By Zachary Hada, 55th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 17, 2018
Senior Airman Kevin Ware, 55th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, stands for a photo with his gas mask Thursday, Oct. 26 at Farichild Hall on Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. Ware helps train new Airman to the fight on how to administer gas mask fit tests. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Rachelle Blake)
Every 18 months, Airmen undergo chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear defense survival training as a precaution for operating in potentially dangerous environments worldwide.
The requirements to complete CBRN training recently changed.
“It was identified as a shortfall across the Air Force that Airmen didn’t have all the knowledge and skills required to operate in CBRN environments,” said Trip Spiller, 55th Civil Engineer Squadron chief of emergency management. “The course is changing so we can pass on those tools and knowledge to Airmen. We want them to have the ability to survive and operate in a CBRN environment when deployed or reacting to an attack at home station.”
The course is replacing the required computer based training portion by adding time onto the already required in–class piece taught by the 55th CES emergency management team.
“With the plan for the new training format, the course will be approximately two hours of instructor-led classroom material,” said Spiller. “From there, we will do a two-hour hands on CBRN training and post attack reconnaissance training.”
The hands-on class focuses on how to inspect and wear the Mission Oriented Protective Posture gear such as mask, helmet, jacket, gloves, boots, web belt and body armor to ensure Airmen can successfully put it on in the recommended time.
“The training gives Airmen the tools and knowledge to confidently operate in a contaminated environment,” said Spiller.
Along with learning about the MOPP gear, the course familiarizes Airmen on various CBRN threats and how to identify a contamination if it is present in the area.
“We go through post attack reconnaissance training that simulates when Airmen are searching for unexploded ordinances, chemical threats, damage, casualties after an attack around their work center or in a deployed environment,” said Spiller.
The advantage of attending classroom training instead of completing an online CBT is utilizing the instructor’s firsthand knowledge. They are experts in their field and ensure the base populous can work and survive in a chemical environment.
“Between myself and the rest of the instructors, we have almost 100 years of CBRN knowledge that we can pass on to the younger Airmen that have less experience with this threat,” said Spiller. “As opposed to a CBT, instructors can adapt and respond to Airmen’s questions with firsthand knowledge.”
Without CBRN training, our forces would not be as effective down range with our enemy’s technology changing rapidly.
“It’s integral that we ensure our forces attain the best possible training to face chemical and biological attacks,” said Spiller. “We want our people to have the ability to react properly and quickly to protect themselves in these environments.”
For more information, call the 55th CES Emergency Management office at (402) 294-3642.