10th Mountain troops test CBRN skills with New York National Guard experts

COLONIE FIRE TRAINING CENTER, Latham, NY – Ten Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Divisions Dismounted Chemical Reconnaissance Team refined their skills alongside 16 Airmen and Soldiers from the New York National Guard’s 2nd Civil Support Team during an exercise held in the Albany, New York suburb of Colonie from Nov. 14 to 16.

The event, held at the Colonie Fire Training Center, presented the Active Army Soldiers with the challenges involving a real world chemical, biological, radioactive, or nuclear (CBRN) situation.

The climax of the training involved locating and sampling a stockpile of materials in the basement of a house located at the training center, typically used by local firefighters to hone their skills.

The Dismounted Chemical Reconnaissance Team, based in Fort Drum, is tasked with reconnaissance and surveillance to determine the presence and extent of CBRN contamination using the techniques of search, survey, surveillance, and sampling.

Members of the 2nd Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team, or CST for short, were present to offer guidance and support as the 10th Mountain soldiers donned protective gear, and picked up testing devices, and sample gathering kits to locate and identify the materials in the house.

According to Lt. Col. John Giroux, the commander of the 2nd CST, the importance of this type of event cannot be overstated.

“Exercises like this are crucial for many reasons. It allows us to identify and fill training shortfalls, expands technical skills, and builds cohesion between us at the state level and our contemporaries at the federal level, such as the soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division,” Giroux said.

During the exercise, soldiers made use of protective suits, oxygen masks with tanks, sensors for detecting a wide range of hazardous materials, and sample kits. They also practiced maintaining constant contact over the radio with a command post that was set up nearby.

The soldiers began by circling the exterior of the house, looking for spikes on their detection equipment, and eventually entering the house to pinpoint the origin of the hazardous materials.

In this case, it was a makeshift laboratory that was set up by 2nd CST personnel in the basement of the house. The goal was to simulate a real world situation where someone could be making a weapon of mass destruction in their home.

Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Wallace, the platoon sergeant for the reconnaissance team, said training like this is vital to prepare for a real world event.

“This type of situation might be uncommon, but a lack of training when responding to one could have catastrophic consequences,” Wallace said.

“Therefore, the training must be strenuous, realistic, and objectively critiqued.”

1st Lieutenant Rosa Dominguez, the platoon leader for the Reconnaissance Team, said she and her Soldiers appreciated the help and mentoring of the Guardsmen.

“It was a real pleasure to work alongside the CST members and to absorb some of their expertise,” Dominguez said.

“This week we built a lot of comradery with them, and working relationships that will benefit both of our units for years to come,” she added.

After completing their mission inside the house, the Soldiers went through a decontamination process.

This included washing their overboots, rinsing the exterior of their protective suit, cutting the suit off and carefully removing it, and then safely removing the oxygen mask and tank.

The Soldiers spent about two hours inside of the protective equipment and breathing through a respirator.

At the same time, they were communicating over a radio, taking photos, manipulating tiny devices for testing samples, and safely moving around a dilapidated house.

The 2nd Civil Support Team is comprised of Army and Air Guardsmen trained to identify hazardous materials from either a terrorist attack or a disaster or criminal activity and inform local first responders.

They are tasked with identifying the agents and substances, assessing the current and possible consequences, advising other agencies on response measures, and assisting with requests for additional support.

New York has two teams, the 2nd CST located at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia, New York, and the 24th CST based at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn.

Senior Airmen Karlie Foster, an air guardsman and Hazmat Technician with the 2nd CST, and cadre member for the event, said she enjoyed the opportunity to work with members of the active duty military.

“It’s great to compare their perspective, which is a unit who will deploy internationally, with ours, which is domestic, and bridge that gap,” said Foster.

Date Taken: 11.20.2023
Date Posted: 11.20.2023 11:23
Story ID: 458205
Location: COLONIE, NY, US 

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