34th CST evaluated as fully mission capable

Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen assigned to the Fort Pickett-based 34th Civil Support Team conduct day two of a two-day Training Proficiency Evaluation May 24, 2018, at the Virginia Public Safety Training Center in Hanover, Virginia.  (U.S. National Guard photo by Cotton Puryear)

SANDSTON, Va. — The Virginia National Guard’s Fort Pickett-based 34th Civil Support Team was evaluated as fully trained on 12 essential collective tasks after conducting a Training Proficiency Evaluation May 22 and 24, 2016, in Dinwiddie County and Hanover County, Virginia. The evaluation was supervised by U.S. Army North’s Civil Support Readiness Group-East in order to validate the unit’s level of readiness.

The mission of the 34th CST is to support civil authorities in a domestic chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive incident, and the evaluated tasks included deploying the team, establishing communications and medical support, conducting survey, technical decontamination and analytical functions as well as conducting interagency coordination.

“Civil Support Team operations are extremely complex, and excellence doesn’t just happen,” said Brig. Gen. James W. Ring, Virginia National Guard Director of the Joint Staff. “We are extremely proud of the outstanding performance of the Soldiers and Airmen of the 34th CST on the external evaluation and greatly appreciate the time and effort that went into their success. They are a national-level asset, and their high state of readiness is essential to our ability to work with our regional partners. We also appreciate the expert assistance from ARNOTH and their willingness to assist and share best practices with our team.”

Approximately every 18 months, the 34th CST conducts an external evaluation, and they are evaluated on 12 different collective tasks including deploying the team, establishing communications and medical support, conducting technical decontamination, CBRN assessments and analytical functions as well as conducting interagency coordination.

“The Soldiers and Airmen of the 34th CST continue to maintain a high level of proficiency as they maintain a “T” status as shown during their ARNORTH evaluation,” said Lt. Col. Dave Wheeler, commander of the 34th CST. “They are a well trained and equipped organization that continues to amaze me every day, and I have tremendous confidence in their abilities to achieve success with whatever task is put before them. I am extremely proud to serve with this unique group of well trained and disciplined group who support the Commonwealth and our nation.”

The 34th CST is one of 57 such units in the country and is equipped with a wide range of the latest military and commercial equipment CBRN equipment. It is made up of 22 full-time Army and Air National Guard personnel who bring a wide range of military skills as well as career experience from the civilian sector. The unit is divided into six sections: command, operations, communications, administration/logistics, medical/analytical and survey.

Each team member completes between 500 and 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 its home station at Fort Pickett and stretches as far north as Pennsylvania and as far south as South Carolina. They maintain personnel on standby at all times, can deploy an advance team within 90 minutes of notification and the main body deploys within three hours.

A unit’s assigned transportation includes a command vehicle, operations trailer, a communications vehicle called the unified command suite which provides a broad spectrum of secure communications capabilities, an analytical laboratory system vehicle containing a full suite of analysis equipment to support the complete characterization of an unknown hazard and several general purpose vehicles. The CST normally deploys using its assigned vehicles, but it can be airlifted as required.

Photos from day one of the TPE on Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/albums/72157697132381995

Photos from day two of the TPE on Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157696640386024

Raw video from day one of the TPE on YouTube:
https://youtu.be/wnRwGelf8JI

Additional information about the 34th Civil Support Team:
http://vaguard.dodlive.mil/category/jfhq/34th-civil-support-team/