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Proud History of the 22nd CBRN Battalion

The 22nd CBRN Battalion, which has been stationed at Aberdeen Proving Ground since February 1944 cased their colors on June 10, 2016 at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), Maryland.

The 22nd CBRN is a subordinate unit under the 48th CBRN Brigade, 20th Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear and Explosives (CBRNE) Command stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, and it has five companies: Headquarters and Headquarters Company, the 25th, 46th, 68th CBRN Companies and 59th CBRN Company, with the last one stationed and staying at Fort Drum, New York.

The 68th is moving to Fort Hood, the 25th to Fort Stewart, Georgia and the HHC and the 46th will relocate to Fort Bliss, Texas.

The following is a partial transcript of the ceremony, outlining the proud history of the 22nd CBRN Battalion:

The 22nd CBRN Battalion mission is to conduct decontamination, Reconnaissance & Surveillance and specialized CBRNE operations to counter CBRNE threats, but the organization’s original mission was to escort chemical weapons and materials.

The 22nd CBRNE Battalion traces its lineage back to two of the most sacred units in the chemical core. Company C 1st Gas Regiment of World War I and the U.S. Army Technical Escort Unit. The 1st Gas Regiment was formed out of necessity during war time to counter the newly emerging threat of chemical agents.

For its service, the regiment earned three campaign streamers, St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne and Lorraine 1918. The 1st Gas Regiment reconstituted in the regular army at Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland. And in 1927, was redesignated as the first chemical company. It was then redesignated as the 22nd Chemical Company in 1958. The unit was awarded campaign credit in Vietnam for counter-offensives one and two prior to its inactivation in 1966. The 22nd Chemical Company was reactivated in 1979 and served in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, for which it was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation.

The 22nd Chemical Company again inactivated in 1992. The 2nd portion of our heritage originates from the Guard and Security Detachment. It was activated at Camp Sibert, Alabama to provide secure movement of our chemical stockpile to foreign ammunition supply points.

At the end of World War II it became necessary for the army to conduct its first ever WMD elimination operation. The Guard and Security Detachment’s unique capability to safely package and transport chemical munitions made them a natural choice for this national level mission. The Guard and Security Detachment was later redesignated as a U.S. Army Chemical Core Technical Escort Unit in 1957.

Its mission did not change as it continued to support the safeguarding and movement of the U.S. stockpile through 1992, with a complete retrograde of U.S. chemical munitions from Germany to Johnston Atoll. In recognition of service in both wartime and peacetime, the Technical Escort Unit was awarded two Meritorious Unit Commendations and three Army Superior Unit Awards.

On 16 October, 2004, the United States Army Technical Escort Unit was inactivated and the 22nd Chemical Battalion Tech Escort was activated in its place at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. The unit again redesignated as the 22nd CBRNE Batallion on 15 October, 2015 and will relocate to Fort Bliss, Texas on 15 June, 2016.

Since its activation in 2004, the 22nd CBRNE Battallion has maintained its high op tempo through multiple deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, remediation projects in Spring Valley, Camp Sibert and Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, munitions destruction operations in the Solomon Islands and numerous emergency responses throughout the United States.

Permanent orders 274-3, the following unit action is directed: Unit relocation. To be stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas effective 15 June, 2016. Subject: Army Regulation 5-10. Stationing package for force structure actions at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland; Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Stewart; Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia; and Fort Hood, Texas. Authority: David M. Williams, Chief MTOE Documentation Branch, Force Management Division, G3.

Colonel Christopher Cox, the Commander of the 48th CBRNE Brigade: Good morning. Brigadier General King, Mrs. King, fellow field grade officers, Commanders, and Ser. Majors, soldiers, former soldiers and friends of the 20th CBRNE Command, thank you for taking the time today to attend this morning’s ceremony. It is truly an honor to speak with you as part of the casing ceremony for the 22nd Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Battalion.

