News: Members of the 302nd provide showers for Exercise Warex/Golden Medic
Story by Tech. Sgt. Stephen Schester
FORT MCCOY, Wis. - If you're in the military, at some point a deployment will likely be in your future. When that happens, you will trade in your bed for a cot, your faucet for a water buffalo and your well-stocked kitchen for a Meal, Ready-to-Eat.
Then there are the showers. During Warrior Exercise/Global Medic 2013, that necessity was provided by U.S. Army platoon sergeant Staff Sgt. Frank Castro and the men and women of the 302nd Quartermaster, 9th Mission Support Command, Fort Shafter, Hawaii.
"Our main priority is to provide showers and other amenities for the troops, to make sure they can do their job and have a little comfort of home too", said Sgt. Castro.
What makes these soldiers unique is not only the service they provide, but where they came from to provide that service. The soldiers of the 302nd live in the Pacific islands of Guam, Saipan and Rota. A distance of 7,251 miles from Fort McCoy, Wis.
The first step in the 302nd's mission is shipping their equipment. This process started two months in advance to ensure showers and other amenities arrive for the start of the exercise.
Along with running the shower service, the 302nd can provide laundry services, cooking capability, administration, supply and maintenance personnel. To alleviate some of the stress of shipping, the laundry containers were already in place at Fort McCoy.
As in anything in life, sometimes plans don't work out and you have to improvise.
Upon arrival to Fort McCoy for WAREX/Global Medic '13, their shower tent did not arrive in time for the start of exercise operations. Only one shower tent was available for a large number of service members, which included both sexes.
Eventually, the second shower tent did arrive, and the dedicated soldiers that they are, they immediately assembled the second tent late into evening hours with illumination provided by the headlights of a forklift, and the moon, which happened to be full that night.
Deployment life: success is determined by many factors, which include attitude, awareness, support from others and the little things, like showers.
If anybody who has been deployed, such as Iraq, Afghanistan, the environment plays a major role. At the end of one of those 14-hour days, a shower will bring relief and help you focus on the next.
"Being able to see the smiles on their faces after they shower" is what Sgt. Castro enjoys the most.
Thanks to Sgt. Castro and the men and women of the 302nd Quartermaster, service members will keep on smiling at the end of their day.