How has being U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School commandant enriched your career?

Serving as the Chief of Chemical and Commandant of the U.S. Army CBRN School has been awesome and humbling. Through my team of dedicated Soldiers and DoD civilians, I have had the opportunity to help shape the Chemical Corps that our Army requires for the next conflict. We have worked across the CBRN enterprise to leverage a combined and synchronized approach across science and technology, advanced development and requirements to deliver the best capability to the force.

From the CBRN School perspective, we have revamped our institutional learning domain to increase mental and physical rigor and advanced CBRN defense planning all with the goal of delivering the highest quality Soldier to the force.

What will you miss most about the post and this area?

Without a doubt, the friendships Tacy and I have made on Fort Leonard Wood. I've been stationed all around the country as a Soldier and the sense of community here on post is truly unique. That closeness extends off-post to our civilian community leaders, too. Their recognition and appreciation for our military has been awesome and a great boon to our effectiveness as an organization.

What does taking care of Soldiers mean from the regimental and school commandant perspective?

It has always been my philosophy that Soldier welfare and readiness are inexorably linked. And as we continue to pivot from counterinsurgency operations to large-scale combat operations, it has been my highest priority to ensure our Soldiers are ready to excel and survive in complex and austere environments. We must ensure that our Soldiers are prepared for the harsh realities of the potential mass casualties of LSCO and the increased vulnerabilities to the effects of CBRN hazards. Therefore, it is paramount that we continue to improve Soldiers' lethality, individual and collective training, and knowledge gaps as they pertain to operating on a contested battlefield. Furthermore, our Soldiers must be equipped, trained, and prepared to execute our core competencies of assess, protect, and mitigate in order to provide maneuver commanders the freedom of action to exploit the initiative and accomplish their missions.

What experience, personal or professional, affected you the most during your time as commandant?

There is not one experience, but countless. The friendships that Tacy and I made here at Fort Leonard Wood will carry on for years to come. It is rare that you find such professionalism and camaraderie, but the US Army CBRN School and the MSCoE as a whole are truly a team of teams that are dedicated to the Nation, its Army and the Soldiers who serve in it. Every time I get the chance to engage and work with Soldiers I am humbled, but also inspired that the next generation of warfighters will take our Army to the next level. It has been a true privilege to serve and lead here.

What advice would you give to chemical Soldiers as you depart?

As the corps now moves toward its next 100 years of service, I ask each of you to honor our past and traditions, but also to help drive change in our Army's culture. As a Dragon Soldier, the onus is on you to ensure that our Army is ready to fight and win in a contaminated environment. Your objective must remain ensuring unit proficiency on CBRN defense tasks and conducting mission-essential tasks in a CBRN environment. In support of this goal, you must be a master of all trades: understand mission command, maneuver, intelligence and all of the warfighting functions while also maintaining your technical proficiency. This is not an easy responsibility and means that you must truly embody the attributes of a Dragon Soldier: competent, brave, ready and on point. I know that each of you are up to the task.

Anything else you would like to add?

The state of the Chemical Corps is strong. I've seen a constant evolution of technological capability and an evolution in what we are training in our classrooms here at Fort Leonard Wood. Our progress is in response to the real threats we face around the world, and I assess that we are heading in the right direction. We've made many strides, but cannot rest on our laurels yet. We always have to be at the cutting edge; we always have to be at our best to ensure we can defend all service members and the homeland.

(Editor's note: The USACBRNS Change of Commandant Ceremony was held April 18 in Nutter Field House. Col. Daryl Hood is the now the USACBRNS Commandant.)