By Spc. Jared S. Eastman, 1HBCT Public AffairsApril 28, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - When the Soldiers of 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team Headquarters and Headquarters Company get together for training, it's a sight to see.
Around 40 Military Occupation Specialties working towards a common goal gathered April 21 at the Captor Spray gas chamber to test their gas masks.
"The training is meant to give Soldiers confidence in their nuclear, biological, chemical equipment and to prove the masks were reset correctly," said 1st Sgt. Timothy Chrysler, HHC 1st HBCT first sergeant, "We've moved away from doing a whole lot of conventional NBC training."
The morning started out with a 2.5-mile road march to and from the chamber, as well as familiarization with the NBC gas mask.
"I think my Soldiers did very well," said 1st Sgt. Chrysler, "It was a very good training exercise; a lot of the Soldiers haven't done this since basic training. Especially with the foot march before and after, I truly believe everyone is going to go home tonight and say, 'I did something today'. As opposed to sitting in an office, this is what it means to be a Soldier: walking out there getting your feet a little sore, getting choked up with some gas and coming back."
For the Soldiers, it was important for multiple reasons.
"It teaches me to be comfortable with my equipment and familiarizes me with the whole process," said Spc. William Garant. "I was a bit nervous before hand, wasn't sure exactly what to expect. Compared to my first experience with the gas chamber this one was much more enjoyable."
However, the most vital reason for the training is about practicing for something one hopes will never happen.
"[The most important part is knowing how to wear] the pro-mask correctly," said 1st Sgt. Chrysler, "That is the most perishable skill I think; everything else you can kind of work through. From the time you're told 'gas gas gas' or you hear the alarm, you should know what to do. You don't want to learn how to do it when you actually have to do it."