The exercise, which simulated chemical and biological attacks here and in Kadena, gave MAG-12 Marines here the opportunity to experience what it’s like to do their jobs while attired head to toe in their MOPP gear.
“The importance of this training is not only to ensure that every day Marines have the ability to survive in a contaminated environment, but also the ability to operate in a contaminated environment,” said Cpl. Justin Kriss, MAG-12 headquarters chemical biological radiological nuclear training noncommissioned officer. “If CBRN weapons are ever used, operations won’t stop. We still have a job to do even if it’s just to pull our assets out and get to a clean area, but until we get to that area, we still have to be able to do our jobs.”
As the day’s scenario played out, MAG-12 Marines went through the different levels of MOPP gear which made their job a little more difficult.
Marines started the morning having their MOPP gear within hands-reach and finished the day fully clothed in their gas masks, boots, gloves and suit.
MAG-12 Marines who worked in offices could be seen sitting at their desks struggling in their MOPP suit trying to key words out on their keyboards.
Answering phones while wearing the gas mask and staying cool in the MOPP suit was very difficult, and actually putting it on was a challenge, said Lance Cpl. Jason Garcia, MAG-12 driver for the commanding officer.
“It’s good that they have these exercises so we can get familiar with (the MOPP gear),” said Garcia. “Not a lot of people are familiar with how to put it on. It‘s hot but it’s good stuff.”
The MAG-12 Marines training here were part of a scenario which placed them as the rear detachment under a chemical and biological attack.
Marines here and Marines forward in Kadena had to coordinate their efforts to provide a good defense against the attacks while continuing to accomplish their daily duties.
Kriss said he believed the scenario provided more realistic circumstances, as an enemy is more likely to attack on multiple fronts rather than concentrate on one specific area, and the fact that the Marines are able to coordinate their efforts said something of their efficiency.
“I think it says that we are right where we need to be,” said Kriss. “The fact that we can work independently and in tandem (with the Marines in Kadena) is just a testament to that.”