Photo Information

Lance Cpl. Jonathan Heale, an identification and detection specialist with CBIRF’s Identification and Detection Platoon, exits a collapsed structure at the CBIRF Basic Operations Course. This is the final practical application for Marines and Sailors to graduate the course. Senior enlisted, officers and key billet holders go on to the advanced course for follow-up training in consequence management.

Photo by Cpl. Leslie Palmer

CBIRF Marines, sailors gain edge

17 Mar 2008 | Cpl. Leslie Palmer

Marines and sailors from II Marine Expeditionary Force’s Chemical Biological Incident Response Force gained an edge by receiving advanced training to mitigate the effects of a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, high-yield explosive incident, known as consequence management, recently. Service members graduated from the first CBIRF advanced course, which was held at Navy Annex Stump Neck, Indian Head, Md., March 7.

“The CBIRF advanced course was developed to provide leaders with the requisite knowledge to lead Marines and sailors in consequence management operations,” said Bob Detzel, CBIRF’s technical training officer.

CBIRF’s mission is focused on saving lives during a CBRNE attack. In such an environment, Marines and sailors need specific skills to survive, Detzel said.

With that mission in mind, key leaders at CBIRF, like Detzel, have developed a month’s worth of training, to include the Basic Operations Course and the advanced course, which is advanced training for senior enlisted personnel, officer and key billet holders at CBIRF.

“This is a 40-hour course that builds on the CBIRF Basic Operations Course,” Detzel said. “In addition to providing more in-depth consequence management training, guest speakers from outside agencies, organizations and individuals who have real world experience in consequence management, led lectures and discussions each day, which informed the students on subjects ranging from current threats to case studies on terrorist attacks.”

The prerequisite for the Advanced Course is the CBIRF Basic Operations Course, which is a three-week training evolution.

 An extra week of training was recently added to CBOC. The goal is to instruct the students on topics ranging from detection and identification of various contaminants, like mustard gas and ricin, to additional first aid. More practical application and evaluation has been added to reinforce classroom training. Marines and sailors from the battalion commander down are required to attend the course to gain the skills necessary to survive in a contaminated environment, Detzel said.

Just like every Marine is a basic rifleman, every Marine at CBIRF is additionally a basic extractor, Detzel said.

“I learned about an extractor’s job in CBOC, and I’m a nuclear, biological and chemical specialist,” said Cpl. Monica Llerena, NBC reconstitution, Company B, CBIRF. “So, if an extractor went down, I can do that job, even though my responsibility in a response or training exercise is different.”

Training at the basic course prepares CBIRF Marines and sailors before they enter into the response community training with civilian responders and other military response units.

“We apply everything we learn at the course to yearly training exercises like Capital Shield ’07 at Lorton, Va., where CBIRF Marines and sailors trained with civilian response units on responding to CBRNE incidents,” said Sgt. Raymond Laracuente, an extractor, Company B.

The advanced course takes a more in-depth approach than the basic course and teaches response procedures and consequence management responsibilities.

According to advanced course student, Petty Officer 1st Class Larry Pieper, a religious programming specialist with Headquarters and Service Company, the course is useful in many ways.

The advanced course gives students advanced training on the chain of command during a CBRNE attack.

“You realize to complete a puzzle, we’re only one piece of it,” Pieper said.

During the training evolution, Marines and sailors honed their skills on advanced consequence management leadership techniques, medical operations in a metropolitan area, and case studies of historical terrorist attacks. With the course still undergoing changes, Pieper said there is one underlying theme that will never change, which is where we fall in line with the chain of command in a consequence management.

Although the advanced course is geared toward senior enlisted, officers and key billet holders, Pieper said the training is meant to be filtered down to junior Marines and sailors. Even in a contaminated environment, there is a chain of command, he said.

“I will help my Marines and sailors realize they are involved in the big picture of consequence management in a CBRNE attack,” Pieper said. “We do train for a purpose, and there is a real reason behind the training. But, I hope we never have to deploy and put our skill sets to use.”

Saving lives in a contaminated environment requires Marines and sailors to be adequately trained before a CBRNE attack occurs, a task CBIRF is measuring up to, Pieper said.

“I feel privileged and honored to be here and realize this is the future fight,” Pieper said.

Chemical Biological Incident Response Force