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NEWS | Sept. 27, 2022

8th Civil Support Team conducts annual evaluation exercise

By U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Katie Lee, Joint Force Headquarters Colorado National Guard

Scottsbluff, Neb. – Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Teams from Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska joined civilian first responders to participate in joint exercise Western Sugar Response, a simulated hazardous disaster at an old sugar factory, hosted by U.S. Army North, Aug. 30, 2022, in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

The exercise provided a realistic threat situation, integrating resources to demonstrate capabilities in responding to an incident requiring chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threat response, assessment, characterization, analysis, identification and mitigation.

“The 8th WMD-CST capabilities are to assist, assess, advise and identify hazards in unknown environments for an incident commander,” U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Goodman, Operations Non-commissioned Officer, Colorado Army National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction-8th Civil Support Team, said. “We have the capability to field identify most unknown substances to help advise the IC (incident command) in keeping the public safe from harm. We assist multiple agencies from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Police and Fire department with joint hazard assessment teams and real-world missions.”

The scenario-driven, full-scale exercise focused on reinforcing response tactics and relationships among Scotts Bluff County responders including the FBI, City of Scottsbluff Bomb squad Explosive Ordnance Deposal response, Scottsbluff Fire Department, Scottsbluff Police Department and the 8th WMD-CST, the 84th WMD-CST, Wyoming National Guard, and 72nd WMD-CST, Nebraska National Guard.

Training events such as this exercise build cohesive collaboration across military forces 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,” 8th WMD-CST Commander U.S. Army Lt. Col. Ryan Brock, Colorado Army National Guard said. “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.”

ARNORTH worked closely with Scotts Bluff County jurisdictional responders in the joint design and control for 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.

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