abc-logo
Taking care of your Loved One Is What We Do BEST!

It's no secret, most of us would like to stay in our own home as we age. Yet, sometimes our loved ones just need a little extra help to remain comfortable at home. That's where Always Best Care can help....we are dedicated to exceeding expectations....always

Please submit form to schedule a

Personal Care Consultation

Local Magic Personal Care Consultation

Please submit this form below and we will chat shortly!

Home Care In Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

Home Care Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

They say that your golden years are the best years of your life. For most older Americans, that's how it should be - a time to relax, reflect, and live life in a familiar place. After all, senior citizens in the U.S. have worked tirelessly to build a better economy, serve their communities, and raise families.

However, as seniors grow older, completing daily tasks like showering and enjoying activities such as visiting the historic Aberdeen Historical Museum gets harder without someone by their side. Unfortunately, many older Americans aren't able to rely on their adult children for help. The reality in today's world is that family members do not have the skills or time to dedicate to caring for their parents. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Our in-home care services are for people who prefer to stay at home as they grow older but need ongoing care that family or friends cannot provide. More and more older adults prefer to live far away from long-term, institutionalized facilities and closer to the place where they feel most comfortable - their home. Home care in Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.

 In-Home Care Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

location Service Areas

The Always Best Care Difference

Since 1996, Always Best Care has provided non-medical in-home care for seniors to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle as they get older. We are proud to have helped more than 25,000 seniors maintain higher levels of dignity and respect. We focus on providing seniors with the highest level of in-home care available so that they may live happily and independently.

Unlike some senior care companies, we genuinely want to be included in our clients' lives. We believe that personalized care is always the better option over a "one size fits all" approach. To make sure our senior clients receive the best care possible, we pair them with compassionate caregivers who understand their unique needs. That way, they may provide care accordingly without compromising their wellbeing.

The Always Best Care difference lies in life's little moments - where compassionate care and trustworthy experience come together to help seniors live a fruitful, healthy life. Whether you are an aging adult that can't quite keep up with life's daily tasks or the child of a senior who needs regular in-home services, Always Best Care is here to help.

×
TESTIMONIALS

“Always Best care is the best! Their caregiver is very nice with respective attitude. They are all expert and knows their job very well in all ages. I never regret that their service to take care of my grandmother. They are trustworthy, respectful, honest and passionate to their work. I highly recommend them on their work.”

Facundo K.
×
TESTIMONIALS

“I met with Elaine Gill as we needed a secure place for my Dad. She was very knowledgeable and professional. Fortunately, the second location she showed us was a good fit (Dakota Paradise). I heartily recommend Always Best Care if you want help finding a loved one the proper care.”

Keith S.
×
TESTIMONIALS

“I cannot really find the words to say how wonderful the staff is at Always Best Care of Upper Chesapeake: Highly competent, Comforting, caring, extremely attentive, endlessly patient and reassuring. Elaine Gill has done an amazing job at ensuring that the staff she has are just as committed to ensuring the highest quality of life for every client, as Elaine! You are on the top of my list for any further care services that my family members may need going forward.”

Alan L.
×
TESTIMONIALS

“I used Always Best Care to care for my parents who happen to live in another state. I met with Elaine (the owner) to discuss my options and determine the best caregiver service to meet my parents needs. She was a great help; addressed all my questions and concerns and gave me peace of mind that my parents were in good hands. Their caregiver is wonderful and very competent. I don't have to worry about them or become a detective to find out what is going on with them in Maryland. Although my parents were a little skeptical at first, Elaine and her staff have put their mind at ease and made them feel very comfortable about the entire experience. They both feel much safer now and happier that they are able to stay in the home that they love. I am comforted in knowing that my parents are receiving quality care and they are in the capable hands of Elaine and her staff at Always Best Care. Words can not express my sincere gratitude for the awesome care provided to my parents.”

Monica C.

What is Non-Medical Senior Care in Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD?

lm-check

Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it is especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age.

lm-check

When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.

lm-check

The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.

lm-check

At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one gets older, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

 Senior Care Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

Types of Elderly Care in Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

To give our senior clients the best care possible, we offer a full spectrum of in-home care services:

Personal Care

Personal Care Services

If your senior loved one has specific care needs, our personal care services are a great choice to consider. Personal care includes the standard caregiving duties associated with companion care and includes help with tasks such as dressing and grooming. Personal care can also help individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes.

Common personal care services include assistance with:

  • Eating
  • Mobility Issues
  • Incontinence
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming

Respite Care Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD
Home Helper

Home Helper Services

Sometimes, seniors need helpful reminders to maintain a high quality of life at home. If you or your senior has trouble with everyday tasks like cooking, our home helper services will be very beneficial.

Common home helper care services include assistance with:

  • Medication Reminders
  • Meal Preparation
  • Pet Care
  • Prescription Refills
  • Morning Wake-Up
  • Walking
  • Reading
 Caregivers Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD
Companionship Services

Companionship Services

Using this kind of care is a fantastic way to make life easier for you or your senior loved one. At Always Best Care, our talented caregivers often fill the role of a companion for seniors. That way, older adults can enjoy their favorite local activities, such as visiting APG Medium Park with friends while also receiving the care they need daily or weekly.

Common companionship services include:

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Nutritional Assistance
  • Conversation
  • Planning Outings
  • Completing Errands
  • Transportation to Community
  • Events and Social Outings
Home Care Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD
Respite Care

Respite Care Services

According to AARP, more than 53 million adults living in the U.S. provide care to someone over 50 years old. Unfortunately, these caregivers experience stress, exhaustion, and even depression. Our respite care services help family caregivers address urgent obligations, spend time with their children, and enjoy nearby activities. Perhaps more importantly, respite care gives family members time to recharge and regroup. Taking personal time to de-stress reduces the risk of caregiver burnout. So, if you've always wanted to eat at the local Prost German Restaurant Aberdeen, MD or visit Aberdeen Proving Ground - Edgewood Area - South Gate, don't feel bad. Doing so is great for both you and your loved one.

At the end of the day, our goal is to become a valuable part of your senior's daily routine. That way, we may help give them the highest quality of life possible. We know that staying at home is important for your loved one, and we are here to help make sure that is possible.

If you have been on the fence about non-medical home care, there has never been a better time than now to give your senior the care, assistance, and companionship they deserve.

 In-Home Care Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

Benefits of Home Care in Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

Always Best Care in-home services are for older adults who prefer to stay at home but need ongoing care that friends and family cannot provide. In-home care is a safe, effective way for seniors to age gracefully in a familiar place and live independent, non-institutionalized lives. The benefits of non-medical home care are numerous. Here are just a few reasons to consider senior care services from Always Best Care:

Always Best Care offers a full array of care options for patients at all levels of health. With our trusted elderly care services, your loved one will receive the level of care necessary for them to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

Request More Information vector

Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit - something that is unavailable to many older people today.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a strange nursing home, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:

How much does a senior's home truly mean to them?

