PPE: good for you, good for me

  • Published
  • By Airman Larissa Greatwood
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Starting from basic military training, the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense course has been a staple of Air Force training.

Hazardous warfare can strike at any time, so it's essential for Airmen to keep their training constantly relevant.

The CBRN defense course at Ramstein Air Base trains Airmen to protect themselves if they encounter a dangerous chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear environment. The instructors work to ensure Airmen are mission-ready for any situation.

"The class teaches Airmen to properly don and maintain their equipment as well as use detection equipment for [post-attack reconnaissance sweeps] should the worst ever happen," said Airman 1st Class Bonnie Brooks, 786th Civil Engineering Squadron emergency management journeyman. "CBRN training is additional survival skills. We hope that no one will ever really need it, but recent events have shown that people are willing to use those types of weapons, so we need to protect our people."

Though many military members may never use the techniques they learn in CBRN defense training in a real-world situation, it's always good to have the training because the training could prove useful in any type of toxic situation.

"Being in the military, I think this class is definitely important because you never know what could happen," Brooks said. "I think it's one of those skills that's better to have than not and need it."

Tech. Sgt. Clinton Dickey, 603rd Air and Space Operations Center survival, evasion, resistance and escape training specialist, says that even though he has never had to apply the CBRN training during past deployments, the course has still helped him to become better prepared for unknown possibilities in the future.

"Taking the CBRN course has helped me get in and out of my MOPP gear more efficiently," said Dickey. "It has also helped refresh what I've learned in the past, as well as prepare me for deployments and the possibility of being in a hostile environment."

CBRN defense training is unique to the Air Force. Other military branches have similar training for these kinds of situations, though they are very different.

"As far as military goes, the Air Force is the only branch with this type of training," said Brooks. "The other branches have different training mechanisms, but they're not trained to respond the way we are."

Recently, the CBRN curriculum has been changed. Instead of the dreaded "death by PowerPoint," the course is now a more hands-on experience.

"Many people dread this class because no one looks forward to putting on MOPP gear," said Brooks. "I think the hands-on portion really helps make the class more enjoyable."

The CBRN defense classes are Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays; two classes being on Wednesdays, which is also their walk-in day.

For more information, contact your unit deployment manager or call emergency management at 480-7673.