RHINE ORDNANCE BARRACKS, GERMANY- Wearing crinkly oversized dodger blue Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear protective suits that resembled something out of a science fiction movie, yellow oxygen tanks, gas masks, rubber boots and gloves, the preliminary monitoring team, Army Staff Sgt. John Bennets, 33, 771st Civil Support Team, 7th Civil Support Command, U.S. Army Reserve and Army Spc. Christopher Murphy, 33, 774th CST, 7th CSC, USAR, moved as a two person PMT towards a metal building structure and searched for a simulated chemical spill, July 27.

They stopped repeatedly in a disciplined and methodical manner to check each other's suit and boots for harmful chemical contaminants during the 773rd CST ran CBRN detection site survey training exercise as their culminating AT event.

USAR 7th Civil Support Command's 773rd Civil Support Team conducted their annual training July 17-28, augmented by additional 7th CSC Soldiers from 771st and 774th CSTs, who also attended as participants.

The purpose of the PMT is to establish a safe work area. [Establish] how forward we can move to the incident," Army Capt. Jennifer Gross, 30, survey team leader, 773rd CST, 7th CSC, said. "A lot of these guys have cross-leveled into CBRN. This gives them a different perspective."

Bennets said, "I like the training. It's good to be in the suit. [It's the] first time that I've trained with a fully operational CST with all their equipment."

Although Bennets is a newcomer to CST training, he brought related experience. He recently transferred to the 771st CST from "a mass casualty decon platoon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota," the 323rd Chemical Company.

Training Supervisor Army Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Butler, 34, survey team chief, 773rd CST, 7th CSC, checked, rechecked and quizzed the two Soldiers on their CBRN techniques as the team approached the simulated suspected chemical spill site and on their return trip back until they reached the safe zone.

"It's great that the 771st let me come down for the training," Bennets said afterwards. "It really did provide a great opportunity."

Post PMT was the site characterization team with three 773rd CST Soldiers followed by a sampling team that conducted a sampling survey. After the three teams finished, the specimens gathered would be analyzed in the 773rd CST's lab similar to what would happen during a CST's site survey response to a real world CBRN event.

After completing the course, the Soldiers checked each other for contaminants and then helped each other take off the bulky blue suits, oxygen tanks, mask and gloves. Both Soldiers were both drenched in sweat after approximately 40 minutes in the gear.

"When it's hot here it's hard to wear the suit but we just dealt with it because the missions still gotta happen," Murphy said. "These past two weeks have been quite an experience. I'm straight out of AIT [advanced individual training]. I think it it's one of the best units [773rd CST] because they have the equipment and resources to train properly."

Page last updated Wed August 1st, 2012 at 00:00