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PS&E for those with a loved one in the USAF BMT


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Woohoo WOT 4!  The weeks are starting to fly by. Your trainee is starting to get into a routine and excel. This is the long awaited week, those calls should start coming in. Remember calls can come anytime day or night! So keep those cell phones charged and ready!

Fourth Week of Training (video)
CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear) Defense
Principles of First Aid
SAPR Program
FEST (Foundational Expeditionary Skills Training)
Introduction to Code of Conduct
AEF and Deployment Briefing
Base Liberty Briefing
Weapons, Parts ID, Disassembly and Reassembly
Individual/Flight Photos

The mask confidence chamber (better known as the gas chamber) is probably going to be one of the most intense experiences your trainee will encounter at BMT. The gas chamber occurs during training week 4 and is a part of the Chemical, Biological, Nuclear Defense Training course. This course teaches trainees how to protect themselves in chemical, biological or nuclear environments. They will be taught about different Mission Oriented Protection Postures (MOPP) levels and all the gear that is worn during those different levels. The gear includes their protective mask(gas mask). They will be taught how to properly put the mask on and check to make sure they have a proper seal.

As a part of this training, they will go into the gas chamber to first show how their gas mask protects them from a pretty nasty environment. In this case CS gas is used, which is also commonly known as tear gas. This is the same type of gas used for riot control. The second part of the process is for the trainee to remove their mask so they can see what they were being protected from and what its effects are on them.

The process will take place, for the most part as follows:

  1. The trainees will line up outside the gas chamber. They will be in full MOPP gear, to include wearing their gas mask.
  2. Prior to entering the gas chamber their mask will be checked to ensure it has a proper seal.
  3. The trainees will enter the room in small groups. Once the proper amount of trainees enter the room. The door will be shut, leaving the remaining trainees waiting outside, waiting their turn for the inevitable.
  4. The instructor in the room will ensure there is an adequate amount of gas in the room.
  5. Once in the room, the instructor will most likely have the trainees do some exercises like jumping jacks. This is all done with their masks on. The purpose of doing this is to get them breathing and to show them that they can do activities while wearing the protective gear.
  6. Then the moment of truth will come. The trainees, one at a time, will take their mask off. Once the mask is off they will be required to say their reporting statement (“Sir/Ma’am, Trainee Jones reports as ordered”). They will not be allowed to leave until they properly say their reporting statement. Making a mistake will just result them being in there that much longer.
  7. Once they say their reporting statement properly they will be allowed to walk out a different door on the side of the room. Once they exit the room and go outside they will extend their arms out like air plane wings and will be required to walk around so any residual gas on their body dissipates.

The intensity of this process comes in two parts.

The first is the anxiety they will feel waiting for their turn to either go in to the room, or once they are in, for their turn to take their mask off. Keep in mind, unless they are the very first person to go in and leave, they have to watch their fellow trainees suffer through the effects of the gas.

The second is feelings they experience when the effects gas hits them. The gas affects everyone differently. For some people, it has relatively little effect. For others, it may make them vomit (there is a reason why the area you walk out of the room is covered in loose gravel that will absorb different things). In everyone’s case, they will probably be coughing pretty hard, they will have snot running out of their nose, their mouth will be watering, their skin will be burning and their eyes will be burning and watering pretty bad.

My words of advice for everyone going through the gas chamber is to get in and get out as fast as you can. Don’t make a mistake on your reporting statement. Once outside, DO NOT rub your eyes. Remember that the gloves and gear you are wearing will be covered in the gas until enough time has passed for it to dissipate. Blink your eyes often and let them water. It will probably feel like an hour at the time, but the majority of the effects from the gas will go away 5-10 minutes after you leave the room.

While most trainees will find this phase of their training one of the most intense, a lot will also tell you that it was also the most rewarding part. Knowing that they were able to successfully complete the challenge is a big moment of accomplishment for the trainees.

Click HERE to see the schedule of what your trainee will be doing each Week of Training.

Also on our AFWM Facebook wall on the left is a link called, “Share.”  We encourage you to suggest the page to all your family and friends and even the friends of your Trainee. The more people we have pulling together supporting and encouraging each other the better. Especially for those unable to attend graduation. The page is an awesome way to stay connected.

Here’s the link to the AF youtube channel called AF BlueTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/AFBlueTube
Here’s the link to the official USAF Basic Military Training page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/USAF-Basic-Military-Training/157294844292985

The journey has begun and we’re looking forward to sharing PS&E (positive support & encouragement) with you and helping you in any way we can.