Mildenhall CBRN training enhances readiness in European theater

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Bryan Foley, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron NCO in charge of plans and operations, instructs a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense survival skills class at RAF Mildenhall, England Jan. 22, 2018.  CBRN training ensures Airmen are ready to fight in any warfighting scenario. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexandra West)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Bryan Foley, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron NCO in charge of plans and operations, instructs a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense survival skills class at RAF Mildenhall, England Jan. 22, 2018. CBRN training ensures Airmen are ready to fight in any warfighting scenario. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexandra West)

A U.S. Airman assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing inspects the filter of his M50 gas mask during a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense survival skills class at RAF Mildenhall, England, Jan. 23, 2018. The M50 gas mask is a key part of protection against air-borne contaminants. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexandra West)

A U.S. Airman assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing inspects the filter of his M50 gas mask during a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense survival skills class at RAF Mildenhall, England, Jan. 23, 2018. The M50 gas mask is a key part of protection against air-borne contaminants. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexandra West)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing listen to an instructor about chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense survival skills during training at RAF Mildenhall, England, Jan. 30, 2018. CBRN training ensures Airmen are ready to fight in any warfighting scenario. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexandra West)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing listen to an instructor about chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense survival skills during training at RAF Mildenhall, England, Jan. 30, 2018. CBRN training ensures Airmen are ready to fight in any warfighting scenario. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexandra West)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing put on their M50 gas masks during a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense survival skills class at RAF Mildenhall, England, Jan. 30, 2018.  M50 gas masks are part of the protective gear worn during mission oriented protective posture (MOPP) levels three and four. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexandra West)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing put on their M50 gas masks during a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense survival skills class at RAF Mildenhall, England, Jan. 30, 2018. M50 gas masks are part of the protective gear worn during mission oriented protective posture (MOPP) levels three and four. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexandra West)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing perform buddy checks during a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense survival skills class at RAF Mildenhall, England, Jan. 23, 2018. Buddy checks ensure an individual has donned his or her mission oriented protective posture gear properly. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexandra West)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing perform buddy checks during a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense survival skills class at RAF Mildenhall, England, Jan. 23, 2018. Buddy checks ensure an individual has donned his or her mission oriented protective posture gear properly. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexandra West)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing conduct a post attack reconnaissance sweep during a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense survival skills class at RAF Mildenhall, England, Jan. 30, 2018. During a PAR sweep, Airmen perform searches around their facilities looking for unexploded ordnance and evidence of chemical agents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexandra West)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing conduct a post attack reconnaissance sweep during a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense survival skills class at RAF Mildenhall, England, Jan. 30, 2018. During a PAR sweep, Airmen perform searches around their facilities looking for unexploded ordnance and evidence of chemical agents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexandra West)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing identify the type of unexploded ordnance found during a post attack reconnaissance sweep exercise at RAF Mildenhall, England, Jan. 22, 2018.  Conducting a PAR sweep is part of the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense survival skills class. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexandra West)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing identify the type of unexploded ordnance found during a post attack reconnaissance sweep exercise at RAF Mildenhall, England, Jan. 22, 2018. Conducting a PAR sweep is part of the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense survival skills class. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexandra West)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nicola Adams, 100th Air Refueling Wing Command Post NCO in charge of console operations, listens to a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense survival skills class instructor at RAF Mildenhall, England, Jan. 30, 2018. Since readiness is a high priority for the Air Force and for the 100th Air Refueling Wing, Airmen must be current in CBRN operations at all times. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexandra West)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nicola Adams, 100th Air Refueling Wing Command Post NCO in charge of console operations, listens to a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense survival skills class instructor at RAF Mildenhall, England, Jan. 30, 2018. Since readiness is a high priority for the Air Force and for the 100th Air Refueling Wing, Airmen must be current in CBRN operations at all times. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexandra West)

RAF MILDENHALL, England --

The air is cold and crisp, but my face is red hot. I’m sweating, wearing an extra heavy layer of protective gear and inhaling the unmistakable rubber stench from my gas mask.

That’s right, I’m in mission oriented protective posture gear, better known as MOPP gear.

The protective gear is hot, sweaty and most certainly cumbersome to don. But, as an Airman, I understand the importance of putting on the equipment properly and quickly. 

Today’s warfighting climate can be unpredictable, and it’s a priority of the Air Force to maintain readiness for all possibilities. Driving that message home, Gen. Tod D. Wolters, Commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe–Air Forces Africa, recently stated, “Warfighting readiness is the cornerstone of our deterrence posture in Europe.”

Part of that readiness is making sure Airmen are up to date on chemical, biological, radiological and neurological defenses.

That’s why I’m here – in my suit, boots, mask and gloves – at the CBRN defense survival skills class, making sure I am confident in my skills and ready for any scenario.

Here at RAF Mildenhall, the 100th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management flight is responsible for providing this critical training for all Airmen on the installation.

“It is crucial that we have 4,000 Airmen fully CBRN trained at all times,” said 1st Lt. Eugenio Vives Alvarez, 100th CES readiness and emergency management flight commander. “Our enemies are out there, and we’re just being aggressive towards being ready for that, because we never know when that rapid response will be happening to support our sister services, U.S. military branches, or NATO allies.”

The training course covers basics about protective gear, CBRN detection and decontamination equipment, and running a CBRN reconnaissance route around a facility.

“I think it’s important because it helps us stay sharp,” said Amn. Justin Skiver, 100th Force Support Squadron food service apprentice, who also attended the training.  “It’s been a while since basic training and it was a good experience to get back into it.”

Since readiness is a high priority for the Air Force and for the 100th Air Refueling Wing, Airmen must be current in CBRN operations at all times.