FORT CARSON, CO – Soldiers with the Sustainment and Distribution Company of the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) worked to increase their combat effectiveness within the special operations community by performing water purification training July 27, 2017 at Fort Carson, Colorado.
The training focused on employing a Tactical Water Purification System (TWPS), which in the special operations forces (SOF) community is often impractical based on its size.
“TWPS will actually service a Brigade-level element,” said Sgt. William Sedberry, a water treatment noncommissioned officer assigned to the Group Support Battalion, 10th SFG (A). “It pumps out 1,500 gallons (of clean water) per hour. It’s a pretty heavy piece of equipment that will support a lot of people at one time.”
It’s impressive, but hardly practical for a SOF element that operates primarily in independent small teams around the world.
Which is why, in addition to staying proficient with standard equipment, the S&D Company also fielded a new water purification system: The Aspen 5500M.
The Aspen essentially fits in two storage boxes, and it’s not only much smaller and more portable than the large shipping container-sized TWPS, but it can also be set up and ready to operate in about 15 minutes.
“Say we were on an outpost somewhere with an actual Operational Detachment-Alpha (ODA),” said Sedberry, “we would be able to set up the Aspen 5500M and it averages about 1500-2000 gallons (of water) a day, which is more than enough to support a 12-man ODA.”
Mobility and convenience aside, the Aspen is also cheaper and easier to employ than the TWPS.
Sedberry explained that the Aspen used no chemicals whatsoever in its water purification. Instead, it passes water through a series of filters before using ultra-violet light to sterilize the water.
“It kills all the harmful stuff that can hurt you,” he said.
And according to Sedberry, simply giving up the need to purchase the chemicals alone could potentially save the unit tens-of-thousands of dollars per year, making the Aspen the cheaper option as well.
This piece of equipment could potentially have far-reaching benefits for Green Berets who, once properly trained, can utilize the Aspen 5500M without a support specialist on hand. It’s small, light-weight, and user-friendly.
“We’re looking at actually trying to make it a SOF standard when it comes to water treatment,” said Sedberry.
Whether or not the Aspen 5500M actually becomes the new standard of treatment, Soldiers of the 10th Group S&D Company remain dedicated to providing clean drinking water for the operators and their support personnel, at home or abroad, in whatever environment they find themselves in.