MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
After a month of training, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit Marines successfully completed the Enhance Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear course here Oct. 27.
Marines from MEU’s Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment and Combat Logistics Battalion-24 are the unit’s Enhance Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear team; a group specialized in assessing and managing hazardous chemical and biological incidents.
The final exercise tested the CBRN team’s ability apply their training, which included extracting casualties, sampling lethal materials and executing decontamination procedures at a hazardous site, during a mock scenario.
“We really wanted to make this site work for them,” said Sgt. Joshua W. Hoefler, instructor, Chemical Biological Instant Response Force. “I gave them the basics of the site, concept of decontamination and they go through and they work with the site that I gave them.”
The instructors were impressed when Marines stepped up to challenges and operated in a dangerous occupation outside of their regular job.
“They’ve caught on quick,” said Hoefler. “They really understand how to get a site set up and are really keeping an eye on what they do. They’re being really careful and cautious about how they decontaminate each other.”
During training, the CBRN team remained vigilantly aware of several lethal materials such as nerve and mustard gas. The team’s attention to detail assured a safe and successful mission.
“It’s a dangerous job,” said Cpl. Gabriel Gonzalez, instructor, CBIRF. “So it’s important that they pay attention to where they are, what they are doing and what they are handling at all times.”
As the course reached its end, the CBRN Marines gained confidence in their abilities.
If a (less developed) country found suspected chemical spills, and they don’t know what it is or have the resources to deal with it, that’s when they’ll call the MEU,” said Lance Cpl. Donald W. Smith, CBRN specialist, BLT 1/6. “Then we’re sent in and able to take care of that situation.”
With Marines well aware of the risks involved, they continue to go forward to achieve mission success.
“It is a scary thing to do, but war is also scary,” said Gonzalez. “These Marines know that this is their job and they have to do it, and they’re going to do it better than anybody else.”