CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, Japan -- For Lance Cpl. Andrew Jackson, entering a building with an unknown, possibly harmful chemical outbreak is just another day on the job as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear defense specialist Marine.
Jackson and other CBRN defense specialists participated in an assessment/consequences management exercise for pre-deployment preparations with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit Dec. 5 on Camp Hansen.
Exercise controllers created a scenario that challenged the teams with real-life situations. After donning a tan protective suit equipped with an oxygen tank and gas mask, Jackson, along with his team, proceeded toward a contaminated scene.
In the scenario, CBRN Marines reacted to a distress call from local police after they started coughing and sneezing following exposure to an unknown chemical agent during an investigation, according to Lance Cpl. Rocky T. Smith II, a CBRN specialist with the 31st MEU.
Jackson, a leader of one of the three teams, did what he knows best. Using his training and experiences, he investigated the scene and located the contamination.
“Once we made entryway into the building, we try to find out how many rooms there are,” said Jackson, from Christiansted, St. Croix, Virgin Islands. “We have to find out how many doors are unlocked, how many are open and once we are done with that, we tend to any casualties, collect any samples and then make sure they are identified.”
Upon entering the building, Jackson and his team immediately found two simulated causalities. Still needing to survey the area, they called in team two to evacuate the casualties so they could continue to scan for any other contaminations.
“If there are casualties, we see if we can resuscitate them and if we can get them to have some cognitive functions,” said Smith, from Houston, Texas. “Before (we evacuate them), we have to identify the substance they were working with so we know what decontaminants to use.”
Throughout the scenario, Cpl. David B. Gale, the CBRN platoon sergeant with the 31st MEU, monitored and critiqued the Marines so they could learn from their mistakes and receive feedback.
“The biggest thing I want to see is responder safety and communication,” said Gale, from Kennewick, Washington. “I want my guys to know what they’re doing, going through things I have taught them beforehand and being able to respond to the situation.”
The CBRN Marines with the 31st MEU command element are conducting pre-deployment preparations for the regularly-scheduled Spring Patrol of the Asia-Pacific region.