By Mrs. Melissa Buckley (Leonard Wood)December 11, 2014
A contingent of Soldiers from the U.S. Army's Chemical Regiment at Fort Leonard Wood traveled to Taiwan for an exchange that focused on decontamination and curriculum development.
Sgt. 1st Class Gedney Riley, CBRN Reconnaissance and Surveillance senior instructor, said the Army representatives met with the Taiwan Army to discuss training and how the Taiwanese structure their forces.
"We were part of an exchange. It was subject matter expert to subject matter expert," Riley said. "We shadowed and observed the Taiwan military's training program and equipment. We offered advice on how they could improve on some things."
Translators were Taiwan Army officers who had been to Fort Leonard Wood for a course in the past.
"The translators were crucial to the success of this trip. These international students have been to our schoolhouse, which opened up the opportunity for us to go to theirs," said Scott Farrar, Chemical Training Department deputy chief. "They were able to help, because they had a great deal of knowledge about American methodology."
Daniel Walkup, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence curriculum specialist, said from a curriculum development standpoint, the American team looked at the changes the Taiwan Army was making in the field and how to help translate that into the classroom.
"They are trying to get more into the civil support role, and that is what the U.S. Army already does a really good job at," Walkup said.
"The U.S. Army is very good at taking lessons from the field, making quick analysis of that and then updating our curriculum and procedures," he said.
Riley said they were able to make an impact on Taiwan's Army noncommissioned officer roles, development and NCO/Officer relationship.
"The Taiwan Army has recently begun to look at the way it uses it's noncommissioned officer corps. We were able to sit down with each of the different CBRN groups, which would be equal to one of our brigades, and talk to all the non-commissioned officers. We talked to them about how to improve professionally and grow their corps," Riley said.
"They are also considering transitioning from a conscript style force -- which is a mandatory service army -- to an all-volunteer force. We gave them a few things to consider and how to go about those changes. It was a very good meeting," he added.
While in Taiwan, the American visitors got to see how the Taiwan government is reacting to a dengue fever outbreak.
"It is an enormous problem. The number of cases has exceeded the normal capabilities of their environmental protection agency and their civic response. So, their military chemical defense force has been asked to provide assistance throughout the neighborhoods and countryside," Farrar said.
According to the island's disease control center, 13,919 Taiwan residents have contracted dengue fever this year, with 17 deaths reported.
Dengue is a mosquito-borne, potentially fatal disease that causes fever and muscle pain.
"They are able to use the equipment they already had in their units and adapt it from decontamination to vector control," Farrar said. "The foggers were originally designed to spray a sterilizing solution, but they are filling it with a very mild pesticide."
Farrar said he observed ways some of the Taiwan Army's techniques and equipment are superior to ours.
"One illustration of this is their ability to leverage technology and rapidly produce items to have them fielded quickly," Farrar said.
Farrar said one of the most memorable moments of his visit was getting to reconnect with some of his former students.
"Encountering the students who have been here was nice. I was very proud to see how well they have all done," Farrar said.
Riley said he was grateful he was able to help so many people.
"Their hospitality was incredible," he added.