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    Army Reserve's 401st Chemical Company tested for future deployment

    Army Reserve's 401st Chemical Company tested for future deployment

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Roger Ashley | Army Reserve Spec. Selina Clancy, a CBRN soldier with the 401st Chemical Company,...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Roger Ashley 

    412th Theater Engineer Command

    FORT MCCOY, Wis.--The Army Reserve's 401st Chemical Company based in Boston, 479th Chemical Battalion, 302nd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, trained hard during the Combat Support Training Exercise at Fort McCoy, Wis., to ready for a future real-world mission.

    The CSTX challenged soldiers with real-world scenarios to enhance warrior task training and team building in chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear events.

    2nd Lt. Moshe Bension, 401st dismounted reconnaissance platoon leader said, "The CSTX is not a purely chemical exercise. This is an exercise that's multi-branched. This is part of our annual training. Every year, National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers have to spend two weeks on active duty time getting checked off on certain tasks and missions."

    "While this is not officially part of any mobilization training, it definitely sets the stage for tasks and missions we're going to receive on deployment," said Bension.

    "We deploy in early 2014 to Kuwait to be the CBRN asset for Central Command in the Middle East," said Bension. "We're going to be training multinational forces, Kuwaitis, some other host nations in CBRN defense and response due to the increasing chemical threat in the region."

    "We'll be the go-to chemical asset for the command of that region," said Bension.

    In one training scenario, intelligence reported possible chemical, biological radioactive or nuclear weapon munitions being stored at a village.

    "The mission today was to convoy out to a village, conduct key leader engagement with a village elder of an area that has recently received chemical munitions attacks from insurgents," said Bension.

    The 401st Soldiers made contact with the village elders but during discussions the Soldiers were attacked with simulated mortar fire enhanced with a chemical agent. The 401st Soldiers realized the threat and donned their chemical masks yelling "Gas, gas, gas!"

    According to one soldier, the first part of the exercise seemed a little confusing at first.

    401st Soldier Sgt. Michael Archibald said, "In the first half, we had a lot of casualties. A lot of Soldiers were running around for the first couple of minutes."

    Eight Soldiers and civilians injured during the attack were treated and medically evacuated. "I was part of a casualty extraction team," said Spc. Christian Andrade."We extracted two females and a baby. We determined they could walk, and took them to the decontamination team."

    "After the initial attack, it slowed down and we were starting to get things done, "said Archibald."They got people evacuated and did what we needed to do."

    The second half appeared to go better.

    "We did an after action review, and they gave us a second go around," said Archibald. "I think we pretty much nailed it. All the moving parts were in the right direction and the security teams were set up."

    "When we were hit with mortars, the medic was right there," said Archibald. "I was constantly on the radio. I think it really ran as smoothly as can be for the mission at hand."

    "I think the platoon did really, really well," said Bension. "As we train more and more, I think we start to sync more as a team. I think they really showcased a lot of their expertise and talents."

    "The cool thing about the National Guard and Reserves is they bring a whole array of skill sets from the civilian world into your job as a Soldier," said Bension. "We have people with all sorts of different jobs, backgrounds and expertise that contribute, I think to the overall mission."

    One of the great challenges of the training was working with people you do not know that well.

    "I've been with the 401st for six months," said Archibald. "This is my first time doing annual training with the 401st. Pulling into a new unit you just don't know the personalities or Soldiers, basically who you're working with."

    "When you come out to a situation like this it's really like your first time," said Archibald. "You don't know how people are going to react or how things are going to go. It's great to know that I have a great platoon of Soldiers who are willing to learn to really get all this."

    "A lot of us this is our first time in dismounted reconnaissance in this situation," said Archibald. "It's really great to see them grow and me grow with them. I can't wait for more of this so we can be full-fledged ready for this deployment."



    Date Taken: 01.15.2014
    Date Posted: 01.15.2014 15:11
    Story ID: 119201
    Location: VICKSBURG, MS, US 
    Hometown: BOSTON, MA, US

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