Army to the rescue
By Capt. Nicholas Thomas, 21st SPace Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 06, 2018
CLEAR AIR FORCE STATION, Ala. --
The U.S. Army came to the rescue of the Air Force recently at Clear Air Force Station, Alaska, in a true display of Arctic Warrior Spirit
After two weeks of sustained -20 degree Fahrenheit temperatures, a water main supplying the base motor pool froze downstream of Clear AFS’s Central Steam Plant, breaking a main valve. Fortunately, the ice in the line acted as a plug and prevented the water main from losing system pressure. Repairing the damage required shutting off the water supply to Clear’s CSP, the installation’s only heat source.
Engineers determined the only way to keep the offices, support buildings, and massive living area heated was to find an alternate way to provide an uninterrupted water supply to the CSP. A quick search at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, determined neither of the two resident wings possessed the specialized equipment needed for the task in the sub-zero Arctic environment. One call to the U.S. Army Forces, Alaska, changed everything.
Within two hours of calling USARAK, the 574th Composite Supply Company was packed and ready to deploy with the specialized equipment and trained personnel needed to do the job. The 574th CSC recently returned from a deployment to Iraq in December and had just finished servicing its equipment.
The Army uses the latest in bulk water distribution technology. This 2,000-gallon Load Handling System Compatible Water Tank Rack is affectionately known as the Hippo. The Hippo provides the Army with the capability to receive, store and distribute clean, drinkable water to warfighting units deployed throughout the battlefield, and can be moved and set up rapidly using minimal assets and personnel. Heated by JP-8 jet fuel, a sophisticated pump system prevents the water from freezing in cold weather environments down to -25 degrees Fahrenheit.
In this case, the Hippo was deployed to central Alaska for use in sub-zero temperatures to provide heat to more than 350 people responsible for executing missile warning and space surveillance missions supporting North American Aerospace Defense Command and the United States Strategic Command.
The 574th CSC team provided a continuous water supply to the CSP during pipe repair and replacement operations, resulting in no interruption to the installation.