Last night the USS Yorktown at Patriots Point was not a site for tourists, scouts, students or a corporate party, but a training site for military professionals with a serious job of being prepared to protect the American homeland. These citizen warriors were hard at work from 1900 -0100 (7 PM to 1 AM for civilians) on the property at Patriots Point and onboard the USS Yorktown. The 43rd WMD-CST (weapons of mass destruction-civil support team), the only joint Army-Air National Guard unit in the state, is from West Columbia, S.C., and is made up of 22 full-time National Guard members. As a resource of the S.C. National Guard, the 43rd CST is available upon request to assist local responders throughout the state in potentially hazardous situations that may include nuclear, biological and chemical contingencies.
The WMD Civil Support Teams were established to deploy rapidly to assist a local incident commander in determining the nature and extent of an attack or incident; provide expert technical advice on WMD response operations; and help identify and support the arrival of follow-on state and federal military response assets. They are joint units and, as such, can consists of both Army National Guard and Air National Guard personnel.
The CST deploys to an area of operations to 1) assess a suspected chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high yield explosive (CBRNE) event in support of a local Incident Commander, 2) advise civilian responders regarding appropriate response actions, and 3) assist in expediting arrival of additional state and federal assets to help save lives, prevent human suffering, and mitigate property damage.
A wide range of low and high-tech devices are used, including the latest military hardware and commercial equipment including personal protective equipment, reconnaissance/detection/sampling gear, computer modeling and response database systems, communications van, and an analytical laboratory system.
Watch the video below to learn more about the 43rd CST…
Hopefully they will never need to deploy in a real crisis, but if needed, they are well-trained and equipped to handle the challenges of the times. Patriots Point salutes the 43rd CST!