NAVAL SUPPORT FACILITY INDIAN HEAD, Md. --
The 18th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj.
Ronald L. Green, visited the Marines, sailors and civilians of Chemical
Biological Incident Response Force (CBIRF) at Naval Support Facility Indian
Head and Raymond M. Downey Responder Training Facility, Feb. 18, 2016.
During Green’s visit, he received a command brief given by
the CBIRF Commanding Officer, Col. Stephen E. Redifer, viewed a static display
of an Initial Response Force set-up, talked to the Response Force’s personnel,
toured the Raymond M. Downey Responder Training Facility and had lunch with
staff noncommissioned officers.
After the presentation by the commander, Green said he
wanted to learn about CBIRF in order to tell the unit’s unique story.
“My job is to speak for Marines,” Green said. “You have a
very unique mission. No one else in the world has your mission. No one. Let me expound on that by saying, no one else
has the Marine Corps’ mission.”
As part of the the initial brief, Redifer covered CBIRF’s
extensive capabilities to respond to Chemical, Biological, Radiological,
Nuclear and High- Yield Explosives (CBRNE) incidents or threats by agent identification
and detection, casualty extraction, casualty decontamination, technical rescue
abilities, medical care in a contaminated area, and explosive ordnance disposal
in a contaminated area.
“There are several organizations that do parts of what we
do,” Redifer said about CBIRF’s extensive training and preparation. “No other
unit packages it the way we do.”
After the command brief, Green had an opportunity to get
hands-on with the tools that CBIRF uses, and speak to the Marines and sailors about
their individual responsibilities during the activation of a 150-man Initial
Response Force in response to a CBRNE event.
“I just gave him a snapshot – a little something from every
discipline we practice [at CBIRF],” said Sgt. Corey J. Garretson, crash fire
rescue Marine with Technical Rescue Platoon, Reaction Force Company, about the
presentation he gave to Green.
Garretson, a native of Canal Fulton, Ohio, added he explained
ropes, confined space training, structural collapse, vehicle extrication and trench
rescue to Green.
CBIRF is capable of deploying
as a battalion-sized task force consisting of two subordinate Initial Response
Forces (IRF) with approximately 150 personnel each; one IRF is maintained on a
constant 24-hour alert, with the second IRF prepared to deploy within 48 hours.
These IRFs are also capable
of responding to smaller contingencies independently, and all CBIRF assets are
capable of self-deploying to any crisis within driving distance, a skill that
is regularly practiced. Further, CBIRF, in keeping with the expeditionary
nature of the Marine Corps, is prepared to deploy via military airlift or
sealift to respond to crises worldwide.
When he received an opportunity to speak to all CBIRF
personnel, the Corps’ senior enlisted advisor added CBIRF must be prepared for
the worst scenarios imaginable because attempts to repeat incidents like 9/11 are
“Evil will always exist, as long as there is time on the
clock,” Green said. “There will always be an enemy that does not enjoy the fact
that we have liberty and freedom.
[America’s enemies] wake up every day and go to the voting
booth [to] vote – their vote is that freedom and liberty be taken away from
those [who have it].”
“[The Marine Corps’] job is to ensure they never win the
To the Marines of CBIRF, just the act of the Sergeant Major
of the Marine Corps visiting CBIRF meant a lot.
“I personally thought it showed a lot of care from the top
down to visit such a small unit,” said Lance Cpl. Ethan R. Renner, company
clerk for Reaction Force Company and native of Berlin, Conn.
“I think it opened a lot of Marines’ eyes that he’s not just the
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps. He doesn’t just sit behind a desk,”
Garretson said. “He wants to go out, wants to meet Marines and wants to hear
their voice because he is our ‘voice’ to the Commandant.”
Green said his job is to speak for all Marines but he works
diligently for those that have the least amount of sway in the Marine Corps –
the junior ranks.
“Don’t get me wrong, I am the sergeant major for [all Marines],”
Green said. “But I speak for those [privates first class], lance corporals, who
might otherwise not have a voice. I work for them, they don’t work for me.”
His words were positively received by all personnel in attendance.
“It shows that we’re not just tucked away and nobody knows about
us,” Garretson said. “The Commandant knows about us. The Sergeant Major of the
Marine Corps knows about us. And I think it shows … the Marines here that we’re
not here for no reason. “
“People know we’re here and know we have a very special, important