by Senior Airman John D. Partlow
47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
9/16/2013 - LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- With
present uncertainties around the world, chemical, biological,
radiological and nuclear warfare could become a very real possibility
for airmen deploying downrange.
Since one of Laughlin's missions is to deploy mission-ready airmen,
service members here must be trained properly to perform in these
environments. The men and women at the 47th Civil Engineer Squadron
Readiness and Emergency Management team are here to do just that.
The central focus of the team is to instruct Laughlin deployers on CBRN safety and procedures for deployments.
"The class covers key CBRN skills members will need to know if our
enemies ever use chemical weapons," said Rob Lindt, 47th CES REM chief.
"There's a hands-on portion so the members know exactly how to use their
equipment, and they even enter a chamber filled with tear gas to
strengthen their confidence."
Along with entering a tear gas chamber, members also are instructed on
post-action response team procedures, how to properly inspect their
equipment, different emergency alarm conditions and more. Most of that
training is also hands-on.
For Master Sgt. Carl James, 47th Medical Group and 47th Flying Training
Wing Wing Staff Agencies first sergeant, the hands-on portion put the
class on a new level.
"Using the equipment and being outside during most of the training beats
having to use a computer-based training program," said James. "It
definitely gave the experience a sense of realism."
Realism is key to the training due to the risks each service member faces when deploying.
"There's still that potential that we may need to know how to protect
ourselves from a chemical attack," said Staff Sgt. Heidi Williams, 47th
CES emergency management NCO in charge and training instructor. "It's
important for us to stay proficient in these skills."
While the class taught important information to Team XL members, the
main goal of the course is to prepare them for their downrange mission.
"The CBRN class definitely helped prepare me for my deployment," said James. "If something were to happen, I'd know what to do."