Last Updated: June 15th, 2024By

Cadets from 3rd Regiment, Advanced Camp at Fort Knox, Ky are undergoing training designed to test their physical and mental endurance. The Confidence Chamber, a key component of their training, evaluates their ability to handle Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear threats.

Among the cadets is Cadet Francisco Garcia from the University of Puerto Rico, Ponce Campus, 1st Regiment, Advanced Camp, who enlisted in October of 2020. Garcia is majoring in accounting and plans to branch into finance in the Army. His participation in sports complements his military training. Garcia and his peers began their training in the Puerto Rico National Guard, where they completed foundational warrior tasks and battle drills. “We had an opportunity during the spring to go to a field training exercise in Florida where we conducted many drills and exercises under the guidance of drill sergeants,” Garcia said. “Having drill sergeants better prepared us, they would affirm that our techniques were okay. My advice to other cadets is to be the best you can. Before you can become a good leader, you have to be a good follower.”

Cadet Barett Wattson from Clemson University, Sc, a fellow Cadet, described the preparation for the Confidence Chamber.

 “We have been training all morning for this event, practicing putting on our gear while being timed and learning all the signs of a gas attack,” Watson said after completing the confidence chamber. “I believe everyone should try this once, my sinuses feel great. I feel like I can breathe better than before.” 

Cadets are split up into groups and go to different stations to learn the basics of CBRN and how to dawn their gear in a quick manner. The cadets go through practice rehearsals before being tested by one of the range cadre. In order to pass all cadets must complete the full cycle of putting on and clearing their gear.

Sgt. 1st Class Valeri Robinson from the 68th Chemical Company highlighted the importance of this training. “The purpose of Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear training consists of proper equipment handling, cleaning of their MOPP gear, and properly demonstrating their ability to use the M51 promask in the event of a chemical threat,” Robinson said.

Inside the Confidence Chamber, cadets are exposed to controlled chemical agents to test their ability to use their protective equipment effectively. This real-world simulation provides a critical assessment of their readiness. The exercises within the chamber require cadets to trust in their training and equipment. 

Cadet Garcia and his peers demonstrate resilience and determination throughout their training. Their preparation exemplifies the high standards of Fort Knox’s training programs. As they complete the Confidence Chamber, these cadets gain a renewed confidence in their abilities and a commitment to their future roles in the military.

About the Author: Victor Mejia-Jeronimo