As waves crash onto the beach in Sattahip, Kingdom of Thailand, one may see the ocean as a way to escape the intense heat, but that does not quite quench their thirst. However, U.S. Marines from 3rd Marine Logistics Group turn the salty liquid into hydrating fresh water.
As part of their responsibilities during exercise Cobra Gold 2013, Marines from 3rd MLG, III Marine Expeditionary Force, purified salt water Feb. 10 to provide clean water to multinational participants at many locations throughout Thailand.
The exercise is a Thai-U.S. co-sponsored multinational, multiservice exercise that includes forces from Thailand, the U.S., Singapore, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and observers from other countries in the region.
Water purification is essential to successful operations during the exercise, explained U.S. Marine Cpl. Omar E. Montero, a water support technician with 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd MLG.
“The system is capable of producing up to 1,500 gallons of fresh water per hour, providing an invaluable resource to Marines in the field,” said Montero.
Using a tactical water purification system, the Marines are able to purify the water. It is a device that pulls salt water from the ocean, removes the salt through a process called reverse osmosis, and then runs it through a system of filters making it safe to drink, added Montero.
The purification process is perfected to the point where the purified saltwater is comparable to bottled water.
“It’s been tested before,” said Montero. “I pulled water from the Helmand River in Afghanistan, and it was fresher than the bottled water we had.”
The ocean is so vast that through the system it provides a virtually endless supply of fresh water wherever personnel may need it, enabling the expeditionary nature of the Marine Corps, according to U.S. Staff Sgt. Fantasia O. Langford, a basic electrician with 9th ESB.
“Anywhere there is water, we can provide clean water,” said Langford.
Providing clean water is vital to operations, especially in an environment like Thailand.
“This is important because without fresh water successful operations cannot occur,” said U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Erick M. Mechelhoff, a basic electrician with 9th ESB.