By: Madison Thompson
FORT KNOX, Ky. – The Charlie and Delta Companies of First Regiment, Advanced Camp, completed their Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear, CBRN, training on June 4 during Cadet Summer Training, CST. This training helps educate the Cadets should they encounter a chemical environment.
“Any kind of energy source that would cause a hazard, we have to be able to take care of it. Also, if you come upon an unknown substance, liquid or gas, it could cause a lot of harm. Since we don’t know everything that exists, we need to be able to prepare for it and test it so that our troops are healthy,” said Cadet Alexis Carney, Sam Houston State University, from Dallas, Texas.
Cadets, before being tested on their equipment, were taught on many different aspects of CBRN to ensure everyone practices the training safely.
“A couple nights prior to them coming to our lane, we go out and teach them the seven classes. We teach them how to protect themselves from a chemical environment, MOC levels, how to PMCS the pro-mask, how to dawn and clean the pro-mask. Then we go into the fun of how to decontaminate yourself, how to decontaminate your equipment and then how to properly detect chemicals,” explained Staff Sgt. Chester Lohman.
For this training, Cadets entered a chamber filled with Corson Stoughton, CS, gas. The Cadets exposed to CS, commonly known as tear gas, experience a wide variety, but specific, set of symptoms.
“Well, before they go into the chamber, some might be a little clogged up … Once we have them open the suit, it’s normally like a basic sunburn, a basic skin irritation,” explained Lohman. “Once you take the mask off and you start breathing, you’ll feel raspy on your throat. It’ll feel like little bits of pins and needles going down as you breathe. You’ll feel in your respiratory system, it gets harder to take deep breaths so you’re going to be a little bit shallow in your breathing. Your eyes will start watering. Then, suddenly, your nose is running too. That’s when all the magic happens if you’re congested. It’ll clear you out and then you’ll have a more entertaining day since your nose will run throughout the day.”
Nearly all Cadets experienced these symptoms.
“It definitely makes you cry and I couldn’t smell before, but I can definitely smell now. So it clears your sinuses … I was really excited for it. I had never done it before unlike some of my battle buddies … It was better than I thought it was going to be. I expected it to hurt like it did. It’s definitely a new feeling, it does feel like a porcupine on your exposed skin and you do lose control of your eyes. You can’t see, you’re crying and everything,” said Cadet Carney.
Some Cadets had similar experiences, but had different expectations.
“My expectations were kind of low. I didn’t think it was going to be that bad. It was pretty bad, but I’m just glad I made it out and I’m alive, so that’s all that matters. It was like a whole mixed pot of emotions. I was excited and nervous,” said Cadet Victoria Moore, University of North Alabama, from Huntsville, Alabama. “My heart started beating a little bit, but I was like ‘okay I have to do this to get a go for camp’. So I was like ‘whatever, I’m just going to push through it.’ I just kind of went in there with everyone else. It would have been scarier if I was doing it by myself, but I had my wonderful platoon with me so that made it better.”
There were many important lessons in this training exercise.
“It really just teaches us to trust in the equipment the Army gives you, because you never know what circumstances you’re going to be in, no matter what branch or career path you’re taking,” said Moore.
Cadet Carney made a connection between the experience and the training.
“You’re literally holding onto your battle buddy through it,” stated Carney. “Your battle buddy is leading you out the door and our instructors are leading us out of the door so it is a direct representation of leadership.”
Cadet Summer Training brings 8,200 Cadets through Basic and Advanced Camp this summer on Fort Knox. These camps are designed to help challenge, grow and improve various skills and leadership qualities within the Cadets. If you think you have what it takes to be a Cadet or if you are interested in a job after college click the following link: https://my.goarmy.com/info/rotc1/index.jsp?iom=IP08-AUTO-R1NA-BR-XXX-XX-XXX-MO-XX-X-BRCMAC:IP08