U.S. Marines, airmen, Republic of Korea troops train for contamination
OSAN AIR BASE, OSAN, Republic of Korea -- U.S. Marines and airmen along with Republic of Korea airmen came together for a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear joint training exercise at Osan Air Base in the Republic of Korea March 16.
“The 1st Marine Aircraft Wing CBRN Platoon is designed to provide a consequence management team in support of consequence management missions abroad,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Brian R. Barksdale, a CBRN officer with Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 1, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “To train for our mission, Marines go through a series of consequence management like training.”
MWHS-1 CBRN and 51st Civil Engineer Squadron CBRN learned different tactics, techniques and procedures from one another during the week-long bilateral training event.
“This week is focused on joint training with the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron, and additionally with the ROK CBRN Air Force in an effort to increase interoperability between the United States Marine Corps, the Air Force and the CBRN community as a whole,” said Barksdale, from Casper, Wyoming.
Thursday’s training concentrated mainly on response scenarios. Airmen led response scenario stations in the morning and Marines followed led in the afternoon. Groups of Marines and airmen rotated around to the different stations working together and learning from one another.
“The Marine Corps is more of an expeditionary force and they’re more of a station-side force,” said Cpl. Donald L. Harmon, a CBRN defense specialist with the Marine wing squadron from Cleveland, Ohio. “We can learn how they would work on an airstrip and they can learn how we work in an expeditionary setting.”
ROK Air Force CBRN also came out to participate in the joint training exercise to brief and demonstrate some of their decontamination operations to U.S. forces.
Lieutenant Sung Yong Song, a ROK Air Force CBRN specialist, said they have the same mission as U.S. forces, and it’s important to learn some of the differences between the two countries.
“We have learned that we don’t have a whole lot of differences between us with the way we do our jobs,” said Staff Sgt. Eva M. Gaus, an emergency manager with 51st Civil Engineer Squadron, 51st Mission Support Group, 51st Fighter Wing, Seventh Air Force, from Milton, Florida.
While there are many similarities, there are also differences in their methods.
“We have a standard war fighting publication that sets the baseline for all of us, but the individual standard operation procedures between the Air Force and the Marine Corps is slightly different, so it’s trying to overlap the two and come up with one team, one fight,” said Barksdale.
Response scenarios were only one of the six training days the Marines and airmen participated in. They trained in tactics, techniques and procedures exchange and equipment employment.
Training concluded with a response fitness test on Friday. The test is used to provide the incident commander knowledge regarding the amount of air consumption a responder uses in a high stress environment.
"I would definitely say that we met the mission’s intent of identifying some of the different procedures between our CBRN Air Force counterparts and us, so we can better come together,” said Barksdale. “This mission isn’t solely a Marine Corps mission. It’s a joint mission that we need to work with our Air Force counterparts.”