CBIRF Marines, Sailors support democratic process
By Cpl. Leslie Palmer
ST.PAUL, Minn. - Marines and Sailors with Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, II Marine Expeditionary Force were called to support the Republican National Convention here Sept. 1-4. Pre-staging their response gear and personal protective equipment in a parking garage near the Xcel Center, the Marines and Sailors took their posts.
"When Marines are employed, everything is well at hand," said Pat Higgins, advisor to the mission commander on the incident command and technical rescue operations, CBIRF.
CBIRF personnel supported the recent Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., and are pictured here staging equipment at the event.
As a force in readiness, CBIRF Marines and Sailors were strategically positioned so if a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-yield explosive event occurred, they could respond, saving lives in the middle of potential mayhem.
"We are here to provide consequence management in support of the local fire department and Secret Service in the event of a CBRNE attack," said Lt.Cmdr. Jason Spillman, CBIRF mission commander. "We're really a force multiplier," he added.
CBIRF is considered a national asset, and according to Sgt. Joshua Phillips, extractor, extract platoon, Company A, CBIRF is dedicated to defending America's freedoms.
"As employees of the government, as defenders of freedom and democracy around the world, it's important to ensure we have safety for our democratic way of life," said Phillips. "Our unit is a security blanket and protects the American way of life."
While CBIRF Marines and Sailors are active-duty servicemembers and train in consequence management on a daily basis, many also have combat experience.
"This unit is a highly trained unit full of Marines and Sailors with a lot of experience in the military," Phillips said. "A lot of the Marines and Sailors here have deployed to combat zones around the world. We have a lot of experience not just in consequence management, which helps us to respond to any incident (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-yield explosion) and effectively neutralize the threat and take care of American lives."
CBIRF is the only group of active-duty servicemembers able to sustain rescue operations for up to three days, equipped with resources like a technical rescue platoon, medical section, and identification and detection platoon.
"Since 1775, the Marine Corps' inception, we have never been known to be cowards, and it's important to show the world that America is a beacon of freedom and democracy, and CBIRF's here to help support that way of life," Phillips said.
While CBIRF is a group of active-duty Marines and Sailors, Higgins said political preference was not a factor in why CBIRF supported the Republican National Convention vice the Democrat National Convention. According to federal agencies working security at the convention, "They felt that there was more of a need here at the Republican National Convention vice the Democratic National Convention," Higgins said. "It's better to have forces here that can rapidly deploy with the close proximity to the convention center."
Staring down at the crowded streets below with watchful eyes, the Marines the Sailors stood ready to save American lives and defend their homeland.