A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, then, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old.

With the help of elderly care in Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors.

Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.

For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like a nursing home. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier and more affordable to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, seniors who age in the comfort of their homes can save thousands of dollars per month.

In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, are often less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

 Elderly Care Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

Affordable Care

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

If your loved one qualifies, Medicaid may help reduce in-home care costs. Review your MD's Medicaid program laws and benefits, and make sure your senior's financial and medical needs meet Medicaid eligibility requirements.
Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.
Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.
Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.
Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.
 Senior Care Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers.

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

Assisted Living Referral Services

While it's true that many seniors prefer to age at home, sometimes in-home care isn't the best fit. For those seniors and their families, choosing an assisted living facility makes more sense. Unfortunately, finding the optimal care facility is easier said than done in today's day and age. That's when Always Best Care's assisted living referral services begin to make a lot of sense.

Assisted living is a form of housing intended for seniors who require varying degrees of medical and personal attention. Accommodations may include single rooms, apartments, or shared living arrangements. Assisted living communities are typically designed to resemble a home-like environment and are physically constructed to encourage the independence of residents.


Respite Care Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

At assisted living communities, seniors receive help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They may also benefit from coordination of services with outside healthcare providers, and monitoring of resident activities to ensure their health, safety, and well-being. Caregivers who work at assisted living communities can also provide medication administration and personal care services for older adults.

Other services offered within assisted living communities can include some or all of the following:

  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Recreational Activities
  • Social Outings
  • Emergency Medical Response
  • Medication Monitoring
  • Family Visitation
  • Personal Care
 Caregivers Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

At Always Best Care, our representatives can match your senior's emotional, physical, and financial needs with viable assisted living communities nearby. Results are based on comparative data, so you can select the best choice for you or your loved one.

Always Best Care works closely with local senior living communities to gain valuable knowledge that we then use to help seniors and their loved ones make informed decisions. This information can include basic care and rent, resident availability, and services provided. Because Always Best Care is compensated by these communities, we provide senior living referral services at no extra cost to you.

Some of the most popular assisted living communities to consider in our area include the following:

  • Dacota Assisted Living
  • Chimes Inc
  • Covenant Care Assisted Living
  • Margaret Nahrgang
  • Liv-N-Well Asst Living
  • Vpcbh
Home Care Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

For many seniors, moving into a senior living community revolves around how and when they want to make a transition to more involved care. Some seniors are more proactive about transitioning to independent living. Others choose to remain home until their care needs or other requirements are satisfied. Remember - our staff is here to help. Contact our office today to learn more about assisted living communities and how we can find a facility that exceeds your expectations.

 In-Home Care Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Always Best Care Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

A discussion of your needs and how our trained caregivers can offer assistance in the most effective way

lm-right-arrow
01

A draft of your care plan, which includes highly detailed notes and a framework for the care that you or your senior will receive

lm-right-arrow
02

Discuss payment options and help coordinate billing with your insurance provider

lm-right-arrow
03

Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

At the end of the day, we only hire the best of the best at Always Best Care. Whether you need home care in Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 24-hours a day or only need a respite for a couple of hours, we are here to serve you.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

 Elderly Care Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

Latest News in Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

Russian-designed tanks roll toward Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland to aid Ukraine, boost U.S. intelligence

Listen to this articleOne Russian-designed tank was noticed in April during the two-day stint it spent at a Louisiana truck stop that doubles as a casino. The other was spotted at a Utah gas station in May.Both behemoths were headed to the same place: Aberdeen, Maryland.As the United States and other NATO countries support Ukraine in its war against Russia, a military post in the Northeast Maryland city of 17,000 could prove to be a valuable resource. A T-72 and a T-90 — both Soviet-era tanks weighing at least 90,0...

Listen to this article

One Russian-designed tank was noticed in April during the two-day stint it spent at a Louisiana truck stop that doubles as a casino. The other was spotted at a Utah gas station in May.

Both behemoths were headed to the same place: Aberdeen, Maryland.

As the United States and other NATO countries support Ukraine in its war against Russia, a military post in the Northeast Maryland city of 17,000 could prove to be a valuable resource. A T-72 and a T-90 — both Soviet-era tanks weighing at least 90,000 pounds each — were recently trucked from faraway states and along interstate highways to Aberdeen Proving Ground, a U.S. Army testing and research site.

Tanks have been critical in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which started last year, and Ukraine’s allies have sent the country 230 tanks. Among the $76 billion in total aid (military and otherwise) that the U.S. has given are 31 M1 Abrams tanks.

Now, the U.S. is lending the services of the Aberdeen Proving Ground, a 72,000-acre post on the Chesapeake Bay that is the country’s top weapons testing site and the state’s sixth-largest employer. Established in 1917 as the U.S. entered World War I, the proving ground is the oldest of its kind. Over the last century, it has studied a range of weapons, from small arms to bombs and tanks to chemical and biological warfare.

The Department of Defense described the T-90’s arrival at Aberdeen as “part of our ongoing commitment to provide Ukraine the capabilities it needs to counter Russian aggression.”

The U.S. already had access to Russian tanks built during the Soviet-era and studied such weaponry as recently as last year. But the two tanks now on U.S. soil could provide essential, updated knowledge of Russia’s fleet, as well as supply ideas for how Ukraine can improve its tanks, many of which are T-72s.

Igor Novikov, a former adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, tweeted in April that a “trophy” Russian T-90 was on its way to Maryland as a “small thank-you gift” to the U.S., but it’s unclear precisely how the U.S. obtained the T-72. Ukraine or an allied country likely shipped it to the U.S., where there are advanced resources, like those at Aberdeen, for researching tanks.

While it is not unusual, experts say, that the U.S. would study the weapons systems of rival nations, the advent of the tanks underscores the importance of gathering intelligence during warfare and Aberdeen’s key role in doing so.

There are myriad reasons to study enemy technology, and an understanding of a foe’s abilities is invaluable on the battlefield. Analyzing how far and accurately a tank’s gun can fire is important, of course, but so are scores of other details: Knowing a tank’s fuel economy, for example, is helpful in figuring out how far a tank can travel before refueling.

Michael E. O’Hanlon, a senior fellow and director of research in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution, said if Russia had modernized a tank by adding improved armor or a stronger engine or sensors that ward off missiles, to name a few possible modifications, the souped-up tanks would provide insights beyond what the U.S. learned from aging tanks that haven’t seen combat in decades.

