OKINAWA, Japan --
In a hazardous materials environment, noxious fumes from chemical agents can prove deadly. The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) must be prepared to quickly and skillfully take care of the situation. That’s where a Consequence Management Team (CMT) comes in.
Seventeen Marines and Sailors from various military occupational specialties assigned to the 31st MEU gathered recently for a new and enhanced five week Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Consequence Management Course (CMC) from July 16- August 22, to certify themselves as the 31st MEU’s CMT.
According to Staff Sgt. Marco Flores, the Consequence Management Course lead instructor, the importance of this training is so that the MEU commander has a team available to mitigate, control and assess a CBRN crisis situation.
Sgt. James McCarty, a CBRN Defense Instructor with the MEU, echoed Flores’ statement and said, “This team of Marines is responsible to react in the event of a hazardous materials (HAZMAT) situation and determine whether the situation is an accident or incident.”
The course focuses on various aspects of the CBRN field and its history. Along with using the latest CBRN equipment, students undergo human vital signs classes to monitor the effects of CBRN agents on individuals. Additionally, six hours were spent on the detection of CBRN agents and monitoring their hazardous levels.
“The new class gets in depth with the new state-of-the-art detection equipment, a variety of gas masks, and plenty of practical application,” said McCarty, a Louisville, Ky., native.
For some of the students, learning about CBRN applications for the first time can be overwhelming. However, the length of the course and its pace allowed ample time for the students to snap in.
According to Lance Cpl. Sean Lockard, a Light Armored Vehicle repairman with CLB 31, all the new detection equipment and gear is easy to work with and understand after the familiarization training.
“Because of the class, I feel very confident in using this new equipment in a real scenario,” added Lockard, a Bayfield Colo. native.
While the training benefits the MEU as a whole, students have the opportunity to gain a marketable skill if they decide to leave the Marine Corps.
“All the gear and Personal Protection Equipment the students are learning about and using could really help them if they decided to pursue a civilian career in the hazardous materials field,” said Lance Cpl. Benjamin Rader, a CBRN defense specialist and assistant instructor for the MEU. “The certifications these students are earning are recognized as major accomplishments in the civilian sector.”
While the training and certification gives value to both the individual and the Marine Corps, being prepared and ready for possible crises in the Asia-Pacific theater is the focus.
“All the Marines enrolled in the course seem to be grasping everything quite well,” said Rader, a Jupiter, Fla., native. “They should be ready for any mission scenario we throw their way, and eventually be ready to use there skills down range in potential real world missions.”
At the end of the course, the students will culminate their training with a Capabilities Exercise that will put what they have learned to the test and prepare them for the MEU’s upcoming fall deployment.