CBIRF Marines get real-life training

25 May 2007 | Cpl. Leslie Palmer

Outfitted in their gas masks and personal protective gear, Marines and sailors with the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, II Marine Expeditionary Force, participated in an exercise called Ardent Sentry. 

This was the first drill of its kind where responders gathered and trained for a real-world chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive event with members of National Guard units and civilian organizations.   

CBIRF Marines are first responders, so their mission is critical.  Ardent Sentry was a two-week exercise where participants operated in several different simulated scenarios, from rescuing casualties to deactivating an improvised explosive devise.  Participants operated as if they were in an actual contaminated environment, saving lives and cleaning up the contaminant.      

“We’re here to clean up (contaminated areas) and take care of people,” said Lance Cpl. Donald Armstrong from the Decontamination Platoon, CBIRF.

CBIRF is a self-sustaining force capable of contaminated environment extraction, decontamination and medical treatment. 

“The casualties come to us and depending on what the contaminate is, we scrub them off, cut off all of the contaminated cloths and scrub them off again from front to back.  Once we’re assured there is no contamination left on them, we send them to medical, so they can treat any burns they have,” Armstrong said.

CBIRF Marines and sailors added some extra motivation to the exercise.

“We’re the only Marine unit out here.  Of course, we come out and get the job done like we are supposed to,” said Sgt. David Bretz, from the Decontamination Platoon. 

The exercise put Marines and sailors to the test, providing them with a different type of training.

“We actually have role-players who are going through the motions.  We do not know what is going to happen,” said Cpl. Raymond McKevitt from the Decontamination Platoon. 

The Marines and sailors used this real-life training to better prepare for any possible terrorist attack, making them a vital asset in the Global War on Terrorism.