Chemical Biological Incident Response Force tests response effectiveness

Chemical Biological Incident Response Force tests response effectiveness

PFC Eric Mahoney, a Marine with the Decontamination Platoon, helps a Marine take off his gas mask while also pointing him in the direction of where to go next during the 36-hour continuous operation as part of Exercise Scarlet Response 2015 at Guardian Centers in Perry, Georgia, July 23. Photo by LCpl David Staten.

PERRY, Ga  (July 23, 2015) -- Marines and sailors with Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, U.S. Marine Forces Command, began a 36-hour continuous operation as part of Exercise Scarlet Response 2015 at Guardian Centers in Perry, Georgia, July 23.  

Scarlet Response 2015 is a dynamic exercise that allows every section in CBIRF: Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Technical Rescue, Decontamination, Medical, Identification and Detection and Search and Extraction, an opportunity to focus on their individual disciplines and then come together to operate as an entire unit.

Scarlet Response 2015 is the biggest training event for the Marines and sailors of CBIRF.  The scenarios test their ability to respond to various attacks.

Each section of CBIRF trained individually for the first two days of Scarlet Response to hone and improve on skills, before coming together to execute the final operation of the exercise.

"Yes, we're all in our individual teams but at the end of the day we're a unit," said Petty Officer 2nd Class James Allison, the medical stabilization tent manager for the medical team. "From the primary assessment team to us, we move, we push, and we do what needs to be done in a fast and orderly way like we've been trained. We're the best guys to respond to any CBRNE incident."

The 36-hour operation had multiple simulated incidents that occurred, including a subway derailment with a radiological explosive device, a major traffic incident inside of a highway tunnel, a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device in a town, another radiological explosive device in the same town and collapsed buildings and structures.

"Being here has definitely pushed our comfortability zone," said Sgt Brian Brown, a hot zone controller and sector team leader for the Search and Extraction Platoon.

"Actually being able to work in a structure that had radiological contaminants in it and working in structures that actually had to be shored up…no other training can compare."

The participants have to wear protective equipment, including a plastic suit, gas mask, self-contained breathing apparatus and certain teams wear even more equipment.

While wearing this equipment, the Marines and sailors extracted and aided more than 250 simulated casualties. The majority of casualties were civilian role players ranging in height and weight, which in turn added to the difficulty and realism of the exercise.

Injuries ranged from minor sprains, crushed pelvises and crushed casualties. The participants also had to rescue the casualties from dark, smoky, collapsed and flooded places.

The instructors overseeing let them make all the decisions and didn't intervene as long as they were on mission.  The participants had to plan together to figure out the best course of action.

"The 36-hour op brought everything into a new perspective," said Sgt Kyle Burns, a team leader with the Technical Rescue Platoon. "Not only did you have one subway car, but you had two or three sets of track. They can pump smoke into the room and it made you feel like something terrible was really happening and that you were really needed."

CBIRF trains and prepares for the time they will be needed and are always ready and watchful.

"I couldn't be anymore confident that if we were to respond right now that we would be effective and efficient and a benefit to wherever we responded to," said Capt Mark Gilbert, Reaction Force Company commander and Initial Response Force B commander. "I'm more proud of the Marines and sailors who were out there than I could ever be."

The Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS) is provided as a public service operated by Third Army/U.S. Army Central (ARCENT) on behalf of the Department of the Army in support of all branches of the U.S. military (Navy, Air Force, Marines) and its Coalition partners serving in the U.S. Forces Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility.