Civilians gear up in CRC for deployment overseas

10 Aug 2011 | Cpl. Damany Coleman Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

Individual augments, combat replacements and even involuntary recalls who deploy out of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune are trained and processed by the Deployment Processing Command - East. However, not only service members deploy in support of today’s combat and humanitarian operations.

According to Marine Corps Order, P1900.19, the DPC-E processes, trains, and equips approximately 3,000 deploying and redeploying individuals as the Marine Corps needs them, throughout Afghanistan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq and Europe.

Department of Defense civilians and contractors who are processed to deploy go through the Contractor Replenishment Cell, which was developed aboard the base in January 2005.

Scott Morrison, deputy operations officer with the DPC and officer in charge of the CRC, said the base’s CRC has taken shape from a similar program aboard Army base Fort Benning, Ga. Nonetheless, Fort Benning’s process can take up to seven days, while the CRC aboard MCB Camp Lejeune boasts three to five days maximum to get civilians ready to deploy.

“We don’t have much of a budget nor significant manpower, but we’re trying to do the best we can to make improvements to the CRC,” said Morrison. “Over the last two years, we’ve come a long way.”

During the three-day process, the DOD contractors receive orders, proper security clearances, standardized medical screening and equipment issue and provide other required classroom training.

Gerald Wright, a civilian sub-contractor with Scientific Research Corporation, based out of Charleston, S.C., said the CRC allows individual augments to get their medical records up to date, provides information about the country they’ll deploy to and ensures all other matters are handled before they go overseas.

“The training here is good,” said Wright, who will be working on improving the durability of mine-resistant, armor-protected vehicles. “It makes sure you have all the paperwork done and you’ve had all the briefings. Also, you can catch diseases without all the vaccinations. If you go out into the desert, and you’re not prepared for it, you will not last.”

Thomas Stanko, a civilian contractor with SAIC, said when he deploys, he’ll be doing counter-improvised explosive device missions from an aircraft known as Radiant Falcon.

“The U.S. Army is our primary customer, but we support all troops on the ground,” said Stanko. “Our mission is to detect IEDs from the air and pass that information to the route clearing teams on the ground so they can negate, dismantle or destroy them.”

Stanko added that the CRC is a mandatory process for contractors before they deploy and all the information they learn is essential.

“(It’s essential) from a threat perspective, mostly in terms of the medical threats and diseases you can get,” said Stanko. “We get training for all of our protective gear. For example, it’s important to know how to put a gas mask on in the event of a chemical or biological attack.”

When you come to the CRC, Stanko said, it gets you into the mindset of “I’m deploying.”

“When you’re a civilian and not wearing a uniform, the CRC is when you realize it’s time to get down to business. It’s not a game and there is a war going on,” said Stanko. “You’re going to get mortared and you’re going to get shot at. It’s an important step to transition us to going overseas, instead of getting on a plane and landing in country.”

Ronnie Haury, with Imagine One Technology & Management, Ltd, based out of Virginia, said the CRC helps them become more aware of all threats encountered overseas and to know what to do when they arise.

“Besides knowing how to put all your gear on, we have to be aware of our surroundings and study the culture,” said Haury. “Your life or someone on your team’s life could be in danger, and it could be up to you to notice something that someone else didn’t.”

Haury added that as a civilian, it’s a good feeling to deploy and be able to help service members come back to their loved ones.

“We’re willing to do anything we can to keep them safe and bring them home,” said Haury.