News: National Guard troops serve behind the scenes for North Carolina governor’s inauguration
Story by Staff Sgt. Kelsey Blankenship
RALEIGH N.C. – The North Carolina National Guard’s 42nd Civil Support Team, out of Greenville, N.C., was called upon by state law enforcement agencies to provide security assistance during the inauguration of Gov. Pat McCrory, Jan. 12, in downtown Raleigh.
The 42nd CST is a unique unit consisting of more than 20 full-time soldiers and airmen with the mission of supporting civilian authorities in preventing, or in the event of, a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear and explosive incident. The CST is designed to work not only for the military but also under a civilian incident commander in achieving an objective at an event.
No such incidents occurred during the inauguration event. However, the CST is routinely present during high-profile events across the state that are sure to draw a crowd.
“We are absolutely subject-matter experts, we specialize in a very narrow field. A lot of fire departments, (emergency medical services) and police departments have a more broad spectrum of what they deal with,” said Army 1st Sgt. James Storms, the 42nd CST first sergeant
“We have a very specific target. We are able to come in and focus on that, which opens (local law enforcement) up to work on all of the other issues that they deal with.”
Saturday morning, before anyone arrived at the inauguration ceremony and the streets were filled with nothing but chairs, the 42nd CST got started at about 7:15 a.m. with a pre-sweep along the parade route through downtown Raleigh. The team uses specialized equipment that is able to detect possibly harmful chemicals, whether natural or man-made.
“We did a pre-sweep of the parade route to make sure that the key areas, specifically the holding areas, were clear,” said Storms. “We had to make sure nothing was put there overnight or previous to this event.”
Throughout the duration of the parade the 42nd CST were close by and on-call.
Having more than 20 full-time members in the unit gives the soldiers and airmen optimal time to train alongside the civilian agencies they regularly work with.
“(We do) a lot of in-house training, and a lot of outside training. We train with other federal and state partners, such as the (state bureau of investigations) and the FBI,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Lee Kuberacki, the reconnaissance NCO in the 42nd CST’s survey section. “A lot of our regional response teams are in the state (such as) our fire departments.”
The training the agencies have been able to conduct together has helped them develop well-rounded plans, trust and a feeling of partnership.
“It truly is a partnership between other agencies and ourselves,” said Kuberacki.
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