Fort Knox, Ky., — Advanced Camp 4th Regiment Cadets tackled Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Training, braving the CS gas chamber, testing their ability to remain calm in stressful environments.
Cadet Maria Elena Lopez, student at University of Texas at Austin, native of Dallas, was one of the Cadets that braved the CS chamber.
“Today we had classes on CBRN training: how to put on a gasmask in nine seconds or less and how to put on our gear in eight minutes or less correctly,” said Lopez. “Once we passed those two tests, we moved into gas chamber prep, getting familiar with what it’s like for a chemical officer or chemical soldier to look at contaminates inside of an area. After that, we all lined up and put on our masks and gear and went into the gas chamber.”
While in the chamber, Cadets are expected to perform a series of tasks, a difficult challenge while exposed to the CS gas.
“We ran a little bit in place and then we had to take our masks off, we just started saying our name and last four [of social security number] as much as we could until they let us out,” said Lopez. “It was just a burning sensation on your skin, eyes, and mouth. They walked us out and we just started flapping our arms until we could take off our gear and call it a day.”
Cadet Jesse Hudson, student at Florida Southern College, native of Lakeland, Florida, also went through the CS chamber.
“I really liked going through the chamber, just because once you get out you are closer with your squad, just because it’s one more experience you have gone through. It was a good experience, I would definitely do it again,” said Hudson.
Both Hudson and Lopez find that this training allows Cadets to prepare for future leadership roles.
“I think it teaches you a couple things, the biggest thing is trusting your equipment. You can’t have confidence in what you are doing if you can’t have confidence in what your equipment does. The other thing is staying calm under pressure, teaching you one more thing on how to act in a stressful environment,” said Hudson.
According to Lopez, remaining calm under pressure is a necessary skill for leaders to possess.
“I think that leaders should stay calm in any stressful situation because soldiers look up to their leaders, and if a leader has the look of worry or stress, then all of their soldiers are going to be worried and stressed. If they are calm and contained, their soldiers will stay calm and contained as well,” said Lopez.
Hudson believes that a confident leader will inspire confidence in those they lead.
“Whenever your soldiers see that you are not confident in what is going on, that is immediately going to make them feel unconfident and then your mission could potentially take a turn for the worse after that,” said Hudson. “I think in any situation, in no mission is there going to be something that goes as planned. There is always going to be curveballs and stuff that comes out of no where, so I think it’s definitely a good thing for things that aren’t planned to happen.”