By Spc. Amanda McBride, 4th IBCT, 3rd ID Public AffairsJune 11, 2009
FORT STEWART, Ga. - From day one at Basic Combat Training, Soldiers learn the skills necessary to help protect themselves and their battle buddies in a combat environment.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear training is one of those essential, life-saving skills that 3rd Infantry Division Soldiers maintain through annual certification.
More than 60 Soldiers assigned to Batteries A and B, 1st Battalion, 76th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, donned their protective masks for CBRN training and entered Fort Stewart's gas chamber, June 2. The gas chamber teaches troops how to stay safe in the event of a chemical attack.
First Lieutenant Charles Carroll, 1/76 FA chemical officer, said the annual gas chamber training and qualification helps Soldiers get used to their military equipment and gain confidence in its effectiveness.
"They know if they put on their (Joint Service Lightweight Integrated Suit Technology) and their mask that it will protect them from whatever they are exposed to," said 1st Lt. Carroll.
The JSLIST is a set of garments worn over the Army Combat Uniform that provides protection against CBRN and battlefield contaminations.
Once inside the chamber, the 1/76 FA Soldiers underwent a series of tasks to determine whether their gas mask and JSLIST were properly worn. They then broke the seal of their protective masks and exposed their faces to the harsh gas for an allotted time period.
"The gas usually results in Soldiers coughing, sneezing and gasping," 1st Lt. Carroll said, adding that the gas chamber is typically Soldiers' least favorite military qualification.
Soldiers agreed, however, that the loathed task is beneficial.
"This type of training develops confidence in a Soldier's equipment so (he is) able to trust it in a combat situation," said Spc. Charles Hanke, assigned to Battery B. "(Military equipment) is the only thing he's got."
The gas chamber qualification marked one of the first training exercises for the 1/76 FA since their return from Iraq in Dec. 2008. The battalion is now training as a light-infantry unit and preparing for the 4th IBCT's next deployment.