News: Conference brings Pacific Northwest CBRN units together
Story by Sgt. Mark Miranda
Sgt. Mark Miranda, 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – The 23rd Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Battalion hosted the Pacific Northwest CBRN Conference, Sept. 29 at Carey Theater, for all Pacific Northwest chemical-branch soldiers. The theme this year was “Celebrating Our CBRN Profession of Arms.”
The intent behind the conference was to reach out and bring together all chemical soldiers, who are embedded in units on JBLM, to gather and celebrate the CBRN Profession of Arms.
The conference provided professional development briefs and capability displays of the CBRN assets used by CBRN Battalions on JBLM and around the Pacific Northwest.
“We welcomed everyone from JBLM to join us to learn how our Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear assets can help complement their fighting forces and become a stronger fighting unit in war,” said Lt. Col. Sean Kirschner, commander of 23rd CBRN Bn.
The 23rd CBRN battalion partnered with the 110th Chemical battalion, 3rd Bn.104th Regt. (Army Reserve), 476th Chem. Bn. (Army Reserve), and the 420th Chem. Bn. (National Guard) to set up the CBRN events.
Units demonstrated the latest gear available for chemical soldiers including a Personnel Decontamination tent and a Stryker configured for CBRN missions at Carey Theater.
“We’re stoked about the new equipment we’ve gotten. For our rescue team, we need to have full capabilities so having it becomes especially important,” said Sgt. Markice Lewis, a CBRN soldier, part of a rescue and recovery team with 62nd CBRN Company.
Another relatively new piece of equipment was an M-26 Joint Service Transportable Decontamination System, set up to demonstrate use on vehicles. The M-26 functions much like a power washer designed to reach the nooks and crannies of the Army’s new, more complex vehicles, and decontaminate them quickly and efficiency.
“We’ve got Mission Oriented Protective Posture suits ready to go for demonstrations,” said Pfc. Ebony Kunkle, a CBRN soldier assigned to a decontamination platoon, and part of a Hazardous Response Team selected to demonstrate the M-26 JSTDS.
“Preparation for this was a lot of retraining on equipment we haven’t touched in a while in addition to the new equipment training,” Kunkle said.
The keynote speaker was Lt. Col. Brant Hoskins, chief of staff at the U.S. CBRN School. Hoskins discussed the operating environment for CBRN soldiers beyond Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn. He discussed new doctrine and the proposed future force organization of CBRN units, as well as new equipment to include a joint service protective mask that will be fielded by 2013.
Representatives from Human Resource Command were on hand to discuss topics relating to the branch. HRC Chemical Branch representatives for both enlisted and officers briefed soldiers and conducted interviews for those interested in becoming Warrant Officers.
The conference was followed by the Pacific Northwest Green Dragon Ball Sept. 30 at the Landmark Convention Center’s Temple Theater Ballroom. The keynote speaker was the 20th Support Command, Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Leslie Smith. Other guests who attended the 2011 Green Dragon Ball included the Commandant of the U.S Army CBRN School, Col. Vance Visser, the Regimental Command Sgt. Maj. Ted Lopez and the 48th Chemical Brigade Commander, Col. Maria Zumwalt. The CBRN Conference and Green Dragon Ball are scheduled to become an annual event.