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Stryker Vehicles Decontaminated at Osan Air Base

Mar 11, 2011

By Sgt. Daniel Wallace

CAMP CARROLL, South Korea -- Most businesses are closed and most of the service members occupying Osan Air Base are asleep at 1 a.m., but at Building 1332 the lights are being truned on, the bay doors are being opened, and Soldiers of the U.S. Army are preparing to complete a task that is an important part of their job.

Soldiers from the 194th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 501st Sustainment Brigade who specialize in protecting against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats, completed decontamination procedures on Stryker armored combat vehicles and equipment of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. at Osan Air Base, South Korea Mar. 9, 2011.

Staff Sgt. James Masterson, a native of Roanoke, Va., who in the noncommissioned officer in charge of the CBRN section at 19th CSSB, said the mission was to decontaminate Stryker vehicles and shipping containers that are going back to Joint Base Lewis-McChord with a bleach solution to combat the hoof and mouth disease currently plaguing farmers across the Korean peninsula.

"It took approximately 5-to-10 minutes to decontaminate each one," said Masterson.

Masterson said that the exercise was important because it shows the brigade's ability to come out and execute a decontamination mission.

"There is a lot of moving pieces and parts involved, but once you've done it for awhile it becomes easier," said Masterson. "You have a rough idea of everything you need and it starts to become second nature."

Masterson said that practicing decontamination procedures helps CBRN Soldiers maintain proficiency in their profession and ensures they are ready to execute their mission if called upon. For added training value, Masterson and his Soldiers performed the cleaning wearing complete sets of CBRN equipment - gas masks, protective pants, tops and boots. The equipment restricts some movement ability for Soldiers who don such equipment.

"It gives the Soldiers confidence in their abilities," Masterson said of wearing the extra equipment.

Masterson added that completing decontamination procedures to help other units shows the brigade's ability to provide services for other units.

"It helps with unit cohesion and joint operations," said Masterson. "It allows us to display to other units what we can do for them if they need our support and that we can help them out."

Masterson said the drill, while simple, was a successful exercise and it was a good learning experience for all the Soldiers involved.

Another CBRN NCO from the 194th CSSB, Sgt. Cynthia Malone, a native of Little Rock, Ark., said different CBRN sections within the 194th CSSB contributed to the manpower conducting the mission.

"We got together to get this decon done, to accomplish the mission and it went pretty well," Malone said.

"We were excited to come out here and do this decon," added Malone, shaking the clear mix from her gloves. "It's my first time doing this procedure here in Korea, so it was a blast."

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