“All of that information would be very tactically useful if you were figuring out what to send the Ukrainians and also how to train the Ukrainians on the use of proper anti-armor weapons,” he told The Baltimore Sun.

Doug Wise, who spent 20 years in the military and 30 years with the Central Intelligence Agency, likened studying a modernized tank versus an old one to examining an iPhone 14 instead of an iPhone 6. In a way, they’re the same phone — or tank, in this case — but they have a “radically different design,” said Wise, who also served as deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Updated information could help the U.S. better understand the abilities of Russia’s weaponry. That benefits Ukraine, but is also a boon for the U.S., which collects intelligence about potential adversaries.

“Nobody likes to have their technology fall into the other guys’ hands,” O’Hanlon said.

The T-90 first was spotted in the U.S. in April when the truck hauling it broke down in Louisiana. The truck dropped the 30-foot tank off — without any tarp or canvas concealing it — and, with its load lightened, drove away to be repaired. Two days later, it returned, picked up the tank, and continued to Aberdeen. The tank’s sighting popped up on social media, then was reported by The War Zone, a military news website.

“I walked out there and, lo and behold, there’s a tank on a big ol’ trailer in my back parking lot,” said Cody Sellers, the store manager at Peto’s Travel Center and Casino on Interstate 10 in Roanoke, Louisiana.

The phone at Peto’s rang for days as word spread and curious visitors hoped to get a look at the mammoth machine parked among the gas pumps. One person left a Google review with photos of the tank saying: “Food is so good that even Russian came over with their T90.” Sue Gough, a spokesperson for the Department of Defense, confirmed a T-90 tank was en route to Aberdeen when “the truck transporting it suffered a mechanical issue.”

“The tank’s explosive reactive armor was inert, it was not armed or carrying any dangerous material, and at no point posed a risk to the public. This is part of our ongoing commitment to provide Ukraine the capabilities it needs to counter Russian aggression,” she said. “For security reasons, we will not comment further on this matter.”

A month later, in May, a different Russian-designed tank popped up at a U.S. gas station.

Dave Trojan is a 21-year Navy veteran who now spends time as an “aviation archaeologist” and he had been digging through old airplane crash sites when he stopped for gas at a Pilot station near the Nevada-Utah line. He was aware of the recent T-90 sighting and he promptly recognized this tank — sitting atop a truck trailer, under a tarp but with its gun protruding — as being a T-72, a predecessor to the T-90.

“I knew right away that it was a Russian tank,” he said.

Trojan quickly snapped photographs of the tank and shared the images with Tankers, a social media group.

“I worked in the government for 25 years, so I just know that the government does a lot of things that they don’t talk about and so when you find stuff out … I just think it needs to get out there so people can know about it,” Trojan said.

The Nevada Automotive Test Center — a private evaluation facility for commercial and military vehicles — confirmed in a statement that the T-72 was headed from its site to Aberdeen. The tank was not armed nor “carrying any dangerous material and at no point posed a risk to the public,” the test center said, adding that it was sent to Aberdeen to meet the Department of Defense’s “test and training requirements.” The center declined to comment further for security reasons.

How exactly the tanks will be examined and studied remains unknown and federal intelligence agencies have, unsurprisingly, not been eager to share information. The CIA declined to comment and the DIA did not respond to a request for comment.

It’s likely the U.S. is seeking to identify the capabilities of the tanks (particularly the T-90, the more modern of the two) to impart that intelligence to Ukraine, experts say. The U.S. could also be searching for ways to improve the T-72 to provide intelligence that would boost Ukraine’s own fleet.

“It’s distinctly possible that we’re trying to figure out how to make that T-72 better because it may still be one of the most important kinds of tanks for the Ukrainians to operate,” O’Hanlon said.

Wise said at Aberdeen, experts can pull apart a tank, reconstruct it, see how it functions, test its armor and study any number of minute details. There are “near infinite ways” to glean important intelligence and there isn’t a better place to do so than Aberdeen.

“They know weapon systems,” Wise said. “That is one place that is unparalleled in expertise in both U.S.-developed weapons, as well as foreign weapons.”

Army team leverages expertise to increase readiness for radiological detection missions

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – A team of Soldiers and U.S. Army civilians recently came together to design a better backpack.Soldiers from the U.S. Army Nuclear Disablement Teams helped to conceptualize, coordinate and create a backpack that helps them to provide theater-level confirmation and identification of radiological materials more quickly in a tactical environment.The Nuclear Disablement Teams worked with partner organizations, including the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveil...

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – A team of Soldiers and U.S. Army civilians recently came together to design a better backpack.

Soldiers from the U.S. Army Nuclear Disablement Teams helped to conceptualize, coordinate and create a backpack that helps them to provide theater-level confirmation and identification of radiological materials more quickly in a tactical environment.

The Nuclear Disablement Teams worked with partner organizations, including the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Center from the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command.

The Nuclear Disablement Teams are part of the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command, the U.S. military’s premier CBRNE formation. The U.S. military’s only Nuclear Disablement Teams — NDT 1 “Manhattan,” NDT 2 “Iron Maiden” and NDT 3 “Vandals” – are all stationed on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.

As the U.S. Department of Defense’s nuclear subject matter experts, NDTs directly contribute to the nation’s strategic deterrence by staying ready to exploit and disable nuclear and radiological Weapons of Mass Destruction infrastructure and components to deny near-term capability to adversaries. The NDTs facilitate follow-on WMD elimination operations.

Maj. Aaron J. Heffelfinger, the deputy team chief from Nuclear Disablement Team 1, said the new mobile backpack was the result of a six-month project.

“The challenge the NDT always had with its Ortec High Purity Germanium (HPGe) detectors was always the deliberate cool down period required for the equipment to be ready, typically in excess of seven hours from a complete shutdown,” said Heffelfinger, a native of Moore Township, Pennsylvania, who previously served as an Air Defense Artillery officer.

Since the detector needs to draw outside air for its internal cooling system and needs to expel this hot air to maintain cryogenic operating temperatures, Heffelfinger said the cases that came with the detector required the equipment to be shut down during transportation. The team members would have to either wait for around eight hours to use their best gamma detector or transport it unprotected with nothing more than a shoulder strap.

The backpack enables the NDTs to move faster and provides commanders with greater operational flexibility.

“Time is always of the essence. The longer it takes the team to provide the gamma spectroscopy and isotopic assay results to the supported unit, the more constrained the commander becomes,” said Heffelfinger. “If we can provide that information without an 8-hour cooldown first, it can drive the decision-making process that much faster.”

Capt. John M. Prevost, an Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer from Nuclear Disablement Team 2, said the power and cooling systems are self-contained and interchangeable with a range of batteries and store power on the backpack.

