10th Press Camp Headquarters

Hometown: Fort Bragg , NC, US

10th Press Camp Headquarters
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2014 FORSCOM NCO/Soldier Best Warrior of the Year

10th Press Camp Headquarters Soldiers conduct CBRN training

Courtesy Story

FORT BRAGG, N.C. – One of the worst imaginable scenarios the United States government could possibly imagine is the very real possibility of a successful terrorist attack on a highly-populated, major city using chemical or biological agents, or even a nuclear bomb.

How would the U.S. military respond? How would Americans know what to do to survive and protect themselves under such catastrophic conditions?

U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) is specifically responsible for the homeland’s defense and protection of U.S. interests in North America in partnership with other civil and security agencies at the local, county, and state level. The U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) is the force provider when NORTHCOM or other combatant commands need Soldiers with specific capabilities trained and ready to deploy and operate upon arrival.

This is why FORSCOM’s 10th Press Camp Headquarters, with the support of paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division, sought to field the new M50 Joint Service General Purpose (JSGPM) as an opportunity to train its members on critical individual-level CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) survival tasks at one of Fort Bragg’s training areas Aug. 11-15.

By June 2015, the 10th PCH must be validated before they assume responsibility of the Defense CBRN Reactionary Force (DCRF) mission from the 24th PCH out of Fort Bliss, Texas.

The 10th PCH and other DoD units are designated to comprise the civil support elements under the command and control of Joint Task Force-Civil Support, headquartered at Fort Eustis, Va. These units must first complete Defense Civil Support Agency (DSCA) training and certify with JTF-CS during Exercise Vibrant Response, conducted annually with joint and interagency partners.

The DCRF consists of 5,500 Army Active and Reserve Component Soldiers trained to assist civilian first responders in the event of a domestic terrorist CBRN attack. The reactionary force would deploy with medical, aviation, communications, logistical, decontamination, and search and rescue units to aid the civilian population affected by the crisis.

The 10th PCH’s primary role would be to assist in the rapid release of critical information by trusted U.S. authorities. Their efforts also work to reassure a devastated national audience by facilitating media coverage of the U.S. military’s response and assistance during the tragedy, while conveying the Nation’s resolve and resilience to its enemies.

Mission command philosophy

The commander of the 10th PCH, Lt. Col. Angela Funaro, who took command May 21 of this year, gained useful insight while serving as an Observer Controller/Trainer of the JTF-CS Public Affairs operation during last month’s Vibrant Response at Camp Atterbury, Ind.

“Most of the Army’s recent operational experience is with long-standing operations around the globe, but we rarely get to test our abilities in response to a crisis of this magnitude at home,” says Funaro. “Having this mission is an awesome responsibility, and we can only be effective if we are prepared for the worst and able to operate in austere conditions, maximize the resources we have, and cooperate with others to help fill the gaps in order to mitigate avoidable, self-inflicted disasters.”

From the outset, Funaro wanted to teach her unit the Army's philosophy of command is mission command, which is defined as the exercise of authority and direction by the commander using mission orders to enable disciplined initiative within the commander's intent to empower agile and adaptive leaders in the conduct of Unified Land Operations.

As a new battalion commander, her main objectives were to foster a climate of mutual trust and self-discipline while instilling confidence and growing competence in her team, particularly her staff and subordinate commands.

“I witnessed the psychological effects that the Army’s drawdown had on the force following the first Gulf War in the mid-1990s, and based on what was taught at the Pre-Command Course, I believe the Army has learned from those mistakes, namely that we cannot become a zero-defects institution,” she cautioned.

“We must strive to constantly learn, and I want my troops to know that the training environment is the place where we have the luxury of making honest mistakes and learning from them so we can perfect our standard operating procedures.”

Returning to basics, Funaro issued simple mission orders, guidance and her intent, and assigned her Operations Officer, Maj. Ramon Osorio, to develop the plan and synchronize the staff and supporting elements.

“Because we were issued the new M50 Field Protective Mask, going through the steps to ensure the Soldiers understood their equipment was very important and a critical part of the training,” Osorio said.

“This type of training not only allows the 10th PCH to maintain combat readiness, but it also prepares Soldiers for their mission and any contingency when things don’t go exactly according to plan,” he continued.

Funaro’s initial guidance was for her staff to execute a training event in field conditions using the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP) to prepare the operations order (OPORD) and conduct risk management analysis in accordance with Army doctrine. As the daughter of a Vietnam-era, 23-year Army Infantryman, she also expected her all of her officers to fully participate and the noncommissioned officers to play a prominent role in executing troop leading tasks and training.

Building relationships for mutual benefit and assurance

Bringing together multiple organizations to ensure the training event was a success, Soldiers from the 10th PCH solicited the help of Paratroopers from the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division for medical support, as well as the 1st Brigade, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment.

Warrant Officer Wayne Mitchell, Jr., the CBRN instructor, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1-319th A-FAR, helped plan and supervise the individual CBRN tasks and the operation of the CS gas chamber.

“This training is mutually beneficial to all the units involved,” said Mitchell. “Though we’re here in more of a evaluation role, taking part in these classes and the CS chamber not only keeps our skills sharp, it allows us to maintain our proficiency in our jobs as CBRN experts.”

“It was good to collaborate with some of the other units on post, and I’m looking forward to working with these public affairs units when they fall under XVIII Airborne Corps next year,” he said.

Building trust and confidence in self and equipment

In addition to the receiving the new M50 protective mask, Soldiers went through extensive multi-day classes and learned how to operate in a contaminated environment by identifying the different types of chemical agents and their effects on the body.

“Confidence in your equipment will mean a great deal if you need to use it in a real life situation,” said Mitchell. “We are showing these Soldiers how important it is being prepared for an event like this – and working with our FORSCOM teammates was great, too.”

Soldiers got to test their understanding at multiple stations that included timed donning of the M50 mask and the Joint Service Lightweight Integrated Suit Technology (JSLIST), detection of agents, decontamination of self and individual equipment, JSLIST exchange, unmasking procedures, and reporting a CBRN attack.

“This was the first time I’ve taken part in CBRN training since I completed basic training,” said Spc. Caitlyn Bryne, a journalist from 27th Public Affairs Detachment, one of five subordinate PADs under the 10th PCH. “The training and the new mask made me feel a lot more confident with CBRNE operations, plus I had a great time.”

Once everyone went through the CS chamber some multiple times, Osorio led the final after action review before the units convoyed back to their headquarters.

Funaro expressed her appreciation by awarding her coin to the training enablers from other Bragg units and a few stand-outs from her unit who led training, but she was most effusive about her pride in her staff.

“I was never looking for perfection, but I am enormously pleased and proud of what our small headquarters accomplished,” she exclaimed. “Hands down, this beats a typical day in the office!”

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