FORT PICKETT, Va. - Sixteen members of the Virginia National Guard's Fort Pickett-based 34th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team returned home Thursday, after assisting with water sampling operations in West Virginia since Jan. 18.
While in West Virginia, the Soldiers and Airmen from the 34th collected more than 900 water samples, conducted more than 50 delivery missions to get water samples to testing labs and helped evaluate the water in more than 90 Charleston, W. Va., area schools in a multi-state, multi-agency effort that included National Guard personnel from six different states.
"I am very happy with how the 34th performed in West Virginia," said Maj. Casey Cox, commander of the 34th CST. "We were able to able to conduct our mission, return safely and we improved our organizational skills. Every time we are able to interact with our civil support teams it does us a lot of good, and we have increased our readiness for the next mission."
The Virginia Guard Soldiers and Airmen joined personnel from other states in using the skills and training they have for sampling and identifying unknown chemical or biological agents to help West Virginia officials evaluate the quality of water after a chemical spill left more than 300,000 residents without drinking water.
Weapons of mass destruction civil support teams from six different states have been working in the Charleston area since Jan. 9, 2014, to assist the West Virginia National Guard's 35th CST with the collection, data entry and transport of water samples for evaluation.