CHURCHVILLE, Maryland -- The commanding general of the U.S. military's only formation that combats global chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive hazards spoke to students at Churchville Elementary School here May 7.

Brig. Gen. JB Burton, the commanding general of 20th CBRNE Command (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives), was the guest speaker at the school's 5th Grade Patriot Assembly.

Burton and 20th CBRNE Command Sgt. Maj. Harold E. Dunn IV attended the assembly together with numerous school, county and state officials.

The Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland-based 20th CBRNE Command has supported the Patriot Assembly at the nearby elementary school for the last 10 years.

In addition to Burton's presentation, the 20th CBRNE Headquarters and Headquarters Company Color Guard participated in the event.

The annual assembly recognized students who took part in the school's Patriot Program. During the program, the students participated in a series of historical and civic assignments from memorizing the Gettysburg Address to identifying all 50 states.

Burton praised the students for their commitment to learning about their country.

"You worked hard to be here today and you learned a lot about what makes America the greatest country in the world," said Burton, a native of Tullahoma, Tennessee, who has commanded 20th CBRNE Command since May 2013.

"What you learned here will help you to go farther in life. Education not only opens doors but it also gives you the knowledge, tools and confidence to succeed when you walk through them," said Burton.

Burton encouraged the students to continue to learn about the U.S. and the men and women who defend it.

The 20th CBRNE commander also talked about the Soldiers and civilians who serve in his one-of-a-kind command.

"They are Soldiers, scientists, pilots, chemists, doctors, lawyers, public affairs specialists, computer experts and bomb squad technicians," said Burton. "They are all very good at what they do and they are able to accomplish their important mission because they studied hard in school and they committed themselves to being a part of something that ensured the protection of our great nation."

"Whatever you decide to do in the future, whatever you want to be or become, I ask you to use your time and talent to make your community, your country and your world a better place," said Burton.