SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii--U.S. Army Pacific Soldiers participated in a weeklong field-testing and train-the-trainer exercise using the Aspen 2000 water purification system combined with a water packaging trailer on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Feb. 9-18.
The packaging system uses the Aspen 2000 water purification system and combines with self-packaging water trailer to create a system known as Water in a Box.
Currently there are only two WiaB systems in use in the Army, one with USARPAC and the other with U.S. Army South. Although the WiaB system is still in the concept phase, water treatment Soldiers with the 40th Composite Supply Company, 45th Sustainment Brigade, will learn how to operate the system and then provide feedback to help improve the system and design.
"The 40th CSC are our technical experts, they are the unit that can best field this equipment," said Col. David Preston, USARPAC sustainment division chief. "They know water, they have the best training on water production and purification, and they can provide adequate feedback."
As resident experts in water purification and distribution, the 40th CSC water treatment Soldiers will train Soldiers in the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division on the WiaB. 3-25th IBCT Soldiers will then use the WiaB during Pacific Pathways.
"We have identified an issue with water distribution and production throughout the Army," said Preston. "Bottle water on the battlefield takes a lot of assets to transport and store. 3-25th IBCT will use it [Wiab] and provide feedback on how we can make it a better system. This system creates a new capability," continued Preston.
Eric Nelson, a civilian contractor with U.S. Army Rapid Equipping Force said approximately 50 percent of logistics involving the Army's resupply missions revolve around water.
"We're attempting to bring water to the front line Soldiers," said Nelson. "This system is designed to go to the forward edge of a combat environment from a platoon-sized to a company-sized COP (combat operation post). It can purify any water source and it doesn't matter the purity of the water or the contamination of the water."
Pvt. Elton Barnes, a water treatment specialist with 40th CSC stated he felt honored that he was a part of something that could potentially save lives. Even with only six months in the Army, he saw the potential in the new system.
"Although there are several larger systems operated by water treatment specialists, Water in a Box allows forward deployed units to become more self-sufficient, it reduces the need for us [the Army] to deliver water or store it," said Barnes.
In any environment water is a necessity--for drinking, cooking, personal hygiene and operations. Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Love, USARPAC fuel and water treatment supervisor said that over all branches of military in the Indo-Asia Pacific region, the Army is the primary lead on water purification and distribution.
"USARPAC is always looking for innovative technology to advance our mission capabilities and this concept system is right on time," said Love. "We can test this system on its practicality and durability. The Pacific region has almost every environment imaginable. The Water in a Box system could potentially solve future problems and limit wasting resources."
With the input from the 40th CSC and 3-25th IBCT Soldiers, the Water in a Box could receive valuable changes making it more efficient. The input gained from the testing could help the system come closer to a final design.
If there was ever a question about the water's quality or taste Barnes, put his technical expertise to the test.
"The water taste good, it taste just like regular water," he said.