prepare for chemical warfare
3/17/2003 10:30 PM
By: Stacy Neumann & Web Staff
-- As U.S. troops prepare to confront Iraq, there is
one thing that weighs heavy on the minds of most soldiers.
That is the threat of nuclear, biological, and chemical
airborne troops are among those waiting in Kuwait, preparing
for the possibility they'll be forced to deal with those
Force Falcon in Camp Champion lives and trains for an
attack on U.S. military troops.
launch...scud launch....scud launch...."
clear day in Camp Champion is interrupted by a clear
warning. "Exercise, exercise, exercise.”
scramble into gas masks. "Clear and seal. Clear
run for cover in bunkers, running from the thing they
fear the most about a possible war with Iraq.
not so much with bullets but to be hit with a chemical
weapon,” said SGT Eridania Reinoso of the 82nd
like this ensure troops know what to do if they face
a real chemical attack. Staff Sergeant David Kinney checks
Fort Bragg soldiers huddled near the concrete structures.
you're gonna be inside the bunker, you need to get all
the way inside,” he said. “Sit on someone's
lap if you need to..."
in Camp Champion is required to wear a pouch on them
at all times, everywhere they go. Inside the pouch is
a gas mask (or pro-mask
as the soldiers call them) charcoal decontamination kits
and atropine needles, everything you would need to survive
an initial chemical or biological attack while you seek
protective equipment isn't comfortable.
to SPC Michael Didonato, "Kinda warm. After you
put it on, you start to sweat."
soldiers don't mind.
mask is uncomfortable but it's necessary because it will
save your life,” said PFC Leroy Mikell of 49th
Kinney says practice makes perfect and saves lives. “All
the mistakes should be made in training, not in real
Task Force Falcon soldiers will repeat this drill over
and over as they wait in the desert, treating each drill
as the real thing and hoping the real thing never comes.
troops also have another tool at their disposal. Each
soldier carries around multiple chemical
protection suits. The JS List equipment is designed
to safeguard troops in a contaminated environment. The
suits are vacuum-packed until needed.
troops in Camp Champion have already removed one suit
from its packaging for easy access.