ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Maryland – Soldiers from the U.S. Army’s three Nuclear Disablements Teams trained for radiological sampling missions at the 1st Area Medical Laboratory Headquarters on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, Jan. 19 – 20.
Soldiers from NDT 1 “Manhattan,” NDT 2 “Iron Maiden” and NDT 3 “Vandals” trained with the 1st AML’s glove box to bolster their mission readiness.
“This training allows new members of the NDTs to practice and learn sampling techniques and procedures that will enable the collection of proper samples for intelligence analysis and force protection posture determination,” said Maj. Ariel A. Alcaide, a nuclear operations officer with Nuclear Disablement Team 2.
As frontline warriors who directly contribute to the nation’s strategic deterrence, NDTs exploit and disable nuclear and radiological Weapons of Mass Destruction infrastructure and components to deny near-term capability to adversaries and facilitate follow on WMD elimination operations.
Soldiers from the one-of-a-kind 1st Area Medical Laboratory perform surveillance, laboratory testing and health hazard assessments of CBRN, occupational, environmental and endemic disease threats around the world.
Both units are part of the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command, the U.S. Department of Defense’s premier all hazards formation.
In addition to the NDTs and 1st AML, the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland-headquartered 20th CBRNE Command is home to 75 percent of the Active Duty U.S. Army’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal and CBRN forces, as well as the CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity and five WMD Coordination Teams.
An Afghanistan veteran from Granada Hills, California, Alcaide said the highly specialized Nuclear Disablement Teams were made up of seasoned Soldiers, including Nuclear and Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction officers, Explosive Ordnance Disposal officers, CBRN Soldiers and health physicists.
The NDTs regularly train with the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland-based 1st Area Medical Laboratory and other 20th CBRNE Command units. The NDTs also support in the FBI-led interagency National Technical Nuclear Forensics Ground Collection Task Force.
“At least twice a year, the NDTs collaborate with the 1st AML to facilitate training for new team members on their mission essential tasks, such as sampling operations,” said Ariel. “The NDTs also train with and conduct exercises with other 20th CBRNE Command major subordinate command units during the National Technical Nuclear Forensics Task Force exercises.”
Deploying for an average of 13 weeks every year, the NDTs also support joint, interagency and allied partners during military operations.
The Nuclear Disablement Teams meet the 2018 Department of Defense Nuclear Posture Review’s requirement to have “advanced forensics and attribution capabilities” for both overseas and domestic missions.
Alcaide said the glove box training at 1st AML will enable NDT Soldiers to support maneuver commanders during combat operations.
“The course is designed to prepare members of the NDTs for collecting samples of radiological and other nuclear-related materials as directed by the battlefield commander in the theater of operations,” said Alcaide, who previously served as a nuclear logistics planner aboard the U.S. Strategic Command’s Airborne Command Post.