FORT KNOX, Ky. – Good times never seemed so good when Cadets from C Company, 8th Regiment, Advanced Camp went through Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear training on July 19.
At 7AM, the Cadets grounded their gear at the CBRN training site.
The company was briefed before being separated into platoons and squads for Mission Oriented Protective Posture gear training.
MOPP gear, consisting of a gas mask, gloves, boot covers, and a hooded suit, is designed to protect Soldiers in a toxic environment.
Cadet Adam Minor, a student at Ohio State University, served in the 135th Military Police Company before joining the 137th Aviation Regiment.
In addition to being familiar with MOPP gear and the gas chamber, he’s been tasered and pepper-sprayed as part of his MP training.
“I would rather go through the gas chamber 10 times or 100 times rather than get pepper-sprayed ever again,” declared Minor.
He explained the gas used in the chamber clears up within minutes while pepper-spray irritates and burns your eyes for hours following exposure.
After the Cadets learned how to check and put on their gear, they had to properly put on their gear in eight minutes to receive a pass for the training.
Although they could not be physically assisted by other Cadets, they were allowed to have others talk them through the process.
The next stop was the gas chamber. Cadet Lathan Nelson, a student at East Carolina University, has gone through the gas chamber before and felt pretty good facing it again.
He explained the fear of the unknown is what makes most Cadets nervous about going through.
“You’ve heard stories,” stated Nelson, but “you don’t really know what’s going to happen.”
The Cadets entered the chamber with their masks sealed and completed movements and exercises to show that motion wouldn’t allow gas to get inside their masks.
One by one, Cadets removed their masks and recited their name, hometown, and a short song, after which they were allowed to replace and reseal their masks.
Led by Minor, when it came time for them to take take off their masks together and walk laps around the chamber, they burst into the chorus of Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline (but with far more coughing).
“Of course no one wants to go through for fun,” said Minor, “but … I want to be an officer and nothing’s going to stop me from being an officer.”