20th CBRNE commanding general thanks 71st EOD Group
The 71st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group maintains an around-the-clock Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive emergency response capability across nine installations and 20 states in the western United States in support of local,... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT CARSON, Colorado -- The commanding general of the U.S. Army's only formation that combats chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive threats praised the 71st EOD Group "Raptors" here Sept. 5.

Brig. Gen. JB Burton, commanding general of the 20th CBRNE Command (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives), spoke to the 71st EOD Group during its change of command ceremony where Col. William McDonough passed the reins of the group to Col. Heidi Hoyle.

McDonough will move from Colorado to the Department of Army Headquarters in Washington, D.C., and Hoyle reports to the group following a tour with the Fort Carson, Colorado-based 4th Infantry Division.

Together with the Fort Hood, Texas-based 48th Chemical Brigade, the Fort Campbell, Kentucky-based 52nd EOD Group and the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland-based CBRNE Analytic and Remediation Activity, the Raptors are part of the 20th CBRNE Command.

With specialized units on 19 military posts in 16 states, 20th CBRNE Command troops confront and defeat CBRNE threats across the nation and around the world.

Burton thanked McDonough for his leadership of the storied EOD unit over the last two years and thanked the Raptors for their service.

"The 71st EOD Group has combated some of the world's most dangerous hazards in some of the world's most dangerous places," said Burton. "(McDonough) and his Soldiers have saved lives, protected property and enabled mission success for both military and civilian partners, both U.S. and allied, across the homeland and across the globe."

"Soldiers from the 71st EOD Group have deployed and are still deployed to combat improvised explosive devices in some of the world's most challenging operational environments," said Burton, a native of Tullahoma, Tennessee.

During the last two years, more than 65 percent of the group's EOD companies and two of its four battalion headquarters elements have served in Afghanistan. The Raptors have also deployed to support the State Department in Iraq and multinational forces in Kosovo.

Burton said 71st EOD Group Soldiers have trained indigenous military and law enforcement units in Africa, Central Asia and South America.

In addition to its global commitments, the 71st EOD Group maintains an around-the-clock CBRNE emergency response capability across nine installations and 20 states in the western United States in support of local, state, regional and Federal law enforcement agencies.

Burton said the group has responded to more than 850 incidents across the western United States this year.

"These Raptors represent our commitment to defending liberty as we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our joint, interagency and allied partners on the frontlines of freedom, wherever those lines are drawn," said Burton.

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