The detector can remain operational almost indefinitely with the new backpack, said Prevost, adding that it can be used anywhere a Soldier can carry it.

By allowing the NDTs to carry spectral analysis software on a target downrange, the backpack eliminates the need for reach-back support if communications become degraded.

“This new backpack provides a protective, continuously-cooling, man-packable solution for bringing our most critical detection equipment to a target,” said Prevost. “The backpack makes our most critical detection and analysis capability smaller, lighter, faster and more ruggedized for expeditionary deployments.”

Prevost said the improved backpack was the result of an on-going NDT discussion on existing capability limitations and doctrinal requirements.

“The backpack is proof that the best way to solve complex problems is to assemble teams of experts from varied backgrounds and establish a common vision of success, especially during initial design,” said Prevost, a native of Shelby, North Carolina, and graduate of Wofford College, who served as a platoon leader in the 21st Ordnance Company (EOD), a one-of-a-kind Weapons of Mass Destruction-focused EOD company.

“By doing this, you gain varied perspectives on potential problems, existing or innovative design solutions and end-user considerations early in the process,” said Prevost. “Put simply, a small group of motivated experts can accomplish a great deal in an environment where ideas and input are openly traded regardless of rank, education or background expertise where mission success is the sole collective focus."

Jaywoon Joo was one of the experts who worked on the backpack project.

As a U.S. Army civilian project engineer at the C5ISR Center, Joo regularly supports organizations by rapidly prototyping services for them.

Originally from San Diego, Joo studied mechanical engineering at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas before moving to Maryland.

“My father, Bill Joo, is my main inspiration for becoming an Army civilian,” said Joo. “He has always explained that our work is important - not only because it helps us to win wars - but because it ensures our Soldiers come home safe to their families. I've always found that idea to be really inspiring and it's why I'm working here today.”

Maryland’s Marijuana Move: Aberdeen Proving Ground Clarifies Cannabis Policy

The U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground recently issued a clarification about cannabis and their facility in Maryland. Recreational marijuana is now officially legal in Maryland, as of July 1. Anyone over the age of 21 can purchase marijuana products with an ID. However, APG officials are reminding anyone assigned to or visiting APG that federal laws prohibit cannabis use or possession of it. And those rules apply when you step foot on the facilit...

The U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground recently issued a clarification about cannabis and their facility in Maryland. Recreational marijuana is now officially legal in Maryland, as of July 1. Anyone over the age of 21 can purchase marijuana products with an ID. However, APG officials are reminding anyone assigned to or visiting APG that federal laws prohibit cannabis use or possession of it. And those rules apply when you step foot on the facility. Whether you’re a resident or employee doesn’t matter. Facilities or bases that are property of the federal government have to abide by federal law.

Cannabis Clarification

The notice from APG officials is a great reminder for clearance holders – especially anyone employed by the federal government. The notice clarifies that cannabis or its related substances are prohibited for all military services, Active Duty, Reservist, National Guard, and DoD civilian employees. The state may have changed its position on marijuana, but inside the APG gates, the federal law applies to everyone there. Even delivery drivers and visitors need to follow the law. Contractors working on site need to understand the fact that federal law applies here.

Cannabis Consequences

For military personnel, the consequences for having marijuana can have a major professional and personal impact. The AMC Legal Center at APG notes, “Possession of marijuana is still punishable under federal law and possession of marijuana could result in arrest, citation, and prosecution, as well as UCMJ action for military members.”

Soldiers could face dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for two years. All branches of the military have a zero-tolerance policy on drug use and possession. Not to mention the fact that they can lose their security clearance.

Civilians have received updated trainings. APG ASAP Manager, Jason Mohilla says that “In the event that an employee feels they have developed a dependency on cannabis we (ASAP) encourage them to seek assistance through our confidential Employee Assistance Program (EAP).”

Contractors Not Exempt

Of course, contractors found to be using marijuana would need to self-report. While the Drug Free Workplace Act doesn’t require termination for drug-related violations, you can face unemployment for losing your security clearance. The cannabis law change in Maryland is a great time to remember that as a clearance holder, the state laws don’t change the federal law for you.

Meet the Army computer scientists advancing AI to support the warfighter

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Deciding on a name is never easy. From newborn babies to neighborhood softball leagues, the pressure attached to a name choice can be overwhelming. Namers face decisions like whether to stay safe, perhaps go with something tried and true, or to be daring, and possibly doom your team — or child — to a life a ridicule. Frank Frisby faced this very issue, and after vacillating between options, he turned to a trusted confidant that was in the midst of a meteoric rise.It was May 2023, and Fr...

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Deciding on a name is never easy. From newborn babies to neighborhood softball leagues, the pressure attached to a name choice can be overwhelming. Namers face decisions like whether to stay safe, perhaps go with something tried and true, or to be daring, and possibly doom your team — or child — to a life a ridicule. Frank Frisby faced this very issue, and after vacillating between options, he turned to a trusted confidant that was in the midst of a meteoric rise.

It was May 2023, and Frisby, a data scientist with the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command Software Engineering Center, was entrusted with bestowing a name upon his team as they prepared to participate in an Army-led artificial intelligence challenge that would span the next four months. Frisby had been working with AI for years at this point, so the decision to turn to ChatGPT, the chatbot developed by OpenAI, seemed almost obvious.

Frisby typed in the parameters, anticipating the benefit of specificity with the software, “We are a team of computer scientists preparing to compete against other teams. We are tasked with providing a model for a ground vehicle that will improve visibility and autonomous function in an off-road environment. We are a military organization…”

The chatbot began to spit out potential names. As the list grew, Frisby read through the options until, finally, he saw it.

Frisby brought it back to his teammates, Maluki Montgomery, a computer scientist with CECOM SEC, and Roy Trieu, a computer scientist assigned to U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command but attached to CECOM SEC. They all agreed, this was it, and that’s when the AI Avengers first assembled.

“Maneuver in Realistic Environments” –—Driving Autonomy in Ground Vehicles

Roughly five months later, in October 2023, the AI Avengers were being called as the winner of the second phase of the Deep Green Challenge. The CECOM team, with Frisby and Trieu working from Aberdeen Proving Ground and Montgomery from Fort Gregg-Adams, Virginia, had outpaced every other team with their model.

The Deep Green Challenge is an annual event managed by the Army Office of Business Transformation. For the last two challenges, parameters and applications have been supported through a partnership between OBT and the DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory. This year’s competition was broken into two parts, the latter of which, won by the AI Avengers, focused on the development of an AI model to support the vision of autonomous ground vehicles in a realistic environment. Specifically, OBT and ARL challenged the teams to facilitate a vehicle’s ability to identify and react given an outdoor combat environment with a particular focus on depth perception.

