3rd ID hosts CBRN conference for Soldiers
March 30, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - Governments topple, civil wars erupt and disasters happen. We've seen examples in recent weeks, with the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the Pacific, and the recent protests and revolts against long-standing governments in Egypt and Libya.
To ensure the Army's readiness for a potentially catastrophic event, 3rd Infantry Division hosted its first Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear conference at Club Stewart, March 24, to educate and prepare CBRN Soldiers on Fort Stewart, Hunter Army Airfield and Kelley Hill at Fort Benning.
The importance of CBRN is understood Army-wide.
"The world has changed and we're changing with it," said Maj. Dexter Davis, the chief of the Sense Team, Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction Branch, Requirements Determination Division, Capabilities Development Integration Directorate, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and guest speaker for the event. "Of the 27,000 troops cut Army-wide, CBRN has had zero. [The Army is] restructuring for the fighters of the future. [CBRN] will soon become the force that all brigade and company commanders will want to have in the next fight."
Preparing CBRN Soldiers in case of threat or event starts at the school.
"The threat is real, although many appear not imminent, and we are not all privy to information," said Sgt. Maj. Joe Bonds, Directorate of Training and Leader Development, at U.S. Army CBRN School, Fort Leonard Wood. "We must be prepared when the call comes."
Educational development was discussed by Lisa Merrill, branch chief, Individual Training Development at U.S. Army CBRN School, Fort Leonard Wood. Merrill touched on the new focus of how to engage students from Advanced Individual Training to the new CBRN's Senior Staff Planners Course, which is provided to senior CBRN officers and NCOs from all military branches for continuing professional education with focus on providing CBRN organization capabilities while offering most the current information for real time threats.
"Learners are different today than they were 10 years ago," Merrill said. "The courses are more of a facilitator format and less professor. The courses have become more self-structured, with Soldier-created content. The question at the end of the day is, who has worked harder, the Soldier or the instructor' If the answer is the instructor, then the Soldier didn't get it.
"Governance for instruction has become more adaptive and flexible."
The importance of CBRN is not lost at the local level.
"The CBRN conference gives all Dog Face Dragon Soldiers the opportunity to bond, share information and the opportunity to learn and understand where the future of CBRN is headed," said Maj. Gary Belcher, 3rd ID, CBRNE officer in-charge. "There is a new push to align and integrate the CBRN branch at a divisional level."
A conference room filled to capacity with CBRN veterans and senior NCOs and officers speaking in jargon not familiar to all didn't stop the enthusiasm of learning for one novice CBRN Soldier.
"It's still all very confusing to me," said Pvt. Nicole Lincicome, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2-3 Brigade Troops Battalion, who is a recent chemical operation specialist AIT graduate. "It's exciting to see how everyone thinks, all the changes happening and new equipment coming out that I have never heard of. It's all very confusing, but I'll get it."
Regardless of the level of experience of those in attendance, a mutual understanding of the critical and rare opportunity to be in a room of their peers, exchanging information and ideas, was shared.