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We are trying to continue the legacy of Czechoslovak chemists // Humans of NATO Days

23.07.2023, 09:02

The Liberec 31st Regiment of Radiological, Chemical and Biological Protection is the only specialized unit of the Army of the Czech Republic that performs chemical security tasks as well as the most complex tasks of protection against weapons of mass destruction or radioactive and toxic substances. It belongs to the best regiments in the entire North Atlantic Alliance. How did they earn such a position? And what do their actions look like during accidents? Sergeant Milan Kolomazník, a senior scout specialist from Major General Oskar Starkoč's 31st Regiment of Radiological, Chemical and Biological Protection, told us about this at the NATO Days in Ostrava & Czech Air Force Days.

What led you to become part of this regiment? Was an army career your dream since childhood?
I grew up in Liberec among members of the regiment. Not as family members, but I had known them since I was young. I was guided to them, so I knew from school that I would be a soldier. I was drawn to the army.

What are the requirements for your position?
I'm a senior scout specialist, but I'm also a driver, so I definitely need to have the appropriate driver's license. As for expertise, knowledge of vehicles, chemical warfare agents, dosimetric quantities and the basics of industrial pollutants and the like. We go through relatively intensive training, so this all comes in handy. Since we work in masks, or breathing apparatus, physical fitness is also important.

Your regiment is one of the best in NATO. How did you build this position?
If we look at history, Czechoslovak chemists became famous worldwide in Operation Desert Storm. We are trying to continue this. We train to be the best. Now we also have new IVECO vehicles, and they also help us to perform our tasks in the best possible way.

Can you state what other special equipment the 31st Regiment has?
Of course. Starting with the instruments and detectors that are needed for our work. In addition, the already mentioned pair of IVECO vehicles, the ACHR90-M decontamination truck and the personal decontamination tents. Finally, I will also mention various means of individual protection, masks, suits, etc.

Are you also equipped against radiation?
Yes. We can use both devices that are in the vehicle or some other devices.


Read also interviews with other people participating at NATO Days

So even in the event of a radiation leak, would you be able to intervene?
In case it's needed, sure.

What does your crash response generally look like?
It depends on the type of accident. In case something really happened, we would first get information about what it could be. Then we would use our equipment to find out what it really is. We would try to get as close as possible and then work with it.

What is the most challenging task you have completed so far?
I can't say that, everything has its specifics. Each action will bring you new experience.

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