Marines earn rescue certification

The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit Marines completed a 10-day rescue training course on May 30 at the Center for National Response in preparation for an upcoming deployment.

The training exercises were held in Gallagher, W.V. and focused on CBRN defenses. The marines did activities like rope rescue skills involving webbing, safety harnesses, knots, anchor systems, various hitch systems, pick-off rescue, and safely descending and ascending. Forty hours of classroom time were also included in the course.

"Everything within rope rescue is extremely perishable," Matthew Park, search and rescue instructor at CNR, said. "It's not really the broad perspective that gets a soldier, whether it's a rescuer or a casualty, injured, but it's the small details that you miss that makes somebody become a fatality or worse casualty."

Along with rope training exercises, the marines also practiced confined-space training inside Memorial Tunnel. The training exercises involved going through different levels of the tunnel while searching for casualties and wearing self-contained breathing apparatuses.

"Confined-space training is really just being able to work in an extremely stressful environment," Park said. "In confined spaces, if you have low lighting or even no lighting, which we work with in this course, being able to cut off 90 percent of your normally used senses to use hearing and touch to find your way through an entire building to find a casualty is the most difficult thing you're going to run into."