BAUMHOLDER, Germany –
U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 773rd Civil Support Team, 7th Mission Support Command, supported a four-man U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal team during a small exercise designed to evaluate the EOD team’s response to a potential chemical hazard on U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder in early October.
Coordinated by the U.S. European Command Technical Support Group under the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the evaluation exercise scenario revolved around a mock dorm room where a makeshift laboratory was found containing unidentified chemical substances.
Once the EOD team hit the scene and identified the threat, they reached out to 773rd, who specializes in collecting and identifying chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or CBRN, hazards.
“We check for explosive threats but because we’re a smaller tactical element, we then want to turn it over to somebody with more personnel and equipment because we can only do so much,” said Navy Lt. Alex Blair, EOD team commander. “So we’re trying to build that relationship with other units capable of working in a CBRN environment.”
Once Blair’s team reached out to the 773rd, Reserve Soldiers from the only CST in Europe donned their protective equipment and collected readings and samples from the substances found around the dorm room.
“We collected what was there and sent back information,” said Staff Sgt. Erick Olea, a survey team chief with the 773rd. “It went well as we did what we were supposed to do and identified the hazard.”
Although small in size and scale, the exercise helped two units from separate services and components work together to perfect their crafts in the arena of countering and deterring weapons of mass destruction and improvised threat networks.
“We’re here exploring the different capabilities under EUCOM,” said Blair. “Seeing who we can work with in the CBRN realm, and just sharing capabilities and identifying different gaps and limitations we might have.”
“We can train with anybody,” said Olea. “We just appreciate and want to continue to have these opportunities to train with other services and units.”