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Minnesota National Guard
No drinking fountains in the desert

ALI AL SALEM, Kuwait - Each morning Spc Joseph Lecuyer wakes up before his roommates to start his duty day delivering water throughout the camp Moving wooden pallets stacked with boxes of bottles of water throughout the small camp is a daily task

There are no drinking fountains on Army bases in Kuwait

“It’s a tough job,” explains Lecuyer, from Moundsville, Minn, father of two and grandfather of two The relentless desert sun weakens the cardboard boxes making them easily tear, spilling bottles onto the sand once or twice each morning Lecuyer patiently picks up each bottle and places it back into the damaged box in the shaded area of the water point

Moving pallets requires driving a forklift with a load

“I try to beat the heat and foot traffic,” Lecuyer said referring to the transient Soldiers who are unfamiliar with courtesies of walking around a moving forklift “The forklift has AC, but when it’s too hot, it stops working”

During the summer months, the desert temperatures range above 120 degrees



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Pallets of water are moved throughout the camp to water points consisting of a shed with a roof to protect the precious cargo from the direct sun Water points are mini-distribution centers located closer to the Soldiers passing through the camp on rest and recuperation (R&R) leave, the two week furlough afforded to deployed service men and women Contractors then move the boxes of water indoors and restock the refrigerators so Soldiers have cold water to drink

“You know the saying, the fastest way is from point A to B, but there’s no straight line here,” he said explaining his morning route

The force protection barriers impeded freedom of movement, as intended, to include water delivery

“It’s very frustrating, tedious and not a lot of space to move pallets It’s like a jigsaw puzzle,” Lecuyer explains “I never know how much water will be used each day It all depends on the transient numbers and how hot it was”

Even with the frustration, Lecuyer takes pride in knowing the importance of his job His duty day ends when each water point is replenished

Lecuyer is deployed with the 134th Brigade Support Battalion, 1/34 Brigade Combat Team, Minnesota National Guard He will deploy for one year and will return next summer to his family His unit is responsible for two Camp Command Cells, providing basic life support services to Soldiers and contractors who pass through or live on the camp and there is nothing more basic to life than water

Story and photos by Chief Warrant Officer Daniel McGowan
1st Brigade Combat Team
19 Aug, 2011





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