By Ms. Valerie Collins (Leonard Wood)September 14, 2017
The Army is constantly changing with the times. One of those changes includes new occupational physical assessment tests with new military occupational specialty specific high physical demands standards.
On Monday, the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School's Warrant Officer Basic Course performed the new high physical demands standards for the first time by testing the class of seven with an obstacle course consisting of four tasks. The warrant officers are required to perform each task in full Mission Oriented Protective Posture gear within 15 minutes.
Sgt. 1st Class Vincent Key, Dismounted Reconnaissance instructor, 3rd Chemical Brigade, explains the four-station obstacle course. The first task had warrant officers rolling a 55-gallon drum for 50 meters and back, followed by securely packing the 55-gallon drum using one of the HAZMAT techniques.
The second task warrant officers performed was dragging a litter with a casualty in the form of a dummy, which weighs approximately 180 pounds for 30 meters.
The third task required each warrant officer to carry two, 5-gallon water jugs for 100 meters. Key said the jugs weighed about 40 pounds apiece. Each individual was required to navigate through cones, zig-zagging through the course.
Moving onto the final task, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Heather Hubbard, CBRN warrant officer Professional Military Education instructor, stressed how exhausting these tasks are.
"You can only breathe in so much at a time through the mask," Hubbard said, "and they are sweaty and clumsy from being tired. Sweat is pooling into their gloves and they lose dexterity" making even the simplest task a lot harder.
The fourth, and final, task was a six-piece puzzle. Three pieces were already in place for them, but the remaining pieces had to be put into place right side up.
"They have to be able to make good decisions and think on the move," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Dante Wins, CBRN warrant officer PME instructor. He also pointed out these high physical demands tasks were developed to mimic what these warrant officers will do once they arrive at their first duty assignment.
"For these warrant officers, OPAT was performed at Warrant Officer Candidacy School," Wins said, adding that since WOBC is considered initial training, and CBRN does fall under the highest category of high physically demanding jobs in the Army they are now required to integrate these new tasks into training.
Once they finish the high-physical demands portion of training they go on to a special training mission. This training mission is set up to test their skills in identifying chemical agents in a mock enemy lab. This mission is also completed in MOPP gear.
"They are required to wear the MOPP for four consecutive hours and 10 non-consecutive hours," Hubbard said.
Wins went on to say that the new standards are there "to make sure they can do their job as a CBRN warrior."