National Guard takes part in WMD preparedness drill

The National Guard's 48th Civil Support Team took part in a terrorism training drill aboard the U.S.S. Victory in Florida on Thursday to protect against future incidents involving weapons of mass destruction.

The 22 member 48th CST, which was created in February 2010 and certified in November, is trained to detect weapons of mass destruction ranging from explosives to anthrax. In addition, the team is trained to help local emergency responders figure out what to do to support public safety, the Tampa Tribune reports.

Lt. Col. Joe DeFee, the commander of the unit, and his team worked with Tampa Fire Rescue, the FBI, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Gaming Commission during the exercise in an effort to implement command structure and proper communication. DeFee said that members of his team have trained hundreds of hours for drills such as these.

"Individual training programs can take as much as 400 to 500 hours and upwards of 900 hours for the medical team," DeFee said, according to the Tampa Tribune. "They produce an initial hazard model before we leave so we know what we are driving into. We have a rough idea of what we are facing and then adapt the model as the situation matures."

DeFee's team must be ready at a moment's notice and its members are always on call and must show up when summoned. DeFee was part of the 44th CST assigned to help the Environmental Protection Agency and other officials to assess the contamination level during the anthrax attacks of 2001.

"We are ready 24/7," DeFee said, according to the Tampa Tribune.