NBC training readies troops

18 Dec 2003 | Lance Cpl. Adam C. Schnell

The Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa J-3 training section conducted a series of preparedness exercises here Dec. 16-18 for personnel attached to the task force.

About 150 members from the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, and the Korean and U.S. Marine Corps' came together to practice the actions taken in case of nuclear, biological, chemical attacks and to unsure individuals had all the appropriate gear.

"This will be the first of the NBC training exercises I'm hoping to do with everyone here," said Gunnery Sgt. Brent K. Cox, training chief for CJTF-HOA.

The Grafton, W. Va., native went on to say that the more training someone has, the more prepared they are if an attack does happen. If an attack happens, it's a good thing to know that the gear each person has is serviceable, fits properly and they know how to use it.

The service members became more familiar with many different pieces of equipment. The main focus was put on how to wear the Mission Oriented Protective Posture gear and performing decontamination on themselves from a simulated liquid chemical agent attack.

"Most of the branches have seen the gear before, but some of them have never put the gear to use in a simulated exercise," said Cox.

"It was the most detailed class I have every taken about NBC," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Michelle K. Phillips, an NBC training student. "I learned a lot about the equipment that is used by the different services."

Even though the equipment is a little different between the services, the basic layout of the equipment is the same. The Air Force's mask, for instance, looks much different than the rest of the services, said Cox.

"The masks are used the same way no matter what the service you are in, so that made it easier to teach everyone how the different parts of the mask work," said Cox. "We even had people from different countries participate in the training."

For one Korean Marine officer, this training is just another exercise. Korean Marine Maj. Seunghak Kim, range officer for CJTF-HOA, said that NBC training exercises are a regular occurrence in the Korean military.

"Because we are so close to North Korea, the threat is very high for biological warfare. We must receive training on NBC every three months," added Kim.

Like the Korean Marines, CJTf-HOA personnel need to stay proficient with their knowledge of NBC warfare, thus plans for new training is in the works. The new training would include more advanced NBC knowledge to be taught and a "Gas Mask Day."

"The 'Gas Mask Day' would be once a month where all the personnel on base would have to carry around their masks, and there would be a simulated NBC attack announced over the loudspeaker," said Cox.

Other training that could be done is mission-oriented training where the troops in a unit would wear their MOPP gear for four hours while in their working environment and MOPP suit exchange exercise where everyone would have to change their suit while keeping the gas mask on.

Cox ended by saying. "The main goal of the training was to make sure everyone in the unit had properly fitting gear and they knew how to use it. I think that's one the most important pieces of knowledge for people who are deployed."
Headquarters Marine Corps