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    Deployment Readiness Exercise trains and prepares specialized team

    Marking the center of balance

    Courtesy Photo | Capt. Mark Fox, NDT 1’s Unit Movement Officer, marks the center of balance on a...... read more read more



    Story by Clemens Gaines 

    20th CBRNE Command

    ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - The 20th CBRNE Command’s Nuclear Disablement Team 1 successfully completed its deployment readiness exercise Nov. 5-7 to serve as the National Technical Nuclear Forensics Ground Collection Task Force.

    “The purpose of this deployment readiness exercise is to expose NDT Soldiers to a no-notice pre-deployment situation, in which the members of the group have to quickly build up a team and start working together to efficiently prepare the movement of military vehicles and technical equipment to a designated location to conduct the mission,” said Lt. Col. Adalberto Rodriquezolivera, team chief.

    The Commander’s Intent in the DRE is that Soldiers are able to perform the necessary steps for a successful deployment. All eleven NDT 1 Soldiers must be able to perform every step to maintain redundant capabilities within the team and protect against a critical point of failure in the deployment operations.

    “This is the harsh reality of deployment readiness,” said Rodriquezolivera. “You can prepare for 16 weeks with a perfect maintenance program and intense training, but if you screw up the final step of your notification movement, you will not arrive on time. This kind of exercise will allow the NDT to practice and sustain deployment readiness tasks to be able to deploy with organic personnel and equipment anywhere in the United States on a short notice. The realism of the movement from Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, ensures that the execution is ready and fully supportable to a high level of readiness in response to a rapid deployment.”

    Preparations for the tactical convoy included break-down/roll-over rehearsals, planned convoy speeds, coordination with both the Maryland and Delaware Departments of Transportation, as well as state police notification, communication rehearsals, and medical considerations.

    Using portable scales and with assistance from the command’s logistics specialists, NDT-1 demonstrated proficiency to weigh each vehicle, including several trailers, in order to send that data to the 436th Airlift Wing at Dover AFB for initial planning. Upon arrival, load masters verified the data, including the center of balance for each vehicle, a vital point in creating the loading plan.

    U.S. Transportation Command determines which kind of transport aircraft (either the C-5 Galaxy or C-17 Globemaster) the team will use.

    The movement process is not as simple as taking a drive over the flatlands of the eastern shore of Maryland and Delaware. The team carefully mapped the route and identified the procedures for vehicle breakdown during the transport phase. Drivers ensured vehicle spacing at 100 feet with a speed limit 5 MPH under the posted speed limit. The posted speed limit served as the catch-up speed if a vehicle fell behind.

    Mobile communications were another factor. The convoy commander called the command’s Combined Operations Information Center upon departure from APG, along the route, and at arrival at Dover AFB, reversing the process on the return leg.

    At Dover, NDT 1 also participated in flight line training to familiarize the team with different techniques and standards that may be unique to each air base.

    “This realistic training event gave NDT members the opportunity to put their knowledge to use, helping better retain critical tasks by ‘doing’ instead of watching, and resolving deficiencies utilizing guidance from Air Force personnel," said Rodriquezolivera. "As not everyone learns in the same way, offering hands-on training events in an actual aerial port of embarkation benefits all types of learners with the opportunity for instant feedback, instruction, and critique.”

    The exercise is one part of the team’s essential training to assume the mission as the Ground Collection Task Force. Each of the three nuclear disablement teams in the 20th CBRNE Command serves in the on-call status for six-month time periods. For NDT 1, they become the GCTF on Dec. 1. They will be on a two-hour recall.

    Their mission is both highly technical, high profile and significant. In the event of a nuclear detonation on American soil, a multi-agency task force, led by the FBI with technical representatives from the Department of Energy and the Air Force Technical Applications Center, assembles at a central location. The 20th’s contribution to the team is the ground collection task force.

    In addition to the logistics of moving Soldiers and equipment to Dover AFB, the NDT uses a computer-generated plume model to identify the downwind area from a blast that could contain radioactive debris. This model is the initial ground collection task force estimate on where the team will travel to collect debris samples for analysis by FBI and DOE laboratories.

    To highlight safety, NDT-1 completed and documented a risk assessment for all Soldiers and vehicles.

    In reviewing the DRE, Rodriquezolivera noted that “NDT 1 demonstrated that, upon NTNF notification, NDT 1 could rapidly deploy. This exercise was the final validation requirement for NDT 1 to assume the Prepare to Deploy Order for the NTNF Mission. NDT 1 successfully convoyed to Dover AFB, passed both the Air Force Joint Inspection and 20th CBRNE Command DRE checklist, and planned/issued a Warning Order for the ground collection mission. We are ready to assume the GCTF mission on Dec. 1.”



    Date Taken: 11.20.2019
    Date Posted: 11.20.2019 16:16
    Story ID: 352620

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