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Todays lesson: Chem 101

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The Air Force is deploying more often to more locations than ever before, and military operations are at a new phase, and servicemembers need to have a grasp on the deployment basics. Of those basics, one of the most important is the knowledge of chemical warfare and the items that can protect people from coming into contact with chemical and biological agents. 

Two Airmen from Goodfellow recently briefed the local ROTC detachment at Angelo State University on these procedures and why they are so important. 

Senior Airman Brandon Howland and Airman First Class Timothy Lyons, both of the 17th Civil Engineer Squadron, gave their presentation Nov. 1, enabling the students with the basic understanding of chemical warfare, and how to protect themselves will benefit them when they get to their duty station or head off to the field. The Airmen explained to students different MOPP levels, the wear and tear of the gear, how to put on the gas mask and suit, the total amount of time given to accomplish assembling the suit and other information pertinent to chemical warfare. 

"The training we provided to the ROTC students was a basic understanding of the gear, something that will definitely help them later on in their Air Force careers," said SrA Howland. And that training will definitely prove valuable for the students. 

Most students who get their commission from ROTC do not get to experience much of what military active duty personnel do on a daily basis, or have an idea about deployment status and requirements until they are stationed at their first duty location. ROTC students go through field training before they get their commission; however, the training provides very little information on chemical warfare. 

Field training is focused more on learning about leadership positions rather than concentrating on many active duty realities, some of these being weapons handling and maintenance, chemical warfare and survival skills. 

Angelo State University AFROTC currently has 94 cadets with 45 cadets being seniors who will be commissioned this year. Giving these cadets an understanding of chemical warfare will benefit them when they enter active duty. 

All officers are required to attend Air and Space Basic Course at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. at some point during their first year on active duty. 

The goal of ASBC is to train all newly commissioned officers to a standardized knowledge level. When it comes to chem gear, weapons handling and survival skills, nothing, however, can beat hands on experience. Giving these students a bit of introductory information will help them understand the ever-changing Air Force of today. (2nd Lt. Jamie Straka contributed to this article.)