THE GUARD IN FLINT, MICHIGANFebruary 10, 2016
Good to the last drop
3rd Combat Aviation Brigade
Story by Sgt. William Begley
Thursday, January 28, 2016
HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. – The water purification specialists of 603rd Aviation Support Battalion, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade created potable water from a pond on Hunter Army Airfield Jan. 27.
For people in the city of Flint, Michigan, the importance of having the ability to produce clean, drinkable water is a very real concern. The city’s water supply is contaminated with lead. Stories like this have made the water squad that much more aware of the need to master the essential skill for the sustainment of Soldiers in the field.
Thankfully, Sgt. Jermond Hardison, Company A, 603rd ASB and his team of water purification specialists take their jobs very seriously. Their task, to set up a tactical water purification system (TWPS) and take water that looks like a frog just bathed in it, and make it clean enough for Soldiers to safely consume.
“Most of my Soldiers are fresh from advanced individual training and this is their first time performing their jobs in a tactical field environment,” Hardison said.
According to Sgt. Amanda Ramirez, preventative medicine specialist, US Army MEDDAC, the inexperience did not show.
“My job is to test the water and make sure they have the right levels of chlorine, make sure the PH is at the right level and collect samples to run bacteriological tests and make sure the water is safe,” Ramirez said. “This is the best operation that I have seen so far in my experience.”
Pvt. Jennifer Mitchell, Company A, 603rd ASB has been in the Army a little over a year. This was the first chance for her to do the job she learned to do in AIT. She said she chose the job of water purification specialist because she liked the idea of working in a “hands-on” job, and she didn’t want to be stuck in an office.
“In AIT we had a lot of help, but this was my first time with this team and we did a really good job,” said Mitchell.
In an ironic twist of fate, Ramirez is actually from the city of Flint, Mich. and admits water purification is “kind of a big deal.”
“It would be cool to be there to assist,” Ramirez said. “I would like to help. When I eventually transition out of the Army, this is the kind of work that I am going to do. Protecting the public is our main focus and I really enjoy that aspect of my job.”