MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- CBRN specialists are trained to react to and qualify Marines for these catastrophic scenarios and provide critical support in wide array of disaster scenarios. Their responsibilities are numerous and provide for the better defense of our military, allies and nation.
Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense (CBRN) promotes mission success in the Marine Corps in high level emergency situations involving attacks with weapons of mass effect and impact.
Cpl. Jacob Hansen, a CBRN specialist with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and Cumming, Ga., native, tackles these responsibilities as well as the responsibilities of leading his fellow Marines every day.
“CBRN wasn’t my first choice,” said Hansen. “I originally wanted infantry, but after a series of close-outs and eliminations I had to pick something if I wanted to be a Marine, so I settled for CBRN specialist.”
His exposure to the Marine Corps occurred when he was young. Hansen first decided he wanted to be a Marine after seeing a commercial on television featuring the United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon.
“I liked the uniform, I liked the way the Marine Corps looked and I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” said Hansen.
To increase his understanding of the military and better prepare himself for his desired career, Hansen participated in the Marine Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (MJROTC) program throughout his time at North Forsyth High School in Forsyth, Ga.
“I enlisted through the delayed entry program when I was 17 and left for boot camp after my senior year,” said Hansen.
With the wealth of knowledge he’d been provided in MJROTC, Hansen said he was better prepared for boot camp and leadership opportunities.
Hansen’s first and current unit is the 26th MEU. He’s spent over two years with the unit and deployed with the MEU’s during its eight-month deployment to the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.
“We did a lot of training leading up to the deployment, qualifying in more defense and readiness than most CBRN units get to,” said Hansen. “We received qualification with more advanced gear, prepared ourselves for humanitarian effort, practiced hazmat ops (hazardous material operations) and hazmat tech (hazardous material technologies).”
The 26th MEU CBRN platoon was trained for a variety of situations and scenarios to fit the needs of the deployment. The platoon provided the MEU support should the need arise for crisis response capabilities.
“We actually called ourselves the CBRN ACM SAR (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear assessment and consequence management search and rescue) Platoon,” said Hansen. “We became a close-knit team during deployment and were successful.”
Hansen’s effectiveness and contributions during deployment were recognized when he was promoted to the rank of corporal while on ship.
Sgt. Marty Acosta, a Marine Air Ground Task Force planner with the 26th MEU, Monroeville, Ind., native and one of Hansen’s mentors, said “He developed professionally and improved his leadership on deployment.”
Acosta is familiar with Hansen having known him before, during and after the deployment with the MEU. He has come to know Hansen at both the professional and personal levels.
“He’s a good leader because he’s honest, dependable and admirable,” said Acosta. “He’s also very straight-forward and good for a laugh every once in a while.”
Acosta said Hansen is a good leader and works hard, but he also knows how to keep a positive attitude and motivate his fellow Marines with humor.
“He’s very real and straight-forward,” said Acosta. “He doesn’t put on any masks or hide who he is.”
If Hansen continues to develop his leadership style, continue to be himself and keep his charisma, Acosta believes he will be successful inside and outside the Marine Corps.
“Without Hansen’s knowledge and skills the unit would be far less prepared for crises involving CBRN attacks,” said Acosta.
Acosta said he hopes Hansen will continue to listen to those Marines senior to him, develop his skills and wishes him the best in any situations he will encounter in his career.
In addition to his Marine career, Hansen is currently in the process of making adjustments to his personal life. He is currently engaged to a childhood and is getting married to her on Jan. 3, 2014.
Hansen said “We’ve been friends since sixth grade, started dating after I graduated boot camp and I asked her to marry me during leave after deployment.”
Hansen’s has other aspirations that include the desire to become a career firefighter. His qualifications in CBRN mirror many of the qualifications for firefighters and provide a set of skills transferable to the civilian working force.
“I was in firefighting before and they basically told me to come back any time,” said Hansen. “I really enjoyed it and a lot I’ve learned in CBRN can be used for it.”
Hansen’s current plan is to continue his time in the Marine Corps. As a recently promoted corporal, he desires to pass on his skills to junior Marines and prepare them for success.