Regimental Command Sergeant Major – U.S. Army
James E. Van Patten III
CSM James E. Van Patten III
Since our last publication, your Chemical School and the Chemical Corps Regiment really have been busy, just as you have been busy in the most important job in the Chemical Corps, the one you hold now. Every position in the Corps is vital to the mission we have of nuclear, biological, and chemical defense and the use of smoke. At the Maneuver Support Center (MANSCEN) and the Home of Chemical, we are continuing to train Dragon soldiers to provide the force necessary to execute our mission.
We have now graduated soldiers from every chemical-related course taught at Fort Leonard Wood. Recently the MANSCEN NCO Academy had its first graduation of the Chemical Advanced NCO Course 1-00 and its first Basic NCO Course 1-00. We also brought 19 more NCOs into the Corps through our Basic NCO Reclassification Course R1-00. These first classes helped us sort through the problems associated with establishing in a new location with competing demands on resources.
The BNCOC reclassification course is one way to help us gain NCOs for our shortages of sergeants. The other way is to ensure that we are properly coaching, teaching, training, and mentoring our specialists/E4s to become sergeants. We are short almost 500 SGT SL 20s across the Corps. We have just over 1,300 specialists in the inventory. Of these, almost 450 are in the primary zone, around 515 are in the secondary zone, and about 115 are on the SGT promotion list. We need the help of local commands to develop our specialists and recognize their potential to become SGTs, which will help us build and grow the force we need. All Chemical Corps leaders must be actively involved in this process for the benefit of the soldiers and the Corps.
By now you should be aware that we conducted our XVII Annual Worldwide Chemical Conference (WWCC) and Regimental Week, 19 through 23 June 2000, at Fort Leonard Wood. This was the first time, like so many other things, that we conducted this event here. We had several dedications, tours, briefings, work sessions, and special events, along with our Warfighter Symposium and Chemical Corps Regiment events. We had an outstanding conference that was well attended and beneficial to all who came. I give a special thanks to all who attended the conference and to the professionals who planned and executed our capstone event. You can find information about the WWCC on the Chemical School’s home page at www.wood.army.mil.
We are approaching the time of year when our U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard units will start their annual training. Remember, the largest part of the Chemical Corps is in the Reserve Component and, whenever there is an opportunity to assist, then don’t hesitate.
I would also like to mention that our seven chemical battalions of The Army School System (TASS) mostly do the training of Chemical Reserve Component soldiers. This year, our TASS battalions will train 212 soldiers as 54B10s, 272 new chemical NCOs in the 54B20/30 transition course, 34 soldiers in BNCOC, and 76 soldiers in ANCOC. TRADOC has directed that we convert the programs of instructions taught by the Active and Reserve Components into a single Total Army Training System (TATS). This project is ongoing and will result in significant changes and standardization of courses, including 54B10 reclassification, 54B BNCOC, 54B ANCOC, the Chemical Captains’ Career Course, and the NBC Defense Course.
The Chemical Corps is one of the fastest-growing branches in our Army with many units coming online. The 455th Chemical Brigade at Fort Dix, New Jersey, activated on 4 June 2000. Recently, it was announced that 17 more weapons of mass destruction civil-support teams (formerly RAID) will be activated this year. We will have another biological-integrated-detection-system (BIDS) company activated next year and an active chemical brigade in 2007.
We also have elements that will be standing up in the Initial Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) with the transition of the Army that is taking place. We are currently working new recon platoons that will be part of the IBCTs, and this is happening quicker then anything the Army has ever done. The conversion of the existing brigades at Fort Lewis, Washington, to IBCTs has already begun with the first one coming online this summer. So, the Chemical Corps has many new opportunities coming up to continue supporting our Army and nation.
The 3d Chemical Brigade at the MANSCEN has really made a difference in initial entry training and technical training of young chemical officers, junior enlisted, NCOs, and Transportation Corps enlisted soldiers. The directorates that work for and with the Chemical School are working hard on the many projects that support the future of the Corps and our Army. The Directorate of Doctrine, Training, Leader Development, Organization, Materiel, and Soldiers-Integration (DTLOMS-I) works most issues for the Chemical School. We have, under the MANSCEN, additional elements that work Chemical Corps-related functions along with DTLOMS-I. The Directorate of Combat Developments (DCD) works future organizations and equipment, and the Directorate of Training Development (DOTD) works our training products.
An example of some of the things that we have worked hard on is the transformation of the Army including the IBCTs. Another is the revision of the radiation-safety courses by DOTD, which just went through a critical-task selection board and will result in adjusting the courses to meet the current and future needs of the Army. Only two radiation courses will be offered, and they will be called the Basic and Advanced Radiation Safety Officer courses.
You probably have already felt the impact of the Chief of Staff of the Army’s guidance to man the divisions at 100 percent. If you are in a division, then it should be getting better. If you are not in a division and are in a table of distribution and allowances (TDA) or echelons above division (EAD), then you can see that replacement soldiers are not coming as fast. There is some pain associated with this, but I can assure you that our Quartermaster/Chemical Branch is doing the best it can to get a fair share of soldiers to all the commands.
The future of the Chemical Corps is looking really good. Everyone wants to make sure that our capabilities are available for nearly every operation or contingency. We will continue to be a vital part of our Army for combat, peacemaking, peacekeeping, and homeland security. You play an important role in what you do day-to-day. Remember that what you do, although often unrecognized, is essential to our ability to accomplish the mission. Thank you for maintaining and building on the reputation of the Chemical Corps.
Finally, an additional piece of great news for the Chemical Corps is that COL Patricia L. Nilo, our Chief of Chemical and Commandant of the U.S. Army Chemical School, was selected for promotion to Brigadier General. Congratulations to COL(P) Nilo and all those who have helped to make her successful. I know that COL(P) Nilo will continue to support Dragon soldiers for years to come.
“ELEMENTIS REGAMUS PROELIUM”
COPYRIGHT 2000 U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group