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11th Wing conducts joint CBRNE exercise

Marines from the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade chemical biological incident response force evacuate volunteer “victim” Airman 1st Class Michael Picotte, 11th Wing Logistic Readiness Squadron, during an exercise on Bolling June 12. (U.S Air Force photo Airman 1st Class Alexandre Montes)

Marines from the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade chemical biological incident response force evacuate volunteer “victim” Airman 1st Class Michael Picotte, 11th Wing Logistic Readiness Squadron, during an exercise on Bolling June 12. (U.S Air Force photo Airman 1st Class Alexandre Montes)

BOLLING AFB, DC -- The 11th Wing conducted a training exercise in conjunction with a Marine chemical biological incident response force June 12 in the abandoned housing area on Bolling.

More than 300 members of the 11th Wing, Pentagon military personnel flight, Navy and Coast Guard, augmented by more than 100 Marines from a CBIRF unit from Indian Head, Md., participated in the exercise.

"This exercise was a good transition between current steady-state Air Force and future joint base Anacostia-Bolling," said Lt. Col. Alan "Rebel" Rebholz, 11th Wing inspector general. "The exercise was astronomical for the base because it proved not only what our own inherent capabilities and limitations are when we respond to an incident like a chemical-spray truck explosion, but also the capabilities and limitations of the Marine unit when and if we ever have to call them in."

The exercise scenario featured a chemical-spray truck exploding as it drove thru the base neighborhood, exposing victims to organophosphate malathion, a chemical nerve agent. More than 40 volunteer "victims" were placed in and around several houses in the unoccupied housing area to be rescued and treated.

"The exercise was very informative," said Senior Airman Henry Martinez, 79th Medical Group emergency medical technician. "Nothing was simulated. Everything has been done like it would be in the real world. It's been very helpful. The Marines don't play around, they take it very seriously."

The objectives of the exercise were to educate incident management system participants on capabilities used to respond to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-explosive situation, exercise joint interoperability with the CBIRF, conduct agent detection and identification, casualty search and extraction, personnel decontamination operations, and provide emergency medical care, stabilization and force protection in a CBRNE environment.

"We met our objectives and learned a lot of very valuable lessons about not only our capabilities and limitations, but also our approach to business. It also provided a good education opportunity for the outside responders who came out to help us," Colonel Rebholz said.

The mission of the CBIRF is to forward deploy and respond to a credible threat of a CBRNE incident in order to assist local, state or federal agencies and designated combatant commanders in their consequence management operations.

"From this exercise, if we ever have to show to a real response, we now know the faces," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Tauseef Badar, CBIRF member. "We've dealt with each other, we've got some experience and we can build on it."

The CBIRF brings many skills to the table including agent detection and identification, casualty search and extraction operations, personnel decontamination operations, emergency medical care and stabilization, force protection in CBRNE environment and more.

"The exercise was very professional, very well handled," said Coast Guard Fireman Edward Richardson, volunteer victim. "There was lot of communication and teamwork. I'm glad I volunteered to do this."