CASUALTY AGENTS are highly poisonous and
outlawed by international agreements, the potential for
are intended to kill or seriously injure. Included in this
group are nerve, blister, choking, and blood agents.
warfare is an ever-present concern to the Seabees as well
as all other U.S. military personnel. The first part of this
because only small doses are needed to produce death.
chapter discusses the effects of chemical, biological, and
Some agents are so persistent (when dispersed as a
radiological (CBR) weapons on personnel and
liquid) that they can remain effective for several days.
equipment. This information includes the symptoms of
They enter the body by the victim's breathing or
CBR poisoning and its first-aid treatment. The next
swallowing or through the skin of the victim. Blister
section discusses Seabee CBR defense responsibilities
agents cause severe burns, blisters, and general
in detail. Individual protective measures and CBR
destruction of body tissue. When they are inhaled, the
defense equipment are discussed in this section.
lungs are injured. Choking agents inflame the nose,
Completing the Seabee's mission while under CBR
throat, and particularly the lungs. Blood agents interfere
conditions is also covered in this chapter. The last two
with the distribution of oxygen by the blood.
topics are CBR defense training and marking
Some casualty agents have a cumulative effect,
which means that successive doses add to the effect of
CBR Defense Readiness Policy states that mission
each preceding dose. You might receive a nonlethal dose
accomplishment in a CBR environment is dependent on
of a nerve agent, for example, followed within a few
two basic requirements:
hours by another nonlethal dose. The cumulative effects
of the two exposures, however, could be sufficient to
1. The individual Seabee must have been trained to
take whatever action is necessary for survival during a
A new development is the NONLETHAL
INCAPACITATING AGENT. It renders personnel
2. Seabee units must have been trained to perform
incapable of performing their duties by interfering with
their assigned missions in a CBR-contaminated
the mental processes that control bodily functions.
Reactions vary among individuals. One person might go
So these basic requirements can be fulfilled, CBR
into shock, and still another might have a feeling of
training needs to be integrated into all facets of
extreme fatigue. These agents are difficult to detect
individual and unit training. Sufficient training time
because most of them are colorless, odorless, and
must be allocated to ensure that actions required for
initial survival and subsequent mission accomplishment
HARASSING AGENTS include tear and vomiting
are conditioned responses.
gases that cause temporary disability. Tear gases are
used mainly for controlling riots, but they have been
used in warfare with varying degrees of success.
EFFECTS OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS
Without a gas mask, the individual is rapidly
incapacitated, but the effects disappear in 5 to 10
Chemical agents are used to produce death, injury,
minutes after the person dons a protective mask or gets
temporary incapacitation, or irritating effects.
to fresh air.
(Screening smokes are not toxic unless they are inhaled
in large amounts. Incendiaries are used primarily to start
Vomiting gases are useful when the enemy intends
fires. These two agents are not discussed further.)
to launch an attack with casualty agents. They cause
Broadly speaking, there are three types of
extreme nausea and vomiting, requiring those who have
antipersonnel agents: casualty, incapacitating, and
been exposed to remove their masks, thus exposing
personnel to the casualty agents.