Another Wanat Takeaway -- Purify NOW


I've energized the grid, so to speak, on this small arms at Wanat issue, but another interesting finding in the draft report is this forceful demand for water purification solutions for troops from the individual to the small unit:

The absence of effective crew (squad or platoon) water purification and individual soldier water purification equipment adversely constrained operations at COP Kahler. After 235 years of U.S. Army combat and field operations, it is inexcusable that the U.S. Army still lacks the ability for deployed soldiers to sterilize their own drinking water in sufficient quantities in hot weather climates utilizing a man-portable, hand-carried, lightweight, reliable and effective water purification system.

The author suggested the individual SteriPen system, which purifies water using UV light, and other easily portable solutions that can purify water in high volumes that are readily available on the commercial market. Never once in the field have I seen a camping type water purifier unless it was a piece of personal equipment.

The only program I've been able to find on the subject from PEO Soldier is the Individual Soldier Hydration program which is purchasing canteens and purification other than the old school tabs is mentioned.

All soldiers going on detached, isolated service in a semi-arid environment must be habitually equipped with adequate individual water-purification equipment; and a squad/platoon capable water purification system that can be carried in a HMMWV (but that doesn't require an entire HMMWV to transport the system!) must be fielded by the U.S. Army. Had such a capability been present at Wanat, the Platoon could have utilized the large quantity of water available at Wanat (as the ANA did). This glaring deficiency needs to be immediately addressed by the U.S. Army Program Executive Officer-Soldier, at both a crew (squad or platoon) and individual soldier level.

-- Christian

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