MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — January 13, 2016 — Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 24 and II Marine Headquarters Group conducted a chlorobenzylidene malononitrile, or CS gas chamber at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Jan. 8, 2016.
As of fiscal year 2015, Marines are now required to qualify bi-annually at the gas chamber.
Marines, while exposed to CS gas, must conduct a series of exercises inside the chamber to ensure a tight seal on the Marines’ masks. They must then break the seal, allowing the gas to penetrate the mask. Once every Marine has broken their seal, they must then don and clear the mask of any gas.
“The purpose of the gas chamber is to ensure Marines’ gear works properly,” said Sgt. Caleb Renner, the chief chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear instructor for II MHG. “We want them to be confident that their masks will work in case they are ever exposed to a harmful substance.”
Renner says the Marine Corps uses CS gas because it simulates the presence of a harmful substance in the air without any real long-term effects.
“You know when CS gas is on you because it reacts with moisture and will create a stinging effect on your skin,” said Renner. “What we’re looking for is that they feel it on their skin, but nothing gets into their masks.”
Renner says at the end of the day, knowing how to properly use gear will save Marines’ lives when they deploy.