TAB F: Lessons Learned


Communication between the unit taking the samples and the laboratory where the samples are analyzed is critical. Clearly, in this incident, the group leader believes that had he been notified of the CRDEC findings in 1991, the incident would have been brought to closure. There are many reasons that could have caused JCMEC to not communicate this information, however, the lack of procedure to communicate both positive and negative test results for chemical warfare agent caused the Marines concern. Implementation of a simple procedure could reduce the chance that this could happen in the future.

Fox Tapes

During Desert Storm, there were no established procedures for archiving Fox MM-1 tapes. Fortunately, in this incident, the Fox 1 tapes were in the possession of the MM-1 operator. The disposition of Fox 2 tapes has not been discovered. Steps should be taken to ensure that all Fox tapes are archived.

Sampling Procedures

In this incident, the samples seem to have been taken properly. The 2d MARDIV NBC specialists did an excellent job of recording the required information on the Materiel Courier Receipt form and they followed all the sampling procedures prescribed at the time of the Gulf War. However, additional information about the sampling and the environment would have been helpful, e.g., exact location, type of facility, conditions of the site. The Marines did establish a chain of custody that allows tracking of the samples from 2d MARDIV headquarters to CRDEC. These methods were fine for identifying possible CWA hazards, but, they lacked the integrity required for court room quality evidence.

As a Marine NBC NCO stated, the Marines were taking samples to check if chemical warfare agents were present in a wartime environment in order to provide the warfighter with information about a potential chemical hazard. Now, however, he believes that perhaps NBC professionals need to be additionally trained as forensic scientists, to ensure that evidence of CWA use is not compromised due to poor collection methods or handling procedures.[151]


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