Marines drill in Japan on CBRN preparedness

Marines with the 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, took part in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear training on June 25 at the East Fuji Maneuver Area in Japan.

The training familiarized the battalion with how to conduct live-fire artillery operations while dealing with a CBRN threat.

Battalion commander Lt. Col. Ricardo Miagany described the training as a priority because it incorporated lessons the marines learned during Operation Tomodachi, the U.S. disaster-relief effort following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

“We were able to support the Japanese people in their time of crisis during Operation Tomodachi,” Christoper I. Kamm, the chief warrant officer and a battalion CBRN officer, said. “Now we are fully capitalizing on the CBRN lessons learned, regarding radiation survey, monitoring and overall contamination awareness. Operation Tomodachi was the first time it was done for real—it wasn’t just a theoretical training evolution.”

The scenario, created by 2nd Lt. David A. Serrano, the battalion's intelligence officer, tested the ability of marines to conduct combat operations in a contaminated environment. The training also incorporated the opportunity to cooperate with Japanese allies.

“It gives the Marines the opportunity to train in the environment in which they could potentially fight, should any threat arise,” Serrano said. “It reinforces our alliance with Japan. The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force assists us when we train in their homeland, and, when they see that we are constantly prepared to be that ‘911 force,’ it reminds them that we are still here to help them protect their country."

Serrano and Kamm both called the training a success.

“I think the Marines got good training out of it,” Serrano said. “The commanders got to be on the other side of a moving, thinking enemy, and they made the right decisions.”