With modern warfare rapidly evolving, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) training has become increasingly important to Cadet Summer Training (CST) at Fort Knox, Ky.
“Your guys’ war is gonna be much different than my war. You need to pay attention to this training,” said Master Sgt. Matthew Hyde, the CBRN noncommissioned officer in charge, during his morning brief to 7th Regiment Advanced Camp.
The CBRN Confidence Chamber serves to create a level of trust in the equipment and the Cadets’ ability to properly use the equipment. This is done through thorough training.
“We did a lot of practice rehearsals, so when we did the actual thing I felt like I knew what to do and I had a clear understanding of what to expect,” said Cadet Megan Brigham from The University of Rhode Island.
The first thing they were trained on was the protective mask. Cadets were fitted and taught the proper procedure to apply their masks before practicing the timed test portion. Cadets had nine seconds after hearing ‘gas! gas! gas!’ to remove the mask from its bag, put it on, tighten the straps, and close and check the seal.
Cadet Bonnie Graham from Rochester University, said, “the hardest part was getting the mask on fast enough and knowing how to seal it.”
Once Cadets had the mask portion down, they were taught how to properly put on their five levels of mission oriented protective posture (MOPP) gear. MOPP gear protects Soldiers from contaminated areas during operations. Cadets received two demonstrations on how to properly wear their MOPP gear before the timed test.
“I’m just so used to putting it on as fast as I can, but since we had to actually explain what we were doing, I think that was more stressful than anything we did,” said Cadet Tyeako Stoepfel, from Kansas State University.
Once trained on their equipment, Cadets entered the chamber to get accustomed to the process.
“You can teach them how to use the equipment, but when it comes to things that can actually put them in harms way — there’s going to be some doubt,” said Spc. Frederick Owusu. “They have to come into contact with an agent that’s not too bad so they know not to freak out and lose all their military bearing when that happens.”
Though some Cadets were prior service and felt confident going into the chamber, the training beforehand was still a beneficial experience.
Stoepfel said, “I think the training was amazing. The Cadre were very calm so, of course, if they’re calm then we’re going to remain calm.”