Army Sustainers provide water support to local community
A convoy of trucks and water buffalo trailers departs from a 553rd Field Feeding Company, 61st Quartermaster Battalion, staging area en-route to nearby Bell County where humanitarian assistance had been requested after the pipes burst at a local jail, leaving the facility with no running water. Communities throughout the state have been grappling with power and water outages, and burst pipes that had frozen, as a result of record-setting winter temperatures. (U.S. Army photo by Capt. Abe Rodas) (Photo Credit: Capt. Abe Rodas) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT HOOD, Texas – The 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command is supporting this installation’s and III Corps’ efforts to assist the local community as it recovers from the effects of severe winter weather conditions.

On Feb. 21, the 553rd Field Feeding Company, 61st Quartermaster Battalion, 13th ESC, responded to a request to supply water to the Bell County Jail where pipes had burst, leaving the facility with no running water.

The 553rd accomplished this while not only operating three Army dining facilities and the Fort Hood Culinary Kiosk seven days a week, but also while most of the team was experiencing water and electricity issues in their own homes.

“I am still staying at a hotel due to my ceiling collapsing from water,” said Capt. Abe Rodas, commander of the 553rd and a Los Angeles native. “When my battalion commander asked me if we could support the request from the Bell County Jail, I knew my company could (make it happen) because of past missions we have completed.”

Within 12 hours of the request, the 553rd had its equipment ready and began convoying to Belton to provide 1,600 gallons of water.

“When I saw my Soldiers in the motor pool firing up the trucks and getting the water buffalos filled with potable water, I knew in the way they moved they were happy to do it,” Rodas observed. “This is what we train for and stay ready to deploy for. I am so proud of what they do daily and never let them forget it.”

Soldiers from the 1st Medical Brigade also provided short notice support to their partner cities over the frigid weekend. About 30 Soldiers and seven water buffalos were sent to the Belton and Temple Fire Departments. This humanitarian assistance will be crucial for the communities as they recover from the effects of unprecedented weather. With their efforts, 3,000 gallons of potable water a day will be available to the areas of the community who need it the most.

Fort Hood and the III Armored Corps are proud to provide support to the community, especially in times of need, commanders of the organizations jointly confirmed. Requests from the surrounding communities are vetted thoroughly through legal channels to ensure all necessary regulations are followed.

Quartermaster Soldiers receive their training at Fort Lee, Virginia, the Army’s Sustainment Center of Excellence. QM School departments include the Joint Culinary Training Center, Petroleum and Water, Automated Supply, Aerial Delivery and others.