CBRN Breaks New Ground

26 Jun 2009 | Pfc. Spencer M. Hardwick

On the battlefields of the modern era, the weapons of our enemies are uncertain. Marines aboard the Air Station, however, will soon become better equipped with the knowledge and experience required to combat and counter these uncertainties.

Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Marines with Marine Aircraft Group 31 and Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron gathered at the construction site of their new training facility behind the Branch Medical Clinic June 19.

Colonel John Snider, the Air Station’s commanding officer joined Col. Gregg Brinegar, the MAG-31 commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. William Butler, the Air Station’s Public Works Officer, Sgt. Maj. Clarence Richardson, the MAG-31 sergeant major, Lt. Cmdr. Ronald Jenkins, the resident officer-in-charge of construction and Clifford Smith, the Small Business Group owner, to break the ground using ceremonial golden shovels. CBRN Marines broke ground with entrenching tools immediately following the staff’s portion of the ceremony.

“Anything we can do to increase the quality of combat training of our Marines is truly a great thing,” Snider explained. “It is a greatly needed asset and I am happy to be able to provide it to the Marines here. A [CBRN] attack is one of the most desperate situations that can happen in combat and training is what will help keep these Marines alive to make sure they can finish the fight and come home safely.”

The facility, scheduled to be operational later this year, will have twice the capacity of the old facility, allowing more Marines to be trained in a better environment. It will feature a High Efficiency Particulate Air system, which eliminates environmental exposure to gas particles used for training. It will also have a new classroom that is temperature controlled, improved lighting and integrated audio-visual equipment, ensuring Fightertown Marines are fully prepared in the case of a CBRN attack.

“This new building is going to be awesome,” said Lance Cpl. Joshua Millsap, a Marine with Marine Aircraft Group 31  CBRN. “It’s going to allow us to train [Marines] better and it will benefit everyone in the long run.

The classroom and the new chamber will really help out the most. We’ve been doing more with less for a long time now and it’s great that we’re going to have new tools to work with now.”

Air Station CBRN Marines have trained more than 8,000 Marines in the current facility since 2004 and have trained more than 700 Marines as CBRN augments. The current facility is a modified warehouse not meant to be used to train for these types of attacks, according to Brinegar. However, it was viewed as adequate until as of late, when the proposal to upgrade was presented.