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    172nd CBRN Company Conducts Certification Exercise

    172nd CBRN Company Conducts Certification Exercise

    Photo By Sgt. Walter Carroll | Spc. Jerome Manlimos, a chemical, biological, nuclear, radiological (CBRN) specialist...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Walter Carroll 

    1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade

    The 172nd Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) Company, Fort Hood, Texas, attached to the 1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade at Fort Riley, Kansas, conducted a certification exercise (CERTEX) May 10 – 15 throughout several training areas at Fort Riley, Kansas. The CERTEX provided essential training to prepare the company for assumption of their initial reaction force (IRF) mission set.
    During the training, the Soldiers conducted mounted reconnaissance and surveillance, dismounted reconnaissance and surveillance with sensitive site assessment, which allows the Soldiers to search and scan for potential CBRN hazards, as well as decontamination drills.
    Staff Sgt. Christopher Turner, team leader, 172nd CBRN Company, described some of the stages his team follows when conducting a mounted reconnaissance mission.
    “Mounted recon, we’re the first ones in,” Turner said. “We need to make sure that the route is clean and the area where [the decontamination team] is going to setup is clean.
    “Our main mission is to go in and either confirmed or deny contamination,” Turner said. “Four trucks will go out, and we perform locate and survey techniques.
    Turner also described what the recon does prior to getting to their objective.
    “About 1,000 meters out, before we hit the objective we will button up,” Turner said. “Button up meaning we will get out and take control samples to give us a background so when we turn in the samples we can find out the type of contamination. Once we get back inside the vehicle we close the hatches and turn on over-pressure and the over-pressure will give us clean air.”
    “I feel like this field exercise was good for the Soldiers because even though [there were issues] it came down to the constant repetition of training and helped us to not mess up on any of the little things.
    Spc. Jason Peck, a driver and assistant team leader with the 172nd CBRN Company reflected on his experience while driving a IAV Stryker and working with his vehicle commander and fellow team members.
    “I was working with him to decide what the best option was because our field-of-view inside the [IAV] Stryker is limited,” Peck said. “The vehicle commander can only see through the remote weapon system and I can only see about 40 percent of the field-of-view of what’s in front of me. So we had to work together and decide the type of techniques were we going to use to survey the different areas.”
    Even though he had to overcome the challenge of a limited field-of-view he still learned ways to communicate with his team.
    “My perspective of it [the CERTEX] was getting a better understanding of how that [communication] relationship works between myself and the other members of the truck,” Peck said. “And trying to find better ways to communicate with both the external and our higher command and with everyone inside the truck.”
    During the process of thorough decontamination there are certain steps that have to be followed. One of which, the opening of the IAV Stryker for inside decontamination, caused somewhat reserved feelings for Peck.
    “The main thing is, I guess, it’s kind of a scary moment if you think about it because you’re fully encapsulated inside of your truck and you don’t have to worry about any outside contamination because you know that your seals are good and you know that you have clean air,” Peck said. “You have to have trust in your battle buddies from other platoons that they’re doing their job to the standard that they need to because once you open that hatch, you don’t know what’s out there.
    Spc. Allen Rodriguez, a radio & telephonic operator, 172nd CBRN Company, had, what some may consider, a unique role during the CERTEX.
    “My main responsibility was essentially learning every tasks and being able to replace anyone,” Rodriguez said.
    While participating in the CERTEX Rodriguez also played a role in the decontamination process.
    “The main objective of detailed thorough decontamination is enabling our Soldiers to be able to continue to fight,” Rodriguez said. “I took the seriousness of it all because in the situation where you can’t wait for another element to replace you, it’s basically depending on you to enable them to go back into the field. If they were exposed to contamination, it could potentially mean their lives or the lives of their battle buddies.
    Spc. Sammy Caban Jr., a CBRN specialist with the 172nd CBRN Company described his role during the field exercise.
    “I had to maintain the timeline and make sure the trucks were washed and use the [decontaminating] application,” Caban said. “They [the trucks and drivers] sit there for 30 minutes to let the application run its course. I also have the driver use the M100s [a decon product] to clean out the interior of the vehicle.”
    Caban also described the process of a thorough vehicle decontamination.
    “The trucks come in one-by-one and they are washed from front to back and up to down in a thorough manner,” Caban said. “Since it is thorough decon it’s meant to take time. We make sure we don’t rush it in order to get every spot of the vehicle including under the vehicle.”
    “During the second stage they [the Soldiers] use mops to apply the application,” Caban said. “It’s the same up to down and front to back process.”
    According to Caban, after the Soldiers leave his stage, which was the use of the M100s they go to stage four, which is a second rinse of the vehicle and finally stage five where the vehicle is monitored for any possibly missed contaminants.
    While conducting their sensitive site assessment, two four-person teams worked to clear a building and acquire test samples of potential chemical threats.
    Spc. Jerome Manlimos, a chemical, biological, nuclear, radiological specialist, with the 172nd CBRN Company shared some of the things that happened during the sensitive site assessment.
    “At first we arrived on site and the [decontamination team] set up [their equipment] to make sure we have someone to decontaminate us after we conduct the mission,” Manlimos said. “Then the initial entry goes on and identifies the sides of the building [they have to clear].
    Upon entering the building Manlimos’ team found a staged room designed to represent a lab.
    “There was a foreign flag, and there was a whiteboard that had a process of what they were doing,” Manlimos said. “There was also the lab table that had vinegar, a white powdery substance, and coffee filters that they use to filter the powder.”
    Additionally, although not a prop, the remains of a bird that died prior to the training were in the training building. This allowed the Soldiers to think about what a dead animal may represent during potential exposure to CBRN hazards.
    “It’s a sign that there’s a chemical strong enough to kill an animal or vegetation,” Manlimos said.
    The Soldiers also found a mannequin that represented the human remains of an individual who was potentially exposed to a CBRN agent. Manlimos reflected on what his team would most likely do in that type of situation had it been real.
    “We’d definitely call it up, and probably call in an infantry unit to fully clear the building because even though it’s said to be clear, it’s never 100% clear,” Manlimos said.
    Spc. Roy Chapman, a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear specialists, with 172nd CBRN Company reflected in further detail about what he encountered during the sensitive site assessment.
    “We discovered enemy intelligence and a laboratory that was producing ricin,” Chapman said. “It had vinegar, as well as castor beans, and white powder.
    According to Chapman, ricin is a biological agent that will poison you within minutes.
    Chapman also reflected on an unexpected part of the training after his team conducted their initial mission.
    “We received contact from the 1 o’clock,” Chapman said. “We heard seven pops, I ran to grab my weapon and I went to assault on the objective. One of our guys grabbed the M240 and started laying suppressive fire.”
    After the surprise contact from opposing forces, the Soldiers were notified by their leadership that they stopped the enemy and that the training exercise had concluded.



    Date Taken: 06.18.2020
    Date Posted: 06.26.2020 15:41
    Story ID: 372401
    Location: FORT RILEY, KS, US 

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