The 120th Quartermaster Detachment

Works behind the Scenes in Iraq

 

Written by Sgt. Joseph Porritt

Published July 16, 2006

 

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Spc. Carl Ballow, left, and Sgt. Edward Rozak pause briefly to pose for this photo as they operate the 3K ROWPU.

Photo by Sgt. Joseph Porritt

Spc. Carl Ballow, left, and Sgt. Edward Rozak pause briefly

 to pose for this photo as they operate the 3K ROWPU.

SOUTHERN IRAQ — The struggle for peace in the Middle East requires a large effort, and not all the work the military is doing makes the evening news. Some jobs are less glamorous than others but still essential. Two examples are the water and Class I missions being carried out by the 120th Quartermaster Detachment (Water Purification).

The majority of Soldiers of the 120th are stationed at a convoy support center in southern Iraq. Their primary mission is to purify water for the camp and all its needs.

“We produce all the water for showers, brushing teeth, the Troop Medical Clinic, the dining facility and the fire department,” explained Sgt. 1st Class Carlyle Smith, commander of the 120th, a Lehi resident.

Waste water is used for toilets, vehicle wash racks, to clean portable latrines and to keep dust down on the roads.

Spc. Carl Ballow looks over the 60K Generator which supplies power to the 3K ROWPU.

Photo by Sgt. Joseph Porritt

Spc. Carl Ballow looks over the 60K Generator

which supplies power to the 3K ROWPU.

“We basically produce all the water used in camp, with the exception of the bottled water,” said Smith.

The 120th gets its water from a nearby canal that the U.S. military shares with local farmers. Soldiers purify the water using Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Units, or ROWPUs.

“[Our] duties include, basic operation and maintenance of the 3K [3,000 gallons per hour] ROWPUs and distribution of water to various potable water trucks,” said Spc. Carl Ballow, Salina.

The biggest part of this job, Ballow explained, is maintaining ROWPUs on a daily basis.

“There aren’t many aspects of the job I don’t enjoy. I enjoy the hands-on part of getting the mechanic aspects of the ROWPU, learning new skills that I can apply in my everyday life, and the people I work with are great,” said Ballow as he works to ensure that the camp has plenty of water each day.

Sgt. Krystal Wilson, 120th Quartermaster Detachment, works with TCN truck drivers, signing off their paperwork at the Class I yard.

Photo by Sgt. Joseph Porritt

Sgt. Krystal Wilson, 120th Quartermaster Detachment, works with

TCN truck drivers, signing off their paperwork at the Class I yard.

While a pair of teams provide for the water needs of the camp, another team from the 120th supports the Class I—or food and water—needs of convoys which constantly roll in and out of camp.

Sgt. Krystal Wilson, Eagle Mountain, is one of the Soldiers working in the camp Class I yard.

“My basic duties include supplying Soldiers and TCNs—Third-country Nationals—with their daily rations, and supplying convoys with the ice and water necessary to complete their mission,” she said.

With a local Iraqi as an Arabic interpreter, Wilson and her team work as types of ambassadors to the world as they hand out MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) and bottled water to the citizens of other countries.

TCNs come from all over the world including Pakistan, India, Fiji, Ukraine, Bosnia, the Philippines and many Middle Eastern countries.

Sgt. Krystal Wilson operates a forklift moving pallets of water for storage.

Photo by Sgt. Joseph Porritt

Sgt. Krystal Wilson operates a forklift moving pallets of water for storage.

“It’s neat to see their culture and talk with them about the different experiences they have had in Iraq,” says Wilson of her association with TCNs.

With the camp being provided water and convoys getting their daily rations, efforts toward peace move forward well supplied.

“My favorite part is getting the job done and getting some time off,” says Sgt. Edward Rozak, American Fork.

With plenty of chlorine in hand and a good supply of water, part of that time off for Soldiers in camp includes a dip in a small pool set up by the 120th using some small storage bags. The pool has provided a great opportunity to beat the Iraqi heat

“I think we’re doing all right down here,” added Rozak.