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Home > UNS > 141021-01


First tactical rinse station opens at Hunter Army Airfield

by Sgt. 1st Class Thaddius S. Dawkins II
United States Army Special Operations Aviation Command Public Affairs

HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. (USASOC News Service, Oct. 21, 2014) - Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), celebrated the opening of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) first tactical rinse station during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 17.

U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command (AMCOM) Corrosion Program Manager Steven F. Carr said the requirement to rinse aircraft after operating at low altitudes over saltwater, existed for years.   

“The battalion is close to the ocean and they do missions over the saltwater. They need to be able to rinse elements off when they operate in this type of environment,” he said.

According to Carr, his office has been trying to determine a way to combat the elements since his first trip to Hunter Army Airfield in 1998.

“Technologies have really changed and improved tremendously since then,” he said. “We are just getting to the point where it’s possible to have this type of system.”

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Wade Ziegler, battalion aviation maintenance officer, 3rd Battalion, 160th SOAR (A), is looking forward to the advantages of having the tactical rinse station located on the airfield.

“It’s really exciting to get this rinse system, specialized for rotary wing aircraft,” he said. “This system completely addresses our needs to effectively and efficiently rinse our aircraft and I’m just glad to be a part of it.”

Not only does the system feature a rinse and wash station, it is can also be setup rather quickly, making it a semi-permanent but also deployable system.

“The system took just over four days to set up,” Ziegler said. “The containers that house all of the equipment are standard mil-van type containers. [The wash pad] is bolted to the surface of the concrete and it’s made up of 30 separate sections so it can all be unbolted, taken apart and palletized on trucks for easy movement. With the merging requirements and other possible uses for this equipment, making it a deployable system is extremely advantageous.”

In the future, both Carr and Ziegler hope to see the system in other airfields throughout the DoD, but getting it established in Savannah was priority number one.

Lt. Col. Christopher C. Black, commander, 3rd Battalion, 160th SOAR (A), reiterated the importance of the system and the ability to immediately rinse aircraft following operations in the Savannah area.

“We should be rinsing off our aircraft anytime we are near saltwater or any other corrosive environments,” he said. “We should be doing this all the time. Based off our estimates, this battalion pays around a 20 million dollar bill yearly just in corrosion costs.”

Black said it was the hard work of everyone involved that made the long thought idea a reality.

“This had been a continued fight with a lot of hard work and dedication. A lot of great people came together here to make this happen.”