Whether they realize it or not, Soldiers training in the heat of summer on Fort Leonard Wood rely on a small team of fellow service members assigned to the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security. Each day, this team manufactures more than 6,000 pounds of an extremely important commodity: ice.
Working out of the Installation Ice House, located in Bldg. 821, the team operates eight cubed-ice machines and two block-ice machines, producing up to 300, 20-pound bags of ice and 80, 8-pound blocks of ice each day. While the team is usually made up of 14 Soldiers tasked from the installation’s training brigades, since the beginning of the most recent training cycle in June, the team has been made up of Soldiers from the Reception Holding Unit, according to Master Sgt. Theodore Morlock, DPTMS operations sergeant.
“The purpose of the ice house is to stock up and maintain storage freezers at each brigade (and) battalion to ensure that Soldiers in training receive cool water to drink, as well as a safety precaution to maintain ice sheets, should there be a potential heat injury on (post),” Morlock said. “All ice is issued on a scheduled basis for the training brigades each week and/or an ice request processed through myself for customers who are not part of the training brigades.”
The post’s training brigades — the 1st Engineer Brigade, the 3rd Chemical Brigade and 14th Military Police Brigade — along with the 58th Transportation and 5th Engineer battalions — are the Ice House’s primary customers. But, Morlock noted, “The Ice House is available to all units and civilians on post.”
He added units requiring ice can submit a Department of the Army Form 1687 signature card authorizing them to draw ice.
“We will give out up to 10 bags of ice to an organization needing it on any given day at 0900 hours without a signature card. If more than 10 bags are needed, then (the card) is required,” Morlock said.
1st Sgt. Daniel Fry, Company B, 31st Engineer Battalion, said having enough ice on hand is critical at this time of year.
Fry said his company has its own machines but relies on the installation’s ice pick-up point for about 20 percent of its needs throughout the year —sometimes more when the summer heat hits its peak.
“Ice is very important here in the summertime, for sure,” he said. “It has to be on hand and it has to be available for emergencies.”
Fry added they also use it to cool down their 400-gallon, M-149 water buffalo.
Morlock said the Soldiers and noncommissioned officers running the operation know their actions make a difference for those working and training in the heat.
“They know it is an important mission and work hard to keep up with the daily demand,” he said.
(Editor’s note: GUIDON managing editor Brian Hill contributed to this story.)