Last Friday, a group of 25 Soldiers from different subordinate units of the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives Command graduated from the CBRNE Leaders Course at the Gunpowder Military Reservation facility in Glen Arm, Maryland.
“You’ve been exposed to a wide range of situations because this course can be thought in a classroom,” said Brig. Gen. (Ret.) J.B. Burton, graduation’s guest speaker and former 20th CBRNE commander. “Power points (slide show classes) will not work here. You have to get out there, and get your mask on and sweat underneath that,” he added.
The two-week course, part of the 20th CBRNE Command’s training strategy, is designed to create adaptable leaders capable of combating CBRNE threats whenever they are called to around the world. For the moment, it is twice a year, and it can only be attended by members of the 20th. But the command’s intent is to expand in order to cover other military occupational specialties (MOS) as well as joint and allied troops.
Not all members from the 20th can apply for the course. According to Sgt. 1st Class Jason Hull, the course’s primary instructor, Soldiers from the ranks of sergeant to sergeant first class and second lieutenant to captain can volunteer, or be selected by their unit, to join the course, but only if they have a score of 210 or better on the Army Physical Fitness Test.
“All participants were treated equally and evaluated by the same standard,” he said. “There was no separation by rank.”
Throughout the course the Soldiers are technically and tactically challenged with an array of tasks such as taking history and troop leading procedures classes, field radiation detection techniques, medical evacuations, rappelling, and many others, but all of them with emphasis on the CBRNE side of things.
The course was born in March, 2015, while Burton was still in command of the 20th.
“Good leaders are what make good units. This course was designed to build adaptable Army leaders who understand each other’s capabilities, who trust in each other and who because of that level of trust and understanding can build and deliver effective CBRNE teams that win,” said Burton.