FORT LEE, Va. -- While some quartermaster professionals have routine jobs at their home station, like culinary or supply specialists, others have expertise specifically geared toward the field environment.
A good example is 92-Sierra Shower/Laundry and Clothing Repair specialists. It is a small and often overlooked military occupational specialty that receives its greatest appreciation downrange.
These troops are on the front lines, alongside infantry and armor, providing vital health and well-being services, noted Sgt. 1st Class Veronica Waters, a senior instructor and the noncommissioned officer in charge of the Field Services Division, Aerial Delivery and Field Services Department, a Quartermaster School entity.
“We go to remote areas where the contractors are not available to provide those services,” she said. “It’s an element of logistics that doesn’t often get the recognition it deserves.”
Most 92S troops will find themselves attached to a company of 92 Whiskeys – water treatment specialist – as their missions go hand and hand. Without water, Sierras can’t do their job. As such, the two career fields are nearly similar in their military roles of assisting with field training operations and deploying with ground troops to remote areas to provide the vital services.
To ensure their troops are “day one ready,” the FSD team has implemented an increased role in the QM Field Training Exercises where fledgling Soldiers apply the war-fighting skills they have been learning since basic training and the military occupational specialty knowledge acquired in advanced individual training classrooms at Fort Lee.
“Our training area here is pretty much identical to a deployed environment,” Waters said. “We have the concertina wire fence and the troops provide security for the area. We have them set up the entire system from scratch so they know what they will see in the field.”
Recently, the 92S course leaders revamped their portion of the field training exercise, adding elements like actually running their fellow student Soldiers through the laundry and shower lines. While they have always practiced those requirements, having the Soldiers physically wash laundry from those also out in the field or coordinating shower time for some of the top performers leads them to be better prepared for their first duty station.
“We are achieving realistic training by having them engage in the process of providing laundry and shower support to other Soldiers in the QM field training exercise,” Waters confirmed. “It’s the most realistic, live training we do.”
QMFTXs run for three full days and the schools focus one 24-hour period on MOS-specific training. For 92S, that’s setting up and running a laundry station and shower tent. Troops practice taking in laundry, running clothes through the wash cycle, setting up showers, and testing the water pressure and temperature.
“For our Soldiers, this exercise is the first mission they will go on,” Waters observed. “We tell them that when they go to their unit, this is what you’re going to encounter. They will know how to set up the showers and how to run the laundry system.”
As one of the smallest career fields in the Army, 92S can be overlooked in their role for forward-deployed troops, but the school here is making sure these QM Soldiers are ready to serve.