News 12 at 11 O'clock / Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014
FORT GORDON (WRDW) -- Sgt. Jeffery Smith leads his company to safer grounds as his commands echo out across the open field scattered with masked soldiers.
"Make sure I don't leave anybody behind," said Sgt. Smith.
Their enemy is a gas cloud rising from the ground. In seconds, hundreds of soldiers in this field training exercise go into combat mode.
"Just get on your gear and get to a safe location, make sure you have all your people," he said.
Our News 12 cameras rolled in, security check-point and all. An armed soldier escorted us to central control.
"It's not something they do every single day." said Sgt. First Class Dawn White. "You never know when an attack will happen."
Just minutes after arriving White, who's in charge of this whole operation, put the drill into motion.
"Every time you hear that alarm you know that you need to put on the mask, you know you've only got a few seconds," she said.
Three honks sound over the base. All these soldiers here is GAS, GAS, GAS.
"Who's putting on their mask, are they alerting before they put on their masks," she said.
Smith tells us these soldiers need to prepare for moments like these. When operations need to continue, they need to be in control of their environment.
"We get them to the point where now it becomes second-nature," she said.
After three days out in a field, it's starting to feel more like reality, rather than a test.
"Especially with the heat, it's been hot all week so everybody's been tired which you would be in a real combat situation," said Sgt. Smith.
With every bead of sweat, Smith and his soldiers are more prepared for the worst, even in their own backyard.