FORT KNOX, Ky. – A Company, 9th Regiment Advanced Camp (CLC) Cadets went through the CS gas chamber for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) training July 20.
According to the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, CS gas is the most widely used tear gas in the world, making this training important to future U.S. Army leaders. Some effects of being exposed to CS gas include profuse coughing, skin burning, salivation, sneezing, and occasionally difficult breathing. These symptoms can occur within seconds of exposure to the gas and wear off within minutes after exposure to fresh air.
Master Sgt. Adam Farmer, NCOIC of the CBRN committee and the senior military instructor at Michigan Technological University, explained the purpose of the training.
“CS gas is an irritant, so it gives the Cadets a good opportunity to understand that their mask and equipment does work. The mask will filter the CS, and while they have the mask on they’re able to breathe, but once they take that mask off they’re able to understand that they’re in an environment that is filled with an irritant,” he said.
Prior to going into the gas chamber, Cadets learned how to properly put on chemical protection equipment, how to identify biological hazard markers, and what to do if they find themselves in a chemical threat situation. After, they correctly removed and cleaned chemical suits.
Cdt. Beth Anne Moore, University of North Carolina Charlotte, had gone through the gas chamber before July 20, and knew what to expect from the CS.
“It sucks at the time, but right after, it’s a good experience, for sure. It feels like instant strep throat, the worst case you ever had, but then it falls off after you come out,” she said.
Cdt. Brittaney Dossier, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, said she was taken by surprise in the chamber.
“I expected it not to be nearly as intense as it was. Walking in there, we’re motivated, high morale, and then my fellow Cadets took off their mask and didn’t react nearly as bad as I did,” said. Dossier. “Once I got up there, I lost all composure. I completely fell apart.”
“It taught me not to underestimate anything or anyone,” she added.
Cdt. Riley Lane, Bowling Green State University, described his experience similarly.
“I couldn’t see at all. I felt like my eyes were on fire and it hurt. It was worse than expected but fun,” said Lane.
In spite of the discomfort, many Cadets choose CBRN as their favorite part of Advanced Camp training. Cdt. Justin Peterka, University of North Georgia, said it was an awesome experience. “If I can do it, anyone can do it.”