By Iuliana Petre

Fort Hood Herald

Standing on the Killeen Waste Water Treatment Plant’s influent water structure — the one that receives all of the waste water from Killeen, Copperas Cove, Harker Heights and Fort Hood — Capt. Derrick Burden took one whiff of the air and said “that smells just like Iraq!”

After Burden, the commander of Bravo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, said that, several others echoed similar sentiments.

Burden and more than 10 other company-grade officers from the 1st Cavalry Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team toured the city’s water treatment facility last week in order to get an understanding of how the system operates and how the city provides essential services to the community, said Capt. Joe Martuscelli, the brigade’s information operations officer.

“We’re using this as a model, and to learn,” said Martuscelli, adding that “we can use (this) visit to focus our efforts on providing essential services to the people of Iraq once we deploy.”

During the division’s last deployment, military leaders learned about the importance of rebuilding infrastructures and developing these basic services for the Iraqi people.

Iraq as a whole is plagued with old systems — old water treatment facilities, old sewerage systems, old power plants.

“These are systems that have not been serviced for quite some time. Since the 1970s,” said Maj. David Shoupe, the division’s spokesperson, adding that after decades of the Iran-Iraq war, followed by sanctions in the 1990s, “the country is barely holding it together.”

And before last Tuesday, when Burden and others from his brigade visited the Killeen Waste Water Treatment Facility, Burden and many of his peers had no clue how the plant actually operated, even though while he was in Iraq, Burden and members of his battalion oversaw several essential service projects.

The waste water treatment facility is not the last stop for members of the division’s 3rd Brigade. Officers and senior noncommissioned officers met with members of the city of Killeen in a visit focused on local governance.

“In the future, our brigade will maintain our habitual relationship with the city of Killeen to better prepare our units for our upcoming mission in Iraq,” Martuscelli said.

Contact Iuliana Petre at or (254) 501-7469.

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