• JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  "  An OH58D(R) Kiowa Warrior helicopter touches down on the landing zone set up by the Soldiers of the 61st CBRN Company during aircraft decontamination training on Joint Base Lewis-McChord 22 Feb. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. James Hale)

    Gas gas gas!

    JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. " An OH58D(R) Kiowa Warrior helicopter touches down on the landing zone set up by the Soldiers of the 61st CBRN Company during aircraft decontamination training on Joint Base Lewis-McChord 22 Feb. (U.S. Army photo by...

  • JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  "  The crew of an OH58D(R) Kiowa Warrior helicopter await instruction from the Soldiers of the 61st CBRN Company during aircraft decontamination training on Joint Base Lewis-McChord 22 Feb. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. James Hale)

    Gas gas gas!

    JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. " The crew of an OH58D(R) Kiowa Warrior helicopter await instruction from the Soldiers of the 61st CBRN Company during aircraft decontamination training on Joint Base Lewis-McChord 22 Feb. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt...

  • JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  "  2nd Lt. Amanda White,  61st CBRN Company, escorts the crew of an OH58D(R) Kiowa Warrior helicopter to be decontaminated during aircraft decontamination training on Joint Base Lewis-McChord 22 Feb. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. James Hale)

    Gas gas gas!

    JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. " 2nd Lt. Amanda White, 61st CBRN Company, escorts the crew of an OH58D(R) Kiowa Warrior helicopter to be decontaminated during aircraft decontamination training on Joint Base Lewis-McChord 22 Feb. (U.S. Army photo by...

  • JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  "  Soldiers from the 61st CBRN Company simulate decontaminating an OH58D(R) Kiowa Warrior helicopter during aircraft decontamination training on Joint Base Lewis-McChord 22 Feb. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. James Hale)

    Gas gas gas!

    JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. " Soldiers from the 61st CBRN Company simulate decontaminating an OH58D(R) Kiowa Warrior helicopter during aircraft decontamination training on Joint Base Lewis-McChord 22 Feb. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. James Hale)

  • JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  "  Soldiers from the 61st CBRN Company simulate decontaminating an OH58D(R) Kiowa Warrior helicopter during aircraft decontamination training on Joint Base Lewis-McChord 22 Feb. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. James Hale)

    Gas gas gas!

    JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. " Soldiers from the 61st CBRN Company simulate decontaminating an OH58D(R) Kiowa Warrior helicopter during aircraft decontamination training on Joint Base Lewis-McChord 22 Feb. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. James Hale)

  • JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  "  Spc. Edwin Joseph, a chemical operations specialist with 61st CBRN Company, instructs Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Tolbert, an OH58D(R) Kiowa Warrior helicopter pilot with A Troop, 4th Squadron, 6th Attack Reconnaissance Squadron, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, to remove his protective mask at the end of the personnel decontamination lane during aircraft decontamination training on Joint Base Lewis-McChord 22 Feb. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. James Hale)

    Gas gas gas!

    JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. " Spc. Edwin Joseph, a chemical operations specialist with 61st CBRN Company, instructs Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Tolbert, an OH58D(R) Kiowa Warrior helicopter pilot with A Troop, 4th Squadron, 6th Attack...

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- The wind was blowing hard enough to make the rain drops sting as they hit your skin and the tall thick grass made it difficult to walk but the Soldiers didn't even seem to notice.

Soldiers from the 61st Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Company, 23rd CBRN Battalion conducted a field training exercise (FTX) on Joint Base Lewis-McChord 21-24 Feb. in order to remain ready to react to any chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear event.

One of the training scenarios during the FTX was the decontamination of two OH58D(R) Kiowa Warrior helicopters and their crews.

"Even though we aren't dealing with chemical threats downrange right now, chemical warfare is something that we have to be prepared for with everything that's going on in the world right now," said Spc. Edwin Joseph, a chemical operations specialist with the 61st CBRN Company. "We can't just train the same things over and over again because there are so many different things that we might have to react to."

This training began with a request for aircraft decontamination which put the 61st in motion. Soldiers first identified a landing zone (LZ) suited for the mission and drove their equipment to the site, then set up markers to identify the LZ to the aircraft. Within an hour, the 61st had the site prepared. Two aircraft landed and the Soldiers began decontaminating both aircraft and crew.

"We trained with the crew chiefs of the aircraft before we came out so the Soldiers could identify special equipment and mechanical parts that needed to be avoided during the decontamination process," said Staff Sgt. Christhian Floril, a squad leader with the 61st.

Soldiers decontaminated the helicopters by soaking them with a CBRN neutralizing liquid spraying out of high-pressure pumps. The pumps were mounted on the back of two M1078 Light Medium Tactical Vehicles. After the first rinse of the aircraft, the crew was instructed to exit the helicopter. The crew was then escorted to the personnel decontamination area where several 61st Soldiers stood by to instruct them on self decontamination and equipment exchange.

"It's very exciting when it comes to actually doing our job and sometimes people take us for granted until they actually need us," said Floril.

The crew returned to the Kiowas once the decontamination process was complete. As the aircraft took off, the 61st began running their own personnel through the decontamination lanes.

"The Soldiers did a great job," said Floril. "They were highly motivated with just a few hours of sleep and the mission was successfully accomplished."

Page last updated Mon February 27th, 2012 at 00:00