News: Camp Pendleton Marines conduct gas chamber training
Story by Cpl. Joshua Young
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - More than 200 Marines with I Marine Expeditionary Force completed annual gas chamber qualification at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Nov. 28.
The training provides Marines with the basic knowledge to properly wear and clear a gas mask to defend against chemical or biological assaults.
The Marines received a refresher course on the procedures to secure the mask over the face and clear it of any contaminants in less than 10 seconds.
The Marines entered the gas chamber wearing Mission Oriented Protective Posture suits and masks. The chamber was filled with o-Chlorobenzylidene Malononitrile, also known as CS gas. They first checked the mask seal, then maneuvered and conducted exercises, like jumping jacks to ensure the mask was on securely.
The Marines were instructed to break the seal on the mask to demonstrate their ability to clear it during a simulated chemical situation.
“The mask will protect the Marines from the majority of all manufactured chemicals,” said Sgt. David Herring, the chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear defense chief for 9th Communication Battalion. “It will protect them from real world chemical munitions if they’re ever in that situation.”
The MOPP suit protects Marines from chemical and biological contaminants and protects their skin from contact with chemical agents.
“It’s suggested to Marines who aren’t used to putting it on to help each other fasten up and seal the MOPP suit,” Herring said.
The instructors are certified CBRN defense trainers who have undergone extensive training to ensure the Marines get the training required to defend against chemical attacks.
”It’s probably the best training possible for chemical defense,” said Cpl. Paul Bolstridge, a communications technician with 9th Comm. Bn.
Many Marines who exited the chamber appeared unaffected by the gas, which demonstrated to the trainers that they knew how to clear and seal a gas mask.
“I’m feeling pretty awesome, but my eyes kind of burn,” said Bolstridge, who removed his mask too soon upon exiting the chamber. “If we ever get a gas attack you’re going to want to know what to do because it could save your life.”