4th MEB Increases NBC Capabilities

27 Nov 2001 |

Marines from the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade's Anti-Terrorism Battalion were on a routine mission to reinforce an embassy when they received word that there had been an explosion at the main gate of the embassy, two individuals had run in and thrown two canisters, and there was a Marine down suffering from muscle spasms. 

As soon as word was given that the canister contained a liquid, the Marines, dressed in full protective gear, started the first stages of their Field Exercise (FEX) at Camp Geiger.

The first step, once the Marines were on the ground, was to send in an initial assessment team.  "It's our job to come in and check to see what kind of chemical was used and how far it's spread out," said Cpl. Jose R. Rivera, AT Bn. 1st Squad initial assessment team leader.  "Once we've determined how much of the area is contaminated, we check to see how many casualties there are, establish a hot line, and map out the incident site."

The next step in the exercise was sending in the decontamination team. "The decon element is made up of thirty Marines who are responsible for setting up the decontamination site as well as processing military personnel and casualties," said Warrant Officer Steven F. Dancer, AT Bn. Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Officer in charge.

"Once the decon site is set-up, the causalities extraction team is sent in to get the contaminated Marines and casualties out while the remaining Marines provide security outside the hot zone," said Dancer.

The exercise was completed once all mock casualties and contaminated Marines had been processed through the decon site.

"The main purpose of the training is to provide the Marines with basic Nuclear, Biological and Chemical training to enable them to handle any situation that might occur," said Dancer.  "If we're going somewhere outside of the Continental United States and a situation occurs, we don't want to have to stop right there.  With this training, we can still go in and do the best job possible."

"The next step of this training will be the same situation but with more elements added in," said Dancer.  "The Marines will have to make more individual decisions responding to different scenarios."

The NBC training is one of three main exercises that the AT Bn. Marines are going through during the FEX.  Security Operations and a Raid package round out the Marines' training and equip them with another tool to use in the war on terrorism.