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    Showers, Snacks Lift Morale for Flood-Fighting Soldiers

    Showers, Snacks Lift Morale for Flood-Fighting Soldiers

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class David Dodds | Spc. Brittany Allen, of the 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, enters a shower and...... read more read more

    VALLEY CITY, ND, UNITED STATES

    04.24.2009

    Story by Spc. Joshua Dodds 

    North Dakota National Guard Public Affairs

    VALLEY CITY, N.D. - Shower tents, portable toilets and mobile Post Exchanges are common sights in Iraq and Afghanistan for Soldiers deployed there.

    Recent flooding in Valley City resulted in a failure of the main sewer system on April 17 and the need to conserve water provoked the Guard to turn to some of these deployment measures. The systems are being used to ensure Soldiers' and Airmen's needs are being taken care of so they can successfully continue operations.

    When all businesses in Valley City had been closed, Guardsmen still needed a place to purchase anything from personal hygiene items to snacks to accompany them while walking levees, operating pumps or doing security patrols.

    Mae Padgett, general manager with Army and Air Force Exchange Services out of Minot Air Force Base, and her staff have been operating a mobile PX behind the armory in Valley City.

    The tractor-trailer, from Fort Riley, Kan., was filled with merchandise out of Waco, Texas, and can be resupplied in short order.

    "The PX had anything a Soldier or Airman could need," said Master Sgt. John Waters, operations sergeant with the 231st Maneuver Task Force. "If required, the AAFES staff could order an item and within two days it would arrive."

    Following instructions of city officials to conserve water, the 119th Civil Engineer Squadron was called in to set up portable showers, further contributing to Guardsmen's needs while on flood duty.

    "Considering the fact that we are operating in an environment with no functioning sewer system, limited water supply, and few creature comforts, the ability to get a hot shower in a clean well-functioning facility is invaluable," said Capt. JoDee Aubol-Haining, a company commander in the 231st MTF.

    The two identical shower sets are formally known as BEAR Shower/Shave Assemblies. BEAR stands for Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources, said Maj. Jon Wahlgren, of the 119th CES. The sets can provide showers 24 hours a day, and are rated to support 275 people each.

    The ability to be able to provide something as trivial as a shower can raise the morale of Soldiers and Airmen.

    "It is clean, has hot water, and even has sinks and mirrors for shaving. I was pleasantly surprised when I took a shower this afternoon," said 1st Lt. Jared Bollom, with the 231st MTF's Company A, after using the facility for the first time earlier this week.

    "These Soldiers and Airmen are my No. 1 resource. Providing a facility so they can maintain good personal hygiene and stay in the fight just makes good sense," said Lt. Col. Lee Nordin, who's leading the 231st MTF's flood operations in Valley City.

    Another way the Task Force takes care of its Guardsmen is by providing three meals a day. Traditionally, military cooks only deal with preparing food while units supply Soldiers for KP, or kitchen patrol, to wash dishes - and both are accustomed to the luxury of running water. With the flood fight ongoing, units could not supply Soldiers. About 16 cooks trade-off days between cooking and washing dishes to adhere to an Army regulation, Waters said. The cooks prepare three meals a day, two hot and one with cold sandwiches with soup for lunch. They've made adaptations to adhere to sewer and water restrictions.

    "The cooks even have an ice cream machine," Waters added.

    Many Soldiers and Airmen know that it is the little things that count when deployed on missions. Having small comforts, things that most people take for granted every day, ensures Soldiers and Airmen are taken care of and able to perform their missions to the best of their abilities.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 04.24.2009
    Date Posted: 04.24.2009 22:52
    Story ID: 32850
    Location: VALLEY CITY, ND, US 

    Podcast Hits: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN