SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. – Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Teams from Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska joined civilian first responders for a disaster response exercise Aug. 30.
Exercise Western Sugar Response, hosted by U.S. Army North, provided a realistic threat at an old sugar factor. National Guard civil support teams responded to a simulated incident requiring chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear assessment and mitigation.
“The 8th WMD-CST capabilities are to assist, assess, advise and identify hazards in unknown environments for an incident commander,” said Sgt. 1st Class Eric Goodman, operations noncommissioned officer, Colorado Army National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction-8th Civil Support Team.
The full-scale exercise reinforced joint response tactics with first responders, including the FBI and Scottsbluff fire, police and bomb squad departments and the 8th WMD-CST, the 84th WMD-CST, Wyoming National Guard, and 72nd WMD-CST, Nebraska National Guard.
Training events like this exercise build collaboration between military and civilian first responders.
“One of the many reasons we are here is to get the chance to train with civil support teams from other states and practice on supporting one another,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Brock, 8th WMD-CST commander, Colorado Army National Guard. “Should a real-world hazardous event occur, having these trainings in place sets up Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska to be able to appropriately and efficiently respond together.”
U.S. Army North worked closely with Scotts Bluff County jurisdictional responders in the design and control of the exercise to support all participants. Local and specialized controllers evaluated the efforts of local responders using seasoned subject matter experts, while ARNORTH evaluated the efforts of the participating CSTs.