CST finds sea legs with Coast Guard
Sgt. Mike Getten Joint Force Headquarters Public Affairs
CARSON CITY— Accustomed to working in desert sands, the Guardsmen in the Nevada Guard’s 92nd Civil Support Team ventured to the sandy beaches of southern California to participate in maritime law enforcement training at the Port of Los Angeles in March.
The Nevada Guard’s 92nd Civil Support Team is a Guard unit established to assist first responders during chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive incidents.
The training marked the first time the Las Vegas-based Soldiers and Airmen trained with the U.S. Coast Guard. The 9th Civil Support Team from Los Angeles and other emergency responders also joined the training.
“Although we have conducted maritime training many times before, this was the first time we trained with the U.S. Coast Guard at the Port of Los Angeles,” said Maj. David Sellen, the 92nd CST commander. “This exercise gave us the opportunity to train with personnel we’ll likely be working with in the event of a catastrophe.”
“The exercise gave the team the chance to establish relationships with our port partners,” said 1st Lt. Carlito Rayos, the 92nd’s operations officer. Rayos, who was previously a team leader for the Coast Guard in Los Angeles, spearheaded coordination of the exercise.
According to Rayos, the training conducted in conjunction with the Coast Guard cost $30,000 less than contracted civilian maritime training.
CST responders face unique challenges during maritime disasters. Some unique situations encountered during maritime incidents include masked radiation hazards caused by large amounts of steel and difficulties in boarding vessels already underway.
All of the team’s Soldiers and Airmen learned how to read charts, plot courses and pilot vessels in both day and night conditions. One exercise included confidence training where team members entered the water wearing protective chemical suits.
In another portion of training, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents allowed the team to observe inspections of ships and containers coming into the United States. The inspections included radiation monitoring.
Nevada’s 92nd Civil Support Team is teamed with civil support teams from Arizona, California, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Hawaii, and Guam in Sector 5 of the nation’s civil support team organization. The sector’s teams often train together to ensure seamless coordination should a catastrophe strike.