MINOT, N.D. - North Dakota's 81st Civil Support Team dispatched personnel and equipment though blustery winds to Minot Air Force Base May 5, to practice air load operations onto a C-17 Globemaster sent from McChord Air Force Base, Wash.
This is the first time in two years that the unit has familiarized itself with this task. Their last air load was done in Bismarck onto a C-5 Galaxy flown from Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., in 2008.
While the CST is configured to assist local incident commanders in events known or suspected to involve weapons of mass destruction, it also responds regionally to augment other states. CSTs are divided into six different sectors throughout the country in order to supplement partner states should a chemical, biological or radiological event occur. North Dakota's CST belongs to sector six which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska and Alaska.
"Every nine months, we're the primary back-up for any state in that region requiring additional CST manpower and equipment," said Lt. Col. Larry Shireley, 81st CST commander. "You need to have a working knowledge of how to do this load plan in order to get our equipment off the ground."
Movement of equipment via air calls for a number of requirements to be met during the loading process. The unit must determine the weight of their vehicles and outline a configuration in which the equipment will be supported so it will not move around within the aircraft during transport.
Different aircraft are equipped to carry specific quantities of the CST's inventory. Every piece of the unit's equipment can be carried in a C-5, however, two C-17s would be required for a full CST air transport mission.
Aircraft capabilities and load plans must be evaluated regularly as the unit experiences equipment changes based on mission requirements.
"It is a challenge to do something like this," Shireley said. "Now we know what is required for the load plan, though. We're much sharper now."
The 81st CST has 22 members who are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the event or suspicion of a weapons of mass destruction attack. This highly mobile unit has the ability to respond to an incident site within 90 minutes of being called.
Specifically, the unit deploys to an area of operations to support civil authorities at an incident site by:
* identifying agents/substances.
* assessing current and projected consequences.
* advising on response measures and making appropriate requests for
additional support. The unit also advises civilian responders regarding appropriate response actions.
* responding to requests for assistance to expedite arrival of
additional state and federal assets to help save lives, prevent human suffering and mitigate great property damage.
The unit conducts periodic exercises and attends training to ensure they are mission-ready. In October 2009, a team of evaluators from U.S. Army North validated the 81st CST's mission-ready status during an exercise with the Bismarck Fire Department at the North Dakota State Capitol.
|Date Posted:||05.07.2010 21:27|
|Location:||MINOT, ND, US|
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