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Home : News
NEWS | Feb. 7, 2023

W.Va. Guard’s 35th Civil Support Team Responds to Train Derailment in Ohio 

By Edwin Wriston West Virginia National Guard

Members of the West Virginia National Guard’s 35th Civil Support Team, based in St. Albans, West Virginia, deployed on the evening February 6, 2023, to the town of East Palestine, Ohio, to assist on-scene first responders and incident command with response efforts for a large-scale train derailment containing hazardous materials.

At approximately 12 p.m. local time Monday, the Ohio National Guard contacted the WVNG J3 Joint Operations Center for support from the 35th CST to assist with a 150-car derailment containing approximately 10 “hazmat cars”, including five cars identified as carrying the chemical vinyl chloride, a volatile suspected carcinogen. Within the hour, the 35th was placed on alert and preparing to deploy seven personnel and equipment to assist, including a nuclear medical science officer to help process samples to make sure chemicals were not leaching into local water supplies, a plume model specialist to assist forecasting of potential hazardous material airborne plumes, three survey specialists to assist with collecting air and water samples, and two members of the unit leadership team to liaise with on-scene counterparts and emergency management officials. 

“Our personnel are currently on the ground assisting a combined local, state, and federal response to this dangerous and life-threatening incident,” stated Lt. Col. Jerry Floyd, 35th CST commander. “Our team members are highly trained for these exact type situations, and we are proud to provide assistance to our neighbors in Ohio. The Ohio 52nd CST was the very first team on the ground in 2016 to assist West Virginia during the 2014 Elk River MCHM spill. It’s our honor to return the favor and provide support for and with them.”

The 35th CST consists of 22 full-time Army and Air National Guard members assigned to 14 different specialties and is tasked to provide support to civil authorities at domestic Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear or Explosive incident sites. The 35th CST is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for rapid deployments and utilizes specialized equipment and training to help identify unknown substances, assess current and projected consequences, advise on proper response measures, and assist with appropriate requests for additional state and federal response.  

“The motto of the National Guard is, ‘Always Ready, Always There’, and this incident is a prime example of the realization of that motto,” stated WVNG Adjutant General Maj. Gen. William “Bill” Crane. “The rapid deployment of critical assets during this time-sensitive endeavor will undoubtedly help to stabilize a potentially life-threatening situation and help on-scene first responders and personnel save lives, property, and critical infrastructure from further damage and threat.”

The 35th CST has a proud history of mission successes, and regularly provides support to high-level National Special Security Event (NSSE) events such as Presidential State of the Unions, as well as other high-visibility events such as West Virginia University football games. In 2022, the 35th CST undertook two in-depth inspections, a week-long Standardized Evaluation and Assessment Team (SEAT) inspection, and a rigorous Training Proficiency Evaluation (TPE) inspection. Conducted by Army North Command and the National Guard Bureau, these inspections tested all 12 mission essential tasks required by all 57 Civil Support Teams across the United States. The 35th CST passed both inspections with 99% grades. 

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Video by Sgt. Cheryl Madolev, Staff Sgt. Mickey Miller, Sgt. Davis Rohrer
WVNG Best Warrior Competition 2024 Video
153rd Public Affairs Detachment
March 19, 2024 | 4:11
Soldiers and Airmen from the West Virginia and District of Columbia National Guard compete in the West Virginia National Guard Best Warrior Competition held April 19-21, 2024, at Camp Dawson in Kingwood, West Virginia. Best Warrior is an annual event where participants compete in a series of warrior training tasks including weapons proficiency on the M4 rifle, 9mm pistol, land navigation, physical fitness, combat first aid, tactical movements, communications, and professional development activities. Photos by 153rd Public Affairs Det., WVARNG