CBRN Marine provides double threat
HIT, Iraq — Cpl. Jeremy M. Wright is a Marine who looks forward to pressure situations.
7/13/2008 By Cpl. Erik Villagran, Regimental Combat Team 5
Wright, a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear defense specialist for 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, is a watch noncommissioned officer in the battalion’s Combat Operation Center when he’s not performing his primary military occupational specialty. While he works in the COC, he anticipates the day that he may be called to check an area for any chemical threats.
“When I work in the COC, I monitor all the missions and movements of units throughout the battalion’s area of operations,” Wright said. “I also coordinate with the company level COCs.”
Wright, 24, from Cartersville, Ga., understands the importance of being a watch NCO, but doesn’t think it compares to his CBRN job.
“I enjoy doing CBRN work,” Wright said. “I chose to be in a job not a lot of people get to do.”
When Wright is tasked to investigate an area, he takes all the necessary precautions to ensure everything runs smoothly. Before proceeding to the objective, he gives a quick class to ensure the Marines participating in the mission have properly functioning masks and are in the right state of mind.
“I want them to understand that once we’re in a hot zone, chemicals are present in the air,” Wright said. “If they don’t take appropriate precautions there are going to be severe consequences.”
In his first deployment, Wright says he has enjoyed being the Marine who is called to enter the hot zone when a suspected hazard is found. Though the battalion hasn’t had any actual chemical threats here, Wright continues to keep his skills sharp in the event that a real threat occurs by going on operations and conducting random tests.
“When I get there, I determine the proper mission oriented protective posture level,” Wright said. “I go to the site and begin testing the suspected substance.”
Wright can use a variety of machines to figure out what a substance is. The instrument he uses depends on the intelligence he has before he enters a site. He carefully collects a sample of the suspected substance and works to identify it. The process can take a few minutes or hours depending on the situation and how fast he identifies a threat.
Although many people get nervous when they think of a chemical attack, Wright feels right at home.
“This is the best MOS in the Marine Corps,” Wright said. “I wouldn’t want to do any other job.”