DUSHANBE, Tajikistan –
Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Rocky Mount-based 229th Chemical Company, 1030th Transportation Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group conducted a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives exchange with the Committee of Emergency Services of the Republic of Tajikistan Dec. 5 - 9, 2022, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
The exchange was conducted in support of the Department of Defense's State Partnership Program, in which Virginia and Tajikistan have been partners since 2003.
As part of the exchange, the team shared ideas, best practices and lessons learned with their Tajikistan partners. The exchange focused on sharing monitoring, sampling, packaging and decontamination techniques pertinent to CBRN defense. The week culminated in a unique capstone experience in which all participants engaged in ambulatory and non-ambulatory decontamination practical exercises.
The Virginia delegation for the exchange consisted of 1st Lt. Jennifer Hartman and Staff Sgt. Breanne Hamblin, both assigned to the 229th Chemical Company. Tajikistan personnel participating in the exchange consisted of men and women with experience ranging from security personnel, lab technicians and lab PhD professionals.
Hartman and Hamblin both said the experience was well worth the trip.
"The exchange was an incredible opportunity to share experiences and ideas with our Tajikistan partners,” said Hartman. “The transparency of ideas and culture was mutually beneficial for all parties involved. This training was not intended to change the Tajik or American concept of CBRN defense, but exchange ideas and information to better prepare for future CBRN defense exercises and training.”
Hamblin echoed Hartman’s sentiments.
“The work we do as CBRN is so important and this information exchange was appreciated by both parties,” said Hamblin. “Meeting the locals and walking about the town has really given me an appreciation for their culture. I take pride in knowing I was able to make a difference and build some strong relationships. I will never forget the lifelong memories this trip has provided me."
According to Maj. Isaac Rivera Ortiz, the State Partnership Program director, Hamblin was instrumental in helping share her CBRN knowledge with the participants from Tajikistan.
“Staff Sgt. Hamblin was instrumental in demonstrating best practices related to sampling and packaging, providing creative hands-on demonstrations for participants and actively engaging in group activities,” said Isaac Ortiz.
“I also want to express deep gratitude to all who made this happen behind the scenes in the Virginia National Guard and the US Embassy in Dushanbe, Tajikistan,” added Hamblin.
Read more news about the State Partnership Program at https://ngpa.us/23241.