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EOD, civilians upgrade their training

By Lance Cpl. Kel Clark | | March 12, 2010


Some of the explosive ordnance disposal Marines of Marine Wing Support Squadron 273, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron and Fightertown civilian workers were involved in a hazardous materials class aboard the Air Station March 1 through March 5.

The 40-hour certification class instructed and educated EOD Marines and civilians on how to respond to hazardous materials after they have located and removed them from an area.

The students, eight EOD Marines, a civilian worker and the Air Station’s game warden, Gary Herndon, learned about different materials that could be used for weapons of mass destruction, such as chlorine.

“(These classes) are elements of the (Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency) that these Marines and civilians are required to take in order to be EOD and hazardous materials certified,” said Jim Chocklett, the owner and principal trainer of Chocklett Environmental Services out of Molden.

According to Chocklett, CES is a family-oriented business which trains service members and civilians all over the state and in other Department of Defense areas about health, emergency responses and harmful materials.

“We learned how to respond, deal with and identify hazardous materials,” said Gunnery Sgt. Lauro Samaniego, an EOD technician with MWSS-273. “We also learned how to clean and repair them in other ways than what we were used to in our usual training. These classes were one of the advanced EOD schools needed by technicians and specialists for certification.”

Many of the tools and  supplies in the class were unlike anything they may have encountered before.

“The instructions students learned in the class were more detailed than the lessons they may have learned in their initial schools,” Chocklett said. “We introduced them to things they were not prepared for, such as illegal drug situations and a self-contained breathing apparatus (for entering heavily toxic areas, and it provides air, not filtered like an issued gas mask). With (the students’) technical backgrounds of dangerous substances, we were able to concentrate on teaching them more about the chemistry background of the weapons of mass destruction.”

According to Chocklett, something the students were able to take away from the classes was a better way of dealing with hazardous materials and give them better insight on being cautious and safe if a situation would ever occur.

“It was a very rewarding experience for me to have been a part of the classes,” Herndon said. “I will be better prepared for harmful circumstances if they should ever come my way.”