To begin with, I wanna take time to recognize the soldiers standing in formation today. Ceremonies like these are never easy. Lieutenant Colonel Druell, Mas. Ser. Thomas, your ceremony and your soldiers are truly first rate. Your team has done an amazing work and its truly a credit to you and your leaders. If I could ask for a round of applause. I would also like to take a moment to recognize the 229th Army Band out of Parkville, Maryland who’s attending with us today. Thank you again for making this ceremony special. Bands are really the icing on the cake that makes ceremonies absolutely special for the soldiers and those present.

I would also like to take a moment of silence for each of us to remember our soldiers who no longer answer roll call. They and their families have paid a stiff price for our nation to enjoy the freedoms guaranteed by the constitution. I would especially like to take a moment to remember the nine soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division who tragically lost their lives eight days ago at Fort Hood, Texas.

Throughout its history, the army has restationed units over time as it requires in order for them to meet the missions that it foresees it needs to accomplish. Or to maximize available resources. Notable amongst these recent restationing actions include the transfer of the 4th Infantry Division from Fort Carson, Colorado to Fort Hood, Texas. Then following multiple deployments, back again to Fort Carson, Colorado. The relocation of the 1st Infantry Division from Wurzburg, Germany to Fort Riley, Kansas, following deployments to the Balkans and Iraq. Shortly after the 1st Infantry Division then redeployed again to Iraq and Afghanistan for multiple rotations.

Within the 20th CBRNE Command, the 20th 3rd CBRNE Battalion returned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, led by then Lieutenant Colonel William King in 2004 from the Korean Peninsula. Subsequent to an appointment to Afghanistan, the Battalion returned to the peninsula nine years later. Each of these organizations were repositioned to meet known and unknown threats to our nation. This unit’s restationing demonstrates our army’s continued determination to best position a capability that comprises only one half of one percent of the active force. That is about 2,300 total soldiers. To confront the ever growing peril that CBRNE hazards present to the homeland, to our deployed forces, to our allies and to our international partners.

This casing ceremony is a symbolic ending of the service of the 22nd CBRNE Battalion here at Aberdeen Proving Grounds and the Edgewood area. Since the genesis of CBRN on the modern battlefield over 100 years ago, Edgewood and Aberdeen Proving Grounds have been instrumental in providing CBRNE units the ability to encounter novel dangers with confidence. The restationing of the 22nd CBRNE Battalion does not change any of this.

I submit to you that the movement of the CBRNE Battalion reinforces the importance of the relationship between tactical CBRNE units and Edgewood. And this transfer will actually strengthen the link between Edgewood and all CBRNE units within the 48 CBRNE brigade, subsequently improving the whole organization. The colors found today at the head of this formation, the monuments to units long departed around this field, and the coins embedded in the concrete just forward of the reviewing stand, echo that importance.

Soldiers of the 22nd I charge you to embrace your heritage and take it with you to your new installations and camps. Build upon your legacy that you built while serving here at Edgewood. Show your new homes at Fort Bliss, Fort Hood and Fort Stewart what it means to be part of a technical escort formation. Aid us in improving the bonds between Edgewood and make all of the brigade better in the process. Make no mistake, this is a daunting mission, but one that is not insurmountable.

To accomplish such a task, you will have to continue to account for, to send and receive equipment. You will have to reestablish systems to oversee or administrate the logistics actions. You have weeks of continued training on technical escort tasks and you will have to integrate the dismounted CBRNE risk reconnaissance system. Once that is complete the companies in the Batallion will have to assemble all these district parts and collective training events to cement themselves back into coherent organizations, ready to meet the needs of our nation.

The Roman historian Vegetius from the 4th century stated, (speaks in foreign language) which translates, if you want peace, prepare for war. Today as we stand here, you are faced with an ever learning, adaptable and implacable foe. A foe that will readily take advantage of any sloppiness or deficits in your preparations. This foe is unpredictable and as such will not provide you the luxury of time.

