JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- American Soldiers and Marines honed their ability to overcome obstacles and outmaneuver adversaries during a wet gap crossing exercise on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.
The 555th Engineer Brigade, 671st Multirole Bridge Company and 45th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) Company (Hazardous Response) teamed up with the Marine Reserve’s 6th Air Naval Gunnery Liaison Company for Exercise Courage Crossing, June 10 – 13.
Leveraging the expertise of the joint and multicomponent units, Soldiers and Marines trained to support maneuver forces and help them to seize the initiative.
Capt. Shederick F. Mullgrav, the commander of 45th CBRN Company, said a Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle platoon and hazardous assessment platoon from his company drove across a 360-foot lake on an improved ribbon bridge.
The 45th CBRN Company is part of the 110th CBRN Battalion (Technical Escort), 48th Chemical Brigade and 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command, the U.S. Department of Defense’s premier all hazards formation.
Headquartered on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, 20th CBRNE Command takes on the world’s most dangerous hazards in support of military operations and civil authorities.
Mullgrav said the 45th CBRN Company supported maneuver forces by providing detection, decontamination and clean and dirty routes in the event of a CBRN attack.
“As a company, our responsibility was to coordinate and operate decontamination sites with CBRN reconnaissance assets task organized with the assault and bridgehead force to provide accurate information to the supported unit,” said Mullgrav. “These movements are likely to be done on guarded wet gap crossing sites, which would likely be under enemy contact with potential CBRN contamination.”
A nine-year Army veteran from Riverdale, Georgia, who has deployed to Kuwait, Turkey and Afghanistan, Mullgrav became a U.S. Army Chemical Corps officer to tackle all hazards and enable mission success during joint, interagency and allied operations.
“I chose to become a chemical officer to become a part of a small but elite corps, made up of technical and tactical experts who can provide a unique service to any Army branch,” said Mullgrav. “CBRN officers are often referred to as ‘Jacks of all Trades’ to highlight the ability to be a part of any organization and conform to what is required to help the mission.”
The Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington-headquartered 45th CBRN Company enables lethality and mission readiness in support of large scale combat operations by providing CBRN reconnaissance, surveillance and decontamination support to an assigned area of operations.
“We provide real-time feedback to maneuver commanders in regards to the presence of CBRN hazards on the battlefield and enable maneuver units to maintain decisive operations, avoiding contamination if possible, and if not, they are able to fight through contamination and utilize our thorough decontamination support competencies to minimize risks posed by CBRN hazards to our fighting forces,” said Mullgrav.
The company commander added that exercises like Courage Crossing enable the U.S. military to prepare for large scale combat operations.
“Wet gap crossing operations are important to enabling maneuver forces to close with and destroy enemy forces by giving them one of the most valuable fundamentals of war – speed,” said Mullgrav. “Tempo is the key to seize the initiative, prevent enemy reconnaissance and exploit success. Executing a safe and efficient wet gap crossing will allow friendly forces to set conditions necessary for success.”