Paratroopers from Companies A and C, 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, conducted training operations using push-pull tactics at Range 68 on Fort Bragg, March 6. They carefully cleared every building on the site, to secure the area for members of the 609th Chemical Response Team, 20th Support Command from Fort Hood, Texas, and the 101st Chemical Company, 48th Brigade to conduct reconnaissance for a possible chemical threat. This training is part of the joint operational access exercise “Falcon Thrust” 13-02.
This training event is meant to prepare the units of the 82nd Abn. Div. along with partners and enablers, to respond as part of the global response force, or GRF.
The elements of the GRF are committed to maintaining the ability to deploy on short notice anywhere in the world by land, air or sea to perform a variety of mission sets.
“This type of training is good for the Soldiers, said Command Sgt. Maj. Mason L. Bryant, command sergeant major, 2nd Bn., 325th AIR, 2nd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div. Normally the infantry and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear specialists wouldn’t work together and I think they can learn from each other and be better prepared for our mission.”
The purpose of this training was for different elements to join together to better prepare them for their role in the GRF mission.
Teams from Companies A and C of the 2nd Bn., 325th AIR, clad in chemical protective gear, were to clear and secure the village at Range 68 while being engaged by the enemy, before explosive ordnance disposal and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear specialists, arrive on the scene to check for any chemical or explosive materials. As they cleared buildings, they checked for enemy combatants and rescued any civilians in the area.
Squads from 2nd Bn., 325th AIR, bounded forward through the tree line to the man-made village at Range 68. Soon after their arrival, they were met by small arms fire and smoke from members of the opposing force. The infantrymen stayed low to the ground using the wreckage scattered throughout the site as concealment as they moved about the area. The Soldiers moved slowly through the buildings making sure to clear every room. Once cleared, the building was marked with orange paper and signs notifying civilians of the chemical contamination and urging them to leave the area.
In one building, they captured and questioned three enemy prisoners of war. The infantrymen continued clearing the village moving in teams across the range. Three military humvees with gunners were staged along the west side of the site for added protection as the team pushed forward deeper into the area.
After the infantrymen secured the area, members of the 609th Chemical Response Team, deployed the Talon, a robotic explosive ordnance detector. It allows the Soldiers to conduct a reconnaissance of an area for explosive devices or materials without being physically present.
“It takes the human aspect out of the equation,” said Spc. Ryan W. Renslow, an explosive ordnance specialist.
Renslow used the operating control unit to maneuver the Talon as it moved along the street and into the building suspected of containing chemical and explosive materials.
The Talon was not able to move throughout the entire building so two EOD members were sent in to inspect the building for possible high explosive materials.
A two-man team went forward to inspect the area. Soon after entering the building, they found and safely removed a projectile explosive device.
Also, in this dark room was a table with all the materials needed to create improvised explosives devices.
The team collected samples of the toxic industrial chemicals then bagged and tagged each item found in the building.
Once completed, they moved to the hasty decontamination lane. This lane is setup to ensure that personnel moving in and out of the possible contaminated area are checked for chemical contamination before coming in contact with fellow Soldiers.
Once all chemical and explosive threats were identified and the buildings were cleared, the training event was completed.
“This was my first experience working with an infantry unit,” said Pfc. Shannon R. Meyer. “It was fun seeing how they work, they can learn from us and we can learn from them.”