Therefore do not linger along the way. Every action you must take must be with a sense of purpose and urgency. Your army, your nation will soon need you to be ready for global employment. We must not fail in this duty, lest others suffer for our procrastination in accomplishing this undertaking.

Soldiers of the 22nd CBRNE Battalion, rise to the challenge set before you. The colors, the campaign streamers and the guide unsnapping before you in the breeze should call to your mind the soldiers that have passed through your ranks before, soldiers that have fought through the muds of Europe, battled in mosquito infested islands of the Pacific and Southeast Asia, overcome frostbitten hands and feet in defense of Korea, resolutely prepared to face overwhelming odds against an adversary capable of employing massive amounts of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons during the Cold War, and then intrepidly ventured forth into the sands and cities of Iraq and Afghanistan.

These are the symbols of the long hours each of you have spent honing the skills of your craft. Take this heritage, your heritage, out into the brigade and the greater army. Become the standard bearers for your sister units and your new formations and installations.

In order to accomplish this, you must set the mark as high as possible, for your heritage demands excellence and the brigade, your new found units and installations expect the same. I am confident that you will not disappoint. This will undoubtedly be an odyssey that each of you remember. And the end of your journey your labors reverberate across the brigade, 20th CBRNE Command, and the Army. Soldiers of the 22nd CBRNE Battalion, the next time we meet you will be in your new homes. I wish you Godspeed upon your journey and look forward to how you advance the narrative of your companies, the 22nd CBRNE Battalion and 20th CBRNE Command. Thank you. Spartans equal to the task liberty we defend.

Commander of the 22nd CBRNE Battalion, 48th CBRNE Brigade, Lieutenant Colonel Timothy E. Druell: Brigadier General King, Mrs. King, Colonels, Command Ser. Majors, Former Commanders and Command Ser. Majors of this command, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, friends and family of the 22nd CBRNE Battalion. It’s truly a great day for the 22nd CBRNE Battalion. Together we gather to bid farewell to a great organization rich with history and lineage.

With us today is the Dickey family, a family that has been part of the Edgewood Arsenal and tech escort community since inception. I’d like the welcome Major Retired Dean Dickey, Ser. Major Retired Kevin Dickey, Ser. Retired Kirk Dickey, Mr. Keith Dickey, Miss Vanessa Williams, Miss Karen Dennis, Miss Marcia Cole, Miss Emily Dickey, Miss Erica Dickey, all sons, daughters and granddaughters of the former Colonel Retired Dean M. Dickey, the godfather of the United States Army Technical Escort.

Colonel Dickey was a Silver Star recipient in World War II. Participating in campaigns from Guadalcanal, New Georgia and Bougainville. He was commissioned into the chemical core in 1948, where he was assigned as the chemical supply officer of the 9710th technical service unit, here at Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland and later commanded the technical escort center from 1965 to 1970. Colonel Retired Dickey is a current member of the CBRNE Corps Hall of Fame, and our headquarters building Echo 1942 is dedicated in his honor. Could we all give the family a round of applause? (applause) They are all as much a part of the history of this organization as we are.

22nd CBRNE Battalion finds its history rooted in Company Charlie, 30th Engineers, Gas and Flame, organized November 1917 in the National Army American University, Washington, District of Columbia. In 1958 while at Fort McClellan, Alabama, it redesignated the 22nd Chemical Company.

50 years later in 2004 the command found itself here at Aberdeen Proving Grounds as the 22nd Chemical Battalion Technical Escort. The 22nd Chemical Battalion Technical Escort takes its name from United States Army Technical Escort Unit. Its history began in 1943 as a chemical warfare center currently known as Edgewood Arsenal. In 1957 the technical service unit was redesignated United States Army Chemical Corps Technical Escort Unit.

