Excellent! Now we know to add floaty rings and snorkel sets to the care packages!
1st Cavalry News
Soldiers build pool for Prosperity
By Sgt. Robert Yde
2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs
FORWARD OPERATING BASE PROSPERITY, Iraq – When Soldiers from the 15th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division began relocating from Forward Operating Base Falcon to FOB Prosperity earlier this year, one of the first things they noticed about their new home was all of the empty and half-empty springs that surround the bases main structure – the palace, which houses the brigade headquarters.
With the temperature beginning to rise as the summer months quickly approached, some of the Soldiers saw these springs as potential sights to construct a swimming pool.
“We’re putting a pool together so that once Soldiers come back from a patrol they can jump in and relax because it’s getting kind of hot out here,” Staff Sgt. Timothy Roberts, one of the noncommissioned officers in charge of the construction of the new pool, said. “We’re just doing it to try to improve morale and give them a little taste of home.”
Soldiers from the Co. A’s fuel and water platoon took on most of the work that has gone into putting the pool together, and according to company commander, Capt. Erin Gilliam, one Soldier in particular, Sgt. David Hudock, a water purification specialist from Pittsburgh, Pa., was very instrumental in getting the project off the ground.
“Sgt. Hudock and his guys did all the leg work on it,” Gilliam, a native of Fort Monmouth, N.J explained. “They pitched the idea and our battalion commander said it sounded like a good idea to him and he talked to Black Jack 6 and from there they just started working it to see what we could come up with. They studied up and they read several web-sites on what it would take.”
Hudock said that after getting permission from the brigade commander and the embassy to go ahead with the plan, the next step was getting the selected sight cleaned and getting the necessary supplies together to complete the project.
“Sgt. Hudock commissioned some Iraqi workers to come out here to sweep it up,” Roberts, who is originally from Phoenix, said. “Initially, there was a whole bunch of debris inside of here – grass, shrubbery, stuff of that nature, and they really worked their butts off to get this area cleaned up because it was pretty nasty when we originally started.”
Although the area was swept out, Roberts said they still wanted to cover the concrete with something. Originally they decided to lay down two 210,000 gallon fuel liners inside the pool and seal them together to prevent water from getting underneath them and causing them to rise.
However, after they started putting the liners down, Hudock said they realized they wouldn’t cover the entire space, so they hired some local national workers to reseal the pool with water-proof concrete and then paint the concrete with a water-repellant pool paint.
The Soldiers are currently filling the pool from the spring next to it. The water is sucked from the spring and ran through a purification machine before it drains into the pool and Hudock said the he expects this process to take five or six days.
Once the pool is filled Hudock said it will hold 525,000 gallons of water and be able to accommodate 150 to 175 people.
Although it won’t be deep – only about four feet – it will offer Soldiers a chance to escape from the heat.
“You won’t be able to dive in it, but it’ll be better than just sitting around in a tower for a couple of days sweating,” Roberts said.
Gilliam said that the 15th BSB has also ordered furniture for the pool area so Soldiers will be able to sit in the area and relax, and that once everything is complete, her Soldiers will continue to monitor certain aspects such as the chlorination level of the water.
“We’ll continue to run the reverse osmosis water purification unit and test it to ensure that it’s chlorinated just the same as it would be back in the states at any other pool,” she explained. “We’ll be responsible for the overall upkeep and maintenance of it and for keeping the water level where it is.”
According to Roberts, taking on maintenance issues for the pool is something his Soldiers are excited about.
“Most of my water guys have been doing fuel missions, and so now we’re going to have our equipment out here treating water,” he explained. “We’ve been glad to help out our fuelers but our MOS is to treat water, and truthfully, we’ve really been wanting to do this for quite a while, so we’re looking forward to doing it.”
Although the project has taken a little longer than they first anticipated, Gilliam said that her Soldiers are getting closer to completing the pool and they are hoping to have it opened in late June or early July.
“I know it’s been a lot of hard work, a lot of sweat and a lot of effort,” she said, “but I think it’s an important mission and it’s a great morale boost that couldn’t come at a better time.”
Spc. Stephanie Gould (left), Spc. Alicia Cummings and Spc. Shelly Martinez, Soldiers with the 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. paint the First Team patch on Forward Operating Base Prosperity’s newly constructed swimming pool June 17. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kap Kim, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)
Pvt. Martin Quick, a Columbia, Md. native with Co. A, 15th BSB, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div., checks the levels on the water purification equipment being used to clean the water for the Forward Operating Base Prosperity pool June 22. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Robert Yde, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)