4th Regiment Cadets completed their chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear training and testing at Fort Knox, Ky., on June 15, 2022. 

The training is part of Cadet Summer Training. It involved a safety brief, classes, tests, and then a short time in the confidence chamber. In the chamber, Cadets are exposed to CS gas. They have to perform several small exercises while wearing their masks. Then, they remove their masks. 

A U.S. Army Cadet practices putting on his gas mask during chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear warfare training at Fort Knox, Ky., June 15, 2022. Cadets learned how to don their gas masks in nine seconds or less to prepare them for emergency situations. | Erinn Finley, CST Public Affairs Office

Many Cadets feel nervous when thinking about entering the confidence chamber. For these Cadets, their squad and platoon can be a source of encouragement and motivation. 

Cadet Hunter Cashmer from Clarion University said the chamber was very different from anything else he has experienced. 

“I was a little nervous at first, but everyone in my squad and platoon was in good spirits, so it went pretty easy,” Cashmer said. “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.” 

The confidence chamber training allows Cadets to see how effective their equipment is in a chemical environment. 

U.S. Army Cadets wait for the effects of CS gas to wear off during their chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear warfare training at Fort Knox, Ky., June 15, 2022. Cadets went into a chamber full of CS gas to help them develop confidence in their safety gear. | Erinn Finley, CST Public Affairs Office.

Cadet Daniela McCurdy from Millersville University said she felt uncertain about going into the chamber. 

“I was actually really really scared going in, I was so nervous because I’m not prior enlisted or anything,” McCurdy said. “It’s my first time doing something like this, but really, when I got inside it was pretty fun.”

McCurdy also said the CBRN training helped her platoon grow closer.

Cadets at CST come from various backgrounds and have different career goals both in the Army and in their civilian fields. 

U.S. Army Cadets recover from CS gas during their chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear warfare training at Fort Knox, Ky., June 15, 2022. As part of their training, Cadets had to enter a chamber full of CS gas, which helped them develop confidence in their gear. | Erinn Finley, CST Public Affairs Office.

Cashmer, a criminal justice major, said he wants to enter federal service or a state police academy. 

While in the Army, Cashmer wants to go into aviation and become a helicopter pilot. Cashmer said he got to ride in a Black Hawk during his training and it sparked his interest in aviation. 

McCurdy said she wants to branch Public Affairs during her career in the Army. She is also considering going to medical school later and working in medicine once her contract is finished with the Army. 

U.S. Army Cadets immerse their arms in ice water during chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear warfare training at Fort Knox, Ky., June 15, 2022. Arm immersions helped Cadets cool off and prevented heat casualties. | Erinn Finley, CST Public Affairs Office.

CBRN training and the confidence chamber provides Cadets with a good opportunity to grow closer to their peers, trust their equipment and learn the necessary skills to protect themselves in dangerous environments. 

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.