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Story by: Pfc. Ubon Mendie - New York Guard Public Affairs
Dated: Thu, Sep 30, 2010
SUNY Maritime, Bronx NY -- The 24th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team completed a response training mission here to enhance the units Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear and High-Explosive maritime tactics techniques and procedures on September 30. “The port of New York is in our back yard -- we must defend it,” said Lt. Col. Kaarlo Hietala, the 24th WMD-CST commander. “We conducted this maritime training to enhance our tactics techniques and procedures in the maritime environment. The 24th WMD-CST began the drill Tuesday with a response patrol on board a New York Naval Militia patrol vessel. There, the responding unit simulated a full gear waterside boarding onto the Empire State, a large SUNY Maritime training ship. The 24th WMD-CST created a real-life scenario of the team’s realm of response. The team identified and contained various substances, without much knowledge of where the simulated weapon would be. While on board the 24th WMD-CST completely isolated and canvassed the craft, pinpointing various hazardous materials, that if were a real world scenario, could cause harm to New York State citizens. After completing the the first half of training the Brooklyn based team returned to the campus Thursday to recreate another maritime response, this time on a smaller craft. The 24th boarded the decommissioned U.S. Naval Ship Stallworth, which is now used as a training vessel for SUNY Maritime College. The team again boarded an unknown water craft, isolating it from being reached by other water born vessels. The 24th seized and searched the craft, and retrieved samples to be analyzed. “Two evolutions were held,” said Major Jody Lupo, 24th WMD-CST deputy commander. Each evolution provided realistic examples of how terrorist or criminal elements could construct weapons of mass destruction. This simulation allowed the members of our team to further develop and validate our tactics, techniques and procedures.” The 24th WMD-CST is a high-priority response unit supporting civil authorities in responding to a weapon of mass destruction situation. The unit is made up of 22 full-time National Guard members. It consists of six sections: command, operations, communications, administration, logistics, medical, and survey, who have been specially trained and equipped to provide a technical reach-back capability to other experts. The team is formed specifically to provide advice to the Incident Commander to help make assessments of the requirements for follow-on forces. The unit is jointly staffed with New York Army and Air National Guard personnel, and encompasses 14 military occupational skills. The unit is federally resourced, trained, equipped, and sustained, with the New York National Guard providing the personnel, stationing, and common support. The Adjutant General either employs the CST to support the State response under the direction of the Governor or to support another State’s response under a supported Governor.