Army trains for chemical, biological attacks

Members of the 83rd Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Battalion of the United States Army took part in a five day training session from February 11 to February 15 in and around Forward Operating Base Patriot inside Fort Bragg.

The event involved around 477 soldiers, pooling resources from multiple CBRN companies stationed at the fort, according to The teams spent months preparing for the training exercise, which simulated a unit that was the subject of a chemical attack, as well as supporting and decontaminating the area affected.

"Hazardous Response Platoon's primary purpose is to do sensitive site assessment...go into a location where there may be a development of biological weapons or hazardous materials, things of that nature,” Capt. Kelly Miseles said, according to “They have a greater defense capability and greater technological capabilities in evaluating whether the area needs to be exploited at a more detailed level. It's a very complex training exercise. We're integrating EOD support. We've got subject matter experts in the hazardous response field who are supervising that training - giving us feedback on how to improve what we're doing. We've really reached out and grabbed other organizations to help us in this training exercise,"

While most chemical response platoons use stand-off capabilities, allowing them to test an area for contaminants from safe distances, they must also use internal site assessment as well. This can involve dismounting a vehicle in full protective gear and entering a “hot” building.

"We're doing missions similar to what we always do, so the training events themselves are the same, but it's different terrain so they actually have to think about the routes and the locations,” Captain Peter Zapolla, company commander of the 51st CBRN Co., said, reports. “It forces you to do real-world land navigation and terrain association."

The teams engage in these training missions frequently so that they can respond like it is second nature, which means constant tactical training in chemical and nuclear reconnaissance and decontamination.