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92nd CST fires up Exercise Desert Torch in Vegas

Sgts. Chaz Rapp and Rjhun Rimon with the 92nd Civil Support Team, Nevada National Guard, search for hazardous materials in level-A fully encapsulated chemical entry suits during training scenarios for Exercise Desert Torch, April 20, 2021, in Las Vegas.

Sgts. Chaz Rapp and Rjhun Rimon with the 92nd Civil Support Team, Nevada National Guard, search for hazardous materials in level-A fully encapsulated chemical entry suits during training scenarios for Exercise Desert Torch, April 20, 2021, in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS – Las Vegas residents had the opportunity to witness a flurry of training activity starting April 20, as the Nevada National Guard’s 92nd Civil Support Team conducted mock emergency HAZMAT scenarios throughout the valley.

“For me, this training enhances our readiness,” Commander Maj. Nick Agle said. “We are here to train with our first responder counterparts so that we’re ready, capable, and effective if we get that call.”

The 92nd CST is one of 57 National Guard teams that respond to domestic Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high yield explosive (CBRNE) threats. They work extensively with first responders, state and federal agencies to ensure a seamless integration during exercises and real-world events.

The exercise began on Silver Mesa Way near Desert Inn Road and Maryland Parkway in the heart of Las Vegas. The training tested personnel from every agency and their ability to react to the simulated CBRNE threats.

This year, the 92nd partnered with the Clark County Fire Department, Las Vegas Bomb Squad, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to complete the weeklong 2021 Desert Torch Exercise. Soldiers reacted to mock scenarios wearing level-A, fully encapsulated chemical entry suits. Their job was to assist local authorities in identifying the chemical or biological threat downrange.

“We want to maintain these critical relationships with our first responders,” Agle said. “God forbid there’s an incident that occurs, but if it happens, we already have a solid working relationship with these agencies. We are all ready and we know what each group can bring to the table.”

Nevada’s CST includes 22 full-time service members from the Air and Army National Guard. Members are assigned according to their specialty, with six primary functional areas: command, operations, communications, administration/logistics, medical and survey/entry. The first CST element to arrive on the scene is the initial response team. They assess the area, confirm if contamination is present, and request additional assets if required. They can rapidly deploy and are on alert 24/7.

“We train to help serve and protect Nevadans,” 1st Sgt. John Fansler said. “We are also here to build important relationships with our first responder community, so if something does happen, we are ready to respond.”

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