Squadron-wide CBRN training builds readiness

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Anthony Nunez-Pellicer
  • 319th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs

Over 50 Airmen from the 319th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron participated in a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear training, Nov. 27, 2023, here.

The primary objective of CBRN training is to is to protect Airmen from the effects of biological and chemical weapons, radioactive substances and nuclear incidents.

“Our number one priority is readiness,” said 1st Lt. Dominic Angelo, the 319th Civil Engineering Squadron readiness and emergency management flight commander. “We strive to make sure every single Airmen is prepared to face any and all CBRN situations they may encounter when deployed.”

CBRN instructors oversee proper use of Mission Oriented Protective Posture gear, which consists of several layers including a gas mask, over garments, gloves and over boots. The gear is designed to block and filter harmful chemicals and biological agents, and irradiated particles from the wearer.

The course itself features an instructional section that details various inspection principles for the MOPP gear as well as how to identify CBRN substances. The second half of the course is hands-on and features simulated CBRN environments in which the airmen must put on their MOPP gear in a designated amount of time and be inspected to pass the course.

“We try to relate it to the Anthrax letters; these are things that people have seen on the news or been involved in and it makes it easy to understand how real the threat is,” said Airman 1st Class Karlie Hicks, a 319th CES emergency management apprentice. “During deployments, the Airmen must be ready to go at a moment’s notice and be able to quickly and efficiently put on their MOPP gear.”

The course also covered how to correctly identify substances on M8 Chemical Detector Paper, which is used to detect the presence of nerve agents and blister agents in liquid form.

“Our Airmen have to be able to quickly deduce what chemical or biohazard they’re facing and communicate it clearly back to base,” said Hicks. “Time is of the essence and the CBRN course prepares Airmen effectively for the situations they may encounter on deployment.”

CBRN skills ensure Airmen of all specialties are educated and informed of the processes for detection, identification and mitigation of contamination as emergency management professionals may not be available during Agile Combat Employment and hub-and-spoke missions. 

As the 319th Reconnaissance Wing continues to transition to the Air Force Force Generation model for deployments, these large-scale trainings ensure Airmen are fully trained and prepared to provide combat-ready airpower anytime, anywhere.