MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Marines with Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st Marine Logistics Group participated in a decontamination class here, Oct. 19.
The purpose of the class was to teach Marines some of the things they would do as a decontamination team.
The first topic the Marines learned about during the class was the three types of chemical biological agents, which are nerve, blister, and incapacitating agents. Nerve agents are considered the most toxic and attack the nervous system eventually causing death. The blister and incapacitating agents aren’t as deadly but they are used to render a person ineffective.
“Chemical warfare has been around for over 1,000 years,” said Cpl. Zach Harbour, Chemical, Biological, Nuclear and Radiation specialist. “The U.S. wont use chemical weapons under any circumstances.”
Besides a lesson on history, Marines learned about nuclear bombs and the types of radiation. Nuclear bombs have five types of bursts which are high-air, low-air, surface, sub-surface, and underwater.
“When nukes explode, the initial blast causes most of the damage,” said Harbour. “Then after that, sort of like a back wave comes through, but it’s not as powerful.”
After the period of instruction, it was time for them to learn the most important part of being on a decontamination team, the decon process.
During the decon portion, students learned the purpose of the process, which is to neutralize or remove hazardous levels of contamination.
They also learned the methods of decontamination. One method is to neutralize the hazard by using a type of decontaminates, another method is to physically remove the hazard, and the last method is weathering, which means to let ‘mother nature’ take care of the problem.
As a decon team, they have a lot of tools at their disposal to aid them in detecting and keeping hazards to a minimum, Harbour explained. “Each one serves a different purpose, but they’re all important.”
Some of those items are the M256 Detector, M8 and M9 paper, and the M4 JCAD.
At the end of the class, every student gained a massive amount of knowledge and they now have a sense of what actions they would take if a contamination were to occur.