News: Soldiers from across the country train for DCRF mission
Story by Sgt. James Hale
YAKIMA, Wash. – Soldiers from installations across the county traveled to Yakima Training Center at the beginning of May to train together and become certified as part of the Army’s Defense Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High-Yield Explosives Response Force.
The 21st Chemical Company plays an integral part of the 2nd CBRN Battalion’s DCRF. The 2nd CBRN’s portion of the DCRF is made up of more than 800 soldiers in 16 supporting units from six different military installations across the country who can respond to any U.S. CBRNE incident to prevent the loss of American lives.
The 21st Chemical Company trained in multiple scenarios during their time at YTC to prepare their soldiers for different incidents they could encounter on U.S. soil.
During training May 14, the 21st discovered that not everything goes according to plan but they are able to adapt and continue with their mission. As they convoyed to their training site (an Afghan village), one of the vehicles developed mechanical problems and could not continue. Since this vehicle carried equipment required for the mission, the decision was made to transfer the equipment to another vehicle and leave soldiers to provide security for the broken vehicle until a recovery asset arrived to fix or tow it.
Once on site, some of the soldiers quickly set up security around the village while others dawned their chemical suits so they could enter the village and help any survivors.
After the initial sweep of the village, another group of 21st soldiers, using a more advanced chemical suit, began looking for the source of the biological contamination so they could call in a sample team to collect and test the hazard then determine how to neutralize it.
“I think coming out to Yakima was definitely a good idea,” said Pvt. 1st Class Lauren Martin, a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosives specialist from 21st CBRNE Company. “This was a real eye opener for me; seeing what it takes to get our equipment here, working on the different terrain and doing scenarios I’ve never done before.”
Once their training is complete in a few days, the 2nd CBRN Battalion will be ready and certified to protect the nation if the DCRF is ever needed. As much as we hope they are never called upon, it is good to know we have soldiers who are prepared to handle the mission.