FORT LEE, Va -- Soldiers undergoing Quartermaster School instruction at Fort Lee’s Mechling River Training Site will benefit from the construction of two new piers that were projected to be ready for use this week.
Also called Training Area 28, the site is located on the Appomattox River just off River Road opposite the McLaney Drop Zone. It is one of several facilities used to train Soldiers enrolled in the 92W Water Treatment Specialist Course.
School administrators said the pier completion is symbolic of the cooperative spirit within CASCOM and the QM School to accomplish missions.
“This is almost like a dream come true,” said William A. Quimbayoglen chief of the Petroleum and Water Department’s Water Training Division. “Just having the ability to improve our training platform and having the support of our leadership – within the department, the schoolhouse and CASCOM – is a blessing. It is an excellent example of working together to improve our training.”
The piers were needed to remedy the frequency of river traffic and its effect on the areas where student training takes place, among other reasons, said Johnny Brown, site manager.
“In the past, we’ve had a lot of erosion taking place over here,” he said, pointing to an embankment. “It made it difficult for Soldiers to go out there and deploy their anchors and strainers because of the barges that come through here three times a day.”
Anchors and strainers must be placed in the water to operate water purification systems. Waves from the barges, Brown explained, tended to move equipment positioned in the water, which required Soldiers to retrieve them. That has long been a safety concern.
“With these piers, the Soldiers don’t have to go into the water,” he said. “They can walk 30 feet out on the pier, drop the anchor and strainer and start the system up.”
The two piers are spaced roughly 30 feet apart; extend 30 feet out from the embankment; and are 30 and 40 feet in width, respectively, said Brown. Their construction is part of ongoing efforts to better accommodate Soldiers.
“We never stop improving the training sites,” he said. “We want to make these facilities better than when we arrived. The more we can improve training, the more we can entice Soldiers’ desire to train.”
Erosion problems at the pier were first identified five years ago, said Brown. Construction began in December at a cost of roughly $350,000, he added.
PWD graduates roughly 700 water treatment specialists on a yearly basis, said Quimbayoglen.