• Staff Sgt. Joseph Duncan, 73rd Civil Support Team, Kansas National Guard, washes a camera used by a hazardous materials team to photograph the scene during an exercise March 27, 2012, at Wollman Park in Leavenworth, Kan.

    Kansas unit trains to respond to multiple threats

    Staff Sgt. Joseph Duncan, 73rd Civil Support Team, Kansas National Guard, washes a camera used by a hazardous materials team to photograph the scene during an exercise March 27, 2012, at Wollman Park in Leavenworth, Kan.

  • Sgt. 1st Class Dan Shaughnessy, right, medical noncommissioned officer with the 73rd Civil Support Team, Kansas National Guard, gives a safety briefing to 73rd CST members and Army North's Civil Support Readiness Group - West, personnel before an exercise March 29, 2012, at the Leavenworth Plaza, in Kansas.

    Kansas unit trains to respond to multiple threats

    Sgt. 1st Class Dan Shaughnessy, right, medical noncommissioned officer with the 73rd Civil Support Team, Kansas National Guard, gives a safety briefing to 73rd CST members and Army North's Civil Support Readiness Group - West, personnel before an...

  • Observer-controllers/trainers with the Leavenworth Fire Department, Capt. Shawn Kell, survey analyst, David Yandon, and evaluation analyst Steve Wisniewski, both of Army North's Civil Support Readiness Group - West, make notes as a team from the 73rd Civil Support Team, Kansas National Guard, works through an exercise scenario March 27, 2012, at Wollman Park in Leavenworth, Kan.

    Kansas unit trains to respond to multiple threats

    Observer-controllers/trainers with the Leavenworth Fire Department, Capt. Shawn Kell, survey analyst, David Yandon, and evaluation analyst Steve Wisniewski, both of Army North's Civil Support Readiness Group - West, make notes as a team from the 73rd...

  • After going through the decontamination process, Sgt. John Tejada, 73rd Civil Support Team, Kansas National Guard, removes his hazmat suit during an exercise, overseen by Army North's Civil Support Readiness Group - West, out of San Antonio, March 27, 2012, at Wollman Park in Leavenworth, Kan.

    Kansas unit trains to respond to multiple threats

    After going through the decontamination process, Sgt. John Tejada, 73rd Civil Support Team, Kansas National Guard, removes his hazmat suit during an exercise, overseen by Army North's Civil Support Readiness Group - West, out of San Antonio, March 27...

  • After removing his hazmat suit and weighing himself, Sgt. Claude Williams, 73rd Civil Support Team, Kansas National Guard, has his blood pressure taken by physician's assistant Maj. Matt Yates, also of the 73rd, after checking the scene and taking samples March 27, 2012, at Wollman Park in Leavenworth, Kan. Williams had his vitals checked, hydrated, then sat ready with the suit half on as another team donned the suits for the exercise.

    Kansas unit trains to respond to multiple threats

    After removing his hazmat suit and weighing himself, Sgt. Claude Williams, 73rd Civil Support Team, Kansas National Guard, has his blood pressure taken by physician's assistant Maj. Matt Yates, also of the 73rd, after checking the scene and taking...

  • Staff Sgt. Joseph Duncan, 73rd Civil Support Team, Kansas National Guard, scrubs Sgt. John Tejada, as he goes through the decontamination process, being observed by observer-controller/trainer Anthony Elmore, Army North, during an exercise March 27, 2012, at Wollman Park in Leavenworth, Kan.

    Kansas unit trains to respond to multiple threats

    Staff Sgt. Joseph Duncan, 73rd Civil Support Team, Kansas National Guard, scrubs Sgt. John Tejada, as he goes through the decontamination process, being observed by observer-controller/trainer Anthony Elmore, Army North, during an exercise March 27...

  • Officer candidate Jacob Durkes and Sgt. John Tejada, both of the 73rd Civil Support Team, Kansas National Guard, take substance samples and readings, provided with real material evaluation analyst Steve Wisniewski, of Army North's Civil Support Readiness Group - West, as CSRG observer-controller/trainer David Yandon observes during an exercise in the old Sears automotive department March 29, 2012, at Leavenworth Plaza in Leavenworth, Kan.

    Kansas unit trains to respond to multiple threats

    Officer candidate Jacob Durkes and Sgt. John Tejada, both of the 73rd Civil Support Team, Kansas National Guard, take substance samples and readings, provided with real material evaluation analyst Steve Wisniewski, of Army North's Civil Support...

  • Before allowing Sgt. John Tejada, 73rd Civil Support Team, Kansas National Guard, to transition into the sanitized are of the decontamination tent, Staff Sgt. Samuel Day, 73rd CST, takes a reading during an exercise March 27, 2012, at Wollman Park in Leavenworth, Kan.

    Kansas unit trains to respond to multiple threats

    Before allowing Sgt. John Tejada, 73rd Civil Support Team, Kansas National Guard, to transition into the sanitized are of the decontamination tent, Staff Sgt. Samuel Day, 73rd CST, takes a reading during an exercise March 27, 2012, at Wollman Park in...

  • Sgt. Claude Williams and Sgt. John Tejada, both with the 73rd Civil Support Team, Kansas National Guard, go through the decontamination process in their hazmat suits, being observed by observer-controller/trainer Anthony Elmore, Army North, and washed by Staff Sgt. Joseph Duncan, 73rd CST, during an exercise March 27, 2012, at Wollman Park in Leavenworth, Kan.

