Pacific Soldiers build relationships through radiological training

| April 4, 2018 | 0 Comments
Sgt. Alvarico from the Philippine Army CBRN Platoon briefs Sgt. Sainju from the 25th Infantry Division CBRN dismounted reconnaissance platoon on the background radiation readings from their equipment prior to their mission at the Regional Training Institute, Hawaii. (Photo by 1st Lt. Ryan Oatman, 65th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Sgt. Alvarico from the Philippine Army CBRN Platoon briefs Sgt. Sainju from the 25th Infantry Division CBRN dismounted reconnaissance platoon on the background radiation readings from their equipment prior to their mission at the Regional Training Institute, Hawaii. (Photo by 1st Lt. Ryan Oatman, 65th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

1st Lt. Jonathan Hansing, 1st Lt. Ryan Oatman and 1st Lt. Ashley Friesen
65th Brigade Engineer Battalion
2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team
25th Infantry Division

KANEOHE — For more than a week, Soldiers from across the Pacific labored under the Kōnāhuanui summit during the multinational Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Response Exchange at the Regional Training Institute, here.

These Soldiers brought the best the CBRN response programs the Pacific has to offer, from the expeditionary deployment of the dismounted reconnaissance platoon, to the domestic and highly technical capabilities of the National Guard Civil Support Teams, to the burgeoning CBRN units of the Philippines and Thailand.

Pfc. Kanter from the 25th Infantry Division CBRN dismounted reconnaissance platoon instructs Sgt. Alvarico from the Philippine Army CBRN Platoon on the PDR-77 Radiac set, equipment used for radiation missions, at the Regional Training Institute, Hawaii. (Photo by: 1st Lt. Ryan Oatman, 65th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Pfc. Kanter from the 25th Infantry Division CBRN dismounted reconnaissance platoon instructs Sgt. Alvarico from the Philippine Army CBRN Platoon on the PDR-77 Radiac set, equipment used for radiation missions, at the Regional Training Institute, Hawaii. (Photo by: 1st Lt. Ryan Oatman, 65th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

As part of the Asia-Pacific Regional Initiative, over 50 Soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division, the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, the Philippine Army and the Royal Thai Army joined representatives from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Air Force’s 647th Air Base Group, Hawaii’s 93rd Civil Support Team and Washington’s 10th Civil Support Team to share tactics, techniques and procedures across the Indo-Asian Pacific Region.

The event began with a capabilities brief and equipment showcase hosted by one of 25th ID’s two CBRN dismounted reconnaissance platoons. Representing a significant portion of the Division’s capacity to respond to radiological threats, the platoon trains on the technical tasks necessary to provide commanders with vital CBRN intelligence on the battlefield, and it is this unique skill set that they brought to the exchange.

The Soldiers covered the technical details of the platoon’s equipment sets, kits and outfits that allow them to detect, identify and safely respond to a variety of threats and hazards. Their block of instruction culminated with a mock scenario during which they demonstrated their technical skillset and the intricacies of their mission flow to their sister platoons from Thailand and the Philippines.

“We play the important role of bridging the gap between scientific CBRN intelligence and the tactical requirements of our commander,” said Sgt. 1st Class Mensah Ward, platoon sergeant, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th ID CBRN dismounted reconnaissance platoon. “We couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to show off both our technical and tactical capabilities to our foreign partners.”

Sgt. Sainju, initial entry team leader of the 25th Infantry Division CBRN dismounted reconnaissance platoon, teaches the Philippine Army and Royal Thai Army how he conducts his radiation detection missions at the Regional Training Institute, Hawaii, (Photo by: 1st Lt. Ryan Oatman, 65th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Sgt. Sainju, initial entry team leader of the 25th Infantry Division CBRN dismounted reconnaissance platoon, teaches the Philippine Army and Royal Thai Army how he conducts his radiation detection missions at the Regional Training Institute, Hawaii, (Photo by: 1st Lt. Ryan Oatman, 65th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the Washington 10th Civil Support Team claimed the latter half of the week as they delved into the finer points of radiologic science, detector theory and the health effects of ionizing radiation on the body. Each afternoon, the 10th Civil Support Team led the participants through detailed, hands-on training with state-of-the-art radiological detection and identification equipment. The incorporation of “hot sources,” shorthand for live radiological material that emit large doses of radiation, elevated the training to that of the Army’s premier CBRN schoolhouses and sophisticated laboratories.

The instructional classes concluded with a capstone exercise that integrated the multinational partners into distinct survey, decontamination, and command and control teams, mirroring the organization of a traditional civil support team. American Soldiers had the opportunity to work closely alongside their international counterparts, sharing ideas and techniques in order to complete the mission’s complex requirements. As the exchange drew to a close, this culminating event put to the test all they had learned about radiological threat response.

“The last exercise was exceptional; it strengthened our knowledge on how each team functions and emphasized the importance of radiation training,” said Pfc. Cheyanne Kanter of 2IBCT, 25th ID’s dismounted reconnaissance platoon. “Everyone was able to incorporate their own techniques for properly using the radiation equipment, and it prepared us for real-life situations.”

As the exchange ended, Soldiers voiced their heartfelt goodbyes to their weeklong friends from across the Pacific. Unit coins and contact information were traded back and forth as Soldiers sought tokens of remembrance for their partners from across the ocean.

“The Exchange helped me gain more knowledge, enhance my skills and, of course, be more motivated in any operation,” stated Cpl. Alexander Diaz, Philippine Army CBRN Platoon.

The Joint CBRN Response Exchange proved to be a milestone in the development of CBRN response readiness throughout the Pacific. As Soldiers and leaders return to their home countries and duty stations, they bring with them the experience and education needed to build institutional knowledge within their units. The Asia-Pacific Regional Initiative continues to develop the relationships and training to keep people safe from CBRN threats and hazards.

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Category: News, Training

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