Millies 2018: Hero at Home - Unit
UK

Behind The Scenes: The Military Task Force Deployed To Salisbury After The Nerve Agent Attack

The Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Task Force were tasked with clearing and decontaminating the areas affected.

Millies 2018: Hero at Home - Unit

In the aftermath of the Salisbury Novichok agent attack, the Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Task Force (CBRN TF) were tasked with clearing and decontaminating all of the areas affected by the deadly nerve agent.

For their work, they have won the Millies 2018 award for 'Hero at Home - Unit'.

The CBRN TF is a specialist military unit made up of both Royal Air Force and Army personnel whose role is to deal with the most toxic substances known to man.

Working behind the scenes and often out of sight of the public, the task force did the meticulous and dangerous work necessary to make Salisbury and Amesbury safe.

Since March 2018 they worked to remove the deadly Novichok nerve agent from contaminated sites in Salisbury and Amesbury following the attempted assassination of Sergei and Yulia Skripal as well as the poisoning of Charlie Rowley and the death of Dawn Sturgess.

It was quickly established that the deadly Novichok nerve agent was involved and a clean-up operation began.

But, when two unconnected local people - Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley - fell ill three months later, it became clear that the possible area of contamination was much wider than first thought.

More than 120 British military personnel were sent to help with the general decontamination of the city.

Personnel had the task of entering, clearing and decontaminating the public and private properties affected, both in support of the Police investigation and to make the sites safe for return to normal use.

Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley
Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley

The Millies noted: "[The] courage and determination of the CBRN TF cannot be understated.

"Apart from their bravery and fortitude, these personnel have carried out this work with characteristic military humour and a relentless resolve to get the job done."

"Throughout this operation, the CBRN TF – whether those who crossed the hotlines or those personnel who provide the essential logistics, engineering and intelligence support – have displayed a modesty and humility that belies the importance, inherent risk and national significance of their work."

The Millies also added that: "They have just carried on with a quiet competence, usually out of sight of the public, to return Salisbury and Amesbury back to normality.

"These men and women now deserve to be recognised for the dangerous and essential work they have been doing for their nation."