Sky Soldiers participate in EURETEX 16

By 2nd Lt. Daniel B. CasaleOctober 6, 2016

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Valdahon, France- Soldiers from Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Reconnaissance (RECCE) platoon assigned to the 54th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade took part in EURETEX 16. EURETEX 16 is a biannual exercise where Soldiers from France, Germany, Spain, Poland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and for the first time the U.S. exchange Tactics, Technique, and Procures (TTPs) through combined training.

CBRN teams performed several reconnaissance and sampling missions designed to detect, locate, and sample chemical agents. Reconnaissance and sampling teams from the U.S. and France combined to create a cohesive team. With detailed planning and rehearsals, the mixed U.S. and French RECCE team effectively and deliberately located and took quality samples of suspected chemical agents and toxic industrial chemicals.

"Working with the foreign soldiers was easier than we expected said U.S. Army Sgt. Markus Diamond. The language barrier was mitigated with a translator from the Luxembourg CBRN team. While each country had their own set of TTP's, the combined professionalism lead to a successful training opportunity. Overall it was a great pleasure to work and train with the other countries."

Members exchanged detection equipment with partnered nations during these missions in order to teach each other the similarities and differences in technology.

While conducting their missions, U.S. RECCE platoon Soldiers sent CBRN reports to Polish warning and reporting teams, who were able to analyze the gathered intelligence. Once their missions were complete personnel and vehicles were decontaminated by Soldiers from France and Luxembourg.

"The one thing I noticed about the French and Luxembourg decontamination procedures is how thorough their personnel decontamination was. Their decontamination process was broken down by section to insure there was no cross contamination. Even though there was a language barrier they made it easy to work with them and accomplish the mission." said Sgt. Ralph McConnell, a team leader assigned to the 54th BEB

Soldiers from all EUROCORPS nations displayed their capabilities during a static display day in order to broaden their knowledge of other countries' equipment. Each of the participating nations hosted a display of their capabilities including CBRN RECCE, Decontamination, warning and reporting systems, Engineer RCP and Sapper, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) , EOD dogs, and Engineer Divers.

"During the static line display, we had the opportunity to experience other countries' equipment such as weapons and chemical detectors said Pfc. Leticia Istre, reconnaissance team member. There were more similarities than differences in the CBRN and Engineer equipment. I highly enjoyed learning about how the different equipment worked and how it's used in their missions."

The chance to experience a hands on exchange of how to use the various types of CBRN equipment used throughout partner European nations will serve as invaluable training for U.S. Soldiers.