Students study weapons of mass destruction at Fort Leonard Wood

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Weapons of mass destruction are the chief concern for students at Fort Leonard Wood.

A chemical crisis for training, before the smoke clears the experts are on the move.
When they joined the military they put their lives on the line, now they are taking their personal safety to an even higher risk level.

Being sealed in a protective suit is key to survival at the terry training facility. The center traces its roots back 100 years to world war one and the use of mustard gas on the battlefield.

Lt. Col. Damon Yourchisin says, "The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is clearly a national threat to the national security."

And to civilians everywhere. Envelopes containing anthrax were mailed to congress and newsrooms in 2001 killing five people and injuring several others. In 1995 a group filled the subways of Tokyo with Sarin gas killing 17 people, close to a thousand others were hurt.  In July a Texas woman was sentenced after mailing Ricin laced letters to the president.

At Fort Leonard Wood they create all sorts of mock up incidents for training.  For example, a train wreck where dangerous chemicals leak from one car and a barrel in another. Inside buildings there are more mock-ups.  Walk through what`s supposed to be a refrigerator and troops discover a terrorists lab in the back room.

By studying different reactions soldiers learn to quickly deduce what a terrorist is brewing.  The first line of defense in keeping us all safe.