By Sgt. Nathaniel Foster, 75th Fires Brigade PAOMay 10, 2012
FORT SILL, Okla.-- Soldiers in 3rd Battalion, 13th Field Artillery "Red Dragons" appeared from the gas chamber with runny noses, watery eyes and burning throats during training here April 25.
The battalion's goal was to teach Soldiers how to react to chemical and biological attacks by using their issued chemical warfare equipment.
"It was great training," said Staff Sgt. Ted Hannon, 3-13th FA section chief. "If you do not use your protective mask often then Soldiers start to lose their (nuclear, biological and chemical) skills."
Soldiers performed calisthenics to increase their heart rate, before going inside the chamber. First, the Soldiers entered the chamber with their protective masks on. The Soldiers then broke their seals, and resealed their masks to test their mask readiness.
Once that was completed, they moved to a white line inside the chamber and removed their mask for approximately one minute before exiting the chamber.
The tear gas caused a burning sensation of the eyes, nose, and mouth, but had no lasting effects once the Soldiers were removed from the contaminated area. After the Soldiers came out of the chamber, they walked around with their arms out, which helped expose their skin to the air and remove any remains of the contaminant.
"It was a good experience for everyone," said Pfc. Zachary Lull. "Coming out to the chamber helps the Soldiers build confidence in themselves and their equipment."
The training gave Soldiers a reminder of the symptoms they would experience in a chemical or biological attack. Many of the "Red Dragon" Soldiers said the gas chamber was not as bad as they had anticipated.