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Training upgrades keep Airmen prepared

Students from the 45th Medical Group identify a mock UXO during CBRNE training Feb. 4. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman David Dobrydney)

Students from the 45th Medical Group identify a mock UXO during CBRNE training Feb. 4. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman David Dobrydney)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Dealing with the possible use of chemical or other non-conventional weapons is a fact of life for any Airman who deploys today.

To meet this challenge, the Air Force recently implemented improvements to its Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High-yield Explosive Defense training (Formally Chemical Warfare Defense Training). "The older method of teaching our war fighters just used conventional classroom training. In the past, you complete the computer based training and view a slideshow presentation. Now in addition to the classroom and web-based instruction, students undergo a series of field exercises to test their knowledge. This will ensure we are training our wingmen right, while giving them realistic training," said instructor Staff Sgt. Adam Giessman of the 45th Civil Engineer Squadron.

Students will be required to perform a series of demonstration performance exercises in full protective gear, including their protective suit, boots, gas mask and carrier, gloves/inserts, helmet, web-belt and canteen. This training is mandatory for active duty, Reserve and Guard personnel whether they are assigned to a deployment team or not. The frequency for CBRNE training is every 20 months for anyone who is deploying to a low, medium and high threat areas.

The field exercises consist of several stations in which they will be evaluated on their ability to perform Post Attack Reconnaissance (PAR) actions such as processing from dirty to clean zones, detecting chemical agents using M8 and M9 paper, avoiding contamination, donning and doffing gear, recognizing, reporting and marking of unexploded ordnance (UXO's), and identifying other post attack hazards.

These tests are conducted on a "go/no go" basis. Students who do not meet the requirements will receive remedial training and reattempt the task in order to receive a "Go" for that particular station. If they are unable to perform after the second time, they will be re-scheduled for a future course.

CBRNE Defense Survival Skills training is conducted at Patrick by the 45th Civil Engineer Squadron's Readiness and Emergency Management Flight at building 710.