Utah National Guard's CST

Earns Federal Certification

 

By Shad West

Published July 18, 2007

 

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Gov. Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., back row, third from left; Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet, adjutant general of the Utah National Guard, front row, far left; and Brig. Gen. Scott Harrison, back row, far right; pose with members of the 85th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team after a ceremony marking their federal certification.

Photo by Sgt. Kelly Collett

Gov. Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., back row, third from left; Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet, adjutant general of the Utah National Guard, front row, far left; and Brig. Gen. Scott Harrison, back row, far right; pose with members of the 85th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team after a ceremony marking their federal certification.

LEHI, Utah — The 85th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team of the Utah National Guard formally announced its federal certification July 17 to state and National Guard officials during an open house at the Lehi Armory.

 

“The 85th CST of Lehi, Utah, is ready to do our job,” Lt. Col. Kevin Nuccitelli reported to dignitaries that included Gov. Jon M. Huntsman, Jr.; Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet, adjutant general of the Utah National Guard; and other government, military and civic officials who attended the ceremony.

 

“Over the last three years our Airmen and Soldiers worked hard to achieve this goal,” Nuccitelli said. “I’m very happy for this day; it has been a long three years. We were inspected on 1,500 items and we passed 1,499 of those. We would have passed on all of the inspection items but we failed to post a document in one of our vehicles.”  

 

Governor Jon M. Huntsman Jr. shakes hands with Capt. Craig Bello of the 85th CST after the ceremony to announce the unit's federal certification.

Photo by Sgt. Kelly Collett

Governor Jon M. Huntsman Jr., left, shakes hands with Capt. Craig Bello, 85th CST, after the ceremony to announce the unit's federal certification.

The significance of the federal certification is that the 85th has demonstrated that its 22 members are fully trained and capable of responding to an actual hazmat incident at the request of civil authorities. The certification included 800 hours of specialized training to learn to use $9 million worth of specialized equipment.

 

Since the unit was organized in 2003, the 85th has conducted numerous joint exercises in Utah and nationwide with federal, state, and local authorities including support of the 62nd Civil Support Team of the Louisiana National Guard in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

 

“This is a day I thought in some ways would never come,” Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet said. “The 85th CST exercised relentlessly and is a great asset for our civilian counterparts. You 22 who have soldiered so hard—thank you. You are the crown jewels of the Utah National Guard.”

 

Tarbet then presented Governor Huntsman with a certificate acknowledging the 85th’s new status.

 

“Heaven forbid our state would ever have to respond to a weapon of mass destruction," Huntsman said. "But the world we live in today is highly uncertain."

 

Members of the tight-knit Utah hazmat community traveled from as far as Salt Lake Valley for the Guard's certification ceremony.

Photo by Sgt. Kelly Collett

Members of the tight-knit Utah hazmat community traveled from

as far as Salt Lake Valley for the Guard's certification ceremony.

“WMDs come in all shapes and sizes, knowing we have you to deal with these threats will allow us to sleep easier,” Huntsman added.

 

After the presentation, Huntsman watched a demonstration of the equipment the National Guard team is certified to use, including a multimillion-dollar mobile command unit; mobile laboratory;  mobile tactical operations center; supply unit; and a Gator, a six-wheeled off-road vehicle with stretcher. Huntsman also saw various handheld hazmat-detection equipment.

 

The 85th Civil Support Team works regularly with federal, state and local agencies to prepare for hazmat and many other types of emergencies.  The unit provides a responsive, well-trained and well-equipped force to assist civil authorities in keeping Utah citizens safe.