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A Marine with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit takes a ground contamination reading before flying in a CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter for further readings during a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense course, August 19. The knowledge the Marines take away from this training will help support the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit during their fall patrol.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Tyler C. Vernaza

Marines learn CBRN Defense; Support 31st MEU

20 Aug 2010 | Lance Cpl. Tyler C. Vernaza

Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit finished a week of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense training, which included a radiological survey, August 19.

Marines throughout the 31st MEU were chosen to become members of survey and decontamination teams to ensure the MEu is ready for any CBRN threat.

Earlier this week, Marines had classroom training outlining basic individual survival skills along with decontamination operations, and reconnaissance and survey measures.

“The classes helped Marines understand some of the effects of radiation on the body and what levels could be damaging to a person’s organs,” said Staff Sgt. Marco Flores, CBRN Chief for the 31st MEU.

On the final day, the Marines dressed out in full Mission Oriented Protective Posture suits to help simulate what would happen during a CBRN contamination or incident.

“Today these Marines are flying out in a CH-46E Sea Night helicopter in full MOPP suits and radiation detection instruments to calculate ‘correlation factor,’ said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Cory Coulter, CBRN Defense Officer for the 31st MEU.

The correlation factor is measured by calculating the difference in the amount of radiation on the ground as compared to the amount measured in the air.

After taking ground measurements, Marines loaded onto the helicopter and made their way to a landing zone on Camp Schwab.

Along the way, Marines took radiation measurements at designated times to record simulated contamination levels.

“In the event of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack, these Marines can be our eyes and ears – to find the contamination,” said Coulter.

These survey and decontamination teams will be activated to take care of any CBRN threats that arise during their time with the 31st MEU.

“It’s not a difficult thing to learn how to do, but it’s important for the Marines to get the hands-on experience,” said Flores.

In the event of CBRN contamination, these teams can support the commanding officer by relaying where the threat is most high and where it’s safe for troops to move.

31st Marine Expeditionary Unit