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Home : News
NEWS | Aug. 26, 2011

Guard member excels in decontamination field

By Army Staff Sgt. Jeff Lowry 120th Public Affairs Detachment

CAMP ATTERBURY JOINT MANEUVER TRAINING CENTER, Ind. - Indiana Army National Guard Spc. Michael Clayton, a chemical operations specialist with the 438th Chemical Company here, brings nearly 10 years of experience to an emergency response organization that trains to contend with nuclear, chemical or biological incidents.

Clayton also is assigned to the 19th Chemical, Biological, Nuclear, Radiological and high-yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package. He is a member of the 19th's decontamination team that treats survivors of chemical, biological or nuclear attacks.

"We run [survivors] through our decontamination line to clean them up, [to] make sure nothing is on them," Clayton said.

Clayton's supervisor, Army 1st Lt. Jason Moore, said the specialist's 5-foot, 7-inch tall, 150-pound frame packs a lot of knowledge.

"He probably knows everything there is to know out here" about decontamination, Moore said of Clayton's expertise. The 438th's troops, he added, lean heavily on the Soldier.

"He's helped me a lot," Moore said. "He makes me better and those he works with better, because he shares his knowledge and his talent."

Clayton, who hails from Indianapolis, enlisted in the National Guard in January 2002. For three years he worked full time with Indiana's 53rd Civil Support Team, which helps first responders contend with nuclear, chemical or biological incidents.

The 19th, which has been training since March, is here undergoing its mission-ready certification process.

"The way I see it, we're going to do really, really well," Clayton said. "The way we've been setting up and working well as a team – because we're a chemical unit, we already have decon[tamination capability] – so it's made everything easier."

Clayton said he enjoys serving in the National Guard.

"It's outstanding; I love it," he said. "Every day we've been doing this, I wake up [and] I'm ready to go."