A Team of Two:

Deployed to Balad AB, Iraq, are two airmen who comprise the base’s biological augmentation team and would determine which agent was used in case of a biohazard attack, reports MSgt. Bryan Ripple. The two airmen are Maj. Thomas Shaak and SSgt. Raul Gutierrez, both deployed to Iraq from the Air Force Institute of Operational Health in San Antonio. Thomas explains that if he and his teammate can determine the agent within three hours and get response actions going within 12 hours, they “can prevent mission degradation.” Shaak notes that a change in detection systems during this second of his two deployments has enabled them to reduce testing time from a couple of days to three or four hours.