September 4, 2006: Bottled Water Use in Iraq War

0904 Bottled Water in IraqSeptember 4, 2006Production of Bottled Drinking Water by Oasis. “MNC-I Theater-Specific Requirements for Sanitary Control and Surveillance of Field Water Supplies (MNC-I Operations Order 06-02, September 4, 2006) states that only bottled water is authorized for drinking in Iraq. TB MED 577 requires Veterinary Services or Preventive Medicine to inspect and provide monthly monitoring of the bottling facilities and water quality to ensure that the bottled water is safe. Oasis operates six bottled-water facilities to produce drinking water for U.S. forces throughout Iraq. We visited the facility at Camp Liberty on the Victory Base Complex in Baghdad. We observed its operations and reviewed the preventive medicine oversight records for December 27, 2005, through December 2, 2006. The Oasis bottled water production facility at Camp Liberty operated in accordance with the applicable quality control and oversight procedures.”

FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARRIOR, KIRKUK, Iraq– “It takes 864,000 bottles of water a month to keep Soldiers on Forward Operating Base Warrior, Kirkuk, Iraq, hydrated, and during the peak summer season that number nearly doubles.

This staggering amount of water is delivered around the FOB by a single platoon of Soldiers from Company A, 15th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. According to Sgt. 1st Class Baulino Moralez, a Edinburg, Texas, native and the fuel and water platoon sergeant in Co. A, the water supports nearly 5,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and civilians on the installation, and also goes to bases in the surrounding area. Moralez also said in Iraq, it is often unsafe for non-nationals who do not have proper immunities to drink from local water sources, making bottled water essential. “The bottled water [we deliver] is guaranteed to be contamination free,” said Moralez. “Soldiers don’t have to think twice about the quality of the water they are consuming and can focus on performing their mission,” he continued.

With so many units working on Warrior, bottled water must be delivered to several locations around the FOB. “When people call us and say they need water…we come running,” said Moralez. “We make sure water is convenient and accessible for them,” said Spc. Shawn Horton, an Orlando, Fla., native and a petroleum supply specialist with Co. A. This platoon tries to make it as easy as possible for people on the go to be able to find the water they need, he continued. “They need water…to do everyday operations. People need to stay hydrated.” “With the weather as hot as it is, the challenge for this platoon is getting water to everywhere it needs to go before the last drop runs out,” said Moralez.

Unlike some jobs, these Soldiers get to see the positive results of what they do on an everyday basis. “We get a lot of ‘thank yous,'” said Horton. “Even if we don’t get a thank you, we know we are appreciated because the water gets drank.” “It is nice for someone to be there at all times to provide water without people having to go around looking for it,” said Sgt. Vanee Ngirkiklang, a gun truck operator with Co. B, 15th BSB. With the weather not expected to cool down any time soon, the water delivery platoon will have its hands full keeping the residents of this FOB hydrated.”

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