Tuesday, January 28, 2014

FDHS Scientists and Engineers Depart for International Waters aboard the Cape Ray

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – The MV Cape Ray deployed on Jan. 27 from Portsmouth, VA. This departure marks another milestone for the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) team supporting the joint OPCW/UN mission to destroy Syria’s stockpile of chemical agent.

Earlier this month, ECBC Director Joseph Wienand had the opportunity to speak with journalists from the Defense Media Activity (DMA), a Department of Defense hub for glob al armed forces news. Several news stories have resulted from the media engagement, which informed hundreds of thousands of warfighters around the globe today of the work that dedicated people in the chem-bio world do to keep them safe.  

“Heroes at home, supporting heroes abroad,” is how Mr. Wienand put it, speaking of the scientists, engineers, researchers and others working on behalf of warfighters. “Chemists, engineers, plant operators, safety professionals and others bring hundreds of years of experience in safely handling hazardous material 24/7.”
On Jan. 10, journalists from DMA, Ft. Meade, Md. interviewed Mr. Wienand and Joint Program Executive Officer for Chemical and Biological Defense, Mr. Carmen Spencer. ECBC communicators arranged for interviews at Edgewood, APG, with the global DoD media team, pegged to the coming use of the Field Deployable Hydrolysis System (FDHS) in destroying Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles.

DMA is the government organization responsible for hosting Army Times, Stars and Stripes, the Pentagon Channel, Armed Forces Network News and many other broadcast, web and print news services.

The initial news products from the interviews were scheduled to be seen and read in approximately 170 nations, on 78 deployed Navy vessels, and on the Pentagon Channel and its nationwide cable and satellite TV presence.

With sea trials completed and installation of the FDHS finalized, the MV Cape Ray has been equipped to store, manage and destroy chemical material in a safe and environmentally compliant manner. The FDHS, engineered and constructed at ECBC, was developed with the Pentagon’s Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense (JPEO-CBD.)
 Mr. Spencer described the intense six-month development process that produced the FDHS.

“Without a close collaboration with ECBC, this mission could not be accomplished, Mr. Spencer said.  “We’re jointly working to make the world a safer place,” Mr. Spencer said. “It’s a growth business and that’s not always a good thing,” he said. “But (soon) there’s one less nation on earth that possesses chemical weapons,” he said.
Mr. Wienand saluted the civilian experts who wanted to become, and became, a part of FDHS’s first international mission.  Wienand cited their dedication and patriotism, as well as their passion for what for others might consider work that is too dangerous to do.

He related to DMA’s journalists the story of one ECBC engineer, a former soldier, who told him, “9-11 made me mad. That’s why I’m here.” 
He ended with the thoughts from another ECBC employee.

Asked by Mr. Wienand why he wanted to be part of the FHDS mission, he said, “This is a part of history. We want to be a part of it.”
To read and hear more about ECBC’s role in destroying Syria’s chemical weapons, check out the following DMA stories:

Army.mil | Safety top priority on chem-demil ship, officials say

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