CBIRF

 

Chemical Biological Incident Response Force

II Marine Expeditionary Force

Indian Head, MD
CBIRF kicks off Commander’s Challenge

By Andrew Revelos Staff Writer | Chemical Biological Incident Response Force | November 19, 2012

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Cpl. Donte Dukes, an Extract Marine with the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, pulls a casualty sled during the third and final phase of the Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6.

Cpl. Donte Dukes, an Extract Marine with the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, pulls a casualty sled during the third and final phase of the Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6. (Photo by Andrew Revelos)


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Knowing is half the battle: Marines assigned to the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force are quizzed about FEMA signs at the Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6.

Knowing is half the battle: Marines assigned to the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force are quizzed about FEMA signs at the Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6. (Photo by Andrew Revelos)


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Suiting up: Marines get into their protective MOPP gear and gas masks for the second of three, three-mile runs during the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6.

Suiting up: Marines get into their protective MOPP gear and gas masks for the second of three, three-mile runs during the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6. (Photo by Andrew Revelos)


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A Marine assigned to the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force prepares to descend the rappel tower at the Downey Responder Training Facility at Naval Annex Stump Neck during the second phase of the Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6.

A Marine assigned to the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force prepares to descend the rappel tower at the Downey Responder Training Facility at Naval Annex Stump Neck during the second phase of the Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6. (Photo by Andrew Revelos)


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Steam rolls off Sgt. Michael Gannon, an Extract Marine assigned to React Company with the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, after he completed a three-mile run in protective MOPP gear and a gas mask during the second phase of the CBIRF Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6.

Steam rolls off Sgt. Michael Gannon, an Extract Marine assigned to React Company with the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, after he completed a three-mile run in protective MOPP gear and a gas mask during the second phase of the CBIRF Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6. (Photo by Andrew Revelos)


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Marines assigned to the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force begin a grueling three-mile run in their protective MOPP gear and gas masks during the second phase of the CBIRF Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6.

Marines assigned to the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force begin a grueling three-mile run in their protective MOPP gear and gas masks during the second phase of the CBIRF Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6. (Photo by Andrew Revelos)


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Cpl. Scott Grossinger calls for an evaluator to check his rescue knot, a bowline on a bite, during the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6.

Cpl. Scott Grossinger calls for an evaluator to check his rescue knot, a bowline on a bite, during the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6. (Photo by Andrew Revelos)


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A Marine assigned to the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force ties a rescue knot, figure eight on a bite, during one of the three knot challenges in the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6.

A Marine assigned to the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force ties a rescue knot, figure eight on a bite, during one of the three knot challenges in the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6. (Photo by Andrew Revelos)


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Captain Andrew Liu contributes his part to the 600 ammo can lift during the first phase of the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6.

Captain Andrew Liu contributes his part to the 600 ammo can lift during the first phase of the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6. (Photo by Andrew Revelos)


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And they’re off! Marines assigned to the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force kick of the Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6 with the first of three, three-mile runs encompassed in the challenge.

And they’re off! Marines assigned to the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force kick of the Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6 with the first of three, three-mile runs encompassed in the challenge. (Photo by Andrew Revelos)


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Almost done: Marines with the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force finish the last of three three-mile runs before the have to move on to the knowledge, physical and knot tasks to complete the CBIRF Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6.

Almost done: Marines with the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force finish the last of three three-mile runs before the have to move on to the knowledge, physical and knot tasks to complete the CBIRF Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6. (Photo by Sgt. Frances L. Goch)


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Staff Sgt. Stuart Turnquist motivates Cpl Antwuan Brown as he pulls a casualty sled down the 100 meter stretch during the third and final phase of the Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6.

Staff Sgt. Stuart Turnquist motivates Cpl Antwuan Brown as he pulls a casualty sled down the 100 meter stretch during the third and final phase of the Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6. (Photo by Sgt. Frances L. Goch)


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Randall’s Island, NEW YORK – Firefighter and instructor with the New York City Fire Department, Dave Raynor, sets up the rope systems for the Marines to do high angle rescue training later in the morning. Raynor has been with FDNY for more than 28 years and continuously conducts advanced rope training across the country.

Randall’s Island, NEW YORK – Firefighter and instructor with the New York City Fire Department, Dave Raynor, sets up the rope systems for the Marines to do high angle rescue training later in the morning. Raynor has been with FDNY for more than 28 years and continuously conducts advanced rope training across the country. (Photo by Sgt. Frances L. Goch)


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Randall’s Island, NEW YORK –Sergeant Daniel Barbadillo, an extraction Marine with Initial Response Force “B,”  prepares to repel down two stories to rescue a “stranded victim” from a ledge and get them safely to the ground. The FDNY has been involved in training the Mariens and sailors of CBIRF since 1997, when Chief Raymond Downey helped expand CBIRF’s technical rescue platform.

