FORT BELVOIR, Va., Aug. 2, 2011 -- The Soldiers of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 18th Infantry Division, stationed at Forward Operating Base Konduz, recently gained a valuable tool that had been stored away and forgotten. The tool, an Aspen 2000 carbon water purification system, had been in the back of a large shipping container on base collecting dust, unnoticed and unused.

When a Rapid Equipping Force Tiger Team of trainers arrived on base to train the units on various other projects, they discovered the system and realized the positive impact it could have on morale and operating functions on the base.

"The addition of this capability represents a significant improvement in the quality of life for the Soldiers living in this remote area," said Sean Rigsby, a member of the REF Tiger Team.

According to the unit's first sergeant, the ability for Soldiers to produce potable water will allow the unit to not only make significant improvements in its dining facility and other on-base amenities, which could be a true boost to morale for the warriors serving at the forward operating base in Kunduz.

The Project Carbon water purification system is a portable reverse osmosis technology capable of producing 2,000 gallons of potable water a day from nearly any water source. Powered by solar energy, the system sustainably provides clean water, and as a result, improved morale, better safety and more immediate hygiene to a unit.

Upon discovering the system, members of the REF Tiger Team cleaned the system and trained the Soldiers on its use and functionality. The Soldiers now have their own supply of fresh, clean water, which already has greatly raised the spirits of the troops living on base.

"Before our Tiger Team's arrival, the U.S. troops had lacked many of the amenities common to FOBs (Forward Operating Bases). Because of the carbon system and the associated training our members on the Tiger Team provided, they are now happy three ways to Sunday," said Lt. Col. Daniel Davis, who supports the REF.

Chip Rinehart, a trainer on REF's Tiger Team, provided the impromptu training to the Soldiers.

The REF has provided over 11 water purification systems to various FOBs down range, and has plans to deliver another 90, all with the hopes of decreasing the reliance on water-supply vehicles and local, potentially unclean water.