Quartermaster Soldiers keep service members' uniforms looking sharp
Story and Photo by Sgt. Ryan Twist
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE TAJI, Iraq — Missions in Iraq can take a toll on service members' uniforms, but a group of Soldiers work every day to keep them presentable and in good repair at Contingency Operating Base Taji, Iraq.
The renovation shop, run by the 263rd Quartermaster Company, 541st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), repairs uniforms at no cost to Soldiers.
Sgt. Veronica Porotesano, a laundry, showers and textile specialist with the 488th Quartermaster Company out of Fort Polk, La., attached to the 263rd QM Co., said they do the renovations to support Soldiers.
"We only work on uniforms," said Porotesano, a San Jose, Calif., native. "When you have a uniform that is torn, a zipper that is broken or Velcro that needs repaired, you bring them over here."
The 263rd has been advertising their mission to other commands, to let Soldiers know they can get their damaged uniforms fixed for free and returned in a timely manner.
"When they come over here, they are surprised that it is a 24-hour turnaround," said Porotesano. "(At other facilities) it usually takes longer."
Word has spread around COB Taji, and Porotesano and her team are seeing more customers. She said her team repairs about 20 items a day.
Porotesano said her team is proud of the service they provide, and that Soldiers leave knowing their uniforms look professional and well maintained.
Spc. Anton L. Pakkung, a laundry, showers and textile specialist with the 488th and a Houston native, said his favorite part of the job is making sure customers leave the shop with a smile.
"I like to see the customer leave happy, and when they come back they tell (us we) are doing a good job," he said.
Pakkung said he enjoys helping Soldiers look their best.
Porotesano said the service also allows Soldiers to save money and improves their morale.
She said her favorite part of the job is helping her Soldiers by sharing her technical skills and teaching them.
"Over here, we're just happy to serve everybody," she said. "To make sure we do our job the best that we can, and to make people happy for a little bit before they go home."
Spc. Anton L. Pakkung, a laundry, showers and textile specialist with the 488th Quartermaster Company out of Fort Polk, La., attached to the 263rd Quartermaster Company, 541st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and a Houston native, patches up a torn military uniform March 11 at the renovation shop at Contingency Operating Base Taji, Iraq.