Randall’s Island, NEW YORK –Sergeant Daniel Barbadillo, an extraction Marine with Initial Response Force “B,” prepares to repel down two stories to rescue a “stranded victim” from a ledge and get them safely to the ground. The FDNY has been involved in training the Mariens and sailors of CBIRF since 1997, when Chief Raymond Downey helped expand CBIRF’s technical rescue platform. (Photo by Sgt. Frances L. Goch)


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Randall’s Island, NEW YORK – Lance Cpl. Connad Higgins hangs upside down, three stories high during high-angle-rope- rescue training at the New York City Fire Department’s Training Academy. While at the training academy CBIRF Marines will get a variety of technical rescue training including vehicle extrication and collapse structure training. (Official Marine Corps Photo by Sgt. Frances L. Goch, Released)

Randall’s Island, NEW YORK – Lance Cpl. Connad Higgins hangs upside down, three stories high during high-angle-rope- rescue training at the New York City Fire Department’s Training Academy. While at the training academy CBIRF Marines will get a variety of technical rescue training including vehicle extrication and collapse structure training. (Official Marine Corps Photo by Sgt. Frances L. Goch, Released) (Photo by Sgt. Frances L. Goch)


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Cpl. Phillip McMahon pushes out ammo can lifts with his team during the first phase of the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6. Each team of four had to complete 600 ammo-can lifts for the first phase physical task of the challenge. (Official Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Frances L Goch, Released)

Cpl. Phillip McMahon pushes out ammo can lifts with his team during the first phase of the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6. Each team of four had to complete 600 ammo-can lifts for the first phase physical task of the challenge. (Official Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Frances L Goch, Released) (Photo by Sgt. Frances L. Goch)


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Fatigue starts to set in as Sgt. Michael Gannon, an Extract Marine assigned to React Company with the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, as he changes into the next uniform after completing a three-mile run in protective MOPP gear and a gas mask. It was the second of three, three-mile runs in the CBIRF Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6. (Official Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Frances L Goch, Released)

Fatigue starts to set in as Sgt. Michael Gannon, an Extract Marine assigned to React Company with the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, as he changes into the next uniform after completing a three-mile run in protective MOPP gear and a gas mask. It was the second of three, three-mile runs in the CBIRF Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6. (Official Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Frances L Goch, Released) (Photo by Sgt. Frances L. Goch)


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Team one from Headquarters and Support Company review the tasks in each of the three phases before starting the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6. Twelve teams of four competed in the challenge for bragging rights and a little extra liberty. The challenge to not only tested physical strength and endurance but their knowledge base of CBRNE consequence management as well. (Official Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Frances L Goch, Released)

Team one from Headquarters and Support Company review the tasks in each of the three phases before starting the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6. Twelve teams of four competed in the challenge for bragging rights and a little extra liberty. The challenge to not only tested physical strength and endurance but their knowledge base of CBRNE consequence management as well. (Official Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Frances L Goch, Released) (Photo by Sgt. Frances L. Goch)


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A Marine assigned to the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force descends the rappel tower at the Downey Responder Training Facility aboard Naval Annex Stump Neck during the second phase of the Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6.

A Marine assigned to the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force descends the rappel tower at the Downey Responder Training Facility aboard Naval Annex Stump Neck during the second phase of the Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6. (Photo by Sgt. Frances L. Goch)


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Sgt. Andrew Straehle (right), the commentator for the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force Commander’s Challenge, adds difficulty to the knot portion of the challenge for GySgt. John Schmuck and his team by administering a little banter while the Marines attempted to complete their knots. (Official Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Frances L Goch, Released)

Sgt. Andrew Straehle (right), the commentator for the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force Commander’s Challenge, adds difficulty to the knot portion of the challenge for GySgt. John Schmuck and his team by administering a little banter while the Marines attempted to complete their knots. (Official Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Frances L Goch, Released) (Photo by Sgt. Frances L. Goch)


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A Marine assigned to the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force descends the rappel tower at the Downey Responder Training Facility aboard Naval Annex Stump Neck during the second phase of the Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6.

