They were in the military yes but I'm afraid things were a bit differently. Yes it I true that many, many people worked on the disaster, I was, however; referring to the very first wave of liquidators. Please remember that Chernobyl was worked on for years after the initial disaster. The first wave liquidators who worked in the nucleus (ground zero) were all volunteers and knew exactly what they were volunteering for. These men rushed in, virtually without any protective gear to speak of when comparing to the squads who came weeks, months and years later. Death was certain and all of these men knew it. It was this first wave that mapped everything along with a detailed description of what had occurred and what was needed. None who came afterwards (thousands) dealt with what the first waves had. It was these first responders who were shown on TV with the first images of the disaster. All perished and very quickly along with the pilots and the camera man on board helicopter. Those that worked outside ground zero and months after the initial disaster had a far better chance of survival.