By Sgt. Ryan Twist, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment Public AffairsMarch 23, 2010
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE TAJI, Iraq - The 263rd Quartermaster Company out of Fort Bliss, Texas, 541st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) continues to train their Soldiers on the technical and tactical skills of their laundry-service mission at Contingency Operating Base Taji, Iraq.
Pfc. Higinio E. Ortiz, a shower, laundry and renovations specialist with the 263rd QM Co. and an El Paso, Texas, native, said they do the laundry for the company once every week to stay proficient.
"It always makes us ready ... to run these (laundry advanced systems)," he said. "(There are) many different types of models and you have to be ready to work on them."
Ortiz said they set the process up to run like the laundry facilities they maintain at smaller forward operating bases. He said the additional training the Soldiers receive on the LADS allowed for the Soldiers' clothing to be washed and returned faster.
"Instead of having to wait 48 hours to get their clothes back ... they can turn it in in the morning and get it back by lunch time," he said.
Spc. Hannah R. Perez, an equipment repair specialist with the 263rd QM Co. and an El. Paso, Texas, native, said the Soldiers are setting a standard to train hard and stay busy.
"We gain knowledge and people acknowledge what we do," said Perez. "We help everybody and we help ourselves at the same time."
Ortiz said it is important for Soldiers to get clean laundry back the same day because they often leave on convoys, which makes turning in or receiving their clothes difficult.
"It helps boost morale since Soldiers do not have to go to other facilities to get it done and have to wait a couple of days," he said.
Staff Sgt. Tanner A. Kirchner, platoon sergeant for first platoon with the 263rd QM Co. and a Kearney, Neb., native, said the training keeps his Soldiers focused.
"As Soldiers come in (from leave and missions), we want to keep them trained up," he said. "So we have the LADS set up here and we do our own laundry, but it's basically additional training. They can work with the mechanics and learn different things that they don't necessarily get out at the sites."
Kirchner said the Soldiers train on every aspect of the laundry mission.
"Since we have so many different sites and people leaving for various reasons, they're all interchangeable," he said. "So they all need to know every aspect of the job "If someone has to leave, they can step up and fill the role and the mission can go on without a hitch."
First Lt. Diana McCoy, second platoon leader with the 263rd QM Co. and an Olathe, Kan., native, said they train the Soldiers at COB Taji because it gives Soldiers access to a wealth of knowledge.
"We have most of our leadership here that are able to mentor those Soldiers, teach them different aspects of the job so that they don't know just one small piece of the puzzle, they know the entire puzzle," she said. "It's the Army way, the higher you are in the food chain the more information you have, the bigger the picture you see and you can pass those bits and pieces off to your Soldiers."