Photo Information

AL ASAD, Iraq (April 14, 2005) - Serving as translator for the Marine and civilian law enforcement instructors at the Regional Iraqi Police and Border Patrol Academy here, Chris, as his coworkers call him, has overcome years of trials and tribulations to be at the point he is today. Fleeing the persecution of his homeland, he then struggled under the oppressive regime of Saddam Hussein for a decade before seeking refuge in Jordan. Now he has returned to help ensure the freedom of the Iraqi people.

Photo by Cpl. Rocco DeFilippis

Chemical brothers unite

12 Apr 2005 | Cpl. Rocco DeFilippis

Marines have always been known for their ingenuity and ability to adapt and overcome to accomplish any mission they face.

The Marines of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) Nuclear, Biological and
Chemical section stand as a testament to this reputation, tackling the important task of
ensuring the readiness of the service members here.

Responsible for all the protective, detection and decontamination gear for the
service members in Al Asad, the Marines of the 2nd MAW (Fwd) NBC have taken a new
approach to their vital mission.

By consolidating the equipment and personnel normally spread throughout the
wing into one NBC section, the Marines are better equipped to maintain the readiness
necessary to handle an emergency.

“Previous units had the equipment staged with individual units, which is okay, for
a while,” said Chief Warrant Officer George G. Bernard, NBC officer-in-charge and
native of Columbia, S.C. “The equipment requires constant maintenance and testing to
ensure the protective value remains at mandatory levels. That’s hard to do when you are
spread out.”

Most the NBC gear owned by the 2nd MAW (Fwd.) has been in country for two
years now. Numerous movement and exposure to the harsh conditions of Iraq requires the
close attention of the NBC Marines to ensure the gear is ready to be used.

The Marines are responsible for visual and physical inspections to determine the
serviceability of the lifesaving equipment.

“It’s important to stay on top of the equipment,” said Lance Cpl. Nathan R.
Walsh, NBC defense specialist and native of Charleston, S.C. “It’s one thing to have all
the gear, but if it doesn’t work when you need it, it’s useless.”

Starting from scratch, with a warehouse once used for storage of dilapidated
appliances and outdated technology, the Marines began the arduous task of consolidating,
taking inventory and evaluating the NBC assets.

“It’s been a non-stop effort to get to the point we are at today,” said Cpl. Adam
W. Beranek, NBC noncommissioned officer in charge and native of Aiken, S.C. “To see
the warehouse now, compared to the trash heap it was, we’ve come a long way.”

Coordination with the groups and squadrons within the wing and pre-determined
staging and distribution points, combined with the knowledge that the gear is operating at
full capacity, allows the Marines to be more ready than ever before.

Although the current threat-level for a nuclear, biological or chemical attack is
low, the centralization of the NBC assets allows for greater readiness in the event of an

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