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NEWS | March 2, 2021

Tennessee National Guard delivers water to Memphis hospital

By Lt. Col. Darrin Haas Tennessee National Guard

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Guardsmen from the 730th Quartermaster Company and the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment’s Support Squadron delivered water to St. Francis Hospital in Memphis. The health care facility was suffering from water main breaks caused by severe winter weather that struck Tennessee Feb. 18.

Severe weather and freezing temperatures damaged businesses and residential areas throughout Memphis, prompting county officials to issue a boil water advisory. St. Francis Hospital requested water to continue operating boilers at the facility.

Within eight hours, two Load Handling System Compatible Water Tank Rack Systems, known as HIPPOs, from Lobelville’s A Troop, 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, were trucked more than 150 miles through hazardous conditions to the hospital. Tennessee Guard Soldiers operated the 2,000-gallon water tankers and reestablished water flow to boiler systems, which provide heat, sanitation, and kitchen activities for the hospital.

By Feb. 20, a third HIPPO system was delivered to St. Francis Hospital to provide water to the cooling systems.

“Guardsmen worked around the clock to ensure that all of the hospital’s boilers and chillers ran smoothly and uninterrupted,” said Capt. Donald Feaster, commander of the 730th Quartermaster Company. “Overall, we pumped more than 5,500 gallons of water into the various hospital systems.”

About 32 Guardsmen from across the state participated in the mission, which ended Feb. 25.

“We extend our sincere gratitude to the Tennessee National Guard for the support provided to Saint Francis Hospital-Memphis during the recent winter weather,” said Sally Deitch, St. Francis Hospital CEO. “The servicemen and servicewomen who responded to our hospital were incredible to work with.”