Thursday, June 2, 2011

In recognition of May's National Military Appreciation Month, Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) presents a special two-part blog entry featuring candid responses from ECBC personnel who have served in the U.S. military.

Dean Hansen, Packaging Specialist
Dean Hansen has worked for the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) for over 15 years. Currently, he works for the Packaging Team as a packaging specialist, developing military packaging requirements for products that are entering the military distribution system. Whether it’s “boots on the ground” support or support from his office at Edgewood, Dean’s reputation precedes him as an avid supporter of the warfighter.
What was your role in the military?
When I served in the military I was a Military Policeman.
What are one or two memorable experiences from your time in the military?
The military affords a person once-in-a-lifetime types of experiences. One of my most memorable experiences was being on an assignment on Jet Gun Boats. Where else could a 19-year-old kid find a job that cool? That assignment was quite an adventure. My other memory exemplifies the types of challenges you face in military life - being away from my family two out of three Christmases.
Why did you choose to join the military?
I chose to join the military because it seemed like the natural thing to do – I was an Army Brat.

How does it feel to support the warfighter as a part of ECBC, having been a member of the Armed Forces?
It is a good fit for me.  While the styles of the uniforms have changed over the years, the military culture has not.  I have deployed to the Middle East twice as an ECBC employee and to me that seems the right thing to do when called upon.  During my regular work day I feel like I’m a representative for the war fighter. I feel very comfortable in that role.

Laurie Fazekas-Carey, Executive Officer for DPI

What was your role(s) in the military?

When serving in the military I held several different positions while branched to the Chemical Corps, Nuclear Biological and Chemical. I held leadership positions from the platoon to the company level; I was a part of the battalion staff, brigade staff and also served as part of the division-level staff working for the Division Chemical Officer. My primary job was to ensure the readiness and ability of soldiers to execute their jobs while dealing with a chemical and/or biological agent threat. I participated in training that focused on recognizing, marking, and reporting chemical and/or biological attacks. I also provided recommend courses of action to field commanders, tested/identified agents and conducted decontamination operations. As a consummate staff officer in the garrison, the remainder of my time was spent fulfilling other staff officer responsibilities.

What are one or two memorable experiences from your time in the military?

One of my most memorable military experiences was my first job as a Decontamination Platoon Leader with the 12th Chemical Company, 1st Infantry Division (ID). It was the best job I had while on active duty. It was very hands on, in the field, with soldiers doing missions and trainings during the time the 1st ID was at Fort Riley, Kansas. We were very popular with the mechanized force, especially during the rain and snow seasons.

At Fort Riley it was common place for the units to get “hit” with a chemical agent on their last day of field training or range qualification exercise. The decontamination platoons were in direct support of the maneuver brigades, so we were called into play and requested to execute a thorough decontamination operation prior to the tracked vehicles rolling back into the motorpool. They thought they were getting a “free” tank-wash but after five to six hours in Military Oriented Protective Posture 4, and a personnel decontamination station – which the contaminated unit had to run – we always got our money’s worth!

One of my other fond memories from the military was when I served as the 71st Chemical Company Executive Officer, 25th ID in Hawaii – that was one of my favorite assignments.   

Why did you choose to join the military initially?

I grew up as an Army Brat. My father was an Army Aviator for 27 years – I didn’t know any other life. I don’t have a “home town.” I started school in Hawaii and graduated in what was then West Germany. It was a familiar life style for me, I felt comfortable around uniforms. I remember walking by a formation of Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets during my first week at college as an undergraduate freshman. I didn’t know anyone at school and found myself standing there watching them. I was approached by one of the cadre and before I knew it I was signed up, attending military history classes and running around in the woods of New Hampshire in battle dress uniforms, a ruck-sack and a rubber duck. It was great! My parents were completely floored. I had never given any indication that I would have considered the military. I can’t explain it, but it fit.

How does it feel to support the Warfighter as part of ECBC, having been a member of the Armed Forces?

It makes me proud of what I do. I remember the tools of my trade as a Chemical Officer and it is rewarding to know that they were developed here. I’ve had the opportunity to meet several of the scientists responsible for the technologies that I trained with, and in turn, I’ve trained hundreds of soldiers to use and rely on these same technologies. Working at ECBC brings my military experience full circle. When I left the active service I knew I wanted to continue to serve my country. It is important to me to honor those who put themselves in harm’s way, in addition to those service men and women who do not see any danger. Every member of the U.S. Armed Forces deserves my support and respect – past, present and future.

*** The content on this blog does not represent the views or beliefs of ECBC, its employees, its management or the federal government. ***

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