“CBRNE threats abound across the globe and the strategic environment is rapidly changing, with both nation states, and transnational actors seeking and gaining access to advanced technology and material,” said Brig. Gen. William E. King IV, CG of 20th CBRNE Command at the National Capital Regional Green Dragon Ball
King said chemical weapons were first used in World War I more than 100 years ago.
On April 22, 1915, German forces used chlorine gas on British, French, Canadian and Algerian forces on Flanders Fields in Belgium and chemical weapons went on to claim tens of thousands of lives throughout the remainder of World War I.
The horrific nature of these weapons led to the Geneva Protocol in 1925, an international agreement that prohibited the use of chemical and biological agents. In 1972, biological weapons were banned. In 1993, the Chemical Weapons Convention banned the use, development, production, testing and stockpiling of chemical weapons.
The Army’s Chemical Warfare Service was established on June 28, 1918, to manage offensive and defensive chemical weapons programs.
After the United States joined both conventions and renounced biological and chemical weapons, Chemical Corps Soldiers, also known as Dragon Soldiers, shifted their focus to defending the nation against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats.
“Chemical warfare has not faded into history,” said King. “It is alive and well and filling our current events.”
To confront and defeat CBRN hazards, King said the Chemical Corps has increased its capabilities. The general added that Dragon Soldiers train not only to respond to CBRN threats but also to eliminate them.
“We have renounced Weapons of Mass Destruction, but our enemies have not,” said King. “This is why we are here, still guarding the wall, generations later.”
King said today’s Dragon Soldiers uphold the legacy of service and innovation that the Chemical Corps forged during the last century.
“We are a part of the legendary U.S. Army Chemical Corps. We are prepared; we are trained; and we are ready,” said King. “As for me, this Dragon will not hesitate to breathe in the enemy’s toxic green chlorine gas and return it in a flaming, purging breath of American combat power.”