NAVY ANNEX STUMP NECK, Md. --
When the Marines and sailors of the Marine Corps’ Chemical Biological Incident Response Force go to work outfitted in dark navy blue jumpsuits, red helmets and knee pads, there is no rank differentiation and hard to tell them apart.
Such was the case when members of CBIRF, including its new executive officer, completed their final practical application exercise in the CBIRF Basic Operations Course at Navy Annex Stump Neck, Md., July 30, 2009.
According to Lt. Col. Charles Long, the executive officer of CBIRF, II Marine Expeditionary Force, every Marine is an extractor at CBIRF, not just those who execute search and rescue missions.
“It’s typical Marine Corps,” Long explained. “Every Marine is a rifleman. Every Marine at CBIRF is an extractor and capable of decontamination operations. That builds good camaraderie and it’s good for integration.”
“Everyone needs to understand what CBIRF can and cannot do and how the unit operates,” said Sgt. Eric Shirey, intelligence analyst, Headquarters and Service Company, CBIRF. “It’s especially important that the command element understands CBIRF is a one of a kind unit in the Marine Corps. Some of the gear we use, like the [Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus], is different from the gear the rest of the Marine Corps uses.”
Marines and sailors train on emergency life-saving skills in a contaminated area -- while outfitted in their gas masks and chemical protective over garments, decontamination techniques and how to extract a casualty from a collapsed structure.
Long said going through the CBOC just like every other Marine and sailor who has been stationed at CBIRF helps his understanding of the unit’s mission.
“I get to see what CBIRF’s mission is, so when we go down range, I understand what the Marines are going through and what they will be subjected to,” Long explained. “I get to see what our rescuers are doing.”
Marines and sailors at CBIRF are tasked with a life-saving mission as part of homeland security and are fixed on training for potential chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive incidents.
“While everyone in the United States is carrying on with their daily lives, there are Marines who are ready to go into the most dangerous situations,” Long said. “They’re training day and night. They’re climbing and cutting on the concrete, they’re blowtorching steal and doing rescue and recovery operations. When the country’s least ready, we will be.”
For more information on the II Marine Expeditionary Force, visit the unit’s web site at www.iimefpublic.usmc.mil.