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Story by: Mr. Eric Durr - Division of Military and Naval Affairs
Dated: Mon, Jun 3, 2013
BOSTON--New York Army National Guard Sgt. Saul Rodriguez, a Brentwood resident, was one of 14 Army National Guard Soldiers recognized for their response to the Boston Marathon bombing by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and National Guard officials during a ceremony here on June 3.
Rodriguez, a member of the Fort Hamilton-based 24th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team (24th CST), was awarded the Army Commendation Medal by Patrick; General Frank Grass, Chief of the National Guard Bureau; and Major General L. Scott Rice, the Adjutant General of Massachusetts at a ceremony on Boston Commons.
Rodriguez, and the other 13 Soldiers from the Massachusetts Army National Guard, was also presented with a coin to recognize their selfless and quick response to the bombing which occurred during the Boston Marathon on April 15.
Rodriguez was one of five members of the 24th CST who augmenting the Massachusetts National Guard’s security precautions during the marathon.When the bomb went off he responded to the scene. Also on duty that day were: Staff Sgt. Darren Odom, Staff Sgt. James Haynes, Staff Sgt. Omar Rodriguez, and Staff Sgt. Taekwon Kim.
More than 1,300 Massachusetts National Guard Soldiers and Airmen supported civic authorities in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing. The June 3 awards ceremony was a symbolic thanks to all the Soldiers and Airmen involved.
Members of National Guard CSTs are specially trained to identify the presence of chemical, biological, and radiological agents and inform civilian first responders about what they have found. As a precautionary measure CST members are usually present at all major events.
New York maintains two CSTs, the 24th CST at Fort Hamilton in New York City and the 2nd CST at Stratton Air National Guard Base near Schenectady.
"I am extremely proud of the Soldiers and Airmen who were deployed to Boston, " said Major Jody Lupo, the commander of the 24th CST. "In the face of grave danger they flawlessly executed their tactical mission and placed themselves in harms way to protect others."
"The 24th CST has long standing cooperative partnership with the 1st CST of the Massachusetts National Guard. The value of that relationship was tested and proven under fire in the moments following the horrific events at the Boston Marathon,"Lupo said.
Rodriguez has served in the 24th CST since June 2012. He joined the New York Army National Guard in 2008 and served as an avionics mechanic in Company B 642nd Aviation Support Battalion. In 2011 he became the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Specialist for the company.
Since joining the 24th CST Rodriguez has provided support for the U.S. Open Tennis Championship, the New York Yankees and New York Mets home openers, the New Years Eve Celebration, and the United Nations General Assembly. He has served on several Joint Hazard Assessment Teams with members of the New York Police Department-Emergency Services Unit, Fire Department of New York, Rockland County Special Weapons And Tactics team, Suffolk County Police,Nassau County Police, New York State Police, FBI Hazardous Materials Response unit, Boston Fire Department, and the Secret Service.
Rodriguez’s awards include the Reserve Components Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon and the Basic Aviation Badge.
Rodriguez is a graduate of the United States Army Aviation and Logistics School, the Warrior Leadership Course, and the United States Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear School.