News: Biological hazards are no problem for Marines
Story by Cpl. Laura Gauna
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense Marines with Headquarters Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st Marine Logistics Group, spent three weeks training Marines during a hazardous material course aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., from March 11-28, 2013.
The Marines who participated in the training are preparing to deploy with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, and they came from various fields, such as explosive ordnance disposal, motor transportation, and engineering. The training evolution was designed to provide additional methods of detection and exploitation for a variety of contaminated sites.
While most Marines associate the CBRN job field with running the gas chamber for annual training, these units do more than that, explained Warrant Officer Britni Burks, a platoon commander with CBRN defense section, HQ Co., CLR-17, 1st MLG and a native of Rochester, Minn.
The course covered everything from basic equipment operation to the practical application of the equipment during scenario operations.
“We’ve been doing multiple scenarios,” said Staff Sgt. Jeremy S. Meyers, a training staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge with CBRN defense section, HQ Co., CLR-17 and a native of Montague, Mich. “We’ve done six already. Some were chemical contamination scenarios and others radiological. We added the radiological contamination scenarios because (CBRN) gear may not always protect them from that and they need to figure out how to work in that environment.”
The Marines spent the final week in the field, where they treated simulated casualties and properly identified and disposed of hazardous material set up by the instructors.
Actual household chemicals, such as bug bombs, were used to simulate real world situations, which brought the training to life for the Marines.
“I learned a lot being out here,” said Cpl. Jordan Hamilton, a CBRN defense specialist with the 13th MEU command element, and a native of Aransas Pass, Texas. “Having resources like combat town and getting to actually clear rooms is much more hands-on than I ever got. By doing this you get a lot more confident in your field.”
By the end of the three weeks the Marines in the class received a certificate of completion. Instructors felt confident the Marines would have the proper knowledge to take on possible CBRN situations.
“We gave them a better level of preparedness and understanding so that if they ever come across some kind of CBRN (hazardous material) environment then they can be involved in that operation,” said Burks.