I started this blog experience as a way of not only promoting/polishing my writing but as a tool to keep up with people about some of the interesting things that I get involved in. That was 6 months ago, where did the time go? To say I’ve been busier than a one armed paper hanger would be be an understatement. Since my trip to Washington I’ve been to McAlester, Oklahoma and the Western Carribean. I’ve written a number of articles for the International Fire Chiefs and worked on a safety audit of a local fire district. I’ve also taught several classes for newly promoted or aspiring Battalion Chiefs. The City council is always busy at this time of year as we worked on completing a budget for the up coming year, totaling $311 million.
Let’s talk about Oklahoma. About 19 of us from Army North and ATEC Consultants spent six days in McAlester OK training the men and women of the 370th and 329th Chemical Battalions from Florida and Texas respectively. The exercise was requested by the Battalion Commander to give his soldiers an opportunity to learn more about chemical detection and mass casualty decontamination. Our job was to give them a realistic experience and offer training suggestions. There are two components to a Chemical Battalion – Decontamination (Decon) and Reconnaissance (Recon). The Decon group simulated that a chemical plant was damaged by a tornado with several hundred people becoming contaminated. The Recon group worked in the simulated effected plant and needed to find the cause for what was making several people sick. We really challenged the companies and gave them something to think about for the future. After we completed the exercise we had time to visit the OKC Bombing Memorial the afternoon before we left. The buildings are still damaged to remind us what happened that day.
Bookended by two black granite walls, the reflecting pool makes for a nice memorial. One wall represents the time before the blast and the other is after the blast. The chairs are for those killed and the floors that they were on. It was very moving to say the least.
Enough for today, I’ll follow up with a short story about our trip to the Western Carribean.