GUANICA, Puerto Rico –
The 430th Quartermaster Company, 1st Mission Support Command, U.S. Army Reserve Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, mobilized, installed and started operating shower and laundry units at different dislocated civilians camp, Jan. 14, in response of the strong earthquake and several aftershocks that have rattled residents in Puerto Rico.
On Jan. 7, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck the south region of Puerto Rico, at 4:24 am local time, causing significant damage. Guanica, Yauco, Ponce, Lajas, Mayaguez and Guayanilla were the municipalities with the most reported damage to housing and roads.
According to the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency, many shelters were opened through the southern region with over 4k dislocated civilians accounted for.
In less than 24 hours after receiving the mission assignment, the 430th Quartermaster Company, mobilized and deployed with their equipment to the most affected areas, as part of a Defense Support to Civil Authorities mission.
Sgt. 1st Class Victor Polanco is the Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of the logistics operation.
"One laundry unit has the capacity to wash 300-350 loads on an 8 hour shift,'' said Polanco while explaining the equipment capabilities.
Polanco is an experienced leader, who also participated on the Hurricane Maria Relief Mission that took place back in 2017.
"The laundry units are designed for military operations, however adjustments were made, so it could fit the current civilian necessities,'' said Polanco.
A total of 24 shower heads and 3 laundry units were installed in the Mariano "Tito" Rodriguez Coliseum, Guanica.
Shower units were also installed in Ponce, Guayanilla, Peñuelas and Yauco. Meanwhile, laundry services were available at Ponce and Guanica.
Staff Sergeant Hector Degró, Laundry and Shower Specialist, acknowledged the support from sister units of the 1st Mission Support Command, during this mission.
"We received support from the 597th Quartermaster Company, which is also a laundry and shower unit, and the 268th Transportation Company," said Degró.
Degró took advantage of the opportunity to express his solidarity to the critical situation that the island faces.
"This is a humanitarian mission towards the people of our island, that serves as a valuable experience," said Degró.
Lastly, Degró expanded on the importance of continuous training for mission success.
"Since we are constantly training, the equipment installation can result simple, keeping in mind some natural delays that we may encounter,'' said Degró.
As part of its regular mission, Soldiers from the Army Reserve are deployed around the globe in support of the needs of the nation. Currently, the command has hundreds of Soldiers serving in different countries.
With approximately 5,000 soldiers, the Army Reserve has units in Aguadilla, Mayaguez, Yauco, Ponce, Juana Diaz, Ceiba, Salinas, Puerto Nuevo, Virgin Islands, and headquarters at Fort Buchanan.