20th CBRNE units 'hunt' for nuclear fallout during exercise
August 11, 2014
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MUSCATATUCK URBAN TRAINING CENTER, Ind. (Aug. 11, 2014) -- Units from 20th CBRNE Command (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives) trained with federal, state and local agencies here during Exercise Prominent Hunt.
Part of the Federal Bureau of Investigations-led National Technical Nuclear Forensics, or NTNF, Task Force, Nuclear Disablement Team 3 led the Ground Collection Task Force, referred to as the GCTF, following a simulated nuclear attack.
"Teams were tasked to collect forensic samples of the fallout," said Lt. Col. Stewart S. Hamblen, the NDT 3 leader.
Post-detonation fallout samples provide evidence to the type of the nuclear device and will support U.S. officials effort to determine who may have been responsible for the attack, said Hamblen.
"The NDT supports the NTNF GCTF exercises every six months, and stands ready 24/7 to provide coverage for real-world events," said Hamblen, who was born in the United Kingdom but raised in Stephenson, Michigan.
Nuclear Disablement Team 3 is one of four 11-person NDTs assigned to the 20th CBRNE Command, the U.S. Army's only organization that provides ready, reliable and globally responsive forces to combat chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive threats.
Dispersed on 19 military installations across 16 states, 20th CBRNE Soldiers and civilians train and operate with allied, interagency and joint partners to combat and defeat the world's most dangerous weapons.
In addition to its ground collection task force mission, Hamblen said the NDT is tasked to conduct site exploitation and disablement of nuclear weapons design and production infrastructure of proliferant states to reduce or eliminate proliferation and short term use of nuclear-related Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Another 20th CBRNE Command unit, CBRNE Response Team (CRT) 4 from the 68th Chemical Company of the 22nd Chemical Battalion (Technical Escort), collected the fallout samples during the exercise.
"We were in charge of planning, coordinating and executing post detonation radiological sampling and collection for analysis," said Master Sgt. Douglas E. Nelson, with CRT 4, and a native of Philadelphia.
Nelson said the 15-person CRT deploys an average of eight times a year for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear training exercises.
According to Nelson, his most memorable deployment was a live agent exercise in Canada, where he trained with allied chemical forces from Belgium, France, Germany, Norway, South Korea and the United Kingdom.
Exercise Prominent Hunt brings together the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security with state and local agencies.
"The U.S. Army support to the NTNF mission and continued involvement in Exercise Prominent Hunt are critical to the post detonation sample collections that will facilitate national-level decisions for attribution and the safety of U.S. citizens," said Col. Rich Schueneman, the 20th CBRNE chief of staff and a native of Bristol, Indiana.