120th Quartermaster Detachment

Fulfills a Diverse Mission in Iraq

 

Written by Spc. Joseph Porritt

Published March 27, 2006

 

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Four reverse-osmosis water-purificaiton units (ROWPU), background, and 50,000-gallon water bag used by the 120th Quartermaster Detachment to provide potable water for deployed troops in southern Iraq.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Carlyle Smith

Four reverse-osmosis water-purificaiton units (ROWPU), background, and 50,000-gallon water bag used by the 120th Quartermaster Detachment

to provide potable water for deployed troops in southern Iraq.

CONVOY SUPPORT CENTER SCANIA, Iraq – The Utah National Guard’s 120th Quartermaster Detachment (Water Purification) has proven that adaptability and flexibility are important no matter what the size of the unit.

A small and intimate unit compared to most company-sized units, this Springville-based detachment has performed a variety of missions all over southern Iraq including base security, convoy security, supply operations and its primary mission of water purification.

When the 120th first arrived in Iraq they received the mission to support Texas’s 812th Quartermaster Reserve Company. This requirement meant that the 120th would be split into two groups with a handful of Soldiers staying at their base camp while the rest of the unit would travel north to purify water for another camp.

Soldiers who stayed behind were given many different jobs in camp to include working in the motor pool, repairing gun trucks, issuing ammunition and maintaining weapons, running the supply section, aiding with force-protection maintenance and improvement and helping the 812th with their gun-truck mission.

Staff Sgt. James Churchtown, left, and Spc. Tyler DeCapot, 120th Quartermaster, emplace strainers for ROWPU water intake.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Carlyle Smith

Staff Sgt. James Churchtown, left, and Spc. Tyler DeCapot,

120th Quartermaster, emplace strainers for ROWPU water intake.

“I’d say the best experience I’ve had out here in Iraq is doing convoys,” said Spc. Jessica Hyde, a gun-truck gunner. “I get to go out and see new things, meet new people and do humanitarian aid.”

When the other half of the 120th arrived at their destination, they were greeted by an less-than-organized water site with equipment that had not been properly maintained. All the Soldiers came together and worked long days to organize the site, repair equipment and make sure the camp was able to get the water it needed.

Recalls Spc. David Bingham, “Initially [it took] a good week of just straight working and organizing with everyone down there. And we’re still kind of working on it.”

In early January this year the 812th needed more help filling gun trucks, so personnel from the 120th were shifted around. More soldiers were running gun trucks and the 120th added the supply yard and perimeter security patrols to their repertoire.

A sunset over Camp Scania, Iraq, where members of the 120th Quartermaster are currently deployed.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Carlyle Smith

A sunset over Camp Scania, Iraq, where members of the

120th Quartermaster Detachment are currently deployed.

“We did everything from arresting people to finding weapons to herding sheep away,” said Sgt. Jacob Black of his time on patrol at an Air Force base in southern Iraq.

With such a diverse mission the 120th may be small, but they have retained the flexibility to adapt to every assignment they have received and stand ready for whatever the future may bring.

The 120th Quartermaster Detachment, based in Springville, deployed in August 2005 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

 

They are providing water-purification and other support in their assigned area of operations.

 

Soldiers of the 120th arrived in Iraq last November and are expected home sometime in early 2007.