Czech chemists excelled during an exercise in Iraq

 19. 10. 2019      category: Army of the Czech Republic

On 5th and 6th October an exercise took place at the Taji base in Iraq focused on the attack protection of the base in situations when it is attacked with the use of munitions with combat chemical substance. The topic was the use of a racket with chemical filling. Among the participants there were also Czech chemists from the 4th Training Unit of the Chemical Troops from the 31st Regiment of the radiological, chemical and biological protection, who play an indispensable role here.

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Picture: Czech reconnaissance team of chemists performing detection | 4th Training Unit of the Chemical Troops

“Taji Camp was attacked with the use of combat gas”

In the afternoon a racket hit the perimeter of the base. The protection team in service inside the base reported yellow-brown smoke going up from the place where the racket hit the ground. A report arrived from the endangered area that there are several people who have probably been affected by the chemical substance. That was the content of the exercise focused on coping with emergency situations with chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear aspects (CBRN), which was aimed at proving preparedness of all components of the base.

In the place of the intervention there were American firemen, medical officers from New Zealand and Australia, New Zealand extraction team and Czech CBRN unit composed of a reconnaissance and light decontamination teams supported by German colleagues.

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Picture: Czech chemists in the place of decontamination | 4th Training Unit of the Chemical Troops

The task of the Czech reconnaissance team was to enter the contaminated area, detect and identify the chemical substance and mark the border of the contamination. The decontamination team arranged a decontamination place in a safety zone, where a group of people with symptoms of having been affected by the chemical substance was moved. 

“Boys launched into the exercise with great determination and put their heart into it. With regard to the extreme temperatures the whole exercise was very demanding from the physical as well as psychical perspective,” said the chemical instructor and team commander, Lieutenant E. R.

Czech chemists practised cooperation with coalition units

The main task of Czech chemists in Iraq is not protection of the base against chemical attacks. Primarily they are employed here in order to teach Iraqi students, who subsequently become experts in CBRN, and the best of them become instructors, who will teach other Iraqi soldiers in the future, without the presence of Czech instructors.

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Picture: Czech chemists in the place of decontamination | 4th Training Unit of the Chemical Troops

The whole base participated in the exercise, but only a small part of it took part in removal of the consequences and rescuing the injured as such. Our soldiers practised cooperation with many other coalition units, who are trained in CBRN.

Proficiency of the Czech chemists gained respect of our coalition partners when they proved the ability to fully use their experience, knowledge and entrusted technologies even in very demanding conditions.