News: Chemical Soldiers wrap up Red Dragon 14, applauding focus on training
By Maj. Greg Majewski
FORT MCCOY, Wis. - Chemical units with the 415th Chemical Brigade wrapped up their annual training this week as part of Red Dragon 14 at Fort McCoy, Wis., with a capstone event designed to maximize individual companies potential by allowing Soldiers the opportunity to go through a variety of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear or CBRN scenarios.
Known as lane training exercises, the capstone event provides the individual battalions with a better understanding and assessment of their individual company’s capabilities, while also aiding commanders to identify strengths and weaknesses so improvements can be made.
“These unit commanders gave us some of their training objectives they hoped to achieve so we based our scenarios and missions to fit those commander needs to help train their Solders,” said Capt. Dustin Suddith, officer-in-charge, Task Force Evaluation.
Many of the Soldiers participating in Red Dragon applauded this year’s overall efforts and attention to detail, focusing on ways to better train the individual Soldier.
“It’s a great training experience as I think it provides an opportunity for growth in a very short time,” said 1st. Lt. Joshua Donaldson, 318th Chemical Company Area Support, Birmingham, Ala. “On top of that, it can be fun for my Soldiers as I think it is something everyone should experience.”
A new recruit to the Army, Pvt. Jonathon Zubia from Houston said he simply loves what the training scenarios’ provided for him and members of his platoon.
“I am enjoying the experience; I love training, the experience and I want more," said Zubia, 369th Chemical Company, El Paso, Texas.
The mission of Red Dragon focuses CBRN trainers in the employment of tactical capabilities which counter an entire range of hazards through defense while supporting operational and tactical objectives to combat weapons of mass destruction.
The 415th Chemical Brigade commander, Col. George C. Frank Jr, said the success of this year’s exercise started months ago as organizers wanted to ensure planning started and ended on what was best for unit training.
“I hope the Soldiers feel good as I do for the opportunity we provided them and the challenges and I think they do,” said Frank. “It’s not every day that you get to go to the field and practice field craft and work as a coherent team.”
Chemical soldiers from the 415th will return to Fort McCoy again next year for Red Dragon 15 which will kick off next August.