By Staff Sgt. Kelly S Malone (Leonard Wood)September 3, 2015
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Sept 3, 2015) -- Soldiers from Fort Carson, Colorado, 82nd Chemical Reconnaissance Detachment, Technical and Information Support Company, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), borrowed Fort Leonard Wood chemical training centers to earn their chemical and infantry skills certification Aug. 25 to 27.
Their training scenario involved an operational detachment-alpha, or Special Forces team, that discovered a suspected chemical weapons operation threat inside enemy territory.
As part of their exercise, the 10th SFG ODA team commander called for support from the 82nd CRD chemical specialists to detect, collect and identify the suspected chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosives materials in what's known as site exploitation.
The 82nd CRD answered the call in style -- Airborne style -- by parachuting out of a Chinook helicopter to meet up with the ODA and get their mission.
"From airborne insertion to the infield and ground link up to the target area, the team has done a phenomenal job," Master Sgt. Chesley Baird, 82nd CRD sergeant, said.
Baird explained how the training scenario was designed for the team to "respond to a curve ball" with "a target of opportunity" that had not been in the original plan or secured by the ODA. He further detailed how these situations develop the team's "total Soldier full-mission profiles" which is critical to being a support Soldier in the SF community.
"They don't just go to the 'shiny object,'" Baird said. "They not only have to know their chemical tasks, they have to know their infantry tasks, their infield and airborne operations tasks. These guys have to be able to shoot like the (SF), move like them, talk like them. That's why we brought our two Green Berets -- our sergeant major and our company commander -- they are assessing as we go."
On site to make the SF and infantry skills assessments of the team during this certification training were Sgt. Maj. Gregory Lightfield and Maj. Daniel Husek, sergeant major and commander, TISC, 10th SFG.
"You guys are so successful right now because of the amount of rehearsals and preparation you did -- you took our suggestions and ran with them," Lightfield said to the group during an after-action report for day two of the training operation. "That's why, when we threw you a curve ball, it wasn't a curve ball to you. You continued moving, and from our perspective, ... tactically you guys are (extremely) sound."
Sgt. 1st Class Albert Lamont, Chemical Decontamination Detachment, TISC, 10th SFG, was on site as the drop zone safety officer during the airborne portion of the training and revealed the 82nd CRD is really back home for this training.
"They are attached to the 10th SFG, but they are actually from Fort Leonard Wood. They have been on loan to the 10th SFG for quite a few years now," Lamont said. "What makes them unique is the fact that there is also the CDD, which also belongs to 10th SFG. The two units have morphed together and that's the reason they are able to do the missions they're doing now."
While conducting training, many Army units are assessed by leaders for certification in proficient execution of job and mission-specific tasks.
"My focus being at Fort Leonard Wood is so I can certify my team leaders," Capt. Kenneth Goetz, 82nd CRD commander, said.
Goetz said he has full faith and confidence that his detachment can complete any mission requested by the 10th SFG and get it done within the constraints he knows exist in theater.
As the senior SF assessor, Husek praised the 82nd CRD for making his job an easy one when it comes to briefing mission success to his higher command.
Husek told the team they sent up all the chemical information that a commander would want to know in a situation comparable to the training scenario.
"This is an easy sell for me -- to showcase to command what you guys are doing," Husek told the team. "You guys were concise and accurate, and that's what a commander wants in reporting. That was all spot-on, so I commend you on that."
The three-day exercise culminated with training at Fort Leonard Wood's Chemical Defense Training Facility.
According to Goetz, throughout the training exercise, the team collected staged intelligence, which led them to the CDTF, set up as an enemy post. This is where the enemy was "suspected of manufacturing chemical weapons of mass destruction," he said.
"I can say I have full confidence that my team leaders can go out in the field and run a mission," Goetz said. "This is my opportunity to validate that our troop training procedures are valid, that they work and are doctrinally sound."
Goetz gave praise to his NCOs for making this training successful.
"My E6s are running the show. They have planned this mission almost entirely," Goetz said. "The amount of responsibility I put on them is enormous and the mission brief they came up with was phenomenal."