    Kansas unit trains to respond to multiple threats

    Sgt. Claude Williams and Sgt. John Tejada, both with the 73rd Civil Support Team, Kansas National Guard, go through the decontamination process in their hazmat suits, being observed by observer-controller/trainer Anthony Elmore, Army North, and washed...

  • First Lt. Dustin Nash, 73rd Civil Support Team, Kansas National Guard, downloads images from a camera used by the hazmat team during an exercise March 27, 2012, at Wollman Park in Leavenworth, Kansas.

    Kansas unit trains to respond to multiple threats

    First Lt. Dustin Nash, 73rd Civil Support Team, Kansas National Guard, downloads images from a camera used by the hazmat team during an exercise March 27, 2012, at Wollman Park in Leavenworth, Kansas.

  • After taking samples to determine the substance in a hose leaking into the swimming pool, Sgt. John Tejada, 73rd Civil Support Team, Kansas National Guard, decontaminates his suit with wipes during an exercise, overseen by Army North's Civil Support Readiness Group - West, out of San Antonio, March 27, 2012 at Wollman Park in Leavenworth, Kan.

    Kansas unit trains to respond to multiple threats

    After taking samples to determine the substance in a hose leaking into the swimming pool, Sgt. John Tejada, 73rd Civil Support Team, Kansas National Guard, decontaminates his suit with wipes during an exercise, overseen by Army North's Civil Support...

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (April 5, 2012) -- The first real-life incident for the 73rd Civil Support Team, Weapons of Mass Destruction, was in 2004 when it was called to identify and remove World War II relics -- a live grenade and a jar of mustard gas -- found in a Kansas barn.

The Kansas Civil Support Team safely handled the incident, the result of a hazard left behind by a recently deceased World War II veteran. Since then, it has handled many more threats to the state.

The Kansas CST visited Fort Leavenworth, March 27-29, to conduct a training exercise in preparation of an annual evaluation by U.S. Army North.

The Kansas CST is trained to handle chemical and biological threats, and also has an independent communications capability vehicle to provide assistance after a natural disaster.

The team is a joint effort by the Kansas Army and Air National Guard, employing full-time 22 experts to respond to chemical and biological threats across the state. They are one of 57 such teams across the nation, with one in most states, two each in California and Florida, and several in U.S. territories.

Master Sgt. George McMahon, noncommissioned officer for the team, said that the CST works only to support local law enforcement and first responders. For example, when the local fire department depletes its resources handling a problem, the fire chief could contact the county emergency management officer, and he or she could request the state emergency officer to contact the team, McMahon said. The CST is directly under the Kansas Adjutant General's Department.

"Everything we do is locked in step with our civilian partners," McMahon said. "We act in support of them."

He said the team is always ready, 24-hours a day and 365 days a year. The team has even responded to calls on holidays.

The team practiced several scenarios at Fort Leavenworth -- on March 27, the scenario was a potential chemical or biological dump at a public pool. On March 29, the scenario was a vehicle spraying an unknown chemical along Fourth Street in Leavenworth, Kan., which adjoins Fort Leavenworth.

Lt. Col. Dirk Christian, commander of the unit, said the team has to comply not only with state regulations, but also various federal agency and military regulations. They also have to be able to communicate with all of these parties.

"Every exercise has been a different scenario," he said. "We really train the whole set of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear threats."

The Fort Leavenworth Fire Department also provided support to the March exercise. Leavenworth Assistant Fire Chief Mike Lingenfelser said it was helpful for firefighters to work alongside the Kansas CST.

"It gives us a chance to know what our capabilities are so we can know when to contact them," he said. "It's also just good to network before there's an emergency situation."

In Leavenworth, about 20 firefighters are trained to handle hazardous materials as well, Lingenfelser said, so the city does already have some capability to handle chemical hazards. He said the event would have to be significant for the Leavenworth Fire Department to call upon the Kansas CST.

Christian said with the CST's capabilities being statewide, and especially with air capability, they can also respond in rural Kansas areas that might not even have a full-time fire department, let alone personnel trained to handle hazardous materials.

The CST has several state and federally funded tools to protect the population, in addition to software that can tell them how weather patterns and buildings can change the path of an airborne chemical or biological agent. Those tools include:

• An advance vehicle with self-contained satellite communications and radio. Christian said this vehicle could be sent in advance to help Kansas communities after a tornado or natural disaster had wiped out communications capabilities for first responders.

• A unified command vehicle with satellite communications

• An analytical lab to examine samples and provide a presumptive analysis of what a particular chemical might be

• Medical response vehicle

• Survey trailer with monitoring equipment

• A self-contained decontamination vehicle

U.S. Army North evaluators were also present at the March exercise. A team from ARNORTH evaluates CSTs each year. The Kansas CST is preparing for an evaluation in May.

Maj. Jeff Koranda, an observer/controller for the exercise, said there was a long checklist of guidelines the team has to meet. He also said there were several experts, like a nuclear scientist with a chemical engineering degree, a physician's assistant, and an IT specialist. The team members are required to complete thousands of hours worth of training, including specialized fields.

Page last updated Thu April 5th, 2012 at 00:00