961s 1st 'water dawgs' store, distribute H2O

By 1st Sgt. Frank Casares
961st Quartermaster Co.

You can fight without bullets and you can live days without food, but you cannot live long without water, and that is the mission for the 961st Quartermaster Company (Water Support) from McAllen, Texas, now serving here.

The 961st QM Co. (WS) deployed in December 2003 and after a short stay at Fort Hood, Texas, they made their way to Kuwait. After receiving more training in Kuwait, they proceeded to their final destination, and arrived here mid-February.

"We are responsible for storing and distributing the water to all of the facilities here at LSA Anaconda," said Capt. Juan Garces, company commander. "We provide water to all the dining facilities, laundry facility, shower points, ice house, concrete plant, indoor swimming pool and very soon, the outdoor pool."

"Everywhere water is needed, we provide it. We get our water from two sources; the Tigris River and water wells within the base," Garces said. Sgt. 1st Class Felix Rios is the NCOIC of water operations and has overall responsibility for daily operations.

"Water operations is a 24/7, 365 days a year operation," Rios said. "There are miles of water hoses throughout the base and we have to check for leaks and tears. If a water hose or a water bladder bursts in the middle of the night, we get our team and fix it no matter how long it takes."

Rios has to keep an inventory of parts, water pumps, hoses, fittings and everything needed to keep this operation going. He also has to do the same for the water operations of the other four forward operating bases.

Staff Sgt. Chukwuma Mbahotu is one of the four team leaders.

"Everyone on this team fully understands how important our mission is, water is a necessity and you cannot do much without it," said Mbahotu. "Our satisfaction comes from what we do and from the knowledge that Soldiers enjoy a stress relieving shower or have a decent meal at the DFAC. Simply put, we love what we do."

In addition to LSA Anaconda, the 961st QM Co. (WS) has Soldiers at other remote sites in and around Baghdad, at the various FOBs.

"These FOBs are smaller and require less equipment and personnel, but they have the same operation that we have here," said Garces.

(Editor's note: 1st Sgt. Frank Casares was the Chief Public Affairs NCO with the 345th MPAD from San Antonio, and the 211th MPAD from Bryan, Texas.)

 

Staff Sgt. Mbahotu and Spc. David Gomez
Staff Sgt. Mbahotu and Spc. David Gomez operate the complex network of hoses and gate-valves that control the flow of water to various supply points and distribution outlets.

Staff Sgt. Mbahotu and Spc. David Gomez
Staff Sgt. Mbahotu and Spc. David Gomez operate the complex network of hoses and gate-valves that control the flow of water to various supply points and distribution outlets.