By Army 2nd Lt. Hilda O. Starks
Special to American Forces Press Service
Oct. 22, 2009 - It's not uncommon for deployed soldiers to miss their families and friends, home-cooked meals and the small comforts of life. Fourteen soldiers deployed here from Fort Polk, La., with 2nd Platoon, 488th Quartermaster Company, take care of one of the smallest comforts of life: clean clothes.
These soldiers make it their mission to provide the best laundry service possible to all the soldiers and civilians stationed here.
"We work hard to provide a 24-hour turnaround service for the soldiers, because we understand they are out there executing their missions, and the last thing they need to worry about is having a clean uniform for the next day," said Army Staff Sgt. Aundra Wesley, a laundry and shower noncommissioned officer from Mobile, Ala.
The laundry facility here washes and folds an average of 2,200 pounds of clothes per day to support the soldiers and civilians living here, using a system that consists of two laundry drums and water processing equipment within an 8-by-8-by-20-foot frame, a fuel tank, a storage container and a generator mounted on a trailer. It washes the laundry, extracts water and dries the laundry in the same drum. The laundry water is recycled and reused via a distillation process to minimize water consumption and wastewater generation.
"I've worked with the [system] for two years, and I am still learning its complexity," said Army Sgt. Alicia Goodman, a laundry and shower noncommissioned officer from Baker, Fla. "It is a very efficient and water-saving piece of equipment."
The 2nd Platoon soldiers will be here until spring. In the meantime, they will continue the tradition of soldiers taking care of soldiers.
"I am personally thankful that 488th is here providing us with laundry services," said Army Spc. Ashley Stapleton, a medic assigned to Company E, 121st Brigade Support Battalion, from Knoxville, Tenn. "It's a small comfort that we take for granted back home, but greatly appreciate while deployed."
(Army 2nd Lt. Hilda O. Starks serves with the 121st Brigade Support Battalion.)