Photo Information

U.S. Marine PFC Franco M. Estabillo, Jr., administrative clerk, 11TH Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) listens to instructions for use of the M50 gas mask during chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear (CBRN) training aboard Camp Pendleton, CA, April 19, 2013. The MEU undergoes annual CBRN training to keep personnel mission ready and to familiarize Marines and Sailors with special CBRN equipment. (Photo by: Cpl Jonathan R. Waldman, 11TH MEU Combat Camera)

Photo by Cpl. Jonathan Waldman

Pride of the Pacific maintains readiness

19 Apr 2013 | Lance Cpl.Demetrius Morgan 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

The 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit's primary mission is to be a rapid response force able to conduct amphibious operations under the most adverse conditions. To consistently accomplish this mission, the MEU participates in various training exercises to sharpen and maintain readiness skills.

Marines with the 11th MEU participated in Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear equipment familiarization along with physical training here April 19.

The 11th MEU makes it a priority to complete individual survival standards training and individual protective equipment confidence training on a quarterly basis. The purpose of the training is to prepare MEU personal to operate in a contaminated environment.

The training started with the command element's CBRN section briefing the individual survival standards when in a CBRN situation. Then, the Marines were taught the proper usage of individual protective equipment.

“The focus of this training is to show Marines the amount of mobility you have while in Saratoga undergarments,” said Lance Cpl. Joseph Leeder, a CBRN defense specialist with the 11th MEU. “This training also gives you an idea on what you’re supposed to do in a CBRN environment.”

Leeder’s role in the training was to be the primary instructor of classes conducted prior to practical application.
Immediately after the CBRN classes, the command element broke into groups to take part in familiarization training. Each group was placed on one of six stations. At each station, Marines conducted immediate actions to CBRN scenarios. After a designated time, the groups rotated to take part in the next station’s training exercise.

During the familiarization training, Marines conducted physical training between stations while wearing Mission Oriented Protective Posture gear. MOPP gear is the standard protective gear the Marine Corps uses when dealing with a possible contamination situation. The MOPP gear was not only used to expose Marines to the equipment, it was also used to make the physical training aspect harder.

The combination of building confidence in usage of gear and fitness training is believed to be the most effective way to create a realistic training regiment, said Leeder.

“This isn’t training that you can give half effort,” said Staff Sgt. Sean Fordham, the CBRN chief with the 11th MEU. “This stuff actually applies in real combat situations.”

The MEU is scheduled to participate in many other PT sessions and other types of training to build unit cohesion and mission readiness while in preparation for their deployment scheduled in 2014.

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