A Marine assigned to the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force descends the rappel tower at the Downey Responder Training Facility aboard Naval Annex Stump Neck during the second phase of the Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6. (Photo by Sgt. Frances L. Goch)


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Captain Ronald Briley, Headquarters and Support Company Commander, ties a double fisherman during the knot test in the second phase of the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6. The challenge to not only tested physical strength and endurance but their knowledge base of CBRNE consequence management as well. (Official Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Frances L Goch, Released)

Captain Ronald Briley, Headquarters and Support Company Commander, ties a double fisherman during the knot test in the second phase of the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6. The challenge to not only tested physical strength and endurance but their knowledge base of CBRNE consequence management as well. (Official Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Frances L Goch, Released) (Photo by Sgt. Frances L. Goch)


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Cpl. Kathyria Ayala, a supply Marine with the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, pulls a casualty sled down the 100 meter stretch during the third and final phase of the Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6.

Cpl. Kathyria Ayala, a supply Marine with the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, pulls a casualty sled down the 100 meter stretch during the third and final phase of the Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6. (Photo by Sgt. Frances L. Goch)


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A Marine assigned to the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force leaps down the rappel tower for the physical task during the second Phase of Chemical Biological Incident Response Force Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6. (Official Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Frances L Goch, Released)

A Marine assigned to the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force leaps down the rappel tower for the physical task during the second Phase of Chemical Biological Incident Response Force Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6. (Official Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Frances L Goch, Released) (Photo by Sgt. Frances L. Goch)


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Naval Annex Stump Neck, MD --

Marines assigned to the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force (CBIRF) competed for pride and a few days' liberty at the inaugural Commander’s Challenge on Nov. 6 at the Downey Responder Training Facility at Naval Annex Stump Neck. The course was grueling: intense physical competition centering on nine miles of running, combined with knowledge and practical application competition designed to increase the Marines’ chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high yield explosive (CBRNE) response skills. The challenge is intended to build upon the CBRNE knowledge gained by Marines at CBIRF’s Basic Operators Course.

For the Marines who volunteered for the challenge, the event began with a three-mile run in physical training (PT) gear from the Downey Responder Training Facility through Naval Annex Stump Neck, and back again. Under a barrage of cheers and good-natured insults from their fellow Marines, the competitors, in teams of four, were put to the test in several CBRN skill areas, including tying rescue knots, rappelling and taking a written test quizzing the Marines on Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) signs. In between the knowledge and practical application events, the teams completed in additional physical challenges and of course, more running.

The competing Marines found the second run event to be particularly challenging. The course was the same three miles they ran previously, but instead of PT gear, the Marines wore their bulky CBRN protective suits. This included wearing the Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR) masks, no small task.

“The PAPR run, definitely,” said Cpl. Matt Jenkins, when asked about which part of the challenge was the hardest. “The weight of the [Mission Oriented Protective Posture] suit and the PAPR restricted the air.”

Other Marines in the competition summed up their feelings in more succinct terms. “Ow,” said Cpl. Andrew Fisher.

Marines observing and facilitating the challenge were of the same mind. “It’s definitely a beast of a challenge,” said Staff Sgt. Arthur Rose, who managed an event station in which competitors dragged a casualty sled several hundred yards.

Still, preparation helped some of the competing Marines handle the knowledge portions of the event. “With the training that’s done here, the knowledge came back to you pretty quick,” said Jenkins.

After a final three-mile run in boots and utilities,seven of the 12 teams completed the challenge in the allotted time limit. With a time of two hours, seven minutes, Cpls. Valentine Borunda, Bryan Conerly, Scott Grossinger and Phillip McMahon, from CBIRF’s Identification Detection Platoon, were victorious.

“The whole purpose of this is to create a physical and mental challenge that incorporates all of the aspects of what it means to be a Marine or a Sailor in the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force,” said Col. Peter Ahern, commanding officer of CBIRF. “We want to do it in a way where the larger audience [of CBIRF Marines and Sailors] can see that, if they work toward it, they can successfully accomplish the challenge. But it is not easy… it’s something you’ve got to work towards. You’ve got to have grit and determination, similar to what you have to have in the Basic Operators Course or a real-world response situation.”

The unique mission of CBIRF demands a unique mindset, said Ahern. “We’re the only unit designed for life-saving in the Marine Corps. With that comes a mindset shift and the challenge is part of that. When you’re in a response scenario, it’s not just physical strength and stamina, you also have to be able to think. You have to be more than physically fit, you have to be mentally agile.”

While Ahern came up with the idea of a CBIRF Commander’s Challenge, the non-commissioned officers (NCOs) of CBIRF came up with the specifics. “We were tasked with challenging our Marines in all aspects of what it is to be a CBIRF Marine,” said Sgt. Matthew Dickey, battalion training NCO. “It’s not just a physical challenge, though it is obviously very physically-demanding. We catered it to be CBRNE response-specific with questions, the rappel tower… things that all Marines at CBIRF have learned. We want to see them put forth that effort and really dig in deep to complete the physical aspects, but also to keep up with their knowledge.”

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