Illinois National Guard chemical unit trains in Poland

A team of Illinois National Guardsmen trained with soldiers from Poland in response to a simulated chemical attack on May 19 at the Prairie Warsaw Crisis Management Exercise in Warsaw, Poland.

The Illinois Army National Guard and the Polish force have trained together since 1993 as part of the State Partnership Program. Poland and Illinois have conducted exercises in both locations for the past 18 years.

Troops from the Illinois National Guard and Poland have deployed together in both Afghanistan and Iraq. The Illinois National Guard deploys soldiers with a Police Land Force Brigade on each Polish rotation into theater in Afghanistan.

The exercise included the application via a spraying apparatus of a simulated decontaminating solution to members acting as decontamination victims. Sgt. Matthew M. Krieger of Granite City, Ill., a chemical operations specialist with the 445th Chemical Co. played one of the casualties during the exercise. Sgt. Mike Skalisius of Troy, Ill., a chemical operations specialist with the 13th Chemical Co. played a casualty and was wrapped in a thermal blanket during the exercise.  

Capt. Lukasz Krzowski, an officer with Poland’s Epidemiological Response Center of the Armed Forces with Polish Land Forces, explained to soldiers in the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high-yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package, 44th Chemical Battalion out of Macomb, Ill., how to use the protective equipment that the Polish Army employs in case of an attack.