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Lance Cpl. Danielle Giles, a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear defense specialist with Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, conducts 360 reconnaissance during Dismount Recon Sets Kit and Outfits training at the Guardian Center in Perry, Ga., Aug. 17, 2018. DRSKO training enhanced CBRN’s capabilities by providing realistic scenarios to test their minds and techniques. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Melanye Martinez)

Photo by Cpl. Melanye Martinez

Enhanced CBRN explosive training decontamination

25 Mar 2020 | Lance Cpl. Andrew Smith II Marine Expeditionary Force

U.S. Marine Corps chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear defense specialists with Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division decontaminate pig carcasses during enhanced CBRN explosive training 20-1 at the Guardian Centers in Perry, Ga., March 12, 2020.

Decontamination is one of the main focal points of enhanced CBRN training, using Dismount Recon Sets Kit and Outfits and practicing on pig carcasses is a major stepping stone. CBRN specialists conduct this training annually to provide the Marines with a realistic scenario to hone their skills within their military occupational specialty.

“This is a completely different environment than we are used to,” said Cpl. Tyler Chapman, a CBRN specialist with Headquarters Battalion, 2d MARDIV. “Pig skin is very similar to that of humans. So, it truly prepares us for the decontamination of a Marine if the case was to arise.”

This is a unique opportunity that few people are afforded. It puts the CBRN specialists in a different mindset by placing them in a more realistic environment that they’re not normally used to.

The decontamination process is precise and thorough. From the time a pig reaches the decontamination line to the time it exits, everything is done in a specific manner. One mistake can lead to failure in the training.

“It is a step-by-step process that is extremely detailed,” said Lance Cpl. Scott Elliott, a CBRN specialist with Headquarters Battalion, 2d MARDIV. “We start by monitoring the pigs with various tools to search for radiation as well as possible chemicals. The cleaning process is in depth; we scrub the pigs while monitoring to see if radiation levels decrease. Once we find we have cleared all the loose radiation, we then know our job is done.”

While the Marines take precaution to protect themselves from dangerous chemicals, there is always the possibility of a Marine getting contaminated with an unknown substance in effect. Knowing how to quickly and adequately go through the decontamination process is not only important training for the Marines, but is also a necessary lifesaving skill set.

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