For over 30 years tech escort units escorted hazardous chemical, biological and radiological materials with detachments at Edgewood Arsenal, Dugway Proving Grounds Pine Bluff Arsenal and Anniston Army Depot to name a few. Standing before you are the elements of those units that were later deactivated and reactivated here on Edgewood. In 1988 the department of the army made a decision to transfer a large portion of their military personnel for administrative positions to field positions. This impacted the technical escort unit. Where units were given a choice to either contract out for support or convert military positions to civilians.

In 2007, the 48th Chemical Brigade was activated and command experienced another transition with the decision to create CBRNE analytical remediation activity CARA. This removed all civilian experts from the formation and again made the command 100% of military formation. This past year the Army Force design update redesignated the 22nd Chemical Battalion Technical Escort as the 22nd CBRNE Battalion. And each company standing before you designated as CBRNE companies technical escort.

These two organizations, soldiers, civilians and their families given their all their specialized missions, support the domestic requirements and global conflicts World War I, World War II Vietnam, Southwest Asia, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. No matter the mission or requirements, if it was chemical, biological or radiological materials this formation did it.

Today marks another crossroad in the unit’s history. 70 years of history at Edgewood, Aberdeen and the surrounding community now comes to an end. Relocation orders were received in October 2015 which directed these soldiers to create their own history and relocate the Fort Stewart, Fort Hood and Fort Bliss. The operational environment has changed and subsequently the army requirements change. We are now being called to rely on a better posture with brigades, divisions and corps.

In January 2016 less than 90 days from receipt of the DA restationing orders, the battalion established forward C2 node of Fort Bliss, Texas. This team’s roll was to conduct RSOI activities, integrate with installation division of first sustainment brigade, sign for new facilities, establish an operational capability, receive unit equipment and receive ADVON and newly assigned personnel from across the army.

In 29 February, 2016 the battalion handed TRA a 59th CBRNE company of Fort Drum, New York off the 83rd CBRNE Battalion. This marked the end of a 10 year history with the command and relationship to the mountain dragon team. In early March a team from 25th CBRNE company PCS to Fort Stewart, Georgia and began rebuilding their capability underneath 83rd CBRNE Battalion. Oversight in order to provide an established no notice operational support and capabilities in support of U.S. SOCOM forces. This action is on going through September while we maintain capability at Edgewood until teams for a complete validation of certification requirements.

In April the battalion began pushing ADVON personnel to gaining installations in order to establish their footprint and integrate with the new battalion headquarters. TRA hand off of 68th CBRNE company standing before you, one of the companies standing before you, conducted TRA hand off on 16 May to 2nd CBRNE Battalion at Fort Hood, Texas. Over the past three weeks, 75 containers, 118 pieces of rolling stock and 844 sensitive items were successfully line hauled to the appropriate gating installations. All HHC and 68th equipment has departed Aberdeen concluding main body equipment movement.

Additionally, the team has turned in 156 items on 52 documents in excess of four million dollars. In the last eight months 64 personnel departed the battalion as routine ETS, PCS and retirees with no back fills on this side. 39 soldiers have relocated already as part of the restationing action. The remaining soldiers stand before you will soon depart as the battalion completes key actions now through December concluding 15 months of restationing actions.

None of this would’ve been possible without the hard work and dedication of these soldiers. Could we all give ’em a round of applause? (applause)

The community support has been tremendous throughout the years. Our history as an organization is not gonna be lost here on Aberdeen or Edgewood. Many of you probably feel the way I do. There’s a lot of history and love to this installation and this organization. The command’s history of who we are and where we came from will not be forgotten. We’ll never forget our roots. Thanks for what we have done to assist. Thank you for what you’ve done to assist in this rapid movement and execution of our new requirements. This is guardian six signing off the net for the last time here at Edgewood. America’s guardians, guardians and warriors, ready, reliable, and globally responsible.

Credit: 20th CBRNE Command, edited for context and format by CBRNE Central

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