Seventy-five soldiers from Charlie Company, 1st “Centurion” Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, conducted chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear training at the Black Gap Small Arms Complex on Aug. 21.
“If we ever go into a combat zone where there is contamination, we want to be able to still function and accomplish our mission,” said 1st Lt. Quintin Kuntz, platoon leader with the company. “It is important for the soldiers to be comfortable with their gear so they have confidence in what they are doing.”
When Charlie Company soldiers arrived at the range, there were three stations they were required to attend for training before entering the CS, or gas chamber.
Soldiers spent about 20 to 30 minutes at each station, where they were instructed on the M-256 Chemical Agent Detector Kit, the Joint Service Lightweight Integrated Suit Technology and how to properly don their protective gas masks.
Some of the younger soldiers had not participated in a gas chamber exercise since they graduated their basic combat training, including Spc. Nathan Menard, a combat engineer. “We have practiced putting on our masks a few times this year,” Menard said.
The battalion will incorporate the chemical training into an upcoming gunnery as well.
“Usually in gunnery (soldiers) have all the hatches open so they can quickly and accurately identify targets,” Kuntz said explaining the CBRN portion of gunnery. “When it’s a CBRN engagement all hatches are closed and you have to wear the mask so you are looking through different optics with the mask on.”
Kuntz said if soldiers aren’t comfortable on how to employ their masks on the ground it toughens their tasks at gunnery and he believes this training helps boost soldiers confidence.
“This training will help soldiers because they know they can accomplish their mission even if in a contaminated area,” Kuntz said.