Marines take part in CBRN test in Japan

Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense specialists with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, III Marine Expeditionary Force, recently performed a CBRN response test in Japan to prepare for future CBRN incidents.

The Marines wore Level B chemical protective suits during the test at Camp Hansen in Okinawa to ready themselves for an upcoming deployment at sea. Staff Sgt. John Bettenhausen, the 31st MEU's CBRN chief, said the test will prepare the Marines for responses to incidents in any type of environment.

"As first-responders, we never know what kind of environment we might be walking into," Bettenhausen said. "We do our best to train as often as we can in various climates to stay constantly ready."

The test involved the simulated evacuation of a casualty, the containment of a mock spill and the task of securing the area. The fitness test was meant to challenge the CBRN Marines with realistic crisis response scenarios as they wore hazmat suits with limited tanks of oxygen.

Bettenhausen said the Marines are preparing weekly for the upcoming deployment by teaching and attending CBRN-related classes with other units.

"We teach the Marines a variety of intensive classes directly related to being a CBRN specialist and a first-responder," Bettenhausen said. "Along with the classes pertaining to our job, we have done training with explosive ordnance disposal Marines to learn about various unknown liquids and bomb-defusing procedures."