News: Training to survive in a chemical environment
Story by Pfc. Han-byeol Kim
CAMP CASEY, South Korea – “When I first inhaled in the gas chamber, it was like my throat was collapsing and choking. It got harder to breathe,” said Pfc. Jacob Furman, a signal support systems specialist assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 210th Fires Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. “The chamber was kept dark, so it was scary. I had a burning sensation on my skin.”
Soldiers from HHB conducted a mask confidence chamber and operational decontamination training on Camp Casey, South Korea, June 6, 2013. The purpose of this training was to teach soldiers the knowledge and skills to survive chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear attacks.
“Through this training, soldiers will be proficient in dealing with a chemical environment and know how to decontaminate themselves and their equipment.” said Sgt. 1st Class Barry Miller, from Sumter, S.C., the 210th Fires Brigade chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear noncommissioned officer in charge.
A few weeks before the training, soldiers from different sections volunteered to organize a decontamination team. They learned and practiced decontamination and vehicle wash down.
“Our decon team gathered four times over the past three weeks,” said Pfc. Song Jae-ik, from Seoul, South Korea, an information technology specialist assigned to HHB. “Our mission is to detect contamination from soldiers and vehicles, and if they are contaminated, it is our job to decontaminate them.”
In the morning, soldiers conducted round robin training consisting of several different CBRN stations: using detection equipment, properly wearing joint service lightweight integrated suit technology, wearing the protective mask and using M9 detector paper, immediate decontamination, mission oriented protective posture gear exchange, and the mask confidence chamber.
In the first half of the training, soldiers learned different decontamination techniques to prepare for the second half of the day.
“The gas chamber reminded me of CRBN training that I did in ROK Army basic training about a month ago,” said Pvt. Sohn Jung-seok, from Yongin, South Korea, a human resources specialist assigned to HHB. “When I first saw the gear, I didn’t know its importance. But after I went through the gas chamber, I realized the importance and functions of the gear.”
The soldiers conducted operational decontamination during the afternoon. They exchanged MOPP gear and washed down vehicles based on what they learned in the morning. For the decontamination team, they put to use the skills they had practiced for the past three weeks.
“The gas chamber made me nervous, but I could make my mental strength stronger,” said Sohn. “This training was helpful and worthwhile. I am looking forward to next CBRN training.”
The CBRN training ensures 210th Fires Brigade soldiers are ready to fight tonight to be able to defend the Republic of Korea and protect the alliance under any conditions.