There are many different types of branches in the United States Army. All of them serve important needs to protect the nation’s freedom. The branch that has to do with defending the nation against the threat of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons and lies within the Chemical Corps of the United States. This is important because rise of weapons of mass destruction has skyrocketed in the past 15 years. There are 3 companies of the Chemical corps and there are many different job opportunities in the field.
The Chemical Branch is a branch of diversity, opportunity, and challenge. The Chemical Corps was founded on June 28, 1918. Chemical warfare itself was used in the trenches of WWI. The Germans had used a deadly chlorine gas against the French on April 22, 1915. The US wasn’t involved in the war until 1917 but chemical warfare had already been much more refined and dangerous. This caused President Wilson to make the Chemical Warfare Service as a branch of the military. This made Major General William L. Sibert the first chief of the Chemical Corps.
The Chemical corps was almost diminished in 1973 when it was only fueled by a little over 200 soldiers. Then in 1976 when the Soviets started using chemical warfare again congress decided to reverse its decision to eliminate the chemical corps. Operation desert storm brought the Chemical corps back into action and revitalized the corps with gaining size in troops. The corps was ready for the fight against chemical warfare but saw no advantage in using it during that time. The Chemical corps has three companies that include the Heavy, Light, and Armored Cavalry Regiment.
The corps is always ready for nuclear scares and possible wartimes with weapons of mass destruction being ready to fight on the offensive and possibly even the defensive. Soldiers in the corps are trained for preparation for defense Actions/Procedures Wear and use of protective equipment, Hazardous material certifications, and Exposure to toxic agents while wearing protective equipment. To be in the corps you need to be able to work well under tremendous stress. The soldier also has to have strong interests in the fields of Algebra, geometry, physics and chemistry. The soldier needs to have a Skilled Technician field of 91 on the ASVAB.
Job training for the soldier in this field requires 10 weeks of basic training, and 10 weeks of AIT and on-the-job instruction. Part of the time is spent in the classroom and in the field. They will train to prepare emergency plans and procedures for all types of disasters, natural and biological warfare along with enemy attacks. They are responsible for operating, maintaining or supervising the use of nuclear, biological and chemical detection and decontamination equipment, as well as smoke-generating equipment. The Chemical officer has a wide responsibility in the Chemical Corps.
First the Chemical Officer training includes completion of the Chemical Officer Basic Course (COBC), where you will learn leadership skills, tactics and operational aspects of systems and practices used in a Chemical platoon. This school is located in Ft. Leonard Wood Missouri. The warrant officer course is 9 weeks. Chemical officers have to have obtained and retain skills in all aspects of nuclear, biological, and chemical defense and procedures to their soldiers at all levels. The chemical officer can has to excel in many different duties such as platoon leader, commander, operations officer, project manager, instructor, and engineer.
The chemical officer must have many skills in operations, training, intelligence, logistics, personnel, management, research and analysis. The role of the chemical officer is very challenging, but provides excellent opportunities for motivated officers and results in many opportunities and great experience. They usually rise until they are in control of about 200-300 soldiers.
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