Bioattack simulated in Tennessee

Eighteen members of the Army National Guard and four members of the Air Force National Guard used Shelbyville, Tenn.'s Calsonic Arena this week to stage a training exercise simulating a biological or chemical attack.

The 22 members, collectively the 45th Civil Support Team of Smyrna, is associated with the Tennessee National Guard and is funded by the Department of Homeland Security. The 45th is tasked with respond to terrorism incidents or "unknown chemical incidents" within Tennessee.

The civil support team works for both the governor of Tennessee and the Tennessee Adjutant General as well as with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jeff Brown told the Shelbyville Times-Gazette that the civil support team is trained to deal with incidents involving biological, chemical, nuclear and explosive weapons o f mass destruction, noting that the team worked with elements of the FBI and BCEME on the simulation.

As part of the simulation, the civil support team donned full hazardous material gear to enter the arena and take samples of what was believed to be either a biological or chemical agent that resulted in 40 "patients" taken to the Heritage Medical Center exhibiting blisters.

After exiting the arena with samples of the material, a full mobile laboratory was utilized to run tests to determine the source of the attack.

A communications truck featuring a satellite uplink, full internet access, a weather station and wireless mobile video from cameras within the arena was also available for the responders at the scene.