ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- The U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center received a letter of gratitude from U.S. Ambassador to Albania Alexander A. Arvizu Nov. 21. The note thanked the organization for a successful demilitarization operation that destroyed a recently discovered stockpile of chemical munitions in Tirana, Albania.

"Thanks to your professionalism and expertise, these hazardous chemicals are no longer a potential danger to the Albanian or American people. I have received profuse thanks from the Ministry of Defense and other Albanian government officials, and wanted to pass on their appreciation as well. Once again, thank you for a job well done!" Arvizu wrote.

Collaborative ECBC's Chemical Biological Application and Risk Reduction Business Unit, the Central Laboratory, Logistics Brigade and the Albanian Armed Forces led to the successful destruction of 11 chemical agents during two weeks in July. CBARR personnel implemented an environmentally sound infrastructure in Tirana, setting up the analytical capabilities and engineering controls to ensure the safe destruction of chemical warfare agents.

"We were incredibly appreciative of the on-site rapport we developed with the Albanian laboratory staff," said Ray Diberardo, CBARR project manager. "We were able to establish a good working relationship that enabled us to execute the operation safely."

CBARR personnel assessed site conditions and designated locations for storage, detoxification and analysis of chemical agents. Once the site passed a pre-operations survey that verified supplies and safety protocols were in place, the team conducted a chemical analysis on each of the agents to confirm chemical identity, quantify chemical concentrations and establish a baseline for which destruction goals could be measured.

"Sometimes the challenges of working in a foreign country are being able to communicate and work effectively with laboratory and support personnel, but it was a natural partnership with the Albanians," Diberardo said. "We are happy to have had the opportunity to provide support and lead international efforts."