CBIRF Marines use cutting edge technology to save the day

25 May 2007 | Cpl. Leslie Palmer

The enemy may try to use various tactics to gain an edge, but Marines have been using life-saving technology in contaminated environments successfully.

In a simulated exercise, Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians with Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, II Marine Expeditionary Force, were called onto the scene at a schoolhouse where a suspicious device was left in a janitor’s cart.

“Our mission is to do something with the device so it doesn’t hurt anyone,” said Sgt. Justin Heathman, an EOD technician with CBIRF.

The technicians combat the threat of potential explosives with a robot called the Remote Ordnance Neutralization System that surveys scenes and helps identify devices.

“It can go down range to approach an item while we remain at a safe distance,” said Staff Sgt. Jimmy Callins, an EOD technician with CBIRF. “We can do a lot of things remotely, while we use the robot as an extra set of hands.”

RONS’ use ultimately spares human lives when attempting to disarm dangerous improvised explosive devices.

Heathman said he is more accepting of performing an operation that leads to gear damage than one leading to a fatal mishap.

Callins added that although high-tech equipment like RONS can cost a lot of money, one can never put a price on a human life.

“You use them until they break or blow up,” Callins said. “Either way, that’s one less person who has to put their life on the line.”
Chemical Biological Incident Response Force