4th Chem diversifies skills with FTX
February 20, 2008
Soldiers from the 4th Chemical Company, Brigade Special Troops Battalion, overcame cold weather and high levels of yellow dust to fine tune their skills Feb. 10-14.
The field training exercise enabled the chemical specialists to bring out M93A1 NBC Reconnaissance System (FOX) vehicles which are too large to use in a garrison environment.
The exercise involved a crawl, walk, run process, said 2nd Lt. Mayra Lopez-Nanez, 4th Chemical Recon Platoon leader.
It gave Soldiers an opportunity to learn a variety of things about their equipment, from conducting preventative maintenance checks and services ,to reacting to incidents in the war zone.
It also taught them how their equipment will react when the elements change.
The cold weather can cause chemical agents to freeze and stay in the area longer, said Lopez-Nanez. The FOX uses a piece of equipment called a pro-ped that sucks the air in and heats it up in order to test for chemical agents.
"This has been a good experience for the Soldiers," said Sgt. 1st Class Stefan Stevens, 4th Chem. Co. recon platoon sergeant. "They are able to put into practice and experience what we train on in the garrison, i.e. classroom training."
The Soldiers spent two days rehearsing how they would react to an ambush and calling in a nine-line MEDEVAC. They also conducted six-lane driver's training to prepare for situations when there are threats of improvised explosive devices.
The exercise gave Pfc. Gary Irvin, 4th Chem. Co., a FOX driver, a sense of trust in his equipment.
"We have gotten to do a lot of driving out here," Irvin said. "It helps you get to know how good your equipment really is."
The cold weather didn't stop Pfc. Matthew Eager, 4th Chem. Co. FOX vehicle Operator, from getting the most out of the experience.
He has spent the time in the field training new Soldiers and taking advantage of the opportunity to learn new skills.
In addition to honing his skills as an operator, he has been able to drive and TC.
The exercise taught everyone how to adapt and be flexible and to do any of the jobs that the leadership need done, said Eager.
"It has been really cold out here," Eager said. "But by the end of the field training exercise we will have accomplished our mission even with the cold weather. It shows us we can overcome adversity and still accomplish the mission."