Company has cool idea for troops' comfort in Iraq
January 15th, 2008 @ 6:15pm

Jed Boal reporting

The blistering heat in Iraq is one aspect of the war U.S. troops will not soon forget. So, a Utah company came up with a cool idea to make the time a little more bearable for one unit.

Think of the hottest day in Utah this past summer, then add 20 to 30 degrees on top of that, and you have an average summer day in Iraq. A business owner in Fillmore realized he could help his hometown troops stay cool under fire.

A big box is headed to Camp Bucca, Iraq.

Steve Robison, an evaporative cooler manufacturer, said, "He set his hottest deployment record in Iraq at 127 degrees, so it's pretty hot."


Members of the 145th Field Artillery Battalion of the Utah National Guard deployed last June. Soon they may feel this is among the greatest care packages.

"They'll see a 40-plus degree drop with this unit," Robison said.

Inside is a MegEvap industrial evaporative cooler, one monster of a swamp cooler for the troops' rest tent. RCF Incorporated manufactures swamp coolers in Fillmore. Robison owns the company. He has a brother-in law and friends in the 145th.

"They're local people. We want them home. We want them home safe. We want them to be as comfortable as they can be while they're there," he said.

To get the 400-pound cooler to the soldiers, he needed help from the Governor's Office of Economic Development.

Fred Lange works in that office. He said, "Only way we could help out was to see if we could help make arrangements to get it from here to there."

Operation Give regularly sends shipping containers of gifts and necessities for troops and the Iraqi people. Founder Paul Holton, an Iraq War veteran, offered to send the cooler with an upcoming shipment.

"It's just unbearably hot," Holton said. "Throw in the sand and the wind, and a little bit of comfort goes a long way over there."

In addition to the cooler, Operation Give along with Mesa Systems will send 22 pallets of stuff to Camp Bucca and the soldiers.

Holton said, "Anybody that wants to participate and do something in a positive way to support the troops, support their mission, and reach out to the Iraqi people, that's what this is all about."

The unit will keep cooling for years to come. RCF sent replacement parts, but we're told no one should have to do any maintenance for at least five years.