CAMP DWYER, Afghanistan --
For service members deployed to the middle of a desert in Helmand province, Afghanistan, water is a valuable commodity. Troops depend on water for hydration, food preparation, showering and keeping vehicles and gear clean.
A small team of eight water support technician Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 1 and Combat Logistics Battalion 7 are responsible for the supply of water needed by Camp Dwyer.
The Marines break up into groups and operate three separate points on base. One group will operate one of two well points, another group will operate a purification system and the final group of three Marines will operate a laundry facility, with groups alternating points every two weeks.
“Our mission is to provide water for all of the facilities aboard Camp Dwyer,” said Staff Sgt. Douglas Labelle, the staff non-commissioned officer in charge for the water production site at Camp Dwyer. “Our Marines are well trained in order to work independently and make sure everything works and is checked over daily.”
Water support technician Marines produce approximately 1,500 gallons of purified water per hour. That is enough to adequately hydrate approximately 700 troops for one day, said Cpl. Marc-Anthony Diplacido, a water support technician with CLB-7.
“Every day we supply Camp Dwyer with 20,000 gallons of purified water and more than 30,000 gallons of potable water used for showers, laundry and tactical gear cleaning,” said Diplacido. “It is a very satisfying feeling knowing I am making a difference and helping out Marines.”
The eight-man team of Marines continues to supply units on the base with clean water by working together and independently conducting daily inspections of systems, hoses and gear.
“Teamwork is essential,” said Labelle, a native of Rogers Park, Chicago. “If our equipment goes down, we have to rely heavily on each other to get everything up and running again. As young Marines, the corporals are developing and growing quickly into independent leaders. We are Marines; I expect no less than 110 percent from them as well as myself every day.”
Marines with CLB-1 deployed to Afghanistan from Camp Pendleton, California, during July. Marines with CLB-7 are scheduled to redeploy back to the States at the end of July after completing their six-month tour.