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    Soldiers roll out laundry and bath services at the Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise 2011

    Soldiers roll out laundry and bath services at the Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise 2011

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Jo Hoots | Pfc. Joshua Cooper, 542nd Quartermaster Company, loads wet laundry into the dryer of...... read more read more

    FORT PICKETT, VA, UNITED STATES

    06.08.2011

    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Jo Hoots 

    214th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    FORT PICKETT, Va. - With an emphasis on providing leadership opportunities and personal growth for their soldiers, the 542nd Quartermaster Company, based in Dubois, Pa., also kept uniforms cleaned and repaired, and showers running for eight units participating in the U.S. Army Reserve Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise 2011. The units were at Fort Pickett, Va., one of seven sites around the country where the exercise took place.

    In charge of laundry and bath operations, the 542nd soldiers came prepared to work, recognizing the critical role their services play in morale and field sanitation. With many soldiers having deployed to Iraq during 2003-2004, the company had direct experience with establishing support systems for a large military force while using every resource in an austere and dangerous environment.

    “I think the soldiers need to realize it’s not going to be luxurious overseas,” said noncommissioned officer in charge, Sgt. 1st Class Kristen Chase, talking about the value of the QLLEX training. “It’s good to bring them back to basics; what it’s like being a soldier … not living the comfortable life anymore,” she said. “It’s important that we’re reminded at least once a year why we joined, and the real meaning of being a soldier.”

    Resourcefulness was no less important during this training. Shortly before the exercise, the unit had to substitute an older model laundry system for the newer model typically used. This required troubleshooting maintenance issues at the site, but with an engaged leadership cadre to keep the momentum, soldiers were ready for business hours after arriving.

    The officer in charge, 1st Lt. Travis Michael, thought QLLEX presented not only job training opportunities, but also the chance to build a team.

    “Hands down, it’s some of the best training you can do,” he said. “We have the E-4s [specialists] taking charge and running most of the stuff, and the E-5s [sergeants] running the squads and the sections … this [annual training] gives them the experience — bondship — and it’s fun.”

    To run the laundry and shower systems, soldiers used water pumped from a pond three miles away through a pipe installed by a Tactical Water Distribution System team. Once all systems were “go,” 542nd soldiers worked continuously to improve the area for their customers, such as reducing the turnaround time for pickup of clean laundry to less than 48 hours, putting down pallets in the shower tent to cover the mud, and setting up an area for shaving outside the shower tent where soldiers can use hot water. These comforts greatly improved living conditions for soldiers at the site.

    Soldier development for the 542nd was not neglected either. Leaders seized all opportunities for soldier training, and planned weapons qualification, Humvee Egress Assistance Training, urban operations training, land navigation, and other training.

    “You don’t get to do this; not in a two-day [drill] period,” said Sgt. James Clark, NCOIC for laundry and bath operations. “We’ve been planning this for a couple of months now. The big picture is the soldiers get to learn on their MOS (Military Occupation Specialty) skills.”

    “The most valuable experience you can get is watching and learning from all the NCOs and junior NCOs leading … taking what you see and like, and what is best for your troops and yourself, and applying it to your experience as a leader,” said Sgt. John Mistishin. Summing up the reigning attitude of the 542nd Quartermaster soldiers training at Fort Pickett, Mistishin said, “It’s all about keeping the customers happy.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 06.08.2011
    Date Posted: 06.17.2011 09:48
    Story ID: 72259
    Location: FORT PICKETT, VA, US 

    Web Views: 293
    Downloads: 0
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