Dugway tests high-tech tools for detecting chemical, biological attacks

Posted at 9:52 PM, Aug 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-24 23:52:27-04

TOOELE COUNTY, Utah -- There are a lot of defensive strategies when it comes to protecting ourselves from a chemical or biological attack, and Dugway Proving Ground is making sure we use the best.

The Army base conducts test explosions on a regular basis. On Wednesday, they launched 80 kilograms of methyl salicylate into the air. Fortunately, that's the chemical used in winter green gum. However, Dugway tracked it as if it were anthrax.

Chemical detection sensors, from various government and private agencies, were set up across the field while Dugway collected crucial data. The best of the best of these sensors will end up on our battle fields, alerting our troops of a real attack.

"We are the independent voice of that soldier to make sure what we put in that soldier's hands is going to work, is going to work in all kinds of environments, against all known hazards," said Commander Col. Sean Kirschner of Dugway Proving Ground.

Dugway has a one of a kind laboratory called the Joint Ambient Breeze Tunnel, where equipment for our military and first responders is put to the ultimate test.

"The things that we would test to protect them in a chemically or biologically contaminated environment, we would put in this facility, shower them with stimulants and see how well they do," said Kenneth Gritton of Dugway Proving Ground.

Training is also a key aspect of daily life at Dugway. Walking through a tunnel made of shipping containers, one may think you were somewhere deep under Afghanistan.

"It is as realistic as we can make it," said Lance Mcentire of Dugway.

Its one of the more elaborate simulations being used at the base. Inside, soldiers are trained on what to do if they come across chemical or biological threats.

"You are expecting to see a bear in a cave, you're not expecting to see this," said Mcentire, pointing to a bio lab.

U.S. Allies, such as Britain and Canada, haves sent troops all the way to Utah for this experience.

"If gives them the confidence to go in and try different things, and it's better to fail in training than to fail in real life," Mcentire said.