Pennsylvania National Guard trains to stop CBRN attacks

Soldiers with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard conducted confidence CBRN training last week to be prepared to withstand gas attacks.

Soldiers assigned to the Guard's 128th Chemical Company, 728th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 213th Regional Support Group used a gas chamber as part of their training in Fort Indiantown Gap in Pennsylvania, Dvidshub.net reports.

"Today we conducted gas chamber training," Private First Class Vincent Gallagher, a chemical operations specialist with the 128th Chemical Company, said, according to Dvidshub.net. "It's mainly to make sure that your protective mask works so you can trust your equipment when you go down range."

A group of CBRN noncommissioned officers (NCOs) inspected the soldiers' masks, ensuring proper mask wear and seal. The masks protect soldiers from biological agents, airborne pollutants, radiological fallout particles and toxins by forming a sealed cover of the face.

The NCOs lined the interior of the gas chamber with tear gas for the test.

"We went in, put on our protective masks and made sure our seal was nice and tight," Gallagher said, according to Dvidshub.net. "Then we pulled off our mask breathed in some of the air and re-sealed our masks and then we were assured our gear was working properly. I've done this a few times. It doesn't get easier."

The exposure to tear gas and the mask training provides the soldiers with first-hand experience to prepare them for real world situations.

The 128th Chemical Company planned to join with other CBRN response agencies and units as part of Vigilant Guard, an emergency preparedness exercise hosted by the Pennsylvania National Guard, Dvidshub.net reports.