ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – The 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command conducted a change of command ceremony at Myer Auditorium on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, Sept. 7.
Brig. Gen. Daryl O. Hood assumed command of the 20th CBRNE Command, the U.S. military’s premier all hazards formation, from Maj. Gen. Antonio V. Munera during the ceremony.
Lt. Gen. Paul T. Calvert, the deputy commanding general and chief of staff of U.S. Army Forces Command, served as the reviewing officer at the time-honored military ceremony.
Calvert praised Munera for his accomplishments during his time in command and welcomed Hood to the one-of-a-kind command.
“Today’s Army demands trained and ready units with agile proficient leaders capable of building cohesive teams that are highly trained, disciplined and fit,” said Calvert, an armor officer from South Carolina. “For the past 27 months, Andy Munera has done just that. He has built a cohesive team and inspired all those around him through his clear understanding of the Army profession and the authorities entrusted to him as the commander of the 20th CBRNE Command.”
Since June 2020, Munera has led the command through the COVID-19 pandemic to support joint, interagency and allied operations around the world.
“He has taken this unit to new and exciting heights as evident through many successful mission exploits under his stewardship,” said Calvert. “He has built a cohesive team of more than 3,800 trained and ready Soldiers and Army civilians capable of deploying from 19 bases in 16 states to serve outside the wire and inside the cordon around the world.”
Established in October 2004, the 20th CBRNE Command is home to 75 percent of the Active Duty U.S. Army’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) specialists and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) units, as well as the 1st Area Medical Laboratory, CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity, five Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordination Teams and three Nuclear Disablement Teams.
During Munera’s tenure, three Army EOD battalions and more than 50 EOD companies deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations. Calvert said he witnessed firsthand the high caliber of Soldiers from the 20th CBRNE Command when he served as the commander of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq.
Four CBRN companies conducted rotational deployments to South Korea during the same timeframe.
To prepare for large scale combat operations, 23 battalion and company headquarters from 20th CBRNE Command also deployed to Army Combat Training Centers to hone their lifesaving and mission-enabling skills.
Munera thanked his leaders at the ceremony for their service and leadership.
“The leaders of the 20th are the selfless servants who always place people first and understand that they exist to protect and enable others,” said Munera, a native of Fairfax Virginia. “When the nation calls, there is no other sourcing solution when it comes to countering Weapons of Mass Destruction or mitigating very complex explosive threats.”
Munera said the deployable and multifunctional command protects the nation and its warfighters from the world’s most dangerous hazards.
“You can all sleep better tonight because 20th units are on the watch safeguarding the nation during numerous overseas deployments, responding to domestic emergencies, which number in the thousands, and protecting our most senior national dignitaries,” said Munera.
The outgoing commander also thanked his Soldiers and Army civilians for their service during his time at the helm.
“Your dedication to enabling lethality and safeguarding the force is essential to ensuring the nation is ready to prevent and respond to adversaries who seek to develop, proliferate, acquire or use Weapons of Mass Destruction and that the nation is always able to respond and mitigate the most complex of explosive threats,” said Munera, who will assume command of the U.S. Army Cadet Command and Fort Knox, Kentucky, later this month.
Hood comes to the command after serving as the deputy director of operations for Team Four at the National Joint Operations Intelligence Center in the Pentagon. Originally from Athens and Gainesville, Georgia, Hood previously served as the 31st chief of Chemical and commandant of the U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School on Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
A graduate of the University of Georgia and U.S. Army Chemical Corp officer, Hood has served in a wide variety of command and staff tours in the United States, Europe, South Korea, Middle East and Central Asia. Hood commanded the 3rd Chemical Brigade; 110th Chemical Battalion; and 87th Chemical Company, 4th Squadron (Aviation), 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment.
Hood said he would focus on people, readiness and modernization to keep his command ready to confront and defeat all hazards and to fight and win against all enemies. Hood said he was grateful for the opportunity to lead the one-of-a-kind command.
“It is a privilege to command and lead at any level but especially this first-class organization,” said Hood.