Featured News

Marines in Iraq keep NBC skills sharp in case of attack

19 Aug 2004 | Cpl. Macario P. Mora Jr.

Although no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, Marines here continue to hone their skills should such a destructive attack ever come.

Regimental Combat Team 7 selected more than a dozen Marines to train in becoming part of the Regiment's Monitor Survey Decontamination Team in case of a nuclear, biological or chemical attack during a two-day course Aug. 16-17.

"With this training this group of Marines should be able to set up a hasty decontamination site if necessary," said Staff Sgt. Robert W. McDaniels, the regiment's NBC chief.

The Marines learned about the different types of NBC agents, how to detect the agents and also how to set up a decontamination center for service members and equipment.

Such equipment included proper use and maintenance of the Mission-Oriented Protective Posture suit and the M-17 Field Protective Mask.

"They would be able to hand out MOPP gear and wash down vehicles," said McDaniels, 26, of Kettle Falls, Wash.  "The vehicles wouldn't be fully decontaminated but enough so where they could be used again."

The Marines spent their first day in a classroom learning the different types of agents that might be used, how they might be used and how to detect them.

"They need a corpsman, so they chose me," said Navy Seaman Daniel T. McGowen, 22, a corpsman from Moore, Ok.  "It's been a good experience so far though, much different than what I'm used to."

The team will stay together until their tours are over, according to McGowen.

The second day of training consisted of practical application, giving the service members the opportunity to put into practice what they learned the previous day.

"Today we showed them how to use the M-17, break it down, properly exchange MOPP suits and wash down the vehicles as well as set up the whole site," said Cpl. Julian N. Cofer, 21, an NBC instructor from Richardson, Texas.  "We're going to show them all the little things that are hard to forget about but may save their life."

The team will train in NBC as frequently as possible, according to Cofer.

"The best thing for them is to keep up their knowledge," Cofer said.  "It's hard to get training time because of different unit priorities but it's important they know what they're doing."

The team was assembled from Marines taken form various units, according to McDaniels.

"We didn't get to choose the Marines," McDaniels said.  "They're all willing to learn and that is what matters."