By: 1st Lt. Blair Grimes
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Service members might wonder where the countless pallets of water bottles that can be seen all around base come from.
Those responsible include two hardworking soldiers with the 512th Quartermaster Company, 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), who keep Joint Base Balad moving and hydrated.
The water distribution team is composed of these two soldiers: Sgt. Heather Romine, the water distribution non-commissioned officer-in-charge, and a Fennimore, Wis., native, and Spc. Jaylon Chavis, a Beaumont, Texas, native.
Their routine seems quite simple: find out who needs water and deliver it. But the work that goes into that process takes a lot of careful planning, calculation and work to appear effortless. The first part of the process is determining each site’s authorized head count, which establishes the amount of water each site can receive.
“We go around each night, or the morning before the delivery, to all the water drop sites to see which area needs more water the next delivery day based on their allotted water count,” said Romine.
The following day, the team heads to the Class 1 yard to pick up and deliver the water, which is bottled at the Oasis Water Bottling Plant.
“After the water pallets are loaded onto the trucks, we pick up a fork lift driver and begin the deliveries all around Joint Base Balad,” said Romine. She added that they deliver to the east and west side of base, all the housing and work areas, and a variety of other spots.
“We deliver water five times a week and average about 100 to 150 pallets a week,” added Romine. But in the summer, she said that the water spikes to 250 pallets a week.
She added that Chavis is also an important asset in the process.
“Chavis is very proficient at her job and makes sure that I don’t overlook any details,” said Romine.
Romine and Chavis realize the importance of their work, as sufficient amounts of water are what keep service members and civilians moving.
“People depend on the water that we deliver,” said Romine. “Overall, I love my job.”
The team’s mission is vital to everyone else’s mission. All units and personnel on Joint Base Balad depend on the water.