A luxury set in the desert
August 7, 2012
FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. - A simple turn of a faucet and most people in the United States can enjoy a shower or bath. The work that goes into providing this amenity is usually behind the scenes and not generally thought about. For the soldiers participating in Combat Support Training Exercise 91 12-01 at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., a simple shower requires a group of dedicated soldiers.
For annual training this year, the 137th Quartermaster Company based in Los Angeles. The 137th provides showers and laundry services for more than 550 troops daily. The unit of 19 soldiers sets up, maintains and operates the facility.
Pfc. Steven Palmer, a heating and air conditioning technician, from Riverside, Calif., is one of the soldiers who maintains the equipment that runs the showers.
"I had never seen some of this equipment before," said Palmer. "But it has the basic elements of an engine so we figured it out fast."
Palmer was originally trained on heating and air conditioning equipment. He was able to use his prior training to adapt to different equipment.
Pfc. James Chojnacki, a heating and air conditioning technician, from Riverside, Calif., agreed that it was a crash course in different equipment, but felt confident in keeping the showers up and running.
The water used in the showers starts off at a lake. It is then purified and trucked to the shower site. The clean water is stored in large flexible containers where it is ready to be heated and pumped to the shower stalls.
Chojnacki and Palmer constantly check the heaters and pumps that provide the warm water and shower pressure to ensure proper operation. The machinery usually requires 2 hours of maintenance for every 8 hours of use.
"Luckily, we haven