Temple Water Main Story

By: Staff Sgt. Joshua Salmons
4th Sustainment Brigade PAO

Following a water-main break in Temple, Texas, Tuesday, Soldiers from the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) were called into action to deliver water to area hospitals in case city water levels dropped too low.

The 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment assigned three 5,000 gallon tankers to troops from the 62nd Quartermaster Company, 553rd Combat Service Support Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade; while Soldiers from the 1st Medical Brigade certified some of the 553’s own tankers to carry potable water.

“Given the severity of the situation with the water, we knew we’d need additional tankers for other sites,” said Sgt. 1st Class Barney Perez, platoon leader, liquids platoon, 62nd QM. “[The 553rd CSSB] coordinated all the tankers and where they could wrench the tankers and everything.”

By Wednesday evening, the first of the tankers arrived at the Veteran’s Affairs Hospital, to wait there on standby in case they were needed.

“It was just a preventative measure,” said Randal Blodgett, chief of facilities for the VA. “We were topped off and are fine for a while.”

But running boilers, chillers, and over 1,000 toilets would eventually run the reserves dry, and there was the chance that the city’s repair plan might not work. That’s where the 62nd Soldiers would step in.

All that was required was some scouting of the potential sites to ensure the military and civilian equipment could work together, Perez said. Then everything was in place and ready.

Wednesday night turned into Thursday, and by Thursday evening, Scott and White also had three 553rd 5,000 gallon trailers, with two 400 gallon trailers courtesy of the 4th Sustainment Brigade’s 2nd Chemical Battalion.

“It was for the same mission: to be on standby in case the water pressure got too low,” said Maj. Lawrence House, a transportation officer with the 4th Sustainment Brigade. “The city had requested that we be there and the National Guard was also involved. We were there just in case.”

By rerouting water around its system, the city of Temple was able to provide sufficient pressure to essential sites like the hospitals until the break in the water main was fixed Thursday night.

Although their water was not actually needed, the Soldiers were still glad to help.

“It’s a good chance to give back to the community,” said Spc. Christopher Hotz, one of the water treatment specialists from the 62nd assigned to the VA site. “This is the same work we did when we helped with the Katrina relief.” 

“We’ve worked with Fort Hood before,” Blodgett explained. “There was a similar incident back in 2001 where we called them in during a water-main break. We knew we just had to call and [they] would show up.”

 

Jim Granfor
Jim Granfor, Temple Chamber of Commerce Miltary Affairs Committee member, talks with two Soldiers from the 2nd Chemical Red Dragon Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). Granfor said the infectious enthusiasm that the Soldiers displayed impressed him most.