CBIRF Marines train to travel

17 Apr 2007 | Cpl. Leslie Palmer

Marines with the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, II Marine Expeditionary Force, took their preparation at Stumpneck Annex, a local training area, to a new level when a draft standard operating procedure was evaluated with a fine-tooth comb.

“It was an excellent opportunity to find a lot of the friction points and work toward achieving a solid standard to utilize in the future,” said 1st Lt. Jason Kikta, Bravo Reaction Company executive officer.

While the exercise helped shape how CBIRF will deploy via helicopter, the training went beyond the crafting of an SOP.

“In a real-world environment, helo-borne operations allow us to put troops on the ground in a rapid manner, while the remainder of our forces conduct a vehicle convoy to the incident site,” said Staff Sgt. James Marker, Decontamination Platoon staff noncommissioned officer in charge.

While CBIRF will participate in future training opportunities, it was this exercise at Stumpneck that helped the Marines hone their ability to deploy to an area via helo-borne assets.

“This training is in preparation for the exercise we’re going to do down at (Fort A.P. Hill, Va.),” Marker said. “To ensure a successful operation there, we’re training for the possibility of having to do a helo-lift and to get troops on the ground as soon as possible, so we can start to do our mission, which is to save lives.”

“Because we have the aircraft out here, we’re learning the capacity and what we’re able to do and what we’re not able to do,” said 1st Sgt. Brian Taylor, Bravo Reaction Company first sergeant.

If a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive catastrophe happens, CBIRF will deploy its Initial Response Force. Those Marines will be the first-responders to help contain a CBRNE catastrophe.

“It’s one of those things Marines need to do just to keep fresh, and we’re doing it with a new crew of Marines,” said Capt. Roy Draa, Bravo Reaction Company commanding officer. “Some of our equipment has changed. The IRF makeup has changed since the last time this (training) was done by Alpha Company.”

Transportation was the focal point of the exercise.

“The idea is to get the basic necessities to the point where the critical area is,” Taylor said. “The rest of the IRF can do a road march.”

CBIRF is capable of responding and sustaining itself in the case of a CBRNE attack. The medical platoon assists in treating victims.

“Working with the Marines, they would extract any type of casualties down range and what we would do is support the medical side of it, giving triage and treat the wounded down range,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Chris Fabian, a corpsman with the unit. “The unique thing about this unit is that medical in the civilian sector stays in the rear. Here at CBIRF, medical deploys down range, and we actually get into the incident itself. We’re there at the same time with the first-responders.”

This exercise helped to validate a proposed SOP, and it helped the Marines do what they do best; prepare for the real thing.

“The Marines are doing outstanding, and it’s always a good day to train,” Marker said.

Chemical Biological Incident Response Force