CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Fifteen 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit ground-combat Marines here recently practiced protecting and decontaminating themselves to stay in the fight during dangerous-goods attacks or incidents.
The group from Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, the MEU’s ground-combat element, attended a three-week assessment-and-consequence management course taught by 1st Marine Division to Marine air-ground task-force members.
In field exercises – one at a waste-water treatment facility and others in simulated urban environments – students got practical experience using state-of-the-art suits and decontamination equipment.
The off-the-shelf civilian gear is designed specifically for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.
“We are officially the second MEU to use this new equipment,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Gary Reed, who is in charge or preparing the 11th MEU for such threats.
The gear was bulky and hot, but Pfc. James Mayo, a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist, said the students accomplished a lot as a team and are familiarized and ready to support the MEU.
Instructor and trainer Lance Cpl. James Day, 1st Marine Division, said the suits, which are also used by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, are easier to use and more comfortable than standard military gear.
“These suits are better equipped for all scenarios dealing with the range of (hazardous materials),” said Day.
The MEU, a Marine air-ground task-force of 2,200 service members, is gearing up for a Western-Pacific deployment later this year.