Saturday, May 9, 2015 –
FORT MCCOY, Wis. - The 388th Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Company show no signs of complacency as they participate in yet another Mass Casualty Decontamination training event during Battle Assembly at Fort McCoy and Volk Field, Wis., May 8-10.
The 388th CBRN Company, headquartered in Junction city, Wisconsin, is in the second phase of a multi-year mission to support the Department of Homeland Security. Army North instructors continue to provide 388th Soldiers with hands on training, equipment, and experience to assist military and civil authorities in the event of a natural disaster, chemical emergency, or terrorist attack within the United States.
Maintaining readiness for this mission means constant training. Now that the 388th is full trained and equipped, they are not just on stand-by waiting to get the call. They are in the field every month training, honing skills, learning faster ways to get the job done, and growing together as a team.
Sgt. Kimberly Diedrich, 388th RECON NCO said it’s about repetition.
“When we get on scene there is no one who doesn’t know what needs to be done because we do it every month. It is second nature,” stated Diedrich.
“I’m confident in my team, I don’t have to worry. I see it every month. They are quick and smooth because we practice it so many times,” Diedrich said.
The training scenario changes every month. This month, three improvised explosive devices have hit a populated area including a federal court building and nearby railway car containing oil and unidentified chemicals. The CBRN Soldiers must respond to the incident, coordinate with local and federal officials, contain the situation, identify the chemicals or toxins, all while safely evacuating and treating the effected population.
Staff Sgt. Joi Cornelius, 388th decon NCO stated that being prepared is important, but continuing to train even after you are prepared is vital to achieving the mission.
“We need to be prepared at all times. Training creates muscle memory. When we continue to improve and stay ready, we will be effective in our jobs and save lives and feel confident and proud while doing it. Most importantly we will know that our constant and continuous training made a difference and wasn’t wasted time,” Cornelius said.
It may be just an exercise, but the 388th Soldiers know, at any moment, this could be a real world situation.
Using their skills every month is important according to 1st Sgt. Gary Boda. He said being complacent is not an option.
“With this mission, time becomes a factor, so you have to keep those skills right at the front. It’s about muscle memory,” Boda said.
“The set up goes smoother each time. The whole process gets more efficient and effective each time.” We are ready to answer the call right now, but we continue to train every month,” Boda said.
Spc. Alexandria Miranda, 388th decon Soldier, said the scenario training keeps her feeling prepared and helps her feel like part of a close team.
“Good practice keeps it fresh in your mind. If you don’t train every month you lose information,” said Miranda. “I think we are ready for any for any situation that arises, but we will keep training every opportunity we get. I just reenlisted for 4 more years in the U.S. Army Reserve, this unit feels like family,” Miranda said.
“No one wants that call to come,” Boda explained. “No one wants their loved ones to be in danger. But if the call comes, the 388th is ready, and we will stay ready. There is no room for complacency in this company or in this mission,” said Boda. “I’d trust this company with the safety of my family.”