Fort McCoy News May 26, 2017

Quartermaster unit turns lake water drinkable

for 2017 WAREX

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Soldiers with the Army Reserve’s 810th Quartermaster Company of Cincinnati turned the water of Big Sandy Lake into drinkable water for the nearly 6,000 participants in the 86th Training Division’s Warrior Exercise (WAREX) 86-17-02 in late April and early May at Fort McCoy.

The 810th deployed 62 Soldiers to the exercise and began operations April 30. Approximately 40 of those Soldiers managed and operated two Reverse-Osmosis Water Purification Units (ROWPUs) — one of which provided the main drinking-water source for exercise participants.

“On average, we were pumping and purifying approximately 8,000 gallons of water every day of the exercise,” said Spc. John McBryant, a water-treatment specialist with the 810th. “We brought two ROWPUs for the exercise. One was used for training, and the other for purifying water.”

Pfc. Makayla Black with the 810th Quartermaster Company of Cincinatti works on a Reverse-Osmosis Water Purification Unit at Big Sandy Lake on May 10 during operations for the 86th Training Division's Warrior Exercise 86-17-02 at Fort McCoy.
Pfc. Makayla Black with the 810th Quartermaster Company of Cincinatti
works on a Reverse-Osmosis Water Purification Unit at Big Sandy Lake on
May 10 during operations for the 86th Training Division's Warrior Exercise
86-17-02 at Fort McCoy.

A ROWPU can provides potable water from any water source and can process up to 3,000 gallons an hour, said Pfc. Makayla Black, also an 810th water treatment specialist.

“With the filters and the water-purification capabilities of the ROWPU, it will provide drinking water that is better than store-bought bottled water,” Black said. “It really is a great system to provide water for troops.”

A ROWPU can not only draw water from a lake, but also from rivers, oceans, or even holes in the ice. The system is built on to an Army trailer and includes its own generator and essentially a lab to operate the system from inside a covered enclosure. The system uses a variety of chemicals and membranes to filter and purify the water.

McBryant said the team members of the 810th were proud to provide such a valuable resource to the exercise.

“It was good for all of us to come here and practice these skills and to train more of our Soldiers on ROWPU operations,” McBryant said. “Providing clean water is important to any Army mission because without clean water, our troops won’t be able to continue operations as well as they could with clean water.”

Spc. Zhixin Wang, also an 810th water-treatment specialist, said he appreciated the opportunity to train at WAREX and to be able to support the water-purifying operations.

“As Soldiers, we need to be ready to deploy at any time,” Wang said. “So, this training helps make us more professional and better at what we do as Soldiers. It was an excellent chance for us to do our job.”

Black deployed to a WAREX for the first time, where she said she learned a lot more about ROWPU operations from fellow Soldiers as well as the practical on-the-job experience.

Pfc. Makayla Black and Spc. Zhixin Wang with the 810th Quartermaster Company of Cincinatti place a hose for a Reverse-Osmosis Water Purification Unit at Big Sandy Lake on May 10 during operations for the 86th Training Division's Warrior Exercise 86-17-02 at Fort McCoy.
Pfc. Makayla Black and Spc. Zhixin Wang with the 810th Quartermaster
Company of Cincinatti place a hose for a Reverse-Osmosis Water
Purification Unit at Big Sandy Lake on May 10 during operations for the
86th Training Division's Warrior Exercise 86-17-02 at Fort McCoy.



Soldiers with the 810th Quartermaster company reconfigure camouflage netting on a Reverse-Osmosis Water Purification Unit at Big Sandy Lake on May 10.
Soldiers with the 810th Quartermaster company reconfigure camouflage
netting on a Reverse-Osmosis Water Purification Unit at Big Sandy Lake
on May 10.

“Though this was my first time at Fort McCoy and to a WAREX, I have found it to be quite an adventure,” Black said. “It was very (fulfilling) to be able to see how we can take dirty water and turn it into the clean water and to learn more about it. Certainly, being here, was a valuable experience.”

The exercise also provided an opportunity for other types of training as well, said Sgt. Albert Fisher with the 810th.

“We not only went through all the station positions on the (ROWPU), we also had great training with convoys and (Army Warrior Tasks),” Fisher said. “This is important because even though we have to produce water, we also have to be able to defend ourselves in case something happens.”

Fisher added that teamwork improved as the exercise went on.

“Normally as these things start, it may seem that we are still forming (our roles),” Fisher said. “But as time goes on and we communicate more, things improved and we definitely had mission success.”

WAREX completed operations May 13. The exercise was a two-week training event that focused on realistic and austere operational environments, said Lt. Col Andrew Rigor, deputy for the Operations, Plans and Training Section with the 86th Training Division.

WAREX also provided unique training opportunities for Soldiers in various military occupation specialties to train together on simulated combat missions and to work together as a team, just like they would in a real-world environment.