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A century of clearing the air in the Army

The JBLM Chemical Corps Regimental Association teams up with Joint Base Lewis-McChord's Chemical Branch to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the U.S. Army's Chemical Corps from May 7 to 11. Photo courtesy JBLM PAO.

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Soldiers from Joint Base Lewis McChord spent May 7 to 11 celebrating the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Army’s Chemical Corps with a series of commemorating events.

Major Gilbert Hurte Jr., coordinated with the JBLM Chapter of the Chemical Corps Regimental Association to make the event happen. The week consisted of a golf scramble, a tree dedication memorializing Chemical Corps Soldiers who died during wartime and a visit from the Chemical Corps regimental sergeant major and commandant. 

The week was wrapped up with a military ball hosted by the Chemical Corps Regimental Association.

“The Chemical Corps we recognize today was founded near the end of World War I, and has remained an essential component of the U.S. Army’s War on Terrorism,” said retired Sgt. Maj. William Jackson, president of the JBLM Chemical Corps Regimental Association Chapter. “We have countries like Syria using chemical gases on their own citizens and it is important for the Chemical Corps to remain ready and informed on the best ways to combat these attacks.”

The kickoff event of the week was a golf scramble that took place at the Eagle’s Pride Golf Course.

About 50 participants teed off May 7 to raise funds for junior enlisted Soldiers to attend the Chemical Corps Ball May 11. 

May 8 began with a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear fun run on Lewis North.

Later the same day, Col. Andy Munera, the commandant of the Chemical Corps, spoke at a leader development seminar where he outlined the future of CBRNE for chemical professionals in the Army.

Munera said the corps needs more warrant officers to be the constant experts in the field.

This week the focus was on moving the Chemical Corps Regiment from the past to the future. Jackson added insight to the transition.

“The future of the Chemical Corps is in providing treatment for those who are affected by the gases rather than the gases themselves,” Jackson said. “As technology evolves, so does the way in which countries launch chemical attacks. The corps can no longer just combat the attack, they must find solutions to ease the pain of those who are suffering.”

Chemical Soldiers began May 11 with a tree-planting ceremony outside the Lewis Army Museum. The tree was dedicated to fallen chemical Soldiers.

“The tree holds a position of honor in our corps,” said retired Col. Paul Knoob, who was the original guest speaker at the initial tree dedication in 1987. “It is prominently featured on our crest, and it represents our World War I birth in battle.”

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