MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Marines with Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, conducted a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear field exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Oct. 21.
With the assistance of 2nd Marine Logistics Group’s CBRN Detachment, the company responded to a simulated threat of an explosive device that contained a form of nerve agent.
To make training more realistic, EOD uses scenarios that mirror real-world situations.
“The secretary of state was supposed to be visiting Spain [for this scenario],” said Staff Sgt. Chaz Carter, an observer of the scenario and a staff-noncommissioned officer with the company. “The situation today was that a terrorist implanted a nerve agent device in the heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning system of the hotel he was going to be at. The secret service found out about the device and called in our EOD technicians.”
With a blueprint of the room and very little information, the Marines had to work quickly to identify and eliminate the threat.
“As soon as we arrived, we set up stations and broke up teams,” said Sgt. Nicholas Green, an EOD technician with the company. “It streamlines everything so we can work efficiently.”
From there, the EOD and CBRN Marines moved downrange to set up a decontamination zone. A decontamination zone allows anyone working in a contaminated environment to have quick access to help in the case that they are affected by an agent.
“After we had the decontamination site set up, we sent in the initial-entry team,” said Green. “Their job was to take pictures and report them back to higher command so we could get an idea of what we’re working with.”
Once the initial team had completed their job and located the threat device, x-rays were taken for processing and further evaluation on how to neutralize it. With the device on a timer, the Marines had to make quick decisions, with each passing second putting the accomplishment of the mission in jeopardy.
“We train to react to stressful situations in a non-stressful way,” said Staff Sgt. Corey Murphy, an evaluator with the training cadre. “When you have a clock ticking against you, it definitely adds to intensity. They have to use critical thinking in a situation like this.”
With the device identified and course of action decided upon, the Marines sprang into action. By firing an explosive tool which penetrated the casing around the device, The Marines neutralized the inner wiring, rendering the explosive inactive.
The exercise was a learning experience for the Marines, according to Murphy.
“What each member takes away from this will apply to the next time they encounter a similar situation,” said Murphy.
“I want the Marines to be confident with the procedures, working downrange, proper decontamination, the gear they’re working with, and avoiding contamination,” said Carter.