By Walter T. Ham IV, 20th CBRNE Command Public AffairsAugust 14, 2015
GUNPOWER RANGE, Md. (Aug. 14, 2015) -- U.S. Soldiers discover enemy troops planting improvised explosive devices on the road to a weapons of mass destruction site.
Muzzle flashes pierce the summer air as artillery rounds whistle into the hillside.
When the smoke clears, two enemy troops are down and a third is taken captive. The U.S. troops check the area for explosive devices and assess the situation. As the Soldiers start to get their bearings, gunfire breaks out again.
Soldiers from the 20th CBRNE Command (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives) took the fight to mock enemy forces during this exercise and many other challenging training scenarios at the second iteration of the CBRNE Leaders Course at Gunpowder Range, Maryland, Aug. 3-13.
Command Sgt. Maj. Harold E. Dunn IV, the 20th CBRNE Command senior enlisted leader, said the course molds sergeants through 1st lieutenants into tactically and technically proficient leaders who can succeed on the modern battlefield.
Headquartered on Aberdeen Proving Ground, the 20th CBRNE Command is home to 85 percent of the active Army's CBRNE capabilities, including two explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) groups, one chemical brigade, a CBRNE analytical and remediation activity and a host of other specialized units.
Soldiers and civilians from 20th CBRNE Command train with joint, interagency and allied partners around the globe. The Soldiers at the CBRNE Leaders Course were from the Fort Hood, Texas-based 48th Chemical Brigade; Fort Campbell, Kentucky-based 52nd EOD Group; and Fort Carson, Colorado-based 71st EOD Group.
The CBRNE Leaders Course distinguished honor graduate was Staff Sgt. Ignacio Rosa from the 52nd EOD Group, the distinguished leader was Staff Sgt. Leandro Leon from the 71st EOD Group, and the Iron Warrior was Sgt. Devon Hawes from the 52nd EOD Group
Dunn said the course focused on the fundamentals of leadership and countering chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive threats.
According to Dunn, the first five days of the course were dedicated to each of the "big five" threat areas.
A U.S. Army training cadre, with decades of combined combat experience, mentored students throughout the course.
In addition to classroom training, the students completed a series of challenging physical events, including an obstacle course while wearing chemical suits and gas masks.
"The course culminates with a 72-hour continuous non-permissive situational training exercise. While continually coming in contact with the enemy, the squad-sized elements must successfully execute operations in a CBRNE environment," said Dunn, a seasoned EOD leader from Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Dunn said the course will expand to 14 days and include joint and allied troops in the future.