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    Nuclear Disablement Team leader concludes US Army career during ceremony on APG

    Nuclear Disablement Team leader concludes US Army career during ceremony on APG

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Angel Martinez-Navedo | Lt. Col. Michael C. Fish speaks at his retirement ceremony at the 20th Chemical,...... read more read more



    Story by Walter Ham 

    20th CBRNE Command

    ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – The outgoing leader of a highly specialized U.S. Army nuclear team was honored for nearly 23 years of service to his nation, April 14.

    Lt. Col. Michael C. Fish, the team leader for Nuclear Disablement Team 3, retired from the U.S. Army at a widely attended ceremony at the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command Headquarters on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.

    Col. Christopher P. Bartos, the deputy commanding officer for 20th CBRNE Command, was the guest speaker at the ceremony.

    As a part of the U.S. military’s premier all hazards command, Soldiers and Army civilians from the 20th CBRNE Command deploy from 19 bases in 16 states to confront and defeat the world’s most dangerous hazards on missions overseas and at home.

    Fish served as a Nuclear and Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction officer (FA 52), which are the U.S. military’s nuclear subject matter experts.

    As the NDT 3 leader, Fish also marshalled military support for post-blast nuclear forensics missions for the FBI-led domestic National Technical Nuclear Forensics Ground Collection Task Force.

    NDTs directly contribute to the nation’s strategic deterrence by staying ready to exploit and disable nuclear and radiological Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) infrastructure and components to deny near-term capability to adversaries. They also facilitate follow-on WMD elimination operations.

    Part of the 20th CBRNE Command, the U.S. Army’s Nuclear Disablement Teams – the NDT 1 “Manhattan,” NDT 2 “Iron Maiden” and NDT 3 “Vandals” — are stationed on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.

    In addition to the NDTs, the 20th CBRNE Command is home to 75 percent of the U.S. Army’s active-duty Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) specialists, as well as the 1st Area Medical Laboratory, CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity and five WMD Coordination Teams.

    Fish enlisted in the Army in 1996 as a UH-60 helicopter mechanic and served as a Blackhawk crew chief with the 228th Aviation Regiment at Joint Task Force-Bravo in Honduras.

    “I had wanted to join the Army throughout high school, but I was committed to going to college first. As it turned out, I had neither the discipline nor maturity to succeed on my own after high school,” said Fish.

    “I joined the Army as a Plan B, but it ultimately became such a fulfilling and rewarding experience that I stayed for over 20 years,” said Fish. “The Army instilled the discipline and maturity I lacked as a post high school teenager and also provided the education I sought before enlisting.”

    After attending a preparatory school, Fish earned a four-year degree in nuclear engineering from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, and he was commissioned as an Air Defense Artillery officer. Later in his Army career, he graduated from the Air Force Institute of Technology with a master’s degree in nuclear engineering and became a Nuclear and Countering WMD officer (FA 52).

    Fish said the highlight of his Army career has been serving as team chief of both Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordination Team 1 and Nuclear Disablement Team 3 at the 20th CBRNE Command.

    “Both of those positions are coded for lieutenant colonels but allow the unique opportunity to bond more closely with my teammates and influence a tactical mission that has strategic implications,” said Fish.

    An Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, Fish said Nuclear and Countering WMD officers accomplish critical missions during large-scale combat operations since nuclear weapons, and the pursuit thereof, pose a tremendous danger.

    “The FA 52 community within the Army serves to assess vulnerabilities of nuclear weapon effects against our allies on their populations, infrastructure, terrain and military,” he said. “We work with the intelligence community to help predict conditions under which a weapon may be used against American or other allied forces as well as the effects of such employment.”

    Fish said Nuclear and Countering WMD officers are specially educated or trained to understand the science that governs nuclear weapons and nuclear WMD infrastructure, allowing them to inform commanders at all levels in their decision-making process during counter WMD and large-scale combat operations.

    Fish said the key to success as an Army leader is empowering Soldiers and helping them to develop professionally and personally.

    “When people feel genuinely cared for by their leadership, they will invest themselves back into the organization that has invested in them,” said Fish.

    Fish and his family will settle in Hope Mills, North Carolina. In June, Fish plans to hike the 2,198-mile Appalachian Trail, starting from Maine. He hopes to finish by Christmas 2023.



    Date Taken: 04.19.2023
    Date Posted: 04.19.2023 14:12
    Story ID: 442917
    Hometown: EDGEWATER, FL, US
    Hometown: HOPE MILLS, NC, US

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