Every Marine remembers their first experience with the gas chamber in boot camp. It’s one of the many tear-jerking memories that binds Marines together.
However, for some Marines, the gas chamber is more than just a benchmark during recruit training; it’s their occupation in the fleet.
Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear defense specialist Marines from around the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and 1st Marine Division are always looking to amp up their knowledge through rigorous training evolutions held throughout their military careers.
“There’s a lot of good operational training that we do,” said Lance Cpl. Jonathan Smith, a Miramar-based Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 3 CBRN defense specialist and a native of West Point, Mo. “Our job is very technical and we have to know, on point, what to do. This definitely helps us hone our skills.”
Dealing with unconventional and hazardous weapons is a CBRN Marine’s way of life. The realities of biological attacks don’t fly under the radar for the unique occupational field encompassing chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear deterrence.
Instead of being an idle workforce, CBRN prides itself on being proactive instead of reactive. In a combat or non-combat environment, CBRN Marines don’t just specialize under unknown conditions; they train specifically for them. CBRN defense school provides 90 days of physical and mental preparation for the unknown.
“From day one, we’re taught to be well prepared on what could possibly go wrong,” said Lance Cpl. Marco Romo, a Marine Aircraft Group 13 Headquarters CBRN defense specialist and a native of Winnetka, Calif. “To stay level-headed and clear, no matter if you’re a junior marine or a staff NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer).”
Most recently, one of the exercises found the Marines at Red Beach in Camp Pendleton, Calif., going over a simulated scenario in which CBRN defense HAZMAT (hazardous material) Marines were sent out to locate and investigate a suspected threat. The response team had to identify the chemical, perform proper casualty evacuation procedures and gain as much information about the enemy as possible.
“It’s ACM (Assessment Consequence Management) training,” said Cpl. Steven Myher, a MAG-13 HQ CBRN defense specialist and a native of Janesville, Wisc. “The suit I wore was a Level B suit, which is self-contained. You’re breathing fresh air, and protects against vapors and gas so long as those gasses aren’t corrosive and burn the suit away.”
After neutralizing the threat and evacuating the unconscious casualty, the crew went through appropriate gear and suit decontamination procedures to ensure safety.
The mission sensitive exercise had the Marines paying close attention to the quality of their work. It was valuable experience that CBRN always looks to take full advantage of.
For full story, visit Yuma.usmc.mil