Fort McCoy News August 23, 2013

New decontamination equipment highlights course

STORY & PHOTO BY ROB SCHUETTE
Public Affairs Staff

Students in the Regional Training Site (RTS)-Maintenance 91 J Quartermaster/Chemical Repairer military occupational specialty (MOS) course learned about repair and maintenance on an M26 Joint Service Transportable Decontamination System-Small-Scale, the Army's newest decontamination equipment.

Staff Sgt. Nathan Heuer, RTS-Maintenance instructor, said the M26 is designed to decontaminate vehicles that have been exposed to chemical or biological agents.

Photo for decontamination story
Regional Training Site-Maintenance students use M26 decontamination equipment to train on maintenance procedures.

Soldiers attending the course either were in a decontamination unit or were reclassifying into the MOS, he said. MOS training had three phases. The first phase was completing online distance-learning prerequisites. The second was a 14-day training course. Students completed the third phase of the MOS training and qualification in a 19-day course.

Most class members stayed at Fort McCoy to take the second and third phases of the course. Those who couldn't will complete the training at a future date, he added.

Classroom instruction is followed by Soldiers getting hands-on training and experience with the equipment, Heuer said.

"It's excellent training to be able to use the new equipment," Heuer said. "They will see it in their unit or during a deployment or field mission."

Sgt. Anissa Hutton from E Company, 1st, 137th Aviation, a National Guard unit from Columbus, Ohio, is reclassifying from a Human Resources Specialist to the Quartermaster/Chemical Repairer MOS.

"It's interesting to see how the equipment operates and how to work on it," Hutton said. "Nothing that I've done before compares to this. The training was very thorough and helped prepare me for my new job."

Sgt. Michael McDonald of the 321st Engineer Forward Support Company, an Army Reserve unit from Boise, Idaho, said he is reclassifying from the 11 B Infantry MOS to the 91 J MOS.

"Even though we don't have this equipment at our unit yet the training gives us the basic principles we need to know to perform this MOS," McDonald said. "We might see the equipment during a field mission or deployment."

Sgt. Derrick Meister of the 548th Transportation Company, a National Guard unit from Trenton, Miss., said he was reclassifying from being an 88 M, or truck driver, so he was familiar with preventive maintenance.

"The instructors know the material and how the equipment works," Meister said. "They will work with you and help build on your strong points, while giving you constructive criticism about how to improve. They are very enthusiastic and ready to help you learn."