Phillip Osteen, a researcher with DEVCOM ARL, served as the lead for management of the challenge parameters. As a team lead within the Army’s Artificial Intelligence of Maneuver and Mobility Essential Research Project, Osteen was well suited to develop a problem statement that would challenge the teams and provide benefits via AI breakthroughs for the Army. The winning model, developed by the AI Avengers, would be applied to preexisting systems and within a project by AIMM and the Army as autonomous vehicle research and development continues.

“One of the key challenges for this data is that these systems have to be able to perform in different types of environments because the Army needs to operate anywhere,” Osteen said. “We’re focusing on off-road data for autonomous maneuver in realistic environments.”

"A Couple of Breakthroughs” — Securing a Win

The road ahead would be arduous, and the AI Avengers knew it. In addition to the work on the competition, the team members still had normal work duties that needed attention. During a major portion of the summer, from late June to early August, the team dropped the competition all together.

“We almost gave up because of time constraints,” Frisby said. “We actually stopped working on it for a couple months.”

Frisby’s passion for AI is contagious. Radiating excitement about the field, he often grins as he gets excited about a topic. He is fastidious when he talks shop, keenly aware of his audience; especially when he speaks with those outside his field. He pulls back on the throttle when he explains more technical aspects of his work, like a pilot taking a civilian on a familiarization flight — best to slow down and avoid a mess in the cockpit.

As summer came to an end, the team learned that new tools were available to the competitors. Specifically, the teams could test their models more easily, and most importantly, they would now have results faster than before. With these changes, the team refocused and approached the challenge in creative ways.

Aside from exploiting new opportunities, another advantage came from a decision to not use an assistive tool.

Light detection and ranging, commonly known as Lidar, is a remote sensing method that uses lasers to measure depth perception and to generate three dimensional images. For the Deep Green Challenge, teams were permitted to use Lidar in building their models, but the AI Avengers decided against using the technology.

“Our team realized that we don’t need Lidar,” Frisby said. “As humans, we don’t have additional tooling like Lidar to see how far something is away from us.”

Aside from supporting the team’s overall project, forgoing the use of Lidar provided practical utility.

Osteen, the competition manager with DEVCOM ARL, said that Lidar usually emits a noticeable signal. He added that although it was allowed in this competition, eventually the Army’s autonomous vehicles will require a stealthier profile. A model not reliant on Lidar would, theoretically, support a more secure vehicle.

Into early autumn, the team’s testing results, and their confidence, steadily improved.

Montgomery, the AI Avenger from Fort Gregg-Adams, recalled a mood shift as the competition passed the halfway point.

“We kind of got rejuvenated, being able to get the immediate feedback in terms of how well the model was performing,” Montgomery said. “It was kind of addictive; you get that immediate feedback and then you can tweak things and improve them.”

Montgomery emits a tranquility when he speaks. He articulates clearly and concisely while remaining consistently calm as he explains nuanced concepts. A computer scientist with SEC for nearly 20 years, it’s difficult to discern whether his placid demeanor is the result of two decades of experience or his upbringing on the West Coast. More than likely, it’s both.

Heading into the end of the challenge, the team watched as the leaderboard looked more and more friendly.

“A week before the competition was coming to an end, we came across a couple of breakthroughs that let us overtake the leader,” Montgomery said.

After their breakthroughs, with only a few days left, the AI Avengers grabbed hold of their spot and refused to let go. The dance for first place was over.

“Leaders in This Space” — AI’s Impact on the Joint Force

After most competitions, even winners don’t have much to show for it. Outside of professional athletes, a better record, and a bit of pride is the most a team can hope for.

For Frisby, Montgomery and Trieu, this win was more than a win.

“For the Army, I’m very happy that we can help move technology forward,” Trieu said. “That’s one of the dreams I have to help move the Army a lot faster than we are right now.”

Trieu is noticeably enthusiastic about moving the Army forward. Though less experienced with AI than his teammates, his expertise in computer science is palpable. Trieu’s confidence is nearly as reassuring as his humility; an expert quick to acknowledge he may not know something but is excited to learn. With prior experience on Wall Street and in the private sector, his desire to advance the Army is assertive, yet caring.

“Every single second counts on Wall Street. When I joined the Army [workforce], I had the same thought. If the Solider can get information faster, it saves lives.” Trieu said.

It may seem like hyperbole, saving lives through software, but the model built by the AI Avengers is already showing tangible results. Frisby said that the model, which is still in a testing phase, has shown a 95% success rate. With continued success, the model will forge a path into new Army autonomous systems and in doing so, directly benefit the Soldiers that will use them.

Osteen said that the Deep Green Challenge has been an exciting pipeline for autonomous vehicle innovation. According to him, the winning model of the Deep Green Challenge Phase I was applied to official Army autonomy programs within a matter of months. For Phase II a similar trajectory is expected after initial testing.

“That is how these things will impact not just Solider-machine interaction…,” said Osteen. “…but really just improve autonomy performance overall because perception is really critical.”

The impact is not lost on the AI Avengers.

Montgomery notes that AI has captured the world’s attention, and supporting the Army’s efforts in the field is incredibly meaningful.

“There’s a definite need for the Army, and the Department of Defense at large, to really be leaders in this space,” he said. “I firmly believe it’s a game changer.”

At some point in the near future, assuming testing continues using the team’s winning model, a U.S. Army autonomous vehicle system will be better able to operate in the harsh and austere reality that is combat.

Three CECOM teammates, bound by a commitment to the Army and innovation, went from uncertainty about their team’s name to assembling a model that could potentially change the Army’s AI landscape.

“This model gets to be used out there in the real world,” Frisby said. “Where it helps against adversaries, it helps make sure we protect U.S. interests. It makes me happy that I was able to participate in something like that, and to provide something like that to the Army."

Aberdeen Proving Ground contractor lays off 88 employees

A federal contractor laid off nearly 90 contract employees who work at the U.S. Army Aberdeen Proving Ground this month, and a union leader claims the layoffs are part of a change in strategy for the Harford County base.In an email obtained by the Baltimore Business Journal, Karen Holt, the director of Harford County’s Office of Economic Development, said that 88 contract employees who work for Jacobs Technologies Inc. (NYSE: J) were let go, attributing the layoffs to “government funding impacts.”Bill Harkum, ...

A federal contractor laid off nearly 90 contract employees who work at the U.S. Army Aberdeen Proving Ground this month, and a union leader claims the layoffs are part of a change in strategy for the Harford County base.

