The Quartermaster Corps bib-style branch scarf is manufactured in the branch color of Buff (cable 65015). Its wear is authorized by AR 670-1, which specifies that it may be worn with service and utility uniforms; the occasions for wear are specified by the local commander.
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Oil and water, the old saying goes, don’t mix, but from a logistical standpoint they’re extremely similar. Both are liquids; both are supply essentials for modern military operations; and both are essentially worthless if contaminated. Despite these parallels, however, it was only in the mid-1980s that the Army brought the training for the handling and treatment of these two vital resources under a single training agency, the Petroleum and Water Department (PWD) of the Quartermaster Corps.

The PWD traces its origins to the start of World War II, when the Army’s need for petroleum exploded almost overnight. In addition to the quantitative logistical problems posed by the transportation of oil—three-fifths of all cargo shipped was petroleum—the Army was faced with the issue of quality and purity. Engine failures and damage due to poor-quality petroleum were substantial enough to lead the Army to establish training courses devoted to ensuring the quality and safe handling of its petroleum supplies in the fall of 1946 at Caven Point, New Jersey. Operating under the purview of the New York Quartermaster Petroleum Field Office, the school’s staff initially consisted of experts who had worked in the oil fields in the American Midwest. Eight years later, the school was relocated to the Quartermaster School at Fort Lee, Virginia, where it was redesignated the Petroleum Department.

Delivering safe water in operational environments, on the other hand, had been the task of specialists in the Corps of Engineers, most likely because of the excavation and construction involved. Training for Water Treatment Specialists was conducted at the Engineer School at Fort Belvoir, in Virginia, but in 1981 the Army made the logical decision to transfer its Career Management Field to the Quartermaster Corps and combine it with water treatment because, like petroleum, its procurement and delivery was a liquid logistics function. The first Water Purification Class held at Fort Lee began in September, 1984, with its first class graduating in December (Fort Lee was renamed Fort-Gregg Adams in the Spring of 2023).

For Army students, the Petroleum and Water Department is divided into four Divisions: Basic Petroleum Logistics, Advanced Petroleum and Water, Laboratory Training, and Water Training. The Department also oversees the Fuels Quality Control Course for USAF Airmen and Coast Guard personnel and the Marine Corps Petroleum Training Division, which offers four courses in residential training for enlisted Marines and Warrant Officers in the Bulk Fuel MOS.

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