PORDENONE, Italy -- Despite inclement weather, Chemical paratroopers from the 54th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy, trained on tactics, techniques and procedures to improve their ability to respond to Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear threats as part of Exercise Dragon Forge, Feb. 8 -- 11, 2016, in preparation for Saber Junction 16.
The training, held at Dandolo MOUT site in the vicinity of Aviano Air Base, focused on identification of homemade explosives devices and precursors, site exploitation, evidence collection, tactical questioning, vehicle searches, evidence photography, electronic component analysis, and makeup of Improvised Explosive Devices.
At the conclusion of the training, the battalion's Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear, Dismounted Reconnaissance Platoon, was tested and collectively responded to two different IED incidents. The exercises aimed to assist leaders to think logically, practice their weapons technical intelligence procedures, and react to different IED situations.
"This exercise was extremely important for the platoon because we were able to train our new Soldiers, as well as other CBRN Soldiers within the brigade. It gave us the opportunity to train them up in CBRN reconnaissance tasks as well as introduce them to Weapons Intelligence Team (WIT) procedures in order to become proficient at their jobs," said Sgt. Langston Watson, a team leader assigned to the CBRN RECCE Platoon.
Even though Dragon Forge was focused to validate the platoon's Initial Entry Party, sampling, and decontamination teams, it also focused on preparation for exercise Saber Junction 16.
This year, Saber Junction 16 is being held at the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command's Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany, bringing together participants from 19 NATO and European partner nations. It's a complex and dynamic training multinational training exercise that has evolved from recent Army Europe exercises and real-world events in the region.
Through exercises such as Dragon Forge, the CBRN RECCE platoon is working to ensure they are ready for any task they are called upon to accomplish, said Watson.
The 173rd Airborne Brigade is the U.S. Army's Contingency Response Force in Europe, providing rapidly deploying forces to the U.S. Army Europe, Africa and Central Command Areas of Responsibility within 18 hours. The Brigade routinely trains alongside NATO allies and partners to build stronger relationships and strengthen the alliance.