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Home : News
NEWS | Feb. 27, 2014

International relationships strengthened during Iraqi delegation visit

By Army Staff Sgt. Monette Wesolek 715th Public Affairs Detachment

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia National Guard's 33rd Civil Support Team hosted an Iraqi delegation Wednesday at the D.C. National Guard Armory to share methods of responding to events involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive (CBRNE) attacks.

Vistors and hosts also discussed manmade disasters such as the recent chemical spill in the Elk River near Charleston, W. Va.

A briefing at the armory outlined the 33rd CST's mission, equipment and consequence management responsibilities and how members provide support to the District and federal agencies in the case of a hazardous materials or CBRNE incident. As part of that, the unit assists in mitigating and containing contaminates in the affected area of such an incident.

Army Lt. Col. Jonathan Ebbert, the commander of the 33rd CST, said that visits such as these serve as good outreach to show the National Guard's dedication to support all partnerships with other nations and agencies as they build up their own CBRNE capabilities.

During the visit from the Iraqi delegation, a discussion ensued and questions were asked about the CST's recent response mission in West Virginia. The Iraqi government wants to improve its ability to respond to both civil and military CBRN incidents.

Ebbert also explained that CST personnel are fulltime, federally funded Soldiers and Airmen who are certified in many disaster response capabilities including HAZMAT contamination, CBRNE attacks, and natural and manmade disasters.

Army Col. Aaron Dean, operations chief for the District of Columbia Guard, briefed response priorities and how they factor in to the partnerships between the CST, District and federal agencies. He said requests for National Guard CSTs are approved by the Department of Defense to support local and federal authorities with disaster response.

After the briefing, the Iraqi officials toured CST equipment and vehicles - which include a unified command capability, mobile laboratory - and a demonstration of the CST communications capabilities.

The delegation's trip to the District of Columbia Guard and the 33rd CST was part of a weeklong tour of the area that included interaction with other organizations including the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, FBI, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and U.S. Central Command.