Dirty jobs -- CBRN Specialist
CAMP CASEY, South Korea -- "Gas, Gas, Gas!"
As a warning alert sounds across the lanes, Soldiers hurry to don their gas protective masks within nine seconds. Regardless of physical or mental fitness, those nine seconds are critical because of the ease with which Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) attacks can disable their target.
On December 3-5, Soldiers from 70th Brigade Support Battalion, 210th Field Artillery Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, conducted CBRN refresher training. The preemptive, required training is taught by subject matter experts. The training helps Soldiers to prepare for the reality of chemical warfare.
The participants practiced individual CBRN tasks such as donning their Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) gear, conducting Preventive Maintenance Checks and Services on their masks, and culminated with a trip through the CS gas chamber on the final day of training.
Staff Sgt. Lionel Abrams, the brigade CBRN noncommissioned officer, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 210th Field Artillery Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, mentioned how important this training really is.
"Due to chemical threats on the peninsula, it is good that we have these courses frequently," said Abrams. "That way, Soldiers can stay on top of things."
As lethal as chemical agents are, it is crucial that Soldiers are prepared for them. Depending on the type and severity of an attack, the mission capability of a unit can plummet in a matter of seconds, especially if Soldiers are unfamiliar or unconfident with their equipment.
According to Abrams, Soldiers need to be aware of what threats they may face and how to react. The battalion's training was done as realistically as possible in order for this to happen.
"It's so that the Soldiers can learn individual ten-level tasks as a refresher course," said Abrams, a native of Richmond, Va. "Taking it at that angle and through the gas chamber can help them get experience with actual agents and build confidence in their masks."
As the CBRN NCO, Abrams holds the responsibility of conducting proper training for Soldiers, helping them maintain their equipment and monitoring the notorious gas chamber during the training.
Because of his position as an instructor, the stakes are high. His understanding and familiarity with poisonous agents has to be advanced. First-hand experience, has taught him to recognize things like knowing the taste of the gas inside of the chamber.
"We actually get a lot of hands-on training with actual nerve agents and CS," said Abrams. "We deal with a lot of things people don't want to deal with."