on to another FOB to continue purifying water.

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