US troops don gas masks in WMD exercise near N. Korea border

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A soldier with the 501st CBRNE Company examines a mock chemical weapons laboratory during a drill at Rodriguez Live Fire Range, South Korea, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016. The exercise was held with the Fort Riley, Kan.-based 3rd Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, as part of training to increase the readiness of troops to confront threat of chemical and biological weapons and nuclear weapons.  Kim Gamel/Stars and Stripes
From Stripes.com
A soldier with the 501st CBRNE Company examines a mock chemical weapons laboratory during a drill at Rodriguez Live Fire Range, South Korea, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016. The exercise was held with the Fort Riley, Kan.-based 3rd Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, as part of training to increase the readiness of troops to confront threat of chemical and biological weapons and nuclear weapons. Kim Gamel/Stars and Stripes

US troops don gas masks in WMD exercise near N. Korea border

by: Kim Gamel | .
Stars and Stripes | .
published: December 20, 2016

RODRIGUEZ LIVE FIRE RANGE, South Korea — The U.S. soldiers donned gas masks as they cleared building after building after receiving intelligence that North Korean scientists were cooking up chemical weapons in the vicinity.

They found the makeshift lab with beakers and tubes filled with a yellow substance in a room off the icy rooftop of a two-story brick building. It was time to call the 501st CBRNE Company (Technical Escort), a specialized unit trained to deal with weapons of mass destruction.

The scenario was part of a training exercise, but the dangers facing the soldiers stationed near the front lines of the divided peninsula are all too real.

North Korea has demonstrated alarming progress in its nuclear weapons program this year, with two underground atomic explosions and two dozen ballistic missile tests.

But the Stalinist state is believed to have vast stockpiles of other nasty stuff, too.

“North Korea has the full spectrum of all types of chemical and biological weapons … and they’ve weaponized all of it,” Lt. Col. Roberto Salas, commander of the 23rd Chemical Battalion, told Stars and Stripes.

Read more at: http://www.stripes.com/1.445239

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