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By Story by Spc. Maximilian Huth
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - U.S. Army Central Soldiers with the 318th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Company collaborated with the 720th Transportation Company, their neighboring unit, to conduct decontamination and equipment confidence training here, May 26, 2021.
“I went over [to the neighboring unit], and I asked them if we could wash their trucks [for further training],” said U.S. Army Spc. Hope Brown, a CBRN specialist with the 318th CBRN Company. “And they were like ‘okay cool!’ And then we started talking, and then they were like ‘We need some type of CBRN training,’ and it just blossomed from there.”
Brown not only spearheaded the training, she also served as the noncommissioned officer in charge, organizing the events and ensuring everything ran smoothly. U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Tony Perry, the first sergeant for the 318th CBRN Company, said he felt having a junior enlisted in charge helped build skills essential to readiness.
“Nine times out of ten, those individuals are going to be doing the work,” he said. “From all aspects of it: NCOs, we make things happen. But when it comes to the leg work, the Soldiers [are the ones] who make it happen.”
Soldiers with the 720th Transportation Company went through a decontamination line, where they would downgrade from Mission Oriented Protective Posture 4, the highest level of CBRN protective equipment, all the way to MOPP 0. Soldiers would team up to help downgrade overgarments and gear in order to limit skin contamination.
“If there is ever any type of chemical attack, you don’t want to take that equipment back with you and risk exposing anyone else to whatever contamination it is you’re actually fighting,” Brown said.
For the equipment confidence portion, Soldiers entered the gas chamber donning their masks, then ensured their masks were airtight and that they were able to clear them if the seals were compromised. Finally, they exposed themselves to the environment to understand what 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile, also known as CS gas, feels like.
“It’s best to have this training just in case, because you never know what might happen going forward,” Perry said. “And to keep our Soldiers prepared for that one day will save a lot of lives on the battlefield.”
Approximately 60 Soldiers went through the gas chamber, many who ran multiple iterations to support their battle buddies, culminating with a last man standing competition to see who could last longest while exposed to the gas.
“We’re human also. Of course, we drive order, will, discipline, all the time; but sometimes you have to break down and have that fun with the Soldiers,” Perry said. ““Being away from home, it can be stressful if you just go to work every day and all you focus on is work. All work makes a dull Soldiers.”
When the training was concluded, the organizers were recognized by Perry, with Brown receiving a challenge coin for her diligence and growth as a Soldier.
“She’s been working above her rank for a while,” Perry said. “She should be a sergeant already. She has done an outstanding job since day one in country.”
“This is my very first time running any type of mission,” Brown said. “It was a lot of work, but I could not have done it without my leadership. I couldn’t have done it without my platoon. It’s super exciting, and I’m really glad it turned out the way it did today.”
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