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    Chemical Corps unit supports Air Defense Artillery brigade at Exercise Roving Sands

    Chemical Corps unit supports Air Defense Artillery brigade at Exercise Roving Sands

    Courtesy Photo | The 10th Chemical Company (Hazardous Response) supported the 11th Air Defense...... read more read more



    Story by Walter Ham 

    20th CBRNE Command

    FORT BLISS, Texas – U.S. Army Chemical Corps Soldiers supported Air Defense Artillery operations during Exercise Roving Sands here on Fort Bliss, Texas, May 18 - 24.

    The Fort Carson, Colorado-based 10th Chemical Company (Hazardous Response) trained with the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade during the exercise, the latest iteration of the U.S. Army’s Global Defender series.

    Global Defender is a series of experiments and exercises that is designed to ensure the Army is ready for multi-domain operations against a near peer adversary.

    The chemical unit helped to enable lethality and safeguard ADA forces during an all hazards fight on the modern battlefield.

    The 10th Chemical Company “Enforcers” are part of the 22nd Chemical Battalion, 48th Chemical Brigade and 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRN) Command, U.S. Department of Defense’s premier all hazards command.

    Headquartered on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the 20th CBRNE Command is home to 75 percent of the Active Duty Army’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) specialists and Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians, as well as the 1st Area Medical Laboratory, CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity, five Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordination Teams and three Nuclear Disablement Teams.

    According to 1st Lt. Keenan W. Grove, the 2nd Platoon leader in the 10th Chemical Company, his platoon trained to protect the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade during large-scale combat operations by providing CBRN reconnaissance, decontamination and early warning.

    “If one of the ADA units is contaminated, my platoon will conduct dismounted reconnaissance to locate and determine the chemical agent that was used or will decontaminate the unit to get them back into the fight,” said Grove. “We are here to protect the ADA's combat power.”

    The 2nd Platoon prepared for the exercise during a five-week training period where the CBRN Soldiers refined and practiced reconnaissance and decontamination techniques.

    Grove said the platoon also trained to conduct dismounted CBRN reconnaissance, operational decontamination and thorough decontamination during the exercise.

    “Training on these tasks now will prepare the platoon for large-scale combat operations in the future by giving us the chance to practice the tactics and techniques we would use in a deployed environment,” said Keenan, a native of Durham, New Hampshire. “Supporting a unit which could come under a CBRN attack due to the importance of the weapons systems makes the training scenarios more realistic and better prepares the platoon for a real-life situation.”

    The 10th Chemical Company enlisted leader, 1st Sgt. Walter S. Veazey Jr., said Exercise Roving Sands and other large training events like Combat Training Center rotations keep his Soldiers ready to conduct their mission-enabling and life-saving mission to support of maneuver forces.

    A native of Houston, Veazey said basic Soldier skills were also honed during the exercise.

    “We must be comfortable as liaisons advising on the use of our formations as well as leaders making decisions on the ground,” said Veazey, a 22-year Army veteran who has deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and United Arab Emirates. “These training events are also a stern reminder to our junior leaders and Soldiers that sustainment does not equal comfort and that basic Soldier skills are what get you to, through and back from your objective.”

    Command Sgt. Maj. Albert Fletcher III from 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade said having a chemical unit at the exercise enabled his brigade to train like it would fight.

    “I think that's going to pay big dividends to the units when we go back,” said Fletcher. “There's a noted threat in the job that we do – so it's very important that our formation really understands the dynamics behind doing it the right way, so we really appreciate that."

    Providing joint and combined air and missile defense, the Fort Bliss, Texas-based 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade is the largest and most deployed air defense unit in the world.

    The “Imperial Brigade” includes a headquarters battery, four Patriot missile units and three Terminal High Altitude Area Defense units.

    Col. Timothy L. Woodruff, the commander of the 11th ADA Brigade, said his brigade must be prepared to operate in an all hazards environment during large-scale combat operations.

    "It's widely known that the threat that we're designed to counter, the ballistic missile threat, has an incredible amount of chemical weapon capability, so we know we're going to face it,” said Woodruff, adding that 10th Chemical Company demonstrated how to conduct successful decontamination operations.

    “We've also been able to further their (the 10th Chemical Company) understanding of how we operate as an air and missile defense force and then how crucial their role is in supporting us,” said Woodruff. “I think both parties really got a lot out of this exercise. And little things, like having them able to help us with perimeter defense and site security. No unit is ever going to be manned to the level they want to be, so it's great to have all hands on deck.”

    Woodruff said the 10th Chemical Company "Enforcers" provided thorough decontamination for his Soldiers and equipment and got them back into the fight within hours of a simulated chemical attack.

    "We were provided with pre-established decontamination points for all phases throughout the exercise," said Woodruff. "Within minutes of attack, we received clean and dirty route locations for our batteries to arrive safely and not spread contamination in the battlefield."

    According to Woodruff, the exercise was successful because of clear and effective communication between his brigade and the 10th Chemical Company, 22nd Chemical Battalion and 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.

    A 26-year Army veteran, Woodruff has deployed to Bosnia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. He has also served two tours in Germany, including an assignment to NATO.

    Woodruff said the highlight of Exercise Roving Sands was demonstrating that his brigade headquarters is agile and flexible enough to be task organized to a corps headquarters and to ensure the defense of the corps commander’s critical assets.

    "Our training objectives for Roving Sands 2022 were specifically crafted last summer to focus on force operations and our ability to shoot, move and communicate in support of large-scale combat operations. This exercise enabled us to demonstrate that we can move tactically over large distances in support of a large maneuver formation, in this case, a corps, and quickly re-establish communications and our ability execute engagement operations," said Woodruff.

    "Air Defense Artillery is absolutely critical in protecting the force from setting the theater for large-scale combat operations to defending both theater and corps-level critical assets," said Woodruff. "In modern warfare, Air Defense Artillery will play an increasingly important role as adversaries turn to more long-range indirect fire capabilities to achieve their objectives."



    Date Taken: 05.26.2022
    Date Posted: 05.26.2022 11:48
    Story ID: 421608
    Location: FORT BLISS, TX, US 
    Hometown: DURHAM, NH, US
    Hometown: HOUSTON, TX, US

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