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    Decontamination exercise increases combat readiness at Camp Buehring

    Decontamination exercise increases combat readiness at Camp Buehring

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Jennifer Milnes | CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait – Soldiers from the 208th Chemical, Biological, Radiological...... read more read more

    An aerial decontamination exercise including members of the 208th Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Company and the 29th Combat Aviation Brigade’s Task Force Wraith, working in conjunction with Camp Buehring emergency fire and medical services, took place on the airfield at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Oct. 24, 2017.
    The exercise, graded on timeliness and accuracy of decontaminating patients and aircraft, presented unique challenges specific to the desert environments of the Middle East. The oxygen tanks being worn under MOPP suits provide little more than an hour’s worth of air, and with the heat of the desert combined with wearing the suits, each decontamination team needed to complete their part of the mission within an hour so the next team could begin their tasks.
    Lt. Col. Scott Bush, battalion commander for the 1-147th Aviation Battalion, explained how the various components came together as a team to overcome the challenges of the exercise.
    “We were able to exercise our medical community by giving them a CBRN casualty and test our ability to decontaminate an entire aircraft,” said Bush.
    Bush explained that although washing the aircraft is part of a daily maintenance routine, it was much more difficult when in full mission-oriented protective posture suits.
    As the 208th and TFW conducted their portion of the exercise, base emergency services were also engaged in assisting with two decontaminated casualties.
    “We had to train to come up with solutions to potentially hazardous situations for us,” Bush said. “We weren’t only dealing with injuries, but handling the injuries while in chemical suits.”
    First Lt. Jason Estes, 208th CBRN executive officer and incident commander for the day’s event, explained the planning process and the situations addressed throughout the exercise.
    Although pleased with the training outcomes, Estes saw opportunities for growth.
    “Overall it was a great training event for all parties involved,” said Estes. “The most difficult situation was communications and linking up with the other companies during the planning phase while they’re completing real world missions.”
    Estes said the team began planning in August and held monthly and individual meetings leading up to the training event. The team also had the opportunity to practice their techniques during a similar pre-deployment exercise which took place in Alabama last winter using vehicles rather than a medevac helicopter.
    However, the introduction of an aircraft added a different level of complexity to this exercise.
    “This was the first time we’ve done a full decon of an aircraft,” said Bush. “We don’t have this large of a chemical company in our state to carry out this type of exercise with, so it was an incredible opportunity to work with the 208th CBRN Company while deployed.”
    The addition of the aircraft required the use of multiple teams working simultaneously. While the 208th teams were engaged decontaminating casualties and other team members, Soldiers from Task Force Wraith were busy decontaminating their aircraft.
    “The first team retrieved the patients from the bird and moved them to the decontamination line, as well as detected what kind of chemical was on the helicopter and patients,” said Estes. “The second team took samples of the substance, then took those samples to a lab to get further analysis.”
    Although gathering the chemical samples and delivering them to a laboratory for testing was a simulated task, it provided valuable training to the event.
    “We know what to do, what not to do, how to set up the decontamination site, and where to set it up,” said Estes. “We took a lot of great lessons from today’s exercise.”



    Date Taken: 10.24.2017
    Date Posted: 11.27.2017 11:00
    Story ID: 256444
    Location: KW

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