An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | Oct. 5, 2023

Iowa Guard, Kosovo Partners Train in HAZMAT Exercise

By Sgt. Rachel White, Joint Force Headquarters - Iowa National Guard

DES MOINES, Iowa - The 71st Civil Support Team and two dozen members of the Kosovo Security Force trained together in a hazardous materials exercise in September.

“All I could think of was how to find the hazard,” said Sgt. Leutrim Shala, a member of the Kosovo Security Force Hazardous Materials Company. 

Kosovo and the Iowa National Guard have been partners under the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program since 2011. Their partnership allows military, security and public safety agencies to work together in training scenarios. 

Shala led a group of three KSF members through Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines to find the HAZMAT scenarios planted by the 71st CST, the Defense Threat Agency, and Scott Wendt, the radiation safety officer at Iowa State University’s Health and Safety Department.

A homemade explosive device was hidden in a locker room, waiting to be assembled on a wooden table. All that was missing was the suspect.

There were clues to give the KSF members an idea of the type of hazardous materials to be found. 

A second threat was a backpack with enough radiological exposure to be detected by the KSF without endangering anyone. 

“Instead of blowing it up, sometimes it’s good enough to set a large source somewhere and allow people to be exposed to it,” said 2nd. Lt. James Leaman, the operations officer for the 71st CST. “Radiation sickness would be the symptom following the incident.”

The exercise completed a week of training. 

The 71st CST works with fire departments, law enforcement, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and other HAZMAT professionals to identify, assess, advise and assist in potentially threatening situations involving chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear substances. Kosovo relies on its KSF HAZMAT team to evaluate conditions and dispose of any substances.

“The main difference between the Kosovo Security Force HAZMAT Company and us,” said Leaman, “is that they don’t have any HAZMAT support. Whereas in Iowa, we have HAZMAT teams all over the place.”

Kosovo aims to expand its fire departments and other organizations to augment the KSF HAZMAT Company.

“The big thing that we are getting from this, that can be missed by some people, is that we are learning from them as well,” said Leaman. “They respond to more things in their [country] than we ever do in the state.”



Related Articles
Staff Sgt. Dawston Regan, left, and Tech. Sgt. Thomas Monroe, cyberspace operators from the 168th Cyberspace Operations Squadron, Iowa Air National Guard, prep their stations during an exercise Feb. 29, 2024, at the 132d Wing in Des Moines, Iowa. The exercise was the first by the 132d Wing’s new cyber range.
Iowa Guard’s 132d Cyber Range Hosts Training Event
By Master Sgt. Michael Kelly, | March 19, 2024
DES MOINES, Iowa - The 132d Wing’s Cyberspace Range Squadron hosted its first training event at the 132d Wing, Iowa Air National Guard, Feb. 29-March 3. The 132d RANS is a first-of-its-kind cyber range provider for the Air...

U.S. Army and Air National Guard members of the State Partnership Program discuss plans to integrate efforts with Adriatic partner nations at the National Aerospace Research and Technology Park, Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, Jan. 24, 2024. By linking U.S. states with partner countries, the SPP enhances military capabilities and interoperability.
State Partnership Directors Share Tips on Adriatic Partnerships
By Lt. Col. Agneta Murnan, | Feb. 28, 2024
ATLANTIC CITY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.J. - State Partnership Program directors of the state National Guards partnered with the Adriatic charter nations shared best practices during a conference hosted by the New Jersey...

Loved ones gathered alongside nearly 50 Oklahoma Army National Guardsmen during a deployment ceremony Dec. 30, 2023, at the Army Aviation Support Facility 2 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Members of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion (Assault Helicopter Battalion), 244th Aviation Regiment, 90th Troop Command, will deploy to Kosovo to support oOperation Joint Guardian (KFOR).
Oklahoma National Guard Aviation Unit Deploying to Kosovo
By Leanna Maschino, | Jan. 2, 2024
TULSA, Okla. – Loved ones gathered alongside nearly 50 Oklahoma Army National Guardsmen during a deployment ceremony Dec. 30 at the Army Aviation Support Facility 2 in Tulsa.Members of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion (Assault...