In an email obtained by the Baltimore Business Journal, Karen Holt, the director of Harford County’s Office of Economic Development, said that 88 contract employees who work for Jacobs Technologies Inc. (NYSE: J) were let go, attributing the layoffs to “government funding impacts.”

Bill Harkum, president of the local chapter of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union, said about 160 workers have been laid off since May, a majority of whom worked for Jacobs. The union represents workers at the Proving Ground, including the majority of those let go. There may be more layoffs coming, Harkum said, adding that there has been a “strategy shift” at the testing center that will lead to a lesser workload.

“This is the start of something. Without the two wars the US was involved with, we knew the workload was going to change, but still, this was kind of abrupt,” Harkum said.

Jacobs declined to confirm the layoffs or provide a number of impacted contractors. The U.S. Army also did not respond to a request for comment on the layoffs and change in strategy. Matt Button, Harford County’s public information officer, confirmed that Jacobs’ contractors were laid off, and that the county helped provide transitional services to the impacted workers.

Harkum said other contractors at the base including Caelum Research Corp.; Bering Global Solutions LLC; and Science and Technology Corp. (STC) have also seen employee counts impacted by the layoffs. Representatives for the contractors could not be reached for comment.

One of the Proving Ground’s key departments is the United States Army Aberdeen Test Center, where a majority of the laid-off contractors worked. In the past, Harkum said other branches of the military have used the testing center due to its versatile nature, even though the testing center is an Army facility. Harkum said the United States Marine Corps worked with the Army when the Marines were looking to use new armored vehicles, and used the Aberdeen center to test its capabilities. Harkum said moving forward the Army does not plan to allow other branches to use the test site.

“This is a change in how they want to take on the workload," Harkum said. "There is work out there to be done, but they’ve decided to do it a different way at the Aberdeen test center."

The Aberdeen Proving Ground opened in 1917 and has a long history as a testing site for the military. Over its more than 100-year history, the site has been an important economic engine for Harford County and has been the largest single employer in Harford County since at least 1990. The base is still the largest employer in the county, employing more than 21,000 military, civilian and contractor employees, according to the base's website.

“APG is a vital element of our national defense strategy and our military readiness and a key employer in our state,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen in an email to the Baltimore Business Journal. "I’m in contact with both the Army and APG regarding these changes, and I’ll be seeking more information on these decisions."

Hood promoted to major general during ceremony on Aberdeen Proving Ground

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – The commanding general of the nation’s premier Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command was promoted to major general during a ceremony on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, Dec. 14.Maj. Gen. Daryl O. Hood, the commanding general of 20th CBRNE Command, pinned on his second star during the widely attended ceremony at the Myer Auditorium.Gen. Andrew P. Poppas, the commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command, hosted the ceremony.Part of U.S. Army F...

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – The commanding general of the nation’s premier Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command was promoted to major general during a ceremony on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, Dec. 14.

Maj. Gen. Daryl O. Hood, the commanding general of 20th CBRNE Command, pinned on his second star during the widely attended ceremony at the Myer Auditorium.

Gen. Andrew P. Poppas, the commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command, hosted the ceremony.

Part of U.S. Army Forces Command, the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland-headquartered 20th CBRNE Command is home to 75 percent of the active-duty Army’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) specialists and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians, as well as the 1st Area Medical Laboratory, CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity, five Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordination Teams and three Nuclear Disablement Teams.

From 19 bases in 16 states, Soldiers and U.S. Army civilians from 20th CBRNE Command take on the world’s most dangerous hazards in support of joint, interagency and allied operations.

Hood is the ninth commanding general of the 20th CBRNE Command. Before assuming command in September 2022, Hood served as the deputy director of operations for Team Four at the National Joint Operations Intelligence Center in the Pentagon where he routinely interacted with Poppas who served as the director of the Joint Staff at the time.

Poppas said that Hood had proven himself throughout his storied career from his early days as an enlisted Soldier to commanding the nation’s premier CBRNE formation.

“You talk about a storied career. He’s been from the tactical to the strategic level,” said Poppas. “At every step, he has learned, he has mentored and he has excelled.”

Poppas said that Hood has made every command he served at better while molding future leaders.

“That is the sign of a leader,” said Poppas. “That’s why we are putting a second star on him right now.”

Great Army families make great Army leaders, said Poppas, adding that Hood epitomized the leadership and character needed in a strategic Army leader.

“It starts well before you put the uniform on,” said Poppas. “When you look at the depth of character that General Hood always displays, I will tell you that starts from home.”

Hood is a U.S. Army Chemical Corps officer who is originally from Athens and Gainesville, Georgia. He previously served as the 31st chief of Chemical and commandant of the U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School on Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

A graduate of the University of Georgia, Hood has served in a wide variety of command and staff tours in the United States, Europe, South Korea, Middle East and Central Asia.

Hood commanded the 3rd Chemical Brigade; 110th Chemical Battalion; and 87th Chemical Company, 4th Squadron (Aviation), 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment.

Since assuming command of the 20th CBRNE Command, Hood has focused on people, readiness and modernization.

During the ceremony, Hood thanked his family, friends and mentors for their support throughout his career.

The U.S. Army’s newest two-star general closed his remarks with three questions designed to guide leaders to greater heights.

“What type of leader are you and what do you want to be? What is your destination and purpose in life?” said Hood. “What impact do you have on people?”

Ukraine Gifts Russian T-90 Tank To U.S., Bound For Maryland's Aberdeen Proving Ground

ABERDEEN - A tank full of thanks is on its way from Ukraine to Maryland. In an expression of gratitude towards the United States, Ukrainian officials have gifted a Russian T-90 tank to Aberdeen Proving Ground.Igor Novikov, a former advisor to Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, signaled the gift's transit in an April 15 tweet, sharing an image of the tank headed to Maryland.The tank, transported by truck, made a surprise appearance in Louisiana when a breakdown led to a temporary roadside display. This unexpected spectacle ...

ABERDEEN - A tank full of thanks is on its way from Ukraine to Maryland. In an expression of gratitude towards the United States, Ukrainian officials have gifted a Russian T-90 tank to Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Igor Novikov, a former advisor to Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, signaled the gift's transit in an April 15 tweet, sharing an image of the tank headed to Maryland.

The tank, transported by truck, made a surprise appearance in Louisiana when a breakdown led to a temporary roadside display. This unexpected spectacle quickly gained attention on social media before being reported by The War Zone, a military news outlet.

According to War Zone, the shipping route was revealed on a label on the tank's main gun, tracing its path from Gdynia, Poland, to Beaumont, Texas, with the final destination being Aberdeen Proving Ground, home to the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center.

Department of Defense spokesperson, Sue Gough, confirmed to Baltimore Fishbowl that the tank was indeed bound for Aberdeen when the truck transporting it faced mechanical issues.

