Providers run laundry facility for Soldiers at Poliwoda
Story and photos by Spc. Michael Camacho
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs
CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION POLIWODA, Iraq —A shower, laundry and clothing repair team provides daily laundry operations for the roughly 500 Soldiers and civilian contractors stationed at Contingency Operating Location Poliwoda, Iraq.
The SLCR team with the 263rd Quartermaster Company, 541st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 96th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), is one of a few such teams in Iraq, as most SLCR teams were replaced by contractors on larger bases. However, the SLCR teams remain useful for remote locations, said Sgt. Jake Rademacher noncommissioned officer of the COL Poliwoda laundry facility.
One SLCR team can provide uniform and shower maintenance for 1,500 to 3,000 Soldiers at a base, said Rademacher, a North Platt, Neb., native.
The SLCR team, comprised of five Soldiers, uses the Laundry Advance System, an industrial size washing machine with a user interface able to monitor the status and problems that may occur during the washing process, said Rademacher. It takes roughly five hours from the time clothes are turned in to wash, dry and fold them, he said, and most Soldiers retrieve their laundry within 24 hours.
The laundry point processes roughly 250 bundles a day, said Spc. Winston Ryan, a textile service specialist with the 263rd QM Co.
Bundles can consist of as little as one set of ACUs or a set of sheets, said Ryan, a North Platt, Neb., native. The SLCR team puts 25 to 30 bundles into the LADS, roughly 200 pounds of laundry, to make up each load, he said.
The gratitude of patrons is obvious when they receive their clean laundry, said Rademacher.
"One of the best things about this job is the level of appreciation that you get from the Soldiers you support," he said.
The SLCR team provides clean uniforms and socks, which alone should earn them high praise, said Capt. Ronald Opperman, the personnel officer with 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment and an Oklahoma City native.
"They keep us clean and we love what they do for us," he said.
Rademacher said the importance of clean laundry is essential to the day-to-day mission of the personnel they support. Without a laundry facility, service members would have to find their own means to wash clothes, he said, which could lead to substandard hygiene.
"Without our services, the Soldiers here on post would have definite threat of disease," he said.
Spc. Nicholas Diaz, a textile specialist with the 263rd Quartermaster Company, 541st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 96th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and an El Paso, Texas, native, folds freshly cleaned laundry at the laundry facility Dec. 5 at Contingency Operating Location Poliwoda, Iraq. Diaz is a part of a shower, laundry and clothing repair team assigned to COL Poliwoda to operate the laundry services for its roughly 500 Soldiers and civilian contractors assigned there. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Michael Camacho)