Hawaii National Guard trains to fight CBRN attack

The all-hazard response team of the Hawaii National Guard, known as the CERF, recently participated in a six day chemical, biological, nuclear and high-yield explosive training exercise and received validation from the Joint Interagency Training and Education Center.

The setup and training occurred between December 13 and December 18 and included members of the Air Force and Army. The team responded to a simulation of a dirty bomb detonation containing sarin gas that required a search, extraction, decontamination and medical treatment for the simulated victims, the U.S. Air Force reports.

"The exercise we're going through is evaluation of the team to be sure they meet standards set by the National Guard bureau as far as responding to the disaster and treating the casualties that come out of the disaster," Col. Stanley Sato, the 154th Medical Group commander, said, according to the U.S. Air Force. "The Guard's primary mission is homeland defense; typically, we've responded to earthquakes, floods (and) storm cleanup. We've never had any incidents with weapons of mass destruction in Hawaii like they did in the Oklahoma City bombing, but anything that might happen to the homeland, we would be there."

CERF was founded in 2004 and is evaluated every two years. Hawaii is thought to be a strategic location for the military due to its location in the Pacific. If called upon, CERF members could support Hawaii or another state or territory.