Civil support teams train with multi-gas detection systems

Story and photo by Sgt. 1st Class Eugene Pomeroy
7th Civil Support Command Public Affairs

When disasters strike you can count on the Army Reserve Soldiers from the 771st and 773rd Civil Support Teams to suit up and detect the hazards that lurk in the air.

The 771st and 773rd CSTs trained on AreaRae Multi-Gas Detection Systems at Daenner Kaserne recently as part of the 7th Civil Support Command’s transformation into a force that can support civil authorities in a chemical, biological and nuclear incident.

The one-day training conducted by RAE Systems representative Frank Moddemann was designed to train the trainer.

“It was very fine training,” said Sgt. Tony Luther, from the 771st CST in Bamberg, Germany. “I was appreciative of the fact that we got it directly from a technician from the company. It gave us a lot more insight. It’s one of those skills you have to continuously use.”

Sergeant Luther was one of four soldiers who will return to train the rest of his unit.

The system consists of a Rapid Deployment Kit, which is a laptop computer that connects remotely to four or up to 32 detectors. The detectors, resembling large transistor radios, monitor oxygen levels and combustible and toxic gasses, such as benzene, carbon monoxide and chlorine. The AreaRae also has the ability to detect Gamma radiation.

“You put them up around a hot zone and move away and monitor what is happening inside from a central location up to three to four miles away,” Mr. Modermann said. 

It was very important for the Soldiers to set the units up and become familiar with them, he added.

Lt. Col. Timothy Pelfrey, commander of the 773rd CST, said the training was excellent.

“It provides the capability to the CSC that we’ve never had before. I mean, high speed, excellent training,” Colonel Pelfrey said.

“I believe this is the first time the 7th Civil Support Command can demonstrate and showcase its capabilities to the rest of the European theater,” said Eryn Seidl, the 7th CSC’s chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear operations specialist.
Civil support teams were first fielded by the National Guard in 2000. The 2nd CST from New York was the first National Guard team to respond to a terrorist attack when it was sent to Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks. When fully deployable, a CST can be on the road within two hours to support civil authorities in the event or suspicion of an attack.

With more than 900 European-based Army Reserve Soldiers, the 7th CSC is now entering a new phase as it becomes a fully deployable, operational command. The 7th CSC’s new structure will provide foreign consequence management, civil affairs, and command and control capabilities to U.S. Army Europe and 7th Army.