DJIBOUTI- The Earth's surface is more than 70 percent
water, and of all the water a monstrous 97 percent is salt
water - leaving only three percent as freshwater, according
NOAA's National Ocean Service. For an amphibious force, like the 24th Marine
Expeditionary Unit, the chances of landing in a zone with
pure drinking water is not very high, but being near water
To ensure the MEU can organically sustain
itself ... it is equipped with its very own ‘water company'
operated by two water purification specialists from Combat
Logistics Battalion 24.
Corporal Ryan G. Schmidt, a water purification specialist with Combat Logistics Battalion 24, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, tests water for impurities with an Ultrameter II water quality instrument after running it through a Lightweight Water Purification System in Djibouti, March 7, 2015. A contingent of the MEU was ashore in Djibouti conducting sustainment training to maintain proficiency at the beginning of March. The 24th MEU is embarked on the ships of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group and deployed to maintain regional security in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. (Image
created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Austin A. Lewis)
mission for the MEU is to get out and establish a water
point where we can purify water and essentially make it
potable, so that we, the Marines, can stay in the fight,”
said Cpl. Ryan G. Schmidt, a water purification specialist
The Marines, commonly dubbed the
nickname ‘Water-Dogs,' can set up a water point and the
purification systems within two hours of hitting land and
can immediately have any water, whether it be in a chemical
environment, saltwater, brackish water, or freshwater, safe
to drink in minutes.
“We are like Bobby Boucher Jr.,”
Schimdt joked, referring to the character played by Adam
Sandler in the movie ‘The Waterboy.' “We get down to the
field and make sure everyone is hydrated and we do it fast,”
continued the Austin native.
The ability to purify
water comes in two packages: heavy and light. The heavy
package includes the Tactical Water Purification System,
abbreviated TWPS and pronounced ‘twips'.
TWPS we can purify 1,500 gallons fresh or brackish water
every hour and 1,200 gallons of saltwater per hour,” said
To put this into perspective, every Marine
rates 3 gallons of water a day, and a company is
approximately 180 Marines. The TWPS can hydrate a company of
Marines for almost 3 days with an hour of work in a fresh or
brackish water environment.
The light package comes
equipped with the Light Weight Purification System, known as
the LPS and pronounced ‘lips.'
“The LPS is our
lighter package and is really only used when the TWPS needs
a repair. It can purify 150 gallons of fresh or brackish
water every hour and 75 gallons of saltwater every hour,”
The water purification systems provide
the Marines with more than purified water.
only purify water for the purpose of drinking it. We also
have the skillset, if needed, to set up field shower units
for hygiene reasons, and the ability to do laundry with a
system called Container Bath Laundry Unit. It can wash up to
100 pounds of laundry each 45 minute cycle,” added Schmidt.
The Logistics Combat Element, comprised of CLB-24,
provides the MEU timely, reliable, and continuous logistical
support and gives the MEU the ability to support itself for
15 days in austere expeditionary environments.
24th MEU is embarked on the ships of the Iwo Jima Amphibious
Group and deployed to maintain regional security in the U.S.
5th Fleet area of operations.
By U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Joey Mendez
The U.S. Marines
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