720th EOD train on self contained breathing apparatus equipment

Soldiers of the 720th Ordnance Company (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), 16th Special Troops Battalion, simulate collecting chemical sample for processing as part of a two-week Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CRBN) Hazardous Material Technician Course at Baumholder, Germany. The 720th EOD is the first EOD unit to receive this course. (U.S. Army photo by: Staff Sgt. Sinthia Rosario, 16th Sustainment Brigade)
February 01, 2020

BAUMHOLDER, Germany – Soldiers from the 720th Ordnance Company (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) received training on a Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA equipment during a two-week Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CRBN) Hazardous Material Technician Course. The training provided the Soldiers the skills and knowledge required to respond to a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) incident.

Although the course has been active for years, the 720th is the first EOD unit to receive this specific course. Through this training the unit is able to get their Soldiers certified on the SCBA, a CBRN equipment the 720th was recently issued and needed to be trained on.

“This training is important because it expands the capabilities of the EOD for the chemical realm, giving us equipment that we didn’t currently have, but were are now expected to perform the procedures for chemical,” said Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Story, an EOD platoon sergeant with the 720th EOD, 16th Special Troops Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade. “This gives us the capability to do it safer and in a much more expedient manner.”

Part of the course includes training of various CBRN equipment. It also provides training and familiarization on Personal Protective Equipment, fundamentals of Toxic Industrial Chemicals/Materials, sampling and collection procedures, the procedures to setup process through and close out survey team decontamination site and other key training.

“We teach them a wide variety of equipment ranging from presumptive identification to detection, protection and decontamination,” said Edgardo Garcia, a hazardous material training specialist with the Department of Tactics and Training.

“This is beneficial to the EOD units as it adds a combat multiplier towards the detection of WMD and provides early warning against Toxic Industrial Chemical, that could cause severe health issues, or immediate dangers to life and health and possibly death towards unsuspecting Soldiers.”

Garcia added that it also gives the responder the ability to decontaminate upon completion of the mission without the aid of outside agencies.

Ensuring the Soldiers understand the importance and seriousness of the training is key to the instructors providing the training.

“The CBRN arena is an area where the potential for changes in the environment can happen instantly and without proper knowledge and early warning capabilities of the equipment, they can potentially put themselves and Soldiers at risk of sever injury or death, but with the knowledge they can protect themselves from most situations or events,” Garcia said.

At the conclusion of the training the 720th Soldiers will be trained, proficient and confident in the new skills acquired during the course. They also will receive certification to the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) Hazardous Material Technician Level of training.