71st Chemical Company Certification Exercise
June 29, 2012
WAIPAHU, Hawaii --The U.S. army uses certification exercises to confirm if a unit is ready to deploy overseas.
The 71st Chemical Company, 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command earned their certification as they responded to simulated chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats across Oahu June 17-22.
On June 20 the unit responded to a maritime CBRN threat.
A ship couldn't dock because of a chemical leak and many of the crew on board needed to be extracted and taken to safety.
Sgt. 1st Class Daphne Thomas, dismounted recon and surveillance platoon sergeant, 71st Chemical Company, 8th MP Brigade described the situation as initially a chaotic one.
"You try to find a location where the Soldiers are safe but also not to far to accomplish their mission," said Thomas. "And then you need to establish your roles."
All in the small confines of a ship.
Augmented with members of the 93rd Civil Support Team, Hawaii National Guard and a hazardous response unit from Joint Base Hickam-Pearl Harbor, the responders set their roles. They worked together to bring all of their equipment onto the ship, developed a command post and established a plan of action.
The teams combated the heat, narrow pathways and stresses of a chemical environment. They identified the chemical leak and slowly began to extract the crewmembers.
No small task, and according to Thomas requires a special kind of Soldier, a chemical Soldier. A Soldier who thrives in an environment where any mistake can cause sickness or death and who heralds the opportunity to lead the way and clear a path in a environment no one in the U.S. Military can.
Including on seas.
"We are confident in the maritime mission, said Thomas.
Displayed by the teams ability to rescue all the survivors and identify the leak.
But as unique as a maritime mission may be, it is just a small piece of the CBRN puzzle and just a representation of what the 71st Chemical Company is capable of.
We are ready to do any kind of consequence management, we are trained for any mission," Thomas continued.
Confidence reflected in the sheer versatility and ability of the men in and women in the chemical corps and 71st chemical company.