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Lance Cpl. Milton Torres, a Marine with Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, prepares a hose for a decontamination drill at Guardian Centers in Perry, Ga., March 20, 2017, during Exercise Scarlet Response 2017. The exercise, which goes from March 20 – 25, is the largest annual event for CBIRF, and it tests the unit’s capabilities to react and respond to threats and disasters such as nuclear detonations.

Photo by Sgt. Terence Brady

Scarlet Response begins, CBIRF responds to the call

24 Mar 2017 | Sgt. Terry Brady The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Marines and sailors with Chemical Biological Incident Response Force traveled to Guardian Centers, a training facility in Perry, Georgia, to participate and conduct Exercise Scarlet Response 2017.

Scarlet Response is an annual exercise with a focus on developing the skills of the elements of CBIRF while integrating with each other in simulated disaster scenarios. The exercise, which goes from March 20 – 25, is the largest annual event for CBIRF, and it tests the unit’s capabilities to react and respond to threats and disasters such as nuclear detonations.

During the first two days of the exercise, the Marines from CBIRF trained in their specific jobs, such as decontamination, with sources available at the training facility.

“The way we prepare for events like Scarlet Response and real world incidents is we set up our full site, which is two tents; one ambulatory, one none ambulatory and a force protection line for CBIRF responders and first responders alike,” said Sgt. Robert Grodzicki, a decontamination section leader with CBIRF. “We also just finished the advanced decontamination course at guardian centers. 

“They threw all kinds of wound patterns and stuff like that so that we can provide better care to the casualties that we receive.”

After they completed the job-specific training, they began to rotate into different specialties in CBIRF, and eventually integrate each other’s skills.

“The way we work with the other sections hand in hand in CBIRF is the extraction platoon brings us casualties, the identification detection platoon provides us with information so that we understand how to appropriately decontaminate casualties that we received,” said Grodzicki. “Medical is with us to provide what help we need with the casualties we’re presented with upon completion of decontamination to the medical tent.”

The Marines develop a better understanding and appreciation for each other’s skills, according to Cpl. Gerardo Cuevas, an extractor with CBIRF.

“We got Marines who are not extractors and we brought them into our world and showed them what to do,” said Cuevas. “It’s important because I get to appreciate [the units] more than before and I get to assist the unit and be a better tool for the unit. Instead of just picking up a casualty I can make ways for other Marines to pick up other casualties and support them.”

Guardian Centers provides CBIRF with resources and a site that allows them to test their skills in ways not available to them normally, according to Sgt. Cody Bennett, a Marine with Technical Rescue Platoon. 

“This week we’re doing deep trench [training], which we don’t have the opportunity to do that often because our trenches in Maryland are eight-feet deep instead of 12 feet,” said Bennett. “It allows us to go off our own baseline and exceed what were used to working with and what were capable of doing.”

Grodzicki added that the exercise presents the unit an opportunity to train in large sustained operations with role players to act as casualties. 

“Some of them have small acting backgrounds so they can make it as realistic for my marines as possible so when something happens in real life we’re better prepared,” said Grodzicki.

The Marines will apply the cross training and lane training they performed in the preliminary days to conduct a 12-hour field op, testing their skills further in realistic scenarios.

“The way I see cross training is the way I see the Marine Corps in general: every Marine is a rifleman,” said Cuevas. “Every Marine is [expected] to pick up a rifle and go into combat. It’s the same way with CBIRF. At the end of the day, we all have to be able to pick up the job.”

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