85th Civil Support Team

Undergoes Federal Recertification

 

By PFC Nicolas Cloward

 

Published December 22, 2009

 

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A member of the 85th Civil Support Team checks his equipment prior to entering a "contaminated" building at South Towne Expo Center in Sandy.

Photo by 2LT Ryan Sutherland

A member of the 85th Civil Support Team checks his equipment prior to entering a "contaminated" building at South Towne Expo Center in Sandy.

SANDY, Utah — Soldiers and Airmen of the Lehi-based Civil Support Team underwent federal recertification at a training exercise Dec. 9 at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy.

The CST specializes in chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) incident response and must be evaluated every 18 months by U.S. Army North (ARNORTH) to ensure that it maintains itself qualified and capable of performing its mission.

ARNORTH is assigned by the Secretary of Defense to design scenarios based on federal standards and are then tasked to verify and confirm that the team is indeed qualified to perform their duties such as establishing communication, medical support, conducting CBRNE analytical functions, along with a long list of other tasks and subtasks, said Lt.Col. Tyler Smith, commander of the 85th.

Members of the 85th CST support local first responders as part of the exercise scenario at South Towne Expo Center.

Photo by 2LT Ryan Sutherland

Members of the 85th CST support local first responders

as part of the exercise scenario at South Towne Expo Center.

The training scenario began with a mock terrorist attack at the South Towne Expo Center during a conference held that morning.

People attending the conference began to experience symptoms such as red eyes and burning in the throat. At this point in the simulation, the building was evacuated, victims were sent to the hospital and first responders were called to evaluate the situation, said Smith.

"Once the capabilities of the CST are required, we are called to the scene to identify whatever it is that is making people sick," said Smith.

Staff Sgt. Samuel Voss, a team chief with the 85th CST, got suited up in his fully encapsulated, vapor-sealed suit and headed downrange. His thoughts were not on his well-being, but the mission at hand.

85th CST members fulfill their duties as an observer/controller from U.S. Army North evaluates their performance Dec. 9.

Photo by 2LT Ryan Sutherland

85th CST members fulfill their duties as an observer/controller

from U.S. Army North evaluates their performance Dec. 9.

"I don’t really think about it," said Voss. "I understand and trust my equipment. Mostly, what I’m trying to do as team chief is focus on what I need to do and what I need to direct my Soldiers to do," he said.

Training such as this gives these Airmen and Soldiers of the 85th a chance to build relationships with first responders and civil authorities so that when these events happen they are already familiar with how each other works, said Smith.

"We’re trying to hone our skills," said Voss. "We’re trying to make ourselves better, but were also hoping to work with the first responders and help them become better at what they do."

The 85th passed their evaluation and are now certified to provide support to local authorites for another 18 months.