14th Quartermaster Company increases readiness, interoperability

By Capt. Anthony Richards | 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) | March 22, 2020

FORT STORY, Va. —

Individual readiness is key to achieving a capable, combat ready unit of Soldiers. All Soldiers must be prepared with the technical skills, tactical proficiency and interoperability required to win on the battlefield. The 14th Quartermaster Company (Water Purification and Distribution), located in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, sent water operations soldiers to Fort Story, Virginia, to enhance their interoperability and technical skills at the 92W/91J Maintenance Course, FORSCOM Logistics Training Cluster (FLTC).

14TH QM IN DESERT STORM

Nearly 30 years ago, the 14th Quartermaster Detachment deployed to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Storm (ODS). Just six days after arriving in country, the detachment suffered the greatest number of casualties of any allied unit during ODS. Thirteen soldiers were killed and 43 wounded as a result of an Iraqi scud missile attack February 25, 1991. Eighty-one percent of the unit's Soldiers were killed or wounded.

92W/91J MAINTENANCE INTEROPERABILITY

Today, water purification and distribution units cannot afford their water treatment specialists (92W) to focus solely on operating equipment—they must become an operator/maintainer. They must be skilled in basic electrical repairs, pump maintenance, and possess a working knowledge of automatic valves as well as pressure/flow sensing devices. This week, six Soldiers from the 14th QM Company traveled to Fort Story, located in Virginia Beach, to enhance their technical skills as water treatment specialists and quartermaster and chemical equipment repairers (91J).

“This course helps the Soldier to understand more about how to troubleshoot and maintain the equipment, especially when they’re out in the field… if the operator can’t troubleshoot and explain what is going on with the equipment, the 91J, because they’re not operators, won’t know exactly what is wrong with the equipment," explained Kevin Bowden, senior maintenance instructor, FLCT.

In general, 92Ws are responsible for operating the water equipment and distributing the potable water to troops and/or storage points, while 91Js focus on repair and maintenance of the equipment that makes it all possible. However, with increased water missions and the duration of operations, a greater emphasis is being placed on preventative maintenance. As new and advanced water purification equipment is fielded by the military, the complexity of the repairs increases.

Sgt. Jesse Nyul, quartermaster and chemical equipment repairer, 14th QM Company, explained, “This course focuses on the operational side, teaching us the wiring schematics and how to figure out potential problems before they become problems that a 91J has to come and fix. It gives us the opportunity to understand how to fix something simple so we can continue our mission without having to stop mission and wait hours without being able to filter water.”

Therefore, when problems arise during operations, a 92W may struggle to identify or properly troubleshoot the issue. Often, these issues cause unnecessary, prolonged downtime of water operations if a 91J or other mechanic is not readily available. The 92W/91J Maintenance Course teaches advanced technical knowledge on various mechanical and electrical concepts that help mitigate short- and long-term downtime in the field.

“Last year at [annual training], there was a generator we thought was bad because it kept shutting off, but because of this class I now know it just needed the timer turned up. We lost almost a whole day on something that would have taken ten seconds to fix.” Said Spc. Cornell Brownfield, water treatment specialist, 14th Quartermaster Company.

ABOUT FLTC 92W/91J MAINTENANCE COURSE

The one-week course, taught by FLTC civilian subject matter experts, provides classroom instruction, lab, and shop hands-on experience in basic electrical theory, motor control, electrical diagrams and fault isolation.

“The instructors are civilians who are experienced and knowledgeable in what they’re teaching and are masters in their skill trades.” Said Staff Sgt. Kevin Metzger, quartermaster and chemical equipment repairer, 14th Quartermaster Company.

The course also included blocks of instruction on operational theory and repair of the Army’s three primary purification systems—the Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Unit (ROWPU), Tactical Water Purification System (TWPS), and the Lightweight Water Purifier (LWP). Additionally, the students discussed automatic control valves, pressure and differential switches, gauges, liquid level and flow indicators. Some of the labs and hands-on activities included identifying and troubleshooting water equipment related components as well as testing and repairing electrical circuits.

“[At 91J school] we pretty much just traced wires and tried to figure out which wire was bad, here we’re digging more into the transformers and the relays and seeing how they operate.” Nyul said when asked about the difference between this course and his 91J advanced individual training.

U.S. ARMY RESERVE: CAPABLE. COMBAT-READY. LETHAL.

The 14th Quartermaster Company (Water Purification and Distribution) is an Army Reserve unit located in Greensburg. The Army Reserve, the dedicated federal reserve of the Army, stands ready to mobilize, deploy, fight and win as an integrated part of the Army team anywhere in the world. Today’s threat demands that every Soldier in America’s Army Reserve is ready, with the skills, survivability, mobility and lethality to fight and win in a highly-contested, complex environment.