By Sgt. Gaelen Lowers, 8th Theater Sustainment Command Public AffairsOctober 19, 2012
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii-- Hawaii is considered a level-four corrosive zone, which is the worst on Earth.
For this reason, corrosion prevention training is a high priority for the Army and its units here in Oahu.
"A tremendous amount of money gets put into corrosion prevention, and after we go through this training, we will be able to train other Soldiers in corrosion prevention, which will ultimately save the unit and big Army money," said Sgt. 1st Class Steven Davis, corrosion coordinator, 8th Theater Sustainment Command.
And save money it will. In fact, in 1992, the Army was spending more than $10.3 million a year in equipment repair, said Richard Moran, site manager for corrosion prevention and control, 8th TSC.
"Corrosion prevention is an 8-to-1 cost avoidance," Moran said. "That means, for every buck we invest in corrosion prevention, we save $8 in repair and replacement costs."
The reason for excessive corrosion is Hawaii's highly volatile atmosphere, Moran said. The rainfall in Hawaii measures at a 4.5 pH, which is acid rain. That, combined with the 13.5 metric tons of sulfuric dioxide the islands receive per day and the chlorides from the oceans, produces a recipe for corrosion.
"The chlorides and sulfuric dioxide combine to make a super electrolyte that causes the destruction of metals," Moran said. "Chlorides travel 35 miles inland, and on big surf days, you can see salt in the atmosphere. That combined with the sulfuric dioxides that are all over the equipment costs the taxpayer big money."
But the 8th TSC is working toward preventing the high costs of repairs by holding corrosion prevention training.
"It takes operators back to basics when they were in charge of corrosion and maintenance," Davis said. "It reminds Soldiers to take ownership of their equipment. The goal is to have each individual unit have a corrosive prevention coordinator."
More than $1 million worth of equipment is used by the 8th Special Troops Battalion, 8th TSC, alone, Davis said. The equipment is designed to withstand whatever the mission calls for, which includes romps in seawater and other highly corrosive areas.
"But the days to losing it to corrosion are long past, because now we are responsible for the cost of keeping the equipment," Moran said. "The biggest challenge of this program is keeping Soldiers invested. It takes three months to properly train someone to spray a piece of equipment, and with the high turnover of Soldiers in the area, it's tough to keep Soldiers around with the proper know-how."
The 8th TSC said it plans to keep one to two personnel in every unit with corrosion prevention training under their belt. These trained Soldiers can train other Soldiers, and by doing so will keep the program alive -- much like corrosion prevention does for their equipment.