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Lance Cpl. Joe Pesina (right), decontamination line litter bearer, Company B, Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, II Marine Expeditionary Force, assists a casualty on the decontamination line at training exercise Capital Shield '07 at Lorton, Va., on Oct. 24. The casualty will be examined again for any remaining contaminants that may not have been washed off.

Photo by Cpl. Leslie Palmer

CBIRF Marines participate in Capital Shield

30 Nov 2007 | Cpl. Leslie Palmer

Marines and sailors from Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, II Marine Expeditionary Force, participated in training exercise Capital Shield ’07 here in October.

In this simulation, a terrorist attack required a joint task force of emergency responders including the FBI and District of Columbia Fire Department.

“We had a bombing and a possible (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-yield explosive) attack,” said Sgt. Brett Dayton, force protection line supervisor, Company B, CBIRF. “Casualties came through the (decontamination) line and medical personnel assessed them.”

After casualties penetrated CBIRF’s decontamination perimeter, responders worked through the presence of a notionally contaminated environment.

The Incident Response Force, in CBIRF, is a response team of Marines whose mission is to deploy to a real-world catastrophe, help mitigate the threat, and extract and decontaminate casualties.

“We’re really good at flooding the contaminated zone and the hot zone with a lot of extractors,” said Gunnery Sgt. Trenton Widdis, company gunnery sergeant, Co. B, CBIRF. “(CBIRF) is pretty much the only unit that does medical assessments and mass decontamination in a contaminated environment.”

CBIRF’s Medical Platoon is comprised of the only Navy corpsmen serving with the Marine Corps that practice emergency medicine in a contaminated environment.

The platoon played a vital role in providing victims with initial medical treatment during the training.

“I applied dressings to any open wounds, made sure their airway was open and made sure they were stable,” said Seaman Rosalie Bennett, a hospital corpsman with CBIRF’s Medical Platoon.

The broken decontamination line also served as an obstacle for the medical platoon.

“When we first got here, patients came out rushing us,” Bennett said. “So we ran to them with medical bags, and we started treating the immediate (victims).”

CBIRF’s medical personnel work intimately with Marines, making one of the nation’s premiere emergency response forces and the only unit of its kind in the Marine Corps.


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