Army Chemical Corps: 7 Reasons to Serve

A Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (or CBRN) Soldier is one that specifically defends against the threat of CBRN weapons and Weapons of Mass Destruction. These Soldiers are part of an extraordinary chemical unit that is completely dedicated to protecting our force from chemical weapon threats as well as researching advancements in the CBRN field. The Chemical Corps trains Joint and International Service members; develops leaders; supports training in units, develops multi-service and Army doctrine; builds the future CBRN force; and is the Joint Combat Developer for the Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense Program.  While it may, on the exterior, not appeal to many like the Combat Arms Professions do, CBRN units and the MOS as a whole is one of the best jobs to have in the United States Army.  Here are 7 Reasons to Serve in the Army Chemical Corps.

1.  PARTNERSHIP FOR YOUTH SUCCESSS (PAYS) PROGRAM: Unlike those who serve within the Combat Arms, the Chemical Corps truly takes care of their Soldiers by enhancing their ability to find a job outside of the Army.  The skills achieved by a CBRN Soldier are very marketable in the civilian world and as such, the Chemical Corps executes their PAYS program.  The PAYS program is a recruitment option that guarantees a job interview with military friendly employers that are looking for experience and trained Veterans to join their organization.  Many CBRN Soldiers go on (or serve simultaneously in the NG/AR) with companies such as: DuPont, BASF, 3M, etc.

2. Be part of a Rich History: The Chemical Corp got its start during WWI.  The trench warfare created a tense stalemate.  To break this, chemical weapons, particularly mustard gas, were employed.  The Army recognized a need to provide a counterattack as well as implement ways of training its Soldiers and protecting itself.  The wars since have not changed as the use of chemical weapons has escalated and the threat more severe.  CBRN Soldiers work on the cutting edge of developing new credible, offensive measures as well as defensive equipment and training.

3. Educational Benefits: Just like every Soldier that serves, receiving an education is one of the best benefits that the Army can offer.  If qualified, you can receive full-tuition, merit based scholarships, allowances for books and fees plus annual stipends for other expenses.  But, the Chemical Corps goes a step further by offering you paid, hands-on career training in the CBRN Field.  Think of it as a glorified internship with one of the best companies in the world…the US Army.  The leadership and technical skills learned in the Army will prepare you for success in any career path, but especially if you chose to work in the chemical field after your Army career is over.

4. Serious Training Opportunities:  The Chemical Corps and Army CBRN School house offer some of the best training.  Such schools include:

  • Analytical Laboratory System Operator
  • CBRN Dismounted Recon
  • Mass Casualty Decontamination Course
  • Unified Command Suite Operator Course
  • CBRN Responder

5. Transferrable Skills: Like previously mentioned, the Chemical Corps offers you the opportunity to train in skills that are highly marketable in the civilian world.  Some of the skills you’ll learn are:

  • CBRN defense procedures and toxic agent training
  • Preparing chemical units and training others
  • HAZMAT Operations Certifications (Department of Defense – accredited)
  • Demolition exposures
  • Operation of CBRN Decontamination, Defense, Detection and Monitoring Equipment
  • Preparation for CBRN defense Actions/Procedures
  • Wear and use of protective equipment
  • Communicate effectively
  • Interest in algebra, chemistry, physics, geometry and trigonometry
  • Ability to plan and organize
  • Work calmly under tremendous stress

6. This speaks volumes!

7. JUST DO IT, ALREADY! Look, you may be hesitant to join the Army, let alone a Combat Arms branch such as the Infantry or Armor.  However, you may have an itch you need to scratch and you want to serve.  The Chemical Corps is the best branch to serve in the Army.  You get great training, transferrable skills and support your Brothers and Sisters in Arms through your understanding of CBRN Operations and Threats.


chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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5 thoughts on “Army Chemical Corps: 7 Reasons to Serve”

  1. CBRN (or as it was called back in the day, NBC) was a critical training element in the late ’80s and early ’90s since it was assumed these weapons would be a key part of Soviet strategy in the event of war (and the doctrine and training outlived the enemy). Chemical weapons were a significant concern during Desert Storm but ended up not being used en masse–although they WERE present on the battlefield; I’ve talked to people who encountered them, and Gulf War Syndrome speaks for itself. They were also a concern in Iraq in 2003 but likewise didn’t appear. With deployment-focused training CBRN has taken a backseat to other priorities, but we can thank the Syrians for reminding us that plenty of potentially hostile regimes still have these weapons and are willing to use them.

    1. Every soldier should have a basic understand of CBRN, and should be able to “mask up” to standard, when necessary. Just because it isn’t an immediate threat doesn’t mean it can’t happen on the battlefield. I agree with you that Syria should be a wake up call.

  2. I would rather have the knowledge and experience that a soldier with the Chemical Corp gains than nothing at all if the you-know-what hits the fan. An incident involving any of the CBRN components would be nasty, and at least I would know how to respond. I can’t imagine witnessing something like this and being helpless to respond. It also wouldn’t hurt that you would know how to protect yourself.

      1. This is true, but if I were going in the military, I would seriously consider the Chemical Corp. I think it’s very interesting, they don’t spend a whole lot of time sitting behind a desk, and they are not just busy with big incidents–there’s something going on all the time,and I like prevention/education as well.

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