FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. — Soldiers of the 288th Quartermaster Detachment, located in Victory, Texas, honed their skills while providing clean water in support of the Combat Support Training Exercise 91, July 2012.
The 288th utilizes the Army’s Tactical Water Purification System (TWPS) to provide more than 680 Soldiers at Base Camp Milpitas with purified lake water for drinking, bathing, cooking and laundry.
“The 288th is a water purification unit. We have four pieces of equipment to purify 1,500 gallons an hour,” said Capt. Duane Fousie, a native of San Antonio, Texas, and 288th company commander, “If we run all our equipment in one 24-hour period we can purify 200,000 gallons that can be used for laundry, showers, cooking, by the engineers as well as the civilian population.”
“This is a company-level exercise that lets us run the equipment and purify tens-of-thousands if not hundreds-of-thousands of gallons of water. This is the time when we run raw lake water into our system and produce drinkable water,” said Fousie.
Fousie said he had the highest unit attendance to date for this extended combat training.
“We have had five years together and we just keep trying to break our own record everyone wants to be part of it,” Fousie added.
CSTX 91 offered realistic training for the 288th while they provided a necessary service for other units attending.
“This water supports the laundry and baths here for the Soldiers and also for drinking. It is used by the cooks at the (mobile kitchen trailer) for cooking and cleaning and for dust control,” said Staff Sgt. Malcolm Littles of Austin, Texas, a water treatment specialist with the 288th, “This system is very vital to the mission. So far we have produced 75,000 gallons and distributed 58,000 gallons.”
Each TWPS is capable of producing 30,000 gallons of water per day, a quantity capable of sustaining operations for extended periods on the battlefield.
The water produced by the TWPS has allowed the Soldiers using the Laundry Advanced System (LADS) to utilize more than 2500 gallons of water daily to wash and process loads of laundry.
The field showers are accommodating more than 600 Soldiers nightly and about 125 in the morning. The kitchen and the four water buffalos would not have clean water to be mission ready.
The water is drawn from different sources through a filter into the TWPS then through a micro-filtration process that also uses reverse-osmosis elements to remove any contaminants and impurities.
Chemicals are injected into the water before it is safe for use and consumption. The water is tested hourly to ensure the pH balance and temperatures are in acceptable ranges. The TWPS is also capable of filtering salt water for use by soldiers.
Experience gained at CSTX 91 keeps soldiers trained and ready for missions anywhere they are needed. Soldiers gain firsthand knowledge while doing their jobs in preparation for deployments.
“We do not get to this on our weekend battle assembles. We are sometimes in cities, we may go to a range but it is right on the edge of a town,” said Fousie. “This is where they get out, live in the tents, work with the other units, purify the water. This is as real as it gets without being deployed.”
CSTX 91 is a sustainment-focused training exercise developed for units in Train/Ready year-3 of the 5-year Army Forces Generation model.
With many of the units participating in CSTX 91 becoming available for deployment next year, the remote training environment Fort Hunter Liggett provides offers rugged terrain, realistic training opportunities and living conditions Soldiers may face while deployed.