Camden County Special Response Team trains with 7th Civil Support Team from Fort Leonard Wood, other responders
A joint exercise hosted by the Missouri National Guard’s 7th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team provided valuable training and multi-agency coordination in response to a simulated terrorist threat earlier this month at the old Waynesville Technical Academy.
“It was a very successful outcome,” said 1st Lt. Nathan Looper, the team’s medical operations officer and the exercise’s creator. “Even though everything didn’t go as scripted, all the agencies involved received much-needed training.”
Soldiers and airmen on civil support teams often train closely with their civilian first-responder counterparts to prepare for real-world emergencies.
The 7th Civil Support Team from Fort Leonard Wood engages in an exercise with a civilian agency within the state around once a month.
Six civilian agencies joined the 7th in the exercise, including the Camden County Special Response Team, Waynesville Police Department, Waynesville Rural Fire Department, St. Robert Fire Department, Pulaski County Sherriff’s Department and Pulaski County 911.
Overall, Looper said the exercise received very positive feedback from the civilian responders.
“The civilian agencies already were asking what we could do in the future to expand on the joint training,” he said.
An estimated 100 first-responders were involved in the exercise.
The simulated exercise began Wednesday night with a traffic stop by the Waynesville Police Department at 4 a.m., which involved an officer related shooting. Two other suspects fled - one was captured by the Waynesville Police canine, Oxx, and the other fled to refuge inside the technical academy.
Waynesville Fire Department responded to provide medical treatment, but was overwhelmed by simulated chemical fumes. The St. Robert Fire Department Hazmat team and the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department’s Special Response Team were then called in to assess the situation. The special response team provided perimeter security and requested the Camden County Special Response Team to respond to make entry into the academy to apprehend the fugitive.
Camden County located the suspect in a room that contained a laboratory that appeared to be making a dangerous chemical agent. The exercise was put on pause until Thursday morning, when the 7th Civil Support Team was asked to respond so the team could identify the chemical agent and make recommendations on the best way to prevent its release.
“This is why we train together,” said Looper, who lives in Waynesville. “With the complexity of the joint operations, it’s crucial that we’ve all trained and practiced together to prevent chaos in the event of a real-world emergency.”
Thursday’s exercise was especially important to the team’s three new reconnaissance members, who trained with the team on air inside their encapsulated Hazmat suits for the first time.
Part of the training revolved around how the team should react if a member of recon went down with an illness or injury while conducting their mission. Sgt. Joe Ramsey, one of the newest recon members, played the part of the injured soldier.
“It was unexpected, but good for the medical section to be able to react to a man down,” Ramsey said.
Despite not having to react himself, Ramsey, who lives in Rolla, received some first-hand experience on some of the dos and don’ts of rescue.
“Picking someone up in the suit would probably be hard,” Ramsey said. “I think it is a good thing to practice. You don’t want to drop your buddy.”