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Swamp Fox bioenvironmental team leads the way for chemical testing

169th Medical Group, Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight

U.S. Airmen with the 169th Medical Group, Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, July 15, 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Ashleigh Pavelek)

169th Medical Group, Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. James Merriman, a bioenvironmental engineer and Staff Sgt. Kimberly Backmon, a bioenvironmental technician with the 169th Medical Group at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, trains with the new portable FLIR G510 Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer system March 12, 2019. The team of Swamp Fox bioenvironmental engineers was selected to field-test the latest equipment that detects chemical hazards in emergency situations. (U.S. Air National Guard courtesy photo)

169th Medical Group, Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. James Merriman, the 169th Medical Group bioenvironmental engineer at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, trains with the new portable FLIR G510 Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer system March 12, 2019. The team of Swamp Fox bioenvironmental engineers was selected to field-test the latest equipment that detects chemical hazards in emergency situations. (U.S. Air National Guard courtesy photo)

169th Medical Group, Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kimberly Backmon, a bioenvironmental technician with the 169th Medical Group at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, trains with the new portable FLIR G510 Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer system March 12, 2019. The team of Swamp Fox bioenvironmental engineers was selected to field-test the latest equipment that detects chemical hazards in emergency situations. (U.S. Air National Guard courtesy photo)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C.– The South Carolina Air National Guard’s 169th Medical Group Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, has a reputation for being number one. In addition to being awarded the 2017 Biomedical Science Corps Small Team of the Year, the team of five Swamp Foxes was the first choice from a selection of units to field-test the latest equipment that detects chemical hazards in emergency situations.

The new portable FLIR G510 Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer system gives the Swamp Fox bioenvironmental responders the ability to quickly and easily identify chemical hazards at the site of interest, according to Lt. Col. James Merriman, the 169th Medical Group Bioenvironmental Engineer.

With this new detection equipment, responders are able to analyze volatile organic compounds in all phases of matter (liquid, solid, vapor) quickly, during emergency missions, allowing the team to take immediate action and mitigate chemical threats.

“The initial impression is that this system will be quicker to set up, deploy and gather sampling data,” said Senior Master Sgt. Mitch Campbell, the 169th MDG noncommissioned officer in charge of bioenvironmental engineering.

The Swamp Fox bioenvironmental team trains with the latest technology to systematically and proactively identify health hazards, assess their potential risks to health and determine appropriate control measures to protect the health and well-being of Airmen.

“This is an honor the team embraces and will do their best to meet any new challenges,” said Merriman.

The Swamp Fox bioenvironmental team received initial training on the new detection system equipment March 12, experiencing first-hand the speediness and efficiency during multiple response scenarios.

The bio team will conduct local exercises, scenarios, and response training to enhance, test and validate the new equipment. Their analysis will provide feedback, recommendations, and suggestions to National Guard Bureau on the FLIR G510 GCMS equipment and operations.

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