FORT POLK, La. – American Soldiers are training to defeat any enemy and overcome any hazard at the Joint Readiness Training Center on Fort Polk, Louisiana.
The 83rd Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) Battalion “Lightning Dragons” are supporting the “Mountain Warriors,” from the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, during a combat training center rotation.
The Fort Stewart, Georgia-based 83rd CBRN Battalion is part of the 48th Chemical Brigade and 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command, the U.S. military’s premier all hazards command.
Headquartered on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command is home to 75 percent of the active-duty U.S. Army’s CBRN 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.
American Soldiers and U.S. Army civilians from 20th CBRNE Command deploy from 19 bases in 16 states to take on the world’s most dangerous hazards in support of joint, interagency and allied operations.
During the rotation, the 83rd CBRN Battalion is leveraging 20th CBRNE Command units from bases across the nation.
The battalion is working with the Fort Drum, New York- based 59th CBRN Company (Hazardous Response), the Fort Carson, Colorado-based 62nd Ordnance Company (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and a CBRNE Response Team from the Fort Hood, Texas-based 68th CBRN Company (Technical Escort).
The 83rd CBRN Battalion commands five companies that are stationed across Fort Stewart, Georgia; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; and Fort Drum, New York.
Maj. Derek E. Taylor, the executive officer of the 83rd CBRN Battalion, said the U.S. Army combat training center rotation gives the battalion the chance to hone its mission readiness during tough and realistic scenarios.
“Only a few Combat Training Center rotations each year have a CBRN battalion-sized element supporting the training brigade,” said Taylor, who grew up around the nation in a military family but now calls Walla Walla, Washington, home. “These opportunities help the training brigade and CBRN battalion validate maneuver-enabler integration and interoperability during dynamic and complex CBRN tactical scenarios as well as provide valuable best practices to the larger Army force.”
To prepare for the rotation, the units conducted a deliberate training process on their respective military installations that was primarily focused on honing mission essential tasks. Taylor added that each team, platoon, company and the battalion headquarters was validated prior to the rotation.
“These standardized validations across the 48th Chemical Brigade guarantee competence and enhance trust when working with Soldiers you may not have met before,” said Taylor, an Afghanistan veteran who graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, with a degree in applied physics.
Taylor said the U.S. Army’s two Combat Training Centers on Fort Irwin, California, and Fort Polk, Louisiana, provide different terrain, weather and opposing force tactics.
He said the current rotation was the first time in several years that a Stryker brigade conducted large-scale combat training in the dense vegetation on Fort Polk. Taylor said the rotation will better prepare his Soldiers to defeat near-peer adversaries in large-scale combat operations.
“The addition of a battalion-size enabler to combat CBRN threats and hazards allows for robust learning opportunities,” said Taylor. “Smoothly integrating enablers on the battlefield and using the same common operating picture provides huge advantages. The Joint Readiness Training Center is one of the few places globally capable of replicating large-scale combat operations and accurately assessing our capabilities.”