The Maine Army National Guard said on Jan. 14 that the 262nd Engineer Company is receiving chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense training as part of a larger preparation program before deploying to Afghanistan later this year.
The 262nd mostly consists of heavy equipment operators, who will tear down buildings and build earth-filled barriers in an effort to remove some of the mark of U.S. troops who have been fighting in Afghanistan for more than a decade. The company is training with members of the 11th Weapons Mass Destruction - Civil Support Team to cover CBRN training.
The company's main goal is to close down current bases and forward observation posts throughout the country.
Spc. Aric Ramirez, an engineer from Portland, said training is uncomfortable, but necessary.
"We are conducting CBRN training, the decontamination procedures, assembly and disassembly of our gas masks and our j-list suits, and preparation in case of a CBRN attack," Ramirez said. "The masks are uncomfortable and the suits hot and miserable, but if they do their job, I can deal with it."
Staff Sgt. Keith Lilly, a reconnaissance sergeant, said the civil support team specializes in HAZMAT and potential WMD threats.
"We are trying to teach them the different CBRN tasks they may need to know," said Lilly. "Decontaminating of the individual and his equipment using the decontamination kits, reacting to chemical and biological hazards, marking CBRN contaminated areas, checking yourself for CBRN contamination, use and care of individual protective masks, how to detect chemical presence, and the use of the J-LIST suit, are all tasks we cover."