FORT STORY, Va. –
Sgt. Michael Shullo enlisted into the U.S. Army Reserve as a Water Treatment Specialist (92W) nearly 20 years ago kickstarting a successful and rewarding Citizen-Soldier career in water operations at home and as a Soldier. His professional military education, training and experience as a 92W in the Army Reserve earned him training credit hours and invaluable work experience that led to him earning two nationally recognized water operator licenses—Class A Water and Class A Wastewater—both licenses are the highest achievable levels in each category.
During his initial eight-year enlistment from 2000 to 2008, Shullo completed a combat tour in Fallujah, Iraq, from 2003 to 2004 and two overseas annual training missions in Panama and Honduras.
When asked why he chose to become a 92W over other military occupations, he explained, “You can’t do anything without water. It’s always going to be an industry that has a good future to it. You have to consider what job you’re going to take [in the Army] and what you’re going to do when you get out [of the Army] because not every job is going to relate well to civilian jobs. Every town has water”.
ARMY EXPERIENCE = SUCCESSFUL CIVILIAN CAREER
About halfway through his enlistment with some water operator experience under his belt, Shullo began the lengthy process to earn his water operator license for drinking water and secure a job in the industry. The process included many hours of practical experience, prerequisite Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) courses, multiple exams, and a final application for certification. Fortunately, his advanced individual training (AIT) and work as a 92W in the Army Reserve afforded him the time and experience needed to meet the experience criteria. Shullo credits the discipline he gained in the Army as the driving factor behind his ability to accomplish his goal to become a licensed operator.
Shullo continued his career progression climb when he separated from the reserve in 2008. A few years later, thanks to his Army experience in water operations and his civilian experience as a plant operator for drinking water, he earned a new job as a plant operator at a wastewater plant. It was a big decision to leave behind what he knew so well and found success in for many years, but the opportunity to earn his Class A Wastewater license and become skilled in two water systems was an amazing career opportunity he could not pass up. He continues to work as a wastewater plant operator today.
The impact of his service in the Army Reserve didn’t stop there. As a dual Class A License holder in water and wastewater, he is required to complete 30 hours of training every three years to maintain each license. The DEP accepts Army professional education and training courses as credit towards this tri-annual requirement. Sgt. Shullo, on multiple occasions, has been able to completely satisfy these requirements with 92W-specific Army courses and training.
SHULLO TODAY AND BEYOND
In 2019, after over a decade break in service, Shullo returned to the Army Reserve where he continues his career as a 92W, aka Waterdog, in the 14th Quartermaster Company, in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.
“I missed it, frankly. I like what I do. It’s very rewarding—the satisfaction of knowing your providing water to people and troops so they can get their job done.”
Married and father of three daughters, Shullo utilized his Army benefits to purchase his first home and transferred his education benefits to his three daughters. He plans to continue his service in the Army Reserve and use his wealth of civilian and Soldier experience to apply to become a warrant officer.
“We’ll see how I feel after 20 years and if I can continue to do it.”
Water treatment specialists are primarily responsible for supervising or performing the installation and operation of water purification equipment, as well as dealing with water storage and distribution operations and activities. They also inspect facilities and food supplies for the presence of disease, germs or other conditions hazardous to health and the environment.
Bottom line, the 92W ensures Soldiers are able to drink water, maintain personal hygiene, do laundry, and sanitize equipment every day, anywhere in the world.