FORT KNOX, Ky. – Cadets from 4th Regiment, Advanced Camp took a deep breath as they prepared their minds and bodies for the confidence chamber. The confidence chamber is also commonly referred to as the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) gas chamber.

CBRN instructors make sure the Cadets have their mask on tight before heading into the chamber:

A Cadre member checks the seal on Cadets gas masks during the CBRN training, June 11, Fort Knox, Ky. | Photo by Catrina Dubiansky, Public Affairs Office

The purpose for CBRN is to prepare Cadets in case an adversary uses a toxic substance against them and their Soldiers.  “We learned how to put the gear on properly, the different types of gases and how to identify them,” said Tyler Hudson, from DePaul University.

With that knowledge and practice, the Cadets are then taken to the confidence chamber.

There, they will ensure their mask works by entering the chamber wearing a sealed mask.  The Cadets then answer questions relating to their training, all the while unaffected by the gas inside the chamber. This continued until the Cadre instructed them to take a deep breath and hold it while they close their eyes and lift the mask away from their face. With the seal broken on their mask, the Cadets felt the effects of the gas on their skin.  They then re-sealed their mask, blowing out the gas in the process, and learned that their mask will protect them when used properly.

Then in a long-standing Army tradition, Cadre told the Cadets to remove their mask and sing “I’m A Little Teapot” before they could exit the chamber.

For many CBRN is a nerve-racking experience, but almost all are able to overcome their fear.

Cadet Jordon Borders, from Albany State University, said “I did have butterflies in my stomach before going inside, but you force it down and just do it.”

Army ROTC Cadets await instruction from inside of the CBRN Chamber:

4th Regiment, Advanced Camp Cadets stand inside the gas chamber during CBRN training to gain confidence in their equipment that it will protect them if exposed to gas, June 11, Fort Knox, Ky. | Photo by Catrina Dubiansky, CST Public Affairs Office

For some, today’s experience wasn’t their first time in the chamber.

“This is my second time doing this, and my first experience was really bad. This time around I was able to prepare my mind and body for the confidence chamber,” said Cadet Alisha Conway, University of Alabama.

Cadet Madeline Fletcher, who attends Central Washington University, went into the confidence chamber for the first time today.

“I knew it was going to be painful, but I was more excited to do it and have the experience,” said Fletcher.

And with her experience, she and all the Cadets now have confidence in their protective mask and clothing.

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