By Spc. M. Benjamin Gable, 2nd CAB Public AffairsSeptember 24, 2008
In today's world, the use of chemical weapons is a constant threat. After 9-11, the United States was hit by a bio-terrorist attack with anthrax, a very real threat to its security.
According to Staff Sgt. Larry Young, a chemical instructor with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2d Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, the threat of a chemical attack here "is a very credible one."
With this in mind, Soldiers with 4th Battalion, 2d CAB and the Republic of Korea's 51st Chemical Platoon participated in decontamination training at Black Cat Ramp, Sept. 12.
The Nuclear, Biological and Chemical training began with a 4 a.m. alert. Soldiers were instructed to get into Mission Oriented Protective Posture level 4, and were then deployed to the decontamination site, in this case, Black Cat Ramp.
As the training began, AH-64D Apache helicopters were lined up on the ramp to begin the decontamination process. Each aircraft went through multiple stations to ensure they were fully washed down. In the first station, a super-tropical bleach and hot-water wash was applied to the aircraft.
Station 2 called for "decon solution 2," or DS 2, which breaks down the chemical agents and dissolves them. This solution is applied to "high contact areas" that are used to operate the aircraft. Once the aircraft arrived at the third and fourth stations, the DS 2 was rinsed off.
At Station 5, the last station before the aircraft was redeployed to the battlefield, the entirety of the aircraft was monitored with the Improved Chemical Agent Monitor, or ICAM. The ICAM "looks" for any basic contamination, and ensures the contamination is at or below acceptable levels.
During the day-long exercise, Soldiers with 4-2 and the 51st ROK Chemical Platoon trained on both aircraft and land vehicles, including Light Medium Tactical Vehicles, High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles and Family of Medium Tactical vehicles.
The strategy to combat NBC attacks is through training, according to 1st Lt. Diana James, a chemical officer with 4-2.
"For those of us stationed here in Korea, we need to understand how to man the 'decon' stations and ready aircraft and vehicles to return to the battlefield at any time," she explained.
While no NBC attack is currently imminent, the training to clean contaminated equipment, both aerial and ground, will continue. The Soldiers of 4-2 and the 51st Chemical platoon will return to chemical decontamination training at Black Cat Ramp later this year.