FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. (July 24, 2012) -- Soldiers of the 288th Quartermaster Detachment from Victory, Texas, honed their skills with real-world work, providing clean water in support of the 91st Training Division's Combat Support Training Exercise 91.
Using the Army's Tactical Water Purification System, or TWPS, the detachment provides more than 680 Soldiers at Fort Hunter Liggett's Base Camp Milpitas with purified lake water for drinking, bathing, cooking and laundry.
"The 288th is a water purification unit. We have four pieces of equipment to purify 1,500 gallons an hour," said Capt. Duane Fousie, a native of San Antonio, and 288th company commander, "If we run all our equipment, in one 24-hour period we can purify 200,000 gallons that can be used for laundry, showers, cooking, by the engineers as well as the civilian population."
"This is a company-level exercise that lets us run the equipment and purify tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of gallons of water," said Fousie. "This is the time when we run raw lake water into our system and produce drinkable water."
Fousie said he had the highest unit attendance to date for this extended combat training.
"We have had five years together and we just keep trying to break our own record - everyone wants to be part of it," Fousie added.
CSTX 91 offered realistic training for the 288th while they provided a necessary service for other units attending.
"This water supports laundry and baths here for the Soldiers, and also for drinking. It is used by the cooks for cooking and cleaning, and for dust control," said Staff Sgt. Malcolm Littles of Austin, Texas, a water treatment specialist with the 288th, "This system is very vital to the mission. So far we have produced 75,000 gallons and distributed 58,000 gallons."
Each TWPS can produce 30,000 gallons of water a day to sustain operations for extended periods on the battlefield.
The water produced by the TWPS has allowed the Soldiers using the Laundry Advanced System to use more than 2,500 gallons of water daily to wash and process loads of laundry.
The field showers accommodate more than 600 Soldiers nightly and about 125 in the morning. The kitchen and four water buffaloes have clean water to be mission ready.
The water is drawn from different sources through a filter into the TWPS. Then it goes through a micro-filtration process that uses reverse-osmosis elements to remove contaminants and impurities.
Chemicals are added to make the water safe for use and consumption. It's tested hourly to ensure the pH balance and temperature are in acceptable ranges. The TWPS is also capable of filtering salt water for use by soldiers.
Experience gained at CSTX 91 keeps soldiers trained and ready for missions anywhere they are needed. Soldiers gain firsthand knowledge while doing their jobs in preparation for deployments.
"We do not get to this on our weekend battle assembles. We are sometimes in cities, we may go to a range but it is right on the edge of a town," said Fousie. "This is where they get out, live in the tents, work with the other units, purify the water. This is as real as it gets without being deployed."
CSTX 91 is a sustainment-focused training exercise developed for Army Reserve units in Train/Ready, Year 3 of the five-year Army Forces Generation model.
With many of the units participating in CSTX 91 becoming available for deployment next year, the remote training environment Fort Hunter Liggett provides offers rugged terrain, realistic training opportunities and living conditions Soldiers may face while deployed.
Other facilities at Fort Hunter Liggett include four MOUT sites, a five-mile convoy live fire course with 360-degree live-fire capability, 10 weapons qualifications ranges, a live-fire shoot house, an urban assault course, a C-17 capable dirt airstrip, dozens of drop zones and helipads, an ammunition supply point, three engagement skills trainers, a 10-station Improvised Explosive Device-Defeat Lane and an IED-D Virtual Battlefield Simulator.