CBRN Marines … In a constant state of readiness

7 Sep 2007 | Lance Cpl. James Mercure

Every week the Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Marines prepare the Air Station’s Marines and sailors to survive and continue to fight in the event of a CBRN attack.

“The Marines Corps is known for its CBRN program among the other military services,” said Lance Cpl. James Caswell, the training noncommissioned officer for CBRN. “The program we have here trains Marines with the most up-to-date information on fighting a war where there is a threat of a CBRN attack.”

With the increasing threat of insurgents using chemicals in improvised explosive devices, CBRN training is especially important for those Marines who are about to deploy.

“Marines can get too focused on traditional weaponry threats such as artillery or small arms fire,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Steve Dancer, the CBRN officer-in-charge. “They forget that a gas attack would be much more destructive.”

With the Marines fighting on the frontlines of the War on Terrorism, CBRN training with Mission Oriented Protective Posture, or MOPP, gear is invaluable because the insurgents will try anything to harm our service members.

“The insurgents know that they can’t meet us head-on,” said Lance Cpl. Brandon Wells, the warehouse NCO for CBRN. “So they will do anything to level the playing field, including using chemical weapons.”

For the Marines at CBRN, one of the daily obstacles to overcome is keeping the Marines interested in the annual training. The curriculum is constantly being redeveloped to better train Marines and to ensure the information is current with how Marines are currently fighting according to Wells.

“If people knew what could happen, they would care a lot more,” said Cpl. Alicia Peck, the noncommissioned officer-in-charge of CBRN.

“It’s frustrating because a lot of Marines don’t take the CBRN training seriously,” said Wells. “This stuff is real, it’s not just something you see on a slideshow.”

Marines train for the worst and hope for the best, but in the end if the Marines are put in a CBRN environment, they must depend on the training they have been given.

‘“Two is one and one is none’, is a saying we use at CBRN,” said Dancer. “We stress the buddy-team concept because in a CBRN environment, all you have is the Marine on either side of you.”

“My Marines give everything they’ve got to make sure the Marines aboard the Air Station are trained to survive in a CBRN environment,” Dancer said. “And I expect Marines to come here, take the training seriously and learn to survive in a CBRN environment.”