TX National Guard 6th Civil Support Team trains for airlift

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Kristian Carter
  • 433rd Airlift Wing

Fifteen members of the Texas National Guard’s 6th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team trained on preparing and loading vehicles for military airlift with the 433rd Airlift Wing here Oct. 24.

The full team of 22 members, who respond to incidents in Federal Emergency Management Agency Region 6, (to potential chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear materials) travel with several vehicles including an ambulance, a mobile analytical laboratory, a mobile command suite, and others.

The team is composed of both U.S. Air Force and Army personnel

“This is a unique unit as it has four Air Force personnel, the rest are Army,” said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Laura Morato, medical noncommissioned officer. “It is a purple mission.”

The training focused on how to weigh, measure, inspect, and complete the required documentation for these vehicles to be transported on military aircraft. For this particular exercise, the vehicles were loaded on a C-5M Super Galaxy.

“We’re doing air-load training; learning how to take our vehicles and equipment across the country, or anywhere we would not be able to drive and respond quickly,” said Morato.

This training assists airlift personnel as well by helping the deploying units arrive better prepared for air transportation.

“The CRF is a self-sufficient unit capable of deploying with a 72-hour notice, and then setting  up a command and control structure to start bringing in airlift,” said Senior Master Sgt. Marcie Butler, 433rd Contingency Response Flight affiliation manager. “The CST is one of the affiliate units. We train them to airlift their equipment for deployment. Our training helps them to prepare their equipment for short notice deployment.”

After ensuring the vehicles met the requirements for air transportation, the CST drove to the flightline to load them onto the military aircraft. Some vehicles have unique characteristics such as low ground clearance. These vehicles require additional measures such as supplemental ramps used in conjunction with the aircraft’s ramps to drive onto the aircraft without damaging the vehicle or aircraft.

By practicing this procedure with the team members, they are afforded an opportunity to practice when they can take their time, ask questions and really understand the process. This is important as the team is tasked to respond quickly to real-world events.

“The 6th CST is expected to do rapid response within the state,” said Army Warrant Officer Candidate Alfonzo Garcia, survey team leader. “The emergency crew expects us to be at the scene immediately. Since the state of Texas is so large, being air mobile gives us the opportunity to travel way faster for longer distances. It just helps us out in being mobile and keeping a rapid deployment status for the state of Texas.”