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    Nuclear Disablement Team leader retires from US Army on Aberdeen Proving Ground

    Nuclear Disablement Team leader retires from US Army on Aberdeen Proving Ground

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Angel Martinez-Navedo | Lt. Col. Ronald C. Lenker (center), the team leader for Nuclear Disablement Team 2,...... read more read more



    Story by Walter Ham 

    20th CBRNE Command

    ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – The leader of a highly trained and uniquely capable nuclear team retired after 23 years of service in the U.S. Army, April 27.

    Lt. Col. Ronald C. Lenker, the team leader for Nuclear Disablement Team 2, concluded his more than two decades in uniform at a widely attended ceremony at the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command Headquarters.

    Lenker held his retirement ceremony together with Col. Brant D. Hoskins, the former deputy commanding officer and operations officer for the 20th CBRNE Command.

    Maj. Gen. Antonio V. Munera, the commanding general for the U.S. Army Cadet Command, served as the host for Lenker’s portion of the joint retirement ceremony.

    Munera, who also served as the commanding general of 20th CBRNE Command from June 2000 to September 2022, thanked Lenker for his 23 years of service to the nation and his leadership of Nuclear Disablement Team 2.

    A native of Wiconisco, Pennsylvania, and a U.S. Army Nuclear and Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction officer (FA 52), Lenker completed his career as the team leader of one of the Army’s three Nuclear Disablement Teams, also known as NDTs.

    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. The teams 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.

    American Soldiers and U.S. Army civilians from the 20th CBRNE Command deploy from 19 bases in 16 states to confront and defeat the world’s most dangerous threats and hazards on missions overseas and at home.

    Lenker originally joined the Pennsylvania National Guard as an armor crewman and was later selected for an Army ROTC scholarship at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pennsylvania.

    “Honestly my options for paying for college were either going into debt for a good portion of my adult life or joining the Army. Initially, it was only supposed to be a four-year commitment, but between the professionalism, educational opportunities and amazing people I worked with, I decided to make it a career,” said Lenker.

    He began his active-duty Army career as an ordnance officer.

    In 2012, he switched to the FA 52 program. Lenker earned a master’s degree in nuclear engineering and logistics management at the Air Force Institute of Technology.

    “As much as I loved being a logistics officer and still do, I always wanted to get more use out of my undergraduate degree in physics,” said Lenker. “When they Army began to downsize a few years ago, it seemed like the right time to make the switch. It was the right move and has been extremely rewarding, allowing me to be on the Nuclear Disablement Teams and really develop an understanding of the United States' nuclear enterprise.”

    During his more than two decades in uniform, Lenker deployed to Iraq twice and Kuwait once. His most memorable mission happened during his first convoy in Iraq from Balad Air Base to the Victory Base Complex in Baghdad.

    “We had some excitement along the way because we had to fire our weapons and had to drive around an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) found by the engineers ahead of us – but the memorable part was at the end,” said Lenker. “We were stuck in traffic on Route Tampa. All of a sudden, I looked out the window and see a guy in a donkey cart passing everyone along the shoulder of the road.”

    During his time at NDT 2, Lenker has helped to increase interoperability with Republic of Korea Nuclear Characterization Teams during several partnership events since 2018.

    Following retirement, Lenker plans to live in northeastern Maryland and will continue to work in the CBRNE and counter Weapons of Mass Destruction field.

    Lenker said one of the keys to success in the Army is leveraging the collective talent, experience and wisdom of everyone.

    “Listen to the folks around you – officers, noncommissioned officers, Soldiers, civilians, everybody,” said Lenker. “Everyone has a unique perspective and being able to put all those perspectives together allows you to efficiently solve any problem."



    Date Taken: 05.02.2023
    Date Posted: 05.02.2023 11:44
    Story ID: 443818
    Hometown: WICONISCO, PA, US

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