Soldiers with the 566th Area Support Medical Company received training and certification for the Defense CBRNE Reactionary Force mission from March 17-19 at Fort Hood, Texas.
The DCRF mission trained 5,500 active and reserve soldiers to assist civilian first responders during a catastrophic CBRN emergency. The force will respond with medical, aviation, communications, logistical, decontamination, and search and rescue units.
"This training is important for my soldiers because you never know when a catastrophic event may strike the United States, and it's important for my soldiers to know how to treat the civilian population and save lives," Kristy Cortner, the first sergeant for the 566th Area Support Medical Company, 61st Multifunctional Medical Battalion, 1st Medical Brigade, said.
The 44th Chemical Company participated in the training as well in an effort to stay proficient in necessary decontamination operations.
"We, as a chemical unit, would work with other units to provide mass-casualty decontamination to the civilian populace affected by the event," Staff Sgt. Frederick Hillard, a chemical operations specialist from New Orleans with the 44th Chemical Company, 2nd Chemical Battalion, 48th Chemical Brigade, said. "This type of training helps us get accustomed to working with medical units, military and civilian police, and Explosive Ordnance Disposal units."
The training exercises involved civilian role players, which added a level of realism to the training.
"If the Soldiers don't have real patients to treat, they won't be prepared for an actual occurrence with the civilian population," Cortner said. "It always helps the soldiers to know that we have to push 29 ambulatory [capable of walking] and 40 non-ambulatory [not capable of walking] patients an hour through our medical stations."
Hillard said the units complete the training every year to recertify and brush up on current procedures.