By Sgt. Shameeka R. StanleyFebruary 1, 2018
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, HAWAII -- Soldiers assigned to the 205th Military Intelligence Battalion, 500th Military Intelligence Brigade-Theater (MIB-T) conducted a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) defense training exercise at the Gas Chamber Jan. 26, here.
CBRN training ensures that Soldiers are prepared to react effectively in a chemical environment. Training reinforces their basic skills and knowledge on how to maintain readiness, protect themselves properly during a CBRN threat or attack and continue the mission.
"The importance of this training is to ensure that Soldiers are ready for world-wide deployment," said Sgt. 1st Class Dustin C. Westfall, CBRN noncommissioned officer in charge (NCOIC), Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 500th MIB-T. "In recent news in the world, the threat of a chemical attack is a major concern", he said.
During the training, Westfall demonstrated how to properly put on the Joint Service Lightweight Integrated Suit Technology (JSLIST), an over garment used to protect against a CBRN attack. The JSLIST is put on in a sequential order, according to the Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) level. MOPP is what guides the Soldier on what part of the JSLIST they should put on and when to put it on, based on the warning level that is given during a CBRN threat.
There are four levels of MOPP. Each level represent the type of protection that is needed when a warning is given.
"Gas! Gas! Gas!" yelled Sgt. Milena Garcia, CBRN NCOIC, HHD, 205th MI Bn.
The Soldiers reacted immediately by donning their protective masks and clearing and sealing the mask.
"The purpose of this training is for Soldiers to gain confidence in their equipment when they go through the gas chamber," said Garcia. They can see that their mask are sealed, they don't feel anything. Once they break the seal, the gas hits them and they can see that the mask protected them," she said.
As the Soldiers prepared to enter the gas chamber, they donned their protective mask. The first group lined up one behind the other, filing inside the gas filled room to put their confidence in their mask to the test.
The gas chamber is filled with a substance called chlorobenzylidene malononitrile (CS gas). This is commonly known as tear gas. This gas has some of the same effects someone would feel in an actual chemical attack; coughing, hard to breathe, watery eyes and a burning sensation.
Once inside, Garcia instructed the Soldiers to remove their protective mask, which exposed them to the effects of the gas. This allows the Soldiers to feel the difference from when they walked in with their mask on and come out with confidence knowing that their equipment is sufficient to protect them during an attack.
In an actual CBRN attack, Soldiers have only eight minutes to put on their protective gear.
"These Soldiers have no idea if and when they could be called to go overseas and serve our country," Westfall added. So it's important they have basic CBRN skills. Being able to put on the JSLIST over garment properly and don the protective mask effectively, is essential to survive in a chemical environment."