Living in a dusty building for 12 months without running water has its obvious downsides. Keeping your weapon clean is paramount, of course, and trying to knock out a shower every once and a while is key to keeping your squad mates from banishing you to the burn pits.
But one of the more overlooked aspects of personal admin and hygiene is laundry.
Back in the day, it was two buckets and powdered detergent – a time consuming process of hillbilly-style washing that was marginally effective and at least a half-day evolution. But a couple of the Joes here solved that problem with a cool little gizmo called the “Wonder Wash.”
When I first saw one in our hooch here at Yosef Khel Combat Outpost, I thought it was some kind of whiskey still for making bootleg hooch. But the Soldiers who have them swear by their effectiveness.
Being a sort of slow day yesterday, some of the Soldiers did laundry, so I chronicled Sgt. Edward Rodriguez as he demonstrated the Wonder Wash outside the platoon TOC. He said he simply ordered the device online while he was here and had it sent over. It’s a bit on the bulky side, as you can see, so Rodriguez said he’s not taking it home with him. Whichever lucky unit replaces these guys from 1st Platoon, Angel, 3-187, will have a couple of these things lying around for their use when they get here.
Rodriguez did say there are other alternatives out there that are electric powered instead of hand cranked, but they're heavy and expensive – and of course in an expeditionary environment like this, we want to keep at as simple as possible.