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NEWS | Aug. 18, 2016

Water Dogs quench thirst

By Spc. Christopher Hernandez 651st Quartermaster Company



Story by Spc. Christopher Hernandez

345th Public Affairs Detachment 

FORT MCCOY, Wis. — Water treatment specialists, colloquially referred to as “Water Dogs,” have expertise in drawing water from environmental sources, filtrating, and distributing treated water for multiple uses. Not limited to water purification, Army Reserve Soldiers of the 651st Quartermaster Company have also demonstrated proficiency in urban warfare tactics and perimeter security.

The 651st QM Company, from Evansville, Wyo., participates in the Combat Support Training Exercise Aug. 16, 2016 at Fort McCoy, Wis. CSTX gives the water treatment specialists an opportunity to provide a vital resource to other Soldiers in the training exercise, as well as test their mettle in other critical skills.

“This year’s main mission is to purify water and distribute it,” said Pfc. Randi Mayberry, a water treatment specialist from the 651st QM Company. “We provide water for everything.”

Although Big Sandy Lake in Monroe County, Wis., has been the primary source of water purification for the 651st QM Company, Soldiers in the unit state that water can be filtrated from any body of water.

“You can pull water off any different source,” said Sgt. 1st Class Larry Ariks, the noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the water purification site in Fort McCoy, Wis. “Once you got your setup, you’ve got to add certain chemicals in to a certain level…and make sure that it goes through all of the filters.”

The water treatment specialists of the 651st QM Company operate a Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Unit, a mobile water treatment facility equipped with numerous devices, pumps, and filters that facilitate the process.

“We push a few buttons on a panel, mix the chlorine ourselves and put it in the chlorine tank, and then it goes through the five steps of filtration,” said Pfc. Minnie Erickson, a water treatment specialist from the 651st QM Company. “When we produce it, we store it, so there’s two PTUs (primary treatment units) of chlorine in them. It’s injected, it goes into the production bags and then we can give it out to the other [Soldiers].”

In addition to their water treatment duties, members of the unit were elated to train in warrior drills which they seldom get the opportunity to perform.

“As an Army Reserve Soldier, it’s imperative to us”, said Sgt. Nathaniel Patterson, a water treatment specialist from the 651st QM Company. “In the Army Reserve, Soldiers only go to drill once a month, and 14 days of annual training once a year.

“We come out here for a few weeks and learn our MOS (military occupational specialty) and our skill sets as a Soldier,” Patterson added. “So having training days like this and being able to get these military movements, tactics, and techniques ingrained to us is fantastic,” Patterson added.

The 651st QM Company resumed their water treatment operations in support of CSTX until the conclusion of the event on Aug. 26, 2016, an undertaking that Soldiers in the 651st QM Company are proud to take part.

“We basically have to have water to live, so knowing that all of the units are depending on us for their drinking water, shower water, and the water they need out in the field to survive,” Erickson said. “It feels pretty good knowing that we’re basically one step of survival out here for all of them.”