By 1st Lt. Jordan Linder, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division Public AffairsFebruary 14, 2018
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii-- CS Gas or tear gas -- it's a smell that's familiar to most in the military. Your skin begins to tingle as you approach the room as soon as the canisters are opened.
As you step inside the back of your neck feels hot. The muffled yells of the instructor order you to remove your mask. The first deep breath without a gas mask creates an uncomfortable situation.
Soldiers of Echo Company, 65th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, conducted Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear training (CBRN) on Feb. 5, here on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
The training is done to prepare Soldiers for chemical attacks. Chlorobenzylidene malononitrile, commonly referred to as CS gas or tear gas is used to train Soldiers within the gas chamber.
Soldiers began the morning by lining up outside of the chamber doing checks on their masks to ensure their equipment works properly.
"Having confidence in your equipment is what can ultimately determine mission success," said Command Sgt. Maj. Sean Horval, senior enlisted advisor of 2IBCT "There is always a chance that with future conflicts, chemicals could be involved. It is always smart to prep for the worst. If or when something does happen ,we are ready."
After lining up, Soldiers are instructed to make sure their masks have a good seal. By ensuring the masks are properly sealed, the mask is able to do its job in regulating clean air through the user.
Upon entering, Soldiers are ordered to break the seals on their mask, re-seal their masks and then fully remove their masks before exiting the chamber.
"My eyes were burning, they started watering," said Pvt. Jeremiah Cannon, a mechanic assigned to Echo Co. "After taking our masks off, we were told to explain why we joined the Army as a test to see how long we could take the gas. I could barely get my answer out, my lungs were burning."
The exit to the gas chamber suddenly opened and the Soldiers poured out as quickly as they could squeeze through the door.
Instructors began yelling out "Don't touch your eyes or your face!" to prevent Soldiers from rubbing more of the irritating contaminant on their bodies.
"The training is great in that it allows Soldiers to build proficiency in the event of a nuclear, biological or chemical attack," said 2nd Lt. Allison Carlisle, Maintenance Control Officer for the 65th BEB. "By going through a gas chamber, individuals are able to build confidence in their own actions as well as their equipment."
The CBRN training is an annual requirement that all units and Soldiers are required to conduct each year.
Though the training can appear intimidating, being familiar with procedures to prevent the inhalation of toxic chemicals can save lives in the event Soldiers ever experience a real CBRN threat.
The CBRN training in all, only takes a few minutes. Within a short period of trying on masks and entering the gas chamber, Soldiers are exiting the gas chamber for the next iteration of individuals to test their fortitude against the uncomfortable gas.
"CBRN training is designed to make Soldiers comfortable with being uncomfortable," explained Horval. "If an attack were to ever happen, these Soldiers can rely on their training to save their lives and to continue to push for mission success."