Army Reserve Soldiers “Suit Up!” for COVID-19 response

By Capt. Lorenzo Llorente II | 7th Mission Support Command | April 8, 2020

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KAISERSLAUTERN, RP, Germany —

As the confirmed cases of COVID-19 (over 1 million people worldwide) continue to increase, U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers assigned to the 773rd Civil Support Team, 7th Mission Support Command, have taken action, in line with their motto, "Suit Up!", and developed tactics, techniques, and procedures to decontaminate high-traffic areas across the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz area of operation.

The four, two-Soldier teams from the 773rd initially performed the decontamination task at nine installations, before training others to do the same, while simultaneously releasing TTPs to the rest of the chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear community.

Leaders at USAG RP created Task Force-Prevention in March and assigned the 773rd the task of spraying EPA-approved disinfectants on high-traffic locations like main building doors, ATMs, dining facility doors, food court doors, and outside guardrails throughout Army installations in the Kaiserslautern Military Community.

“USAG RP made a prudent choice by assigning the TF-Prevention mission to the 773rd CST,” said 1st Sgt. Domenic Barbeiro, 773rd first sergeant. “The unit consists of 20 CBRN Soldiers and four Soldiers in the medical military occupation specialty.”

TF-Prevention has conducted 22 operations at nine different Army Installations since April 1st, decontaminating 221 buildings, 49 ATMs, 15 Entry Control Points, 622 door handles, 435 shopping carts, 386 gas pumps, and three playgrounds.

Leaders from the 773rd anticipated the transfer of prevention duties to others in the KMC after the initial two weeks of operations and the team also realized that other units and locations would ask for their support, so they quickly created a three-minute “how to” video.

They also created a one-page smart-sheet detailing PPE, links to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Occupational Safety and Health Administration COVID-19 webpages, CBRN decontamination doctrine, and national stock numbers to the products and equipment used to conduct the TF-Prevention mission.

“One does not have to be a CBRN Soldier to decontaminate high-traffic areas,” said Staff Sgt. Rosannie Murillo, an operations noncommissioned officer with the 773rd.” But understanding what we are spraying and why we are doing it is the message we want to relay to those who eventually adopt our TTPs”.

The 773rd shared the TTPs with leaders across the Army, to include those at the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, 76th Operational Response Command, and the 20th CBRN (and Explosives) Command since these are the organizations responsible for the Soldiers, training, and doctrine surrounding the U.S. Army CBRN enterprise.

“The goal is to ensure other CBRN experts build on the 773rd’s TTPs and show the effectiveness of these preventive measures,” said Barbeiro. “In the end, if these measures prevent at least one Soldier from contracting the virus, then TF-Prevention will have been a success.”

The Soldiers of the 773rd plan to “Suit Up” daily to help both reduce the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve while focusing on what they say is their number one priority – maintaining the readiness of America’s Army Reserve.

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