"I can confirm that a T-90 tank was being transported to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland, when the truck transporting it suffered a mechanical issue. That issue has been fixed, and the item is secure. The tank's explosive reactive armor was inert; it was not armed or carrying any dangerous material and at no point posed a risk to the public. This is part of our ongoing commitment to provide Ukraine with the capabilities it needs to counter Russian aggression. For security reasons, we will not comment further on this matter," Gough told the Fishbowl.

APG is one of the country's most extensive and best-equipped testing facilities, signaling that the tank is more than a gift. The Baltimore Sun spoke to Michael E. O'Hanlon, a senior fellow and director of research in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution, who told the news service that the tank will likely be used for testing.

Reach more customers! Check out the new Patch local business guide.

"All of that information would be very tactically useful if you were figuring out what to send the Ukrainians and also how to train the Ukrainians on the use of proper anti-armor weapons," O'Hanlon told The Sun.

More News from Havre de Grace

Army field medical laboratory leaders from Aberdeen Proving Ground meet with Polish counterparts in Warsaw

Leaders from the U.S. Army’s only deployable medical field laboratory recently met with medical officials and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear experts from the Polish Armed Forces.The command team from the 1st Area Medical Laboratory visited Poland in support of the U.S. Army Europe-Africa Surgeon Cell’s regional engagement efforts.During the week-long visit, 1st AML leaders toured the Polish Epidemiological Response Center and Military Institute for Chemistry and Radiolog. Both Polish organizations ha...

Leaders from the U.S. Army’s only deployable medical field laboratory recently met with medical officials and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear experts from the Polish Armed Forces.

The command team from the 1st Area Medical Laboratory visited Poland in support of the U.S. Army Europe-Africa Surgeon Cell’s regional engagement efforts.

During the week-long visit, 1st AML leaders toured the Polish Epidemiological Response Center and Military Institute for Chemistry and Radiolog. Both Polish organizations have similar missions to the 1st Area Medical Laboratory.

The 1st AML leaders also toured the laboratory facilities at the Polish Military Institute of Medicine – National Research Institute in Warsaw, Poland, and the biological and chemical labs at the Military Preventive Medicine Center in Modlin, Poland.

Headquartered on Aberdeen Proving Ground, the 1st Area Medical Laboratory identifies and evaluates health hazards through unique medical laboratory analyses and rapid health hazard assessments of nuclear, biological, chemical, endemic disease, occupational and environmental health threats.

From Australia and South Korea to Canada and Germany, the 1st AML works with allied forces around the world. The 1st Area Medical Laboratory is part of the 44th Medical Brigade and 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command, the U.S. military’s premier multifunctional all hazards formation.

American Soldiers and Army civilians from the 20th CBRNE Command take on the world’s most dangerous hazards in support of joint, interagency and allied operations.

Lt. Col. Nick Nussdorfer, the force health protection officer in the Office of the Command Surgeon for U.S. Army Europe-Africa, said 1st AML brings one-of-a-kind capabilities that increase interoperability with allies and partners.

“U.S. Army Europe-Africa appreciates the force health protection expertise that 1st AML provides the theater,” said Nussdorfer.

Maj. Suzanne E. Mate, chief of Chemical Threat Assessment for 1st Area Medical Laboratory, said meeting with allies helps to keep NATO ready for any contingency.

“It’s better to know your partners before you have to work together in a high-consequence situation. We learned the strengths in different mobility platforms for laboratories and the capabilities within fixed scientific institutions to maintain standards and currency in chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) investigations,” said Mate.

“This knowledge is invaluable when determining how to move a sample quickly and efficiently to characterize a suspected CBR threat when airlift resources are constrained or country treaties prevent movement activities,” said Mate.

A graduate of George Washington University, Mate has served in the Army for 15 years as both an enlisted and commissioned soldier, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Health. Mate, a Medical Service Corps officer who served on a response team during the 2015-2017 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, said the visit helped to forge stronger ties with 1st AML’s Polish counterparts.

“We gained an understanding for our NATO partners’ focus on biomedical and CBR topics unique to their geographic region,” said Mate. “In addition, by touring their biomedical and CBR institutions, we gained knowledge for resources to process environmental samples, which enables our scientists to discuss procedural options to investigate suspected threats.”

Mate said the 1st Area Medical Laboratory invited their Polish counterparts to Aberdeen Proving Ground and Fort Detrick in Frederick County, to see their facilities.

Col. Matthew J. Grieser, commander of 1st Area Medical Laboratory, said the visit was an example of how his one-of-a-kind command supports alliance partners around the world.

“It was a great opportunity to meet our Polish counterparts and to learn from one another,” said Grieser, a native of Mulino, Oregon, who has deployed to Afghanistan four times and Iraq five times. Grieser also served in Haiti, Panama, and New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

“We intend to continue to strengthen this relationship with our Polish counterparts,” said Grieser. “Poland is a great ally and it was an honor to visit our counterpart organizations.”

Lt. Col. Lukasz Krzowski, the Polish Armed Forces coordinator for the visit, said collaboration is the key to success in high stakes CBRN missions.

Krzowski said the visit introduced unit tasks, capacities and capabilities in biodefense and preventive medicine, adding that it also helped to define areas for field detection and identification of naturally occurring or intentionally released infectious diseases as well as chemical or radiological hazards.

A former soldier of the Epidemiological Response Centre (ERC) of the Polish Armed Forces, Krzowski is assigned to the Biodefense Laboratory, Biomedical Engineering Centre in The Military University of Technology and still collaborates with the ERC in the areas of biodefense and preventive medicine.

“This visit will start collaboration in biodefense and other hazards in the chemical or radiological area. That means our future collaboration activities will increase our knowledge and procedures and lead to improved areas of interoperability between our nations,” said Krzowski.

Military health experts remind you to check your home for hazards

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – A service member’s home should be their “safe place” – a place to relax and enjoy time with their family. Accidents happen every day, and children are the most vulnerable to housing hazards or unsafe circumstances. Parents should be aware of the potential hazards and protect their family by removing the hazards, locking or blocking child exposures to the hazards and educating children about the hazards.In honor of National Veterans and Military Families Month, Defense Center...

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – A service member’s home should be their “safe place” – a place to relax and enjoy time with their family. Accidents happen every day, and children are the most vulnerable to housing hazards or unsafe circumstances. Parents should be aware of the potential hazards and protect their family by removing the hazards, locking or blocking child exposures to the hazards and educating children about the hazards.

In honor of National Veterans and Military Families Month, Defense Centers for Public Health–Aberdeen experts offer some advice and resource recommendations to help parents create a safe and hazard-free home environment.

