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10th CST visits Hanford Nuclear Reactor during annual training

When your unit responds to anything, you have to prepare for anything. That is what the 10th Civil Support Team did as they recently finished up a two-week annual training exercise at the HAMMER training site near Hanford, Washington.

“Over the past two weeks, we have completed emergency vehicle operation drivers training, weapons retention training, like learning how to handle being ambushed, and combat life support training,” said Maj. Wes Watson, commander 10th CST.

The 10th CST completes a variety of training annually due to their unique mission, often responding to calls from local, state or federal partners as the only military agency on site. Being up-to-date on all of their requirements ensures the best possible outcome on those calls. 

The vehicle training that the civil support team received was focused on large vehicles, LMTVs and 5-ton trucks, as they expect to receive a new laboratory later this year. 

“In order to have that, we’ve had to send a few members to get their commercial driver’s license and then make sure they have the proper training on the military side as well,” said Watson.

This year, the 94th CST from Guam joined the unit during the second week of the training and did a three-day course about response to fentanyl calls.

“We work with the 10th quite a bit, and they always reach out to us when they have opportunities for us to learn,” said Tech. Sgt. Christine Eclavea, an information systems operator with the 94th CST. “We are very grateful that they give us the opportunity to learn and to join them when they have this type of training.”

After their three-day course on response to fentanyl, the joint civil support teams headed to the Hanford Nuclear Site for a staff ride at the B Reactor. Built in 1944, the reactor produced plutonium for the Manhattan Project’s eventual nuclear weapons that would be dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945. 

“We conducted this staff ride to increase the level of awareness on what it took to get to our current nuclear era,” said Watson. “It adds more situational awareness of the environment that exists over here in the Tri-Cities region and helps us as we work with local agencies to develop a plan if anything were to happen with these old sites.”

“That’s an experience I never would have had on the island,” Eclavea added.

On the last day of their training, they conducted a joint civil support team operation, working with local law enforcement and fire department, geared specifically toward radiological materials response training. 

Watson said, “Our team simulated a full response, assessing the situation and the fallout projected from the release of radiological materials as it would happen in a real world event. All while working with our local, state and federal agencies to mitigate the situation and build partnership with them.”