Sustainer laundry specialists bring cheer to Warfighters
October 15, 2008
COMBAT OUTPOST HEIDER, Iraq - Sustainers from the 137th Quartermaster Co., 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade, provide much needed services to 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment Soldiers at COP Heider.
"We're morale boosters," said Spc. Armando Rodriguez, laundry specialist, 137th QM Co., a reserve unit out of El Monte, Calif.. "It has gotten a lot better since we got here."
Rodriquez, 22, from Los Angeles, is part of a five-man shower, laundry and clothing repair unit that takes care of the nearly 200 Soldiers at COP Heider.
"We made some changes from the last team that was here," said Staff Sgt. Mario Carlin, SLCR team non-commissioned officer in charge, 137th QM Co. "We fold their clothes and we have a 24-hour turn-around time on laundry."
The team is constantly dealing with the weather elements in Iraq. During the summer months they do laundry at night to stay out of the heat, and have to do maintenance every Sunday on their laundry equipment because of the dust.
"A couple of us have deployed before, so we have adjusted to the environment in order to complete the mission," said Carlin.
The 36-year-old from Los Angeles said that his goal was to not only keep morale high on base, but to leave his mark with the Soldiers he served. "Leaving here with the 3rd ACR knowing that a reserve unit could do it as well as active duty Soldiers, that's the ultimate goal," he said.
1st Sgt. Patrick Van Hecke, first sergeant, Eagle Troop, 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, has noticed a difference from the last team that serviced the base.
"The last team I had was good, but these guys are go-getters," said Van Hecke. "They are proactive and go out of their way and it's a morale booster any time you have a group like this taking care of you."