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47th CES takes hands-on approach to teaching
Staff Sgt. Heidi Williams, 47th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management section NCO in charge, briefs attendees at a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear training course at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 12, 2013. During the CBRN course, instructors show attendees how to perform various, potentially life-savings skills, then assess their performance. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman John D. Partlow)
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Laughlin CES takes hands-on approach to teaching

Posted 9/16/2013   Updated 9/17/2013 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman John D. Partlow
47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

9/16/2013 - LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- With present uncertainties around the world, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear warfare could become a very real possibility for airmen deploying downrange.

Since one of Laughlin's missions is to deploy mission-ready airmen, service members here must be trained properly to perform in these environments. The men and women at the 47th Civil Engineer Squadron Readiness and Emergency Management team are here to do just that.

The central focus of the team is to instruct Laughlin deployers on CBRN safety and procedures for deployments.

"The class covers key CBRN skills members will need to know if our enemies ever use chemical weapons," said Rob Lindt, 47th CES REM chief. "There's a hands-on portion so the members know exactly how to use their equipment, and they even enter a chamber filled with tear gas to strengthen their confidence."

Along with entering a tear gas chamber, members also are instructed on post-action response team procedures, how to properly inspect their equipment, different emergency alarm conditions and more. Most of that training is also hands-on.

For Master Sgt. Carl James, 47th Medical Group and 47th Flying Training Wing Wing Staff Agencies first sergeant, the hands-on portion put the class on a new level.

"Using the equipment and being outside during most of the training beats having to use a computer-based training program," said James. "It definitely gave the experience a sense of realism."

Realism is key to the training due to the risks each service member faces when deploying.
"There's still that potential that we may need to know how to protect ourselves from a chemical attack," said Staff Sgt. Heidi Williams, 47th CES emergency management NCO in charge and training instructor. "It's important for us to stay proficient in these skills."

While the class taught important information to Team XL members, the main goal of the course is to prepare them for their downrange mission.

"The CBRN class definitely helped prepare me for my deployment," said James. "If something were to happen, I'd know what to do."

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