Last Updated: June 15th, 2024By Tags: , , , ,

Fort Knox, Ky- With their confidence, focus and a pro mask, Cadets from 1st Regiment, Advanced Camp, took on the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear chamber as part of Cadet Summer Training, June 15, 2024, on Fort Knox.

When 1st Regiment arrives to the CBRN range, they are split up by platoon and stationed under different tents. Under the tents, Cadets take in-depth classes about the challenge to come. Cadre teach Cadets how to properly dress and cover their skin in the case of a chemical attack. Cadets were then timed on how fast they properly secure and seal their masks. The time expected is 9 seconds after a chemical attack occurs. Cadets are allowed multiple run-throughs of this process before heading on to face the chamber.

During these classes, Cadets are also taught how to secure their fellow Soldiers’ mask if they are unable to do so. Listening to the Cadres’ instruction and advice allows Cadets the confidence to tackle their procedures. After having their gear approved and their time made, Cadets head to the bleachers where they wait to march to the small concrete building that is the CS chamber.

Cadet Hunter Hobbs from Truman State University, Mo, has been a member of the National Guard for five years now. With his contract ending in a year, Hobbs decided to be commissioned as an officer and continue his service.

Hobbs expressed that while he wasn’t nervous, he still appreciated the chance to brush up on old skills.

“You’re always learning,” said Hobbs, “I’ve done a lot of this stuff, but it’s been a very long time. Getting a refresher on it all has been great.”

Hobbs recognizes his familiarity with the CS chamber and is also aware of the struggle for other Cadets who don’t have the same experience.

“With these exercises, it’s all about following the steps provided by the Cadre,” said Hobbs, “Some Cadets will get flustered, which causes them to make more mistakes in the chamber.”

Hobbs said that Cadets with experience like him have a unique opportunity to become a natural form of leadership for their platoons.

“We’ve got people with a lot more experience than I do,” said Hobbs, “but if anybody has anything that I can answer, I’m there to help.”

Unlike Hobbs, Cadet Bailey Gentieu, from Citadel Military College faced the chamber for the first time.

“I have no idea what to expect,” said Gentieu, “Yeah, I’m very nervous, I’ll try not to throw up.”

Gentieu’s inspiration for joining ROTC stemmed from the legacy of service members in her family. Gentieus’ mother was in the Army, and all her grandfathers served in the military.

“I remember sitting at the table,” said Gentieu, “listening to all of them tell funny and cool stories about the teamwork and camaraderie that they built over their years in the service.”

This inspired Gentieu, making her realize that this was something that she wanted to do with her life, saying she felt a responsibility to serve her country. After graduation, Gentieu plans to commission as a military police officer, following her father’s footsteps into law enforcement.

“My dad was a police officer,” said Gentieu, “so law enforcement has been a big part of my life. I was surrounded by something I’m interested in and passionate about. So, I chased it.”

Gentieu said that CST has shown her she is capable of more than she ever thought.

“I’ve also learned how to handle my frustrations much better than before,” said Gentieu.

Gentieu said that harnessing frustrations is what makes a true leader. She emphasized that maintaining morale is essential to the success of a mission. She believes that a leader’s demeanor can greatly impact a platoon’s performance, and that a positive environment is preferred.

“A leader to me is someone who helps others reach their full potential and goals,” said Gentieu, “I think empathy is the most important leadership competencies.”

Even before worrying about a mission, Gentieu believes a good leader should ensure that everyone is taken care of in their squad.

Facing the CBRN chamber, Cadets are required to pay close attention to instructions from Cadre, so they can stay safe.

“When you’re in the chamber, if you don’t seal that mask correctly, you’re going to feel it.” said Gentieu.

With so many different Cadre, coming from all different backgrounds, Gentieu appreciates the varying advice that each of them give. Gentieu believes that these different experiences will help her improve her tactics for her future job.

By recognizing that a strong and motivated team is essential for mission success, Cadets like Gentieu are learning that empathy is not just a desirable trait, but a necessary aspect of effective leadership.

For Cadets coming to face the CBRN chamber this summer or for future summers, Gentieu leaves some advice.

“It’s all about remembering all those fine little details,” said Gentieu, “how to properly seal your gloves, how to correctly seal your mask and how to sanitize everything the right way. If you don’t take these precautions seriously, you’re going to feel it in the chamber.”

About the Author: Andrew Berger
Andrew Berger is a senior at Ball State University majoring in Photojournalism. He is the Photo Editor of the Ball State Daily News and a member of the NPPA.