PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - The 259th Field Service Company, part of the 189th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 82nd Sustainment Brigade, is providing Joint Task Force - Haiti with shower facilities and laundry services.

Two, 20-person shower, laundry, and clothing repair teams, bringing with them three, trailer-based laundry advanced systems, have set-up shop at Logistical Support Area Sustainer.

"Soldiers want clean clothes; they have got to get their stuff clean," said Capt. Burton Carlson, commander of the 259th. "We get it clean and return it to them in a timely manner."

The laundry systems, known as LADS, can process 400 pounds of laundry in an hour and, with Carlson's two systems at full capacity, can process about 20,000 pounds of laundry per day.

Starting a LADS site in the austere environment of Haiti has been trying for Carlson and his team.
"Here in Haiti, it has been a challenge because there were no existing facilities, but we were able to get things started and now we keep them going," said Carlson.

"Before I took command of the 259th, I did not realize the amount of resources it takes to conduct field showers and laundry. If I don't have water, or fuel or some type of sump that can extract grey water, I can't do my mission. You have to always be thinking: what can I do to make this mission happen'

"There are so many different pieces in the puzzle to make a field service company work and we are working with the locals to make this mission a success," he said.

This deployment to Haiti has been a teaching tool because the 259th has a lot of Soldiers who have little deployment experience.

"This is an opportunity to train my Soldiers and deploy my equipment," said Sgt. 1st Class Kumlai Manigault, a platoon sergeant with the 259th. "I get to know the capabilities and limitations of our Soldiers and equipment."

"When you have a mission, especially in an austere environment such as this, you really get to know your people, their strengths and weaknesses," said Carlson. "You don't get to see it until your unit faces adversity and challenges."

Many Soldiers may not know about field service specialists or what they do here, but the members of the 259th FSC understand the importance of their mission.

"I like what I do; it's fun and different," said Pvt. Elizabeth Ramirez, a shower/laundry and clothing repair specialist with the 259th. "We do laundry and keep people clean. When you get exhausted with this heat and humidity, a fresh shower and clean laundry always makes you feel great."

Even with this type of mission and the new personnel, Carlson said the 259th FSC is making it happen, helping those who are helping the people of Haiti.

Page last updated Fri February 26th, 2010 at 09:02