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Bloomsbury, N.J. - native Cpl. Alexander Baguskis, a team member with Technical Rescue Platoon, React Force Company, Chemical Biological Incident Response Force (CBIRF), speaks to Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Green, the 18th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, during an Initial Response Force static display in the battalion assembly room at CBIRF Headquarters, Naval Support Facility Indian Head, Feb. 18, 2016. Green visited the Marines, sailors and civilians with CBIRF at Naval Support Facility Indian Head and Raymond M. Downey Responder Training Facility. During Green’s visit, he received a CBIRF brief given by the CBIRF Commanding Officer, Col. Stephen E. Redifer, viewed a static display of an Initial Response Force set-up, talked to CBIRF personnel, toured the Downey Responder Training Facility and had lunch with CBIRF staff noncommissioned officers. When directed, CBIRF forward-deploys and/or responds with minimal warning to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive (CBRNE) threat or event in order to assist local, state, or federal agencies and the geographic combatant commanders in the conduct of CBRNE response or consequence management operations, providing capabilities for command and control; agent detection and identification; search, rescue, and decontamination; and emergency medical care for contaminated personnel. (Official USMC Photo by Sgt. Santiago G. Colon Jr./RELEASED)

Photo by Sgt. Santiago G. Colon Jr.

18th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps visits CBIRF

25 Feb 2016 | Sgt. Santiago G. Colon Jr. and Sgt. Jonathan S. Herrera Chemical Biological Incident Response Force

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 inevitable.

“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 election.”

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 mission.”


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