FORT IRWIN, Calif. – Soldiers from the U.S. military’s premier all hazards command enabled the 3rd Infantry Division’s 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team to defeat enemy forces in a contested environment where chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive hazards could be used to harm friendly forces and hinder combat operations.
American Soldiers from the 92nd Chemical Company (Hazardous Response) “Rock Steady” and the 756th Ordnance Company (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) “Blasters” supported the 2nd ABCT, 3rd Infantry Division, during Decisive Action Rotation 23-05 at the National Training Center (NTC) on Fort Irwin, California.
U.S. Army combat units hone their warfighting skills against fierce opposition forces from the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment during combat training rotations in the “the box” – shorthand for the Mojave Desert training center that is almost as big as the state of Rhode Island.
The 92nd Chemical Company (Hazardous Response) is part of the 83rd Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) Battalion, 48th Chemical Brigade and 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command, the U.S. military’s premier all hazards command.
The 756th Ordnance Company (EOD) is part of the 184th EOD Battalion, 52nd EOD Group and 20th CBRNE Command.
Like the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team and 3rd Infantry Division, both 20th CBRNE Command companies are based on Fort Stewart, Georgia.
From 19 bases in 16 states, Soldiers and Army civilians from 20th CBRNE Command take on the world’s most dangerous hazards in support of joint, interagency and allied operations.
As the U.S. Army has transitioned from decades of counterinsurgency operations, training rotations are focused on preparing maneuver units for large-scale combat operations against an enemy that could use chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons.
U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Albert E. Lamont, the senior enlisted leader for the 92nd CBRN Company (Hazardous Response), said the integration into the 2nd ABCT started in August.
The training prior to the rotation included aircraft decontamination, CBRN detection for a wet gap crossing operation and an integrated command post exercise.
“These events were executed within six months of our deployment to NTC and ensured a seamless integration was accomplished,” said Lamont, who is originally from Detroit and has deployed to Cuba, Haiti, Iraq, Africa and South Korea.
Capt. Donovan G. Coleman, the commander of the 92nd CBRN Company, said the training rotation was focused on integrating enabling forces into the 2nd ABCT.
“Although not organic to the brigade, each of us brought a unique but invaluable asset to the fight,” said Coleman, an Afghanistan veteran from Huntsville, Alabama. “The 92nd Chemical Company (Hazardous Response) brought mounted and dismounted reconnaissance, detailed troop and equipment decontamination and sensitive site analysis.”
Coleman said his company also met with a Kazakhstan CBRN cell at NTC. The 92nd Chemical Company demonstrated equipment and decontamination techniques while also exchanging handshakes and unit patches with the Kazakh military leaders.
U.S. Army EOD 1st Sgt. Henry J. Charles, the first sergeant for the 756th EOD Company, said his EOD techs not only train for combat operations but also take on domestic response missions.
“We provide EOD support to our local installation at Fort Stewart, Ga., as well as our local law enforcement and civil authorities in an area of responsibility, covering the states of Georgia, parts of Florida and South Carolina,” said Charles, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who has served in the Army for 20 years and deployed to Afghanistan twice, Iraq once and Qatar once. He also graduated from Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, New Hampshire.
“Our mission is to protect personnel and property against explosive threats and hazards,” said Charles. “We also provide EOD support to the United State Secret Service for the protection of U.S. and foreign dignitaries.”
Capt. Jose G. Matos, the commander of the 756th Ordnance Company, said the NTC rotation enabled “the Blasters” to integrate and provide continuous support to the 2nd ABCT.
“Our training scenarios were tailored to prepare our Soldiers to support maneuver units during large-scale combat operations against a near-peer threat with a heavy emphasis on military munitions to include both foreign and domestic,” said Matos, a graduate of Interamerican University of Puerto Rico who is originally from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico.
Matos has served in the Army for seven years after serving in the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserves for eight years and deploying twice on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72).
Matos said his EOD technicians trained for a wide variety of missions during the NTC rotation, from defeating explosive devices and rendering safe lodged projectiles to destroying enemy weapons caches and clearing booby traps.
“We will utilize the lessons learned during this NTC rotation to continue to optimize the way we integrate at echelon, empower our unit leadership, conduct mission-focused training and emphasize the importance of maintenance to build sustainable unit readiness, increase combat power and prepare for our next assigned mission,” said Matos.