In a recent report from Fort Bliss, 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team is undergoing intense training in the use of gas masks to defend against chemical weapons. No longer a "threat from the past" these chemical munitions can and most likely will be a force to be reckoned as American Soldiers find it necessary to engage in upcoming conflicts.
We have seen several recent uses of chemical and nerve agents by third world countries which are indicative of things to come, including the public assassination of an enemy of the North Korean Regime. While these might be isolated incidents, our men and women who are put into harms way are taking no chances.
According to Army 1st Lt. Mike Florentino, the training is designed to build confidence in the troops so that they can remain calm if ever confronted with a biological agent. "One of the basic skills that soldiers have to have is to be able to don their protective equipment and operate in a contained environment." He said. "The training shows them, one, how to do it, and two, to have confidence that it would work in a real life situation".
About two hundred and fifty soldiers assigned to the 77th completed this training last month, and many more are set to take it as well. Like it or not chemical weapons are going to be used in hostilities and the best thing that we can do is to prepare for the worse.
Though these soldiers are training for more worrisome weapons than chemical irritants, the CS gas that they use to simulate nerve agents and other biological hazards is abrasive enough to make you "want to stay out of the fog".