Crew members of the 1st Battalion 108th Aviation Regiment and Company G, 2nd-135th General Support Aviation Battalion take off from Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport for their first mission to support Colorado with Bambi buckets in their fire fight at High Park, June 15, 2012. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Jessica Barnett, Kansas Adjutant General’s Department Public Affairs Office)
TOPEKA -- The Kansas National Guard’s 73rd Civil Support Team (Weapons of Mass Destruction) left for Camp Atterbury, Indiana Friday, to join in an exercise involving nearly 9,000 military members and Department of Defense civilians. Vibrant Response 13 began July 24 and concludes Aug. 13 and is designed to exercise the DoD response to a nuclear detonation in the U.S.
The 73rd CST is the second Kansas National Guard unit to participate in the exercise, joining the 731st Transportation Company of Great Bend, which arrived at Camp Atterbury July 24th to provide transportation support as part of the scenario.
“This exercise gives us a unique opportunity to work with the entire Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear response enterprise in the nation,” said Lt. Col. Dirk Christian, commander of the 73rd CST. “This enterprise includes assets from throughout the Department of Defense, so it’s wonderful to see all of these teams come together and walk through the response of a large-scale disaster.”
The 73rd Civil Support Team (Weapons of Mass Destruction) is a 22-person team of highly-trained Kansas Army and Air National Guard personnel who support local, state and federal agencies responding to an incident involving weapons of mass destruction.
The 73rd CST of the Kansas National Guard is charged with providing support to civil authorities at any domestic chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high yield explosive incident site by identifying agents/substances, assessing current and projected consequences, advising on response measures and assisting with appropriate requests for state support. It has the capability to respond to two simultaneous events and conduct 24-hour operations.
The CST maintains the ability to deploy to an incident within three hours; provide timely on-site analysis and presumptive identification of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents; determine the extent and persistence of contamination and make recommendations to ensure operational and public safety. Since its inception, the role of the CST has broadened to include response to the release of any chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear agents and high-yield explosives, regardless of origin, whether intentional or accidental, as well as response to natural and manmade disasters.
The 73rd CST must be recertified by Congressional mandate every 18 months to ensure that it is able to meet or exceed Army North standards of training proficiency.
“During this exercise, we will conduct missions which we regularly train for such as radiological monitoring, assessment of radiological levels to assist in determining the safety of entering certain areas, and assessments of toxic chemicals that could be in an area where a detonation occurs.”
Vibrant Response 13 is a national-level field training exercise led by U.S. Army North based at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The training exercises the ability to deploy, employ and sustain specialized military response forces upon the request of civilian authorities following an event involving chemicals, biological weapons, radiological or nuclear weapons. The exercise involves Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center and Muscatatuck Urban Training Complex and Fort Knox, Kentucky.