New found identity

Senior Airman Julia Hall, left, and other civil engineer readiness flight personnel across the Air Force have a new duty badge to wear on their uniform. The Air Force approved the badge that signifies the readiness personnel as members of a “chemical corps” and provides an easily identifiable symbol for sister service, international and civilian emergency responders to recognize. Above, Airman Chris Coniglio of the 82nd Services Division, inhales stanic chloride as Airman Hall squeezes a bulb during gas mask training at the 82nd Civil Engineer Squadron Readiness Flight’s chemical warfare training Wednesday. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Jacob Corbin)

Senior Airman Julia Hall, left, and other civil engineer readiness flight personnel across the Air Force have a new duty badge to wear on their uniform. The Air Force approved the badge that signifies the readiness personnel as members of a “chemical corps” and provides an easily identifiable symbol for sister service, international and civilian emergency responders to recognize. Above, Airman Chris Coniglio of the 82nd Services Division, inhales stanic chloride as Airman Hall squeezes a bulb during gas mask training at the 82nd Civil Engineer Squadron Readiness Flight’s chemical warfare training Wednesday. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Jacob Corbin)

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE -- Imagine working in a world where a simple badge tells the story of what you do, but not having that badge. 

That's the world 82nd Civil Engineer Squadron Readiness Flight personnel have lived in since the inception of their career field in the days of the U.S. Army Air Corps in the 1940s. Now, CE readiness flight Airmen have their identity firmly pressed on their chest with the addition of Civil Engineer Readiness Retort Occupational Badge that became available for official wear Sept. 29. 

Staff Sgt. Troyann Ernle, a six-year veteran of CE readiness, said the badge identifies them as members of the "chemical corps," a term used to describe those in the military who are responsible for responding to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive events. 

"Our main wartime job is (weapons of mass destruction) response," Sergeant Ernle said. "But, we also take care of any type of disaster." 

That is why most people don't realize the readiness flight is the authority on CBRNE incidents. Sergeant Ernle said people commonly think the flight is only responsible for training deploying Airmen on proper use and wear of chemical gear and response to on and off base major or natural disasters. 

"Until something bad happens, they didn't know we're there," she said.
The Air Force has worked for some time to develop the career specific duty badge. The badge was officially approved in early 2006. 

According to supporting paperwork filed to develop the badge, "Readiness personnel are not immediately recognized by non-Air Force personnel for having CBRNE expertise. 
This hinders interoperability and wastes time as technicians try to credibility while operating in a hazardous environment." 

With the badge, the document said "This badge is internationally renown and would provide instant recognition of our CBRNE defense experts" and would "facilitate faster recognition and improve interoperability during joint, combined and civil operations." 

The badge consists of two primary design elements: the retort and the benzene ring.
The retort is the basic container used for laboratory experiments. The six-pointed benzene ring is a means in "indicating diagrammatically a molecular composition of a chemical combination" and also represents the six carbon and hydrogen atoms needed for the benzene formula. 

Sergeant Ernle said the badge doesn't add any new responsibilities to the career field. They'll continue to keep the base prepared for any disasters and respond to CBRNE events. 

But, there is one this the badge does add - an identity.