“Toddlers or very young children can accidentally access many items in or around their home that can result in serious injury or even death,” says Jouelle Lamaute, public health nurse with DCPH-A. “Parents should routinely look around their home to ensure hazardous products are locked away, and that furniture, toys and other products do not have safety recalls.”

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports the top 5 hidden hazards in the home include:

• Magnets that are swallowed. • Recalled safety products (e.g., furniture, toys, child seats, clothing). • Windows (blinds and cords). • Furniture tip overs. • Pools and spas (drains with suction).

Lead Poisoning and Other Military Housing Concerns

Lead can cause serious developmental and behavioral problems in children and the fetuses of pregnant women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect learning, ability to pay attention and academic achievement. While effects of lead exposure may be permanent, if caught early there are things parents can do to prevent further exposure and reduce damage to their child's health. Lead may be present in several sources in the home that parents should consider:

• Primary sources of lead exposure include drinking water from old lead pipes and plumbing fixtures and in paints found in houses before 1978. If lead paint is covered by newer paint, exposure can still occur from chipping or dust during renovations. • Lead has been found in metal and plastic toys, especially some imported toys, antique toys and toy jewelry. These items may be chewed on by infants and toddlers. • Lead can also be found in other antique, vintage and traditional non-toy items. • Lead and other heavy metals may be found in certain in baby foods.

“One exposure source I’ve seen come up is related to the use of ceramic food/serving dishes that have contributed to elevated pediatric blood lead levels,” said Rebecca Hughes, an industrial hygienist with DCPH-A’s Industrial Hygiene Field Services Division. “Some of the glazes on traditional pottery contain a lead compound that can leach into foods when the pottery is not manufactured properly.”

The Food and Drug Administration offers more information on lead-glazed traditional pottery.

A child may be exposed to lead from more than one source, and they may not have visible signs or symptoms. A blood lead test is the best way to find out if a child has lead poisoning. During a blood lead test, a small amount of blood is taken from the finger, heel or arm and tested for lead.

While there is no safe level of lead in a child's blood, the CDC and the Army currently use a blood lead reference value of 3.5 micrograms per deciliter to identify children with blood lead levels that are higher than those of most children in the United States.

Hughes says an excellent resource for parents is the CPSC safety guide for childproofing the home.

“The best thing a homeowner or resident can do when encountering lead, mold or other hazards is to address them early,” said Hughes. “That means if they live in military family housing, report peeling/damaged paint, water leaks or damage before mold begins to grow, or any other problem as soon as it is noticed. And keep advocating to have it repaired.”

Hughes says residents may even be able to handle small repairs/cleanups and some housekeeping items themselves to prevent a problem or prevent a small problem from becoming a more serious issue.

“If the scope of the problem becomes large and requires a professional, make sure to hire qualified professionals and ask for references,” said Hughes.

Medicine and Household Poisonings

Hundreds of U.S. children are seen in emergency rooms each year due to accidental ingestion of household products (cleaning products, hand sanitizers, detergent pods, car fluids, medicines) or accidental overdoses of medicine given to them by a caregiver. The Poison Control Center Hotline, 1-800-222-1222, is a useful reference to save in your cell phone.

Here are a few tips you can find on the DCPH-A Child Safety Hazards page:

• The Environmental Protection Agency has an interactive “Household Hazards Hunt” learning tool on their website to help educate your child about some common hazards. • Before giving your child medications, read labels to ensure proper child dose and possible interactions. • Dispose of unneeded products and lock up or move those you need to hard-to-reach locations. • Save the Poison Control Center Hotline on your cell and on/near every phone in your home. o Call Poison Control if you think a child has been poisoned and if they are awake and alert. o Call 911 if your child has collapsed or is not breathing.

Hughes says her team does not play a direct role in assessing or assisting residents with environmental hazard assessments of homes but occasionally does take calls from residents.

“Our team often provides consultative support to installation housing offices, departments of public works and the local health departments while they are handling environmental housing concerns and assisting residents,” said Hughes. “On occasion, we have had the opportunity to speak directly with a resident and answer some of their questions and connect them with the installation personnel who can perform these housing assessments. It’s important that everyone have access to safe and healthy housing.”

Safe is Strong

The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, part of Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, launched a “Safe is Strong” project this summer focused on the health and safety of military families with infants and toddlers. Dr. Stephen Cozza, a retired Army colonel, is a psychiatrist and the associate director of the Child and Family Program at the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress. He recently promoted Safe is Strong at the annual summit of the Military Child Education Coalition. One area of home safety Dr. Cozza highlighted was safe firearm storage.

“We know that more than 40 percent of children in active-duty families are under the age of 6, and 75 percent are under the age of 12,” said Cozza. “We really need to be focused on access to firearms.”

Cozza, who was quoted on this issue in Military Times, cited a study of Soldiers in the U.S. which found that 57 percent of Soldiers with children own firearms. According to the study, 20 percent of those Soldiers owning firearms – and whose children in the house were under age 18 – had at least 1 loaded and unlocked firearm in the house. A 2023 study in the Injury Epidemiology journal reported the ongoing problem of accidental shootings of and by children under 15 years of age. According to the journal article, most of these incidents occur in the home, and victims and shooters are often family members or friends. A key study finding is that guns in the home are not secured properly.

The Safe is Strong website includes a link to an article on healthychildren.org, which highlights the risk of not storing firearms safely and provides recommendations for their safe storage. Military OneSource also offers several recommendations for safely handling guns and ammunition in the home.

In response to health concerns arising from environmental hazards found in military housing, the Defense Health Agency maintains a “Health and Housing” page on their Health.mil website with resources for each military service branch, as well as articles and informational links.

Defense Centers for Public Health–Aberdeen Approved for public release; distribution unlimited.

The Defense Health Agency supports our Nation by improving health and building readiness—making extraordinary experiences ordinary and exceptional outcomes routine.

NOTE: The mention of any non-federal entity and/or its products is for informational purposes only, and not to be construed or interpreted, in any manner, as federal endorsement of that non-federal entity or its products.

LEAVE A COMMENT

NEWS INFO

Date Taken: 11.17.2023
Date Posted: 11.17.2023 13:12
Story ID: 458071
Location: US
Web Views: 72
Downloads: 0

PUBLIC DOMAIN

This work, Military health experts remind you to check your home for hazards, by Douglas Holl, identified by DVIDS, must comply with the restrictions shown on https://www.dvidshub.net/about/copyright.

Disclaimer:

This website publishes news articles that contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The non-commercial use of these news articles for the purposes of local news reporting constitutes "Fair Use" of the copyrighted materials as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law.