Story by Whitney Allen
Feature Photo by Melissa Scott
As if the 90-degree heat wasn’t enough, Cadets from the 2nd Regiment of the Leader’s Training Course needed additional gear Wednesday in preparation for the gas chamber.
Lt. Col. Decker Hains is the chief of the committee that oversees the CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear) training this summer.
“The learning outcome is for the Cadets to learn how to wear the JSLIST, chemical suit, know why they’re wearing it, and how to operate it,” Decker said.
JSLIST gear or Joint Service Lightweight Integrated Suit Technology is designed to protect its wearers against chemicals. The suit consists of a hooded jacket, pants, gloves, a gas mask, and multi-purpose overboots.
In addition to learning about the chemical suit, Hains hopes that Cadets will gain confidence in themselves and the equipment.
The Cadets quickly learned how well their equipment worked. Cadets were given the option to remove their masks, and all of them chose to do so. After spending a few minutes in the gas chamber with their masks on, Cadets unmasked one by one before exiting the chamber.
Kahlil Derine, an ROTC student at North Carolina A&T at Greensboro was one of the first to go through the gas chamber. “It burned a lot on my skin but the equipment works,” Derine said. “It definitely does its job.”
The Cadets weren’t the only ones who voluntarily took on the gas chamber without masks. Several drill sergeants and officers did the same.
Chaplain Matt Wilson went in with one of the platoons. “I want to experience this kind of stuff with them,” Wilson said. “I hope that if they see me experience these kinds of things with them they’ll let me into their lives.”
One by one the Cadets exited the gas chamber, many of them with their eyes closed. While it was certainly a valuable experience, it wasn’t particularly an enjoyable one.
Justin Knights of Alcorn State University at Lorman didn’t know what to expect prior to entering the gas chamber. But it didn’t take him long to find out.
“I hated it, it was burning everywhere,” Knights said. “But it was fun, I’m glad I did it.”