FORT CARSON, Colo. - More than 50 Soldiers with the 71st Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), participated in a 3-day chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear (CBRN) training exercise to build readiness and confidence in the event of a chemical attack, Mar. 21-23, at various locations on the installation.
Event coordinators with 71st EOD called upon the chemical expertise of Soldiers with 10th Chemical Company (Hazardous Response), 22nd CBRN Battalion, also located on the installation, to ensure the training went smoothly and all current standards were met.
While the two organizations have vastly different roles to play within the U.S. Army, they are both part of the 20th CBRNE Command and work side-by-side more often than some people may think. The 10th Chemical Co. is part of the 48th Chemical Brigade, which is the only chemical brigade in the U.S. Army.
Staff Sgt. Dale Sipple, a CBRN noncommissioned officer with 10th Chemical Co., said when it comes to CBRN defenses, "Having EOD able to function is paramount."
EOD technicians regularly train and prepare for a multitude of devices they may one day encounter, aside from those devices that go boom.
Chemically active devices arguably pose an even greater threat than explosive devices because there is a potential for a larger area to be contaminated by a chemical agent.
According to Sipple, a native of Lawrence, Kan., it is because of situations like this that EOD and CBRN Soldiers "go hand-in-hand."
"We are force multipliers for each other," he added.
Sgt. Brittney Williams, CBRN noncommissioned officer with 71st EOD, said the 10th supported the training by ensuring each participating EOD Soldier was properly fitted for his or her M50 Joint Service General Purpose Mask, commonly known as a pro-mask.
While the M50 pro-mask is not new, this training was the first time many of the participating Soldiers had an opportunity use it.
Throughout the training, numerous participating Soldiers commented on the increased comfortability and visibility the new mask has over legacy pro-masks; an important improvement, as each Soldier would have to successfully navigate through the NBC Chamber on post to complete the training.
On the final day, participating Soldiers collected their assigned weapons and pro-masks, then began marching from the 71st EOD Headquarters Building to the NBC Chamber.
Unbeknown to them, half-way to the chamber was a simulated chemical attack that required each Soldier to don their pro-masks, ensure their masks were secure, then continue the march while wearing the mask.
Each Soldier successfully navigated the NBC Chamber with the support of 10th Chemical Soldiers.
"The purpose of the training was to ensure the unit knows what to do in case of a CBRN attack," said Williams, a native of Little Rock, Ark.
Additionally, Williams said that the training impacted the unit's readiness by building confidence in the CBRN equipment.