By Brig. Gen. Andy Munera
Special to GUIDON
I am proud to serve all Dragon Soldiers as the 30th Chief of Chemical and Commandant of the U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School on the 100th Anniversary of the U.S. Army Chemical Corps.
I would like to take this opportunity to highlight key activities taking place at Fort Leonard Wood as we celebrate this milestone.
The theme for our Best CBRN Warrior Competition and Regimental Week is “The Chemical Corps at 100 Years: Honoring the Past — Preparing for the Future.”
The Best CBRN Warrior Competition is taking place now through Saturday. This is a rigorous and challenging competition where we are testing the physical endurance of the competitors in addition to their technical CBRN skillset. Numerous physical events are also being conducted back to back throughout this competition and include: APFT, rifle qualification, hand grenade assault course, combatives, land navigation, weapons breakdown/reassembly and multiple ruck marches with gear to most locations. Technical CBRN events that leverage our unique training facilities include: a Hazardous Materials event, react to CBRN attack and decontaminate self, mark the contaminated area and submit a CBRN 4 report, treat a nerve agent casualty, Mission Oriented Protective Posture gear exchange, and react to a CBRN unexploded ordnance.
Adding to the difficulty of these events is the June Missouri heat and the various levels of MOPP each competitor is required to wear. The competition concludes at approximately 11:45 a.m. Saturday with a physical endurance obstacle course and a sprint to the finish line, where the winners (and all remaining competitors) will be welcomed by a crowd and congratulated at Gammon Field.
On June 28, we will conduct an “Honor to our Fallen” Sunrise Service at the Chemical Memorial Grove, paying tribute to our fallen Dragon Soldiers. We will recognize two Gold Star families in attendance.
As we honor our past, I am especially looking forward to our Veteran’s Homecoming events, also scheduled June 28 for all veterans in attendance. We will recognize Chemical Corps veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, Desert Storm and the Global War on Terror who are in attendance. The former commanding general of Fort Knox, Kentucky, and 27th Chief of Chemical, Maj. Gen. Peggy Combs is the guest speaker.
Veterans’ events start with a breakfast in Fort Leonard Wood’s World War II DFAC following the sunrise service. Active-duty CBRN Soldiers in attendance at the sunrise service will eat breakfast and visit with our veterans of past conflicts. Next, the visiting veterans will take a tour of our 1Lt. Terry Facility, where they can observe modern CBRN defense training and capabilities. Veterans will then be taken to Baker Theater for my “State of the Regiment,” where I will address our current status as a branch and give my Chemical Corps’ vision for Dragon Soldiers to execute in both their current positions and next assignments leading into the future. Lastly, we will honor our veterans once more at the 84th Chemical “Hellfire” Battalion, with a veteran’s recognition ceremony. This is going to be a great tribute to Dragon Soldiers of the past, some who have given their lives, and some who have made great sacrifices in defense of our nation, freedoms and way of life.
Force Modernization subject-matter experts are meeting during the week to help design the way ahead for improving CBRN equipment and CBRN defense capabilities. Over the last few years, our enemies have vastly improved their CBRN offensive capabilities and delivery systems. Advancing our defense capabilities with emerging technologies and training is essential. We must strive to protect our military and civilians within any future battlespace, while simultaneously enabling our maneuver elements to seize, retain and exploit the initiative, in spite of any CBRN contamination and in any environment.
Friday evening, the formal part of Chemical Regimental Week, concludes with our Green Dragon Ball. Lt. Gen. Michael Bills, 8th Army commanding general, will be serving as our guest speaker.
Finally, the week will culminate with our golf scramble June 30. Please come out and participate in our events and enjoy this time of reflection as we look forward to the next 100 years of the Chemical Corps providing protection to our troops and civilians, both at home and around the world, from increasingly dangerous CBRN threats and Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Elementis Regamus Proelium — We Rule the Battlefield Through the Elements.