Capt. Jason Bryan, 21st Chemical Company, noticed his Soldiers were becoming physically tired when wearing their mission oriented protective posture (MOPP) gear meant to protect them from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) dangers during CBRN operations.

Capt. Jason Bryan, 21st Chemical Company, noticed his Soldiers were becoming physically tired when wearing their mission oriented protective posture (MOPP) gear meant to protect them from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) dangers during CBRN operations.

A lot of their tasks are done in MOPP, and they must be able to wear it for 12-hour-continuous operations.

“It takes a toll physically and mentally to wear it,” said Bryan.

“Being in MOPP gear is honestly probably the most inconveniencing thing that I’ve personally experienced,” said 2nd Lt. Desmond Edwards, 21st Chem. Co. “It feels like time is going a lot slower just because you’re moving a lot slower, a lot less efficiently. It’s a lot heavier, and you have to do all the normal stuff you do as a Soldier, but you’re doing it in an additional layer of stuff that’s meant to protect you.”

According to Global Security’s website globalsecurity.org, “Physically fit Soldiers are more resistant to physical and mental fatigue and acclimatize more quickly to climatic heat or the heat associated with MOPP wear than less fit Soldiers.”

Their physical training (PT) is not enough to prepare them for the physical demands of the gear, said Bryan, so he started incorporating more PT to increase their physical fitness and build up their endurance and stamina.

Every Thursday since January, they complete a ruck march, said Lt. Anthony Diaz, also from the unit. They just started training on the Air Assault School obstacle course, which Bryan said they will start reserving quarterly.

They train in MOPP as part of their normal task training.

They must also combat the mental stress of wearing MOPP. To do so, Bryan has slowed their operational tempo “as much as possible to allow for that rest/reset” and encourages his Soldiers to take their Dragon Family time on Wednesday afternoons.

Although the 21st Chem. Co. is the last chemical company physically located on Fort Bragg, the unit falls under the 83rd Chemical Battalion in Fort Stewart, Georgia, and the 48th Chemical Brigade in Fort Hood, Texas.