Last Updated: February 8th, 2024By

The first Regiment of Cadets went through chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) training May 31, 2022.

CBRN is one of the training events Cadets are required to complete for Cadet Summer Training (CST). 

1st Lt. Adam Dykens, 21st Chemical Company, said this is a ten level warrior skills training for CBRN defense. Training includes donning of chemical defense equipment, detection of chemical defense equipment as well as reacting to nuclear, chemical and biological attacks. 

Dykens said this training is important for future leaders, so they know how to respond to this type of warfare. This helps keep them and their Soldiers safe from these threats. 

The training started with a briefing, which all the Cadets attended. This briefing included instructions and demonstrations for the day. Then the Cadets divided into smaller groups for more in depth CBRN training. 

They learned how to put on all their gear, how to decontaminate and practiced putting their masks on until they could do it in nine seconds or less. 

A Cadet practices putting on his equipment for a nuclear reaction drill at Fort Knox, Ky., May 31, 2022. The classes, and drills taught Cadets how to prepare for various chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats. | Erinn Finley, CST Public Affairs Office.

Dykens said the training ends with mask competence training in the gas mask competence chamber, where they use CS gas as a simulated chemical agent. This gas mask competence training allows Cadets to know that their gear works and is capable of defending them.

After going through the training and classes, Cadets went into the gas chamber.  While in the chamber, Cadets had to complete various movements with their masks on, break their mask’s airtight seal and then reseal their masks. This showed the Cadets how well their masks could filter out contaminated air. 

Cadets go through the gas mask confidence chamber as part of their chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) training at Fort Knox, Ky., May 31, 2022. The chamber allowed Cadets to see how well their equipment works in the case of a chemical threat. | Erinn Finley, CST Public Affairs Office.

The training finished when the Cadets, after running in place, removed their masks and sang Happy Birthday. 

Cadets left the chamber with tears streaming, then walked in a circle until they could see and breath more easily. 

Cadets walk around after going through the gas mask confidence chamber as part of their chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) training at Fort Knox, Ky., May 31, 2022. The Cadets walked around while the effects of the CS gas wore off. | Erinn Finley, CST Public Affairs Office.

After going through the chamber, Cadets washed their hands, arms and faces to get the CS gas off. 

Cadet Alexander Lopez, who attends the University of South Florida, said he felt good before going through the chamber. 

“This will be my third time going through this chamber,” Lopez said. “It’s an old friend of mine, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Lopez said his favorite part of the training is after he leaves the chamber because his sinuses feel clearer than they have ever been in his life. 

“Have fun with it,” Lopez said. “It’s a fun experience.” 

Cadet Jason Michener, who attends Virginia Tech, said after going through the chamber, he felt pumped and his adrenaline was rushing. He said his favorite part of the training was dunking his arms in water and washing the CS gas off his hands and face. 

Michener said he was nervous before going through the CBRN classes.

“This was like the main thing I was worried about coming to CST, but once we learned that we weren’t going to be in there for that long and getting in there, it didn’t feel all that bad,” Michener said. “It was honestly a really fun experience.” 

About the Author: Erinn Finley
Erinn Finley
Erinn Finley is a senior at Murray State University majoring in journalism. She enjoys writing, reading, travel and photography. She worked for the student newspaper at her campus to further her writing skills outside of the classroom. During the Cadet Summer Training internship, she hopes to further her photography and writing skills.