An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | Nov. 3, 2023

Virginia Guard Civil Support Team Trained, Validated

By Mike Vrabel, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia National Guard’s 34th Civil Support Team was evaluated by U.S. Army North as trained and mission capable Oct. 17 and 19. 

The 34th CST supports civil authorities in a domestic chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive incident. 

During the training proficiency evaluation, usually conducted about every 18 months, the CST was evaluated during two full-scale training exercises, responding to scenarios involving a mock chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive threat. 

One of the exercises was conducted at the Petersburg National Battlefield’s Five Forks Unit visitor center, and the other at the Dinwiddie Airport. During the exercises, the CST conducted reconnaissance and sample-collection missions, analyzing substances to determine the severity of the hazard and appropriate next steps, all under the scrutiny of ARNORTH evaluators. 

“We are very proud of the men and women of the 34th CST,” said Brig. Gen. Todd Hubbard, VNG director of the joint staff. “Their performance during this TPE reflects their ability to perform a very complex, technical mission with a high level of proficiency. The team demonstrated an ability to deploy at short notice in support of local, state or federal requirements within the commonwealth or anywhere in the nation.”

Lt. Col. Thomas D. Mecadon, commander of the 34th CST, said the unit trained for several months to prepare for the evaluation.

“I could not be prouder of them,” said Mecadon. “The truth is that based on our rigorous training schedule over the past six months and the dedication of the team to training, the TPE just felt like another day of training.”

Their ARNORTH-certified success was even more impressive given the relative lack of experience by many of the CST’s members. 

“Over the past year, the team has gone through an immense amount of changeover, approximately 50%,” said Mecadon. “The amount of work, time and preparation they all dedicated to developing as a team is not measurable. It is a testament to their dedication to our mission.”

Mecadon singled out Virginia Air National Guard Capt. Samantha Vittorioso, the CST’s science officer, for developing realistic scenarios to prepare the team.

“The scenarios and agents may have been different and unknown, but nothing presented was new,” he said. “The team approached the evaluation days with flexibility and the knowledge required to overcome the challenges.”

Each team member completes 500 to 900 hours of specialized training during their first year of assignment and continues advanced training throughout their tenure with multiple agencies, including the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the National Fire Academy, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The team’s primary response area includes a 300-mile radius from Fort Barfoot south to South Carolina and north to Pennsylvania. They maintain personnel on standby at all times and can deploy an advance team within 90 minutes and the main body within three hours.



Related Articles
Virginia National Guard Airmen assigned to the Virginia Beach-based 203rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers, 192nd Wing, conduct an engineer exchange with Republic of Tajikistan military and law enforcement personnel Jan. 22-26, 2024, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
Virginia Airmen Conduct Engineer Exchange in Tajikistan
By Virginia National Guard Public Affairs | Feb. 14, 2024
DUSHANBE, Tajikistan – Virginia National Guard Airmen assigned to the 203rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers, 192nd Wing, conducted an engineer exchange with Republic of Tajikistan...

Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen assigned to the Richmond-Based 34th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High-Yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package conduct a collective training exercise Jan. 6, 2024, at Fort Barfoot, Virginia. The exercise enabled new personnel to train on the basics of incident management and emergency response.
Virginia Guard Soldiers, Airmen Train on Emergency Response
By Spc. Ericka Gillespie, | Jan. 31, 2024
FORT BARFOOT, Va. – Virginia National Guard members of the 34th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High-Yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package conducted a collective training event Jan. 5-7 to instruct...

Approximately 70 Soldiers assigned to the Virginia National Guard’s 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion Headquarters, 329th Regional Support Group, begin federal active duty with a departure ceremony Jan. 28, 2024, in Virginia Beach. The troops will deploy to Poland and serve under the command of U.S. Army’s 3rd Division Sustainment Brigade to provide sustainment command and control and support to forward-stationed U.S. and allied forces in the region.
Virginia Guard Begins Federal Duty Before Poland Deployment
By Mike Vrabel, | Jan. 31, 2024
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.  –  Approximately 70 Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to Headquarters, 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group, began a federal active-duty mobilization with a...