Missouri National Guard CST trains at Utah proving ground

The Missouri National Guard 7th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team recently completed training at the U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground.

The unit, based out of Cooper Armory in Jefferson City, completed levels one and two of the 100-hour Advanced Chemical/Biological Course, which consisted of three days of training in the field and seven days of laboratory and classroom exercises.

The CST's mission is to assess terrorist threats, advise civilian authorities of appropriate responses to terrorist threats and to assist local first responders in incidents involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive weapons.

The 22-person unit, comprised of Army and Air National Guardsmen, must have the capacity to send out an advanced team to an incident within 90 minutes at all times and be able to investigate a range of potential threats, from mysterious illnesses to unknown white powders or potential environment contamination.

"The class gives you the most realistic training you can get without violating any treaties," 1st Sgt. Christopher Lemley said. "The instructors from the Dugway Special Programs Division Chemical Defense Mission Support Facility trained us on a variety of clandestine labs where you could potentially see products being made much like you would find in a sophisticated lab."

The team also used the opportunity to meet its annual requirements for attending a national training center and for air-loading its equipment. The Guardsman used a C-17 Globemaster III and two C-130 Hercules to get them to and from Dugway Proving Ground.

"We can go to a facility that is designed to simulate Airload Operations and meet the requirement, but this way the team members get the most hands-on, realistic training available," Lemley said.