KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany –
Soldiers from the 773rd Civil Support Team, 361st Civil Affairs Brigade, assisted the Defense Threat Reduction Agency Europe in a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear defense training exercise March 6-9 in Lakenheath, United Kingdom.
The 773rd CST provided subject-matter-experts to instruct the 48th Civil Engineer Squadron, 48th Mission Support Group, on sensitive information gathering in both illegal chemical and biological laboratories as well as conducting operations in both friendly and hostile environments.
DTRA Europe's CBRN Preparedness and Response Office Europe’s goal in coordinating this exercise is to build U.S. Air Force Emergency Management’s capacity to respond to illegal laboratories.
“It’s extremely important to train as we fight in an always changing operational environment,” said Staff Sgt. Brandon Shissler, the non-commissioned officer in charge at the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction at DTRA Europe’s CPRO Europe. “You are probably going to work with your joint partners and other services, so I think that it’s extremely important that we share tactics, techniques and procedures with each other."
The exercise comprised of two days of classroom training and one day of field training. The first two days focused on learning chemical compounds and the laboratory set up. During the field training exercise, Airmen gathered and analyzed information from four different laboratories.
Instructors from the 773rd CST included Sgt. 1st Class Yuolanda Carey, the reconnaissance non-commissioned officer, and Staff Sgt. Patrick McNeely and Sgt. Jarrod Maurice Davis, both survey team chiefs.
McNeely says the training is a vital part keeping the military in Europe proficient.
“I enjoyed it,” Davis said. “I definitely got a different view of the Air Force. They had some great Airmen in the unit; they were learning, they were asking questions and they enjoyed the training.”
The training included 17 Airmen from units in Aviano, Lakenheath, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, Ramstein Air Force Base and Beale Air Force Base.
Shissler is looking forward to future joint exercises not only in Lakenheath, but also in the Kaiserslautern military community in Germany.
“[The exercises are] really starting to take hold and we should be planning more events in the very near future.”
773rd CST directly reports to 361st Civil Affairs Brigade, located in Kaiserslautern, Germany. 361st CA Brigade is the U.S. Army Reserve’s only forward deployed civil affairs unit in Europe providing civil affairs support to U.S. Army Europe.