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Military News Briefs for the week ending August 4, 2000

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 4, 2000 – Prepared by the American Forces Press Service

(This is a summary of the top American Forces Press Service news stories for the week ending August 4, 2000)

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SOLDIERS, MARINES JOIN WILDFIRE BATTLE

WASHINGTON, August 4, 2000 – Soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas, and Marines from Camp Pendleton, Calif., will join with civilian firefighters to combat the worst wildfires in the western United States in more than a half-century.

About 500 soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery and a similar number of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, will take their positions on fire lines in Idaho, said Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon Aug. 3. The soldiers will assist fire-fighting efforts near Burgdorf Junction, about two hours north of Boise. The Marines are scheduled to fight fires at Clear Creek in the Salmon-Challis National Forest.

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NEW TEAMS PUT MILITARY FIRST RESPONDERS ON THE SCENE

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo., July 31, 2000 -- The team members gathered around their commander for a mission brief. The situation had already resulted in tragedy. A local police officer was killed in an explosion after arresting a suspected neo-Nazi on a bad check charge. The house had been booby- trapped, and the explosion released a strange-smelling cloud that had people falling to the ground gagging, shaking and holding their throats.

Upon receiving their orders, the group wasted no time getting to work. Within an hour they had a decontamination line up and were entering the "hot zone" in self-contained breathing apparatus.

This was just an exercise. But a casual observer wouldn't have known it based on how hard these soldiers and airmen had been working. By September, 17 new weapons of mass destruction civil support teams will have completed the first phase of their training: the new, specially designed, three-week Emergency Assessment and Detection Course here. The training here focuses on familiarization with their equipment, what's expected of teams at an incident, how to enter a suspected contaminated site, and how to use detection and sampling equipment.

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10 ARMY SHOOTERS WIN SLOTS ON 2000 U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM

FORT BENNING, Ga., Aug. 1, 2000 -- Ten soldiers of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit here will be competing Sept. 18 to 23 at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. The shooters dominated the men's competition in the Olympic selection matches in Atlanta June 21 to July 1, winning 11 of the 20 event slots on the U.S. men's Olympic shooting team.

The Games will be held Sept. 15 to Oct. 1. The shooting competition will be at the Sydney International Shooting Centre Park, which has a capacity of 7,000.

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