73rd CST keeps the US Open safe

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Emily Amyotte
  • 190th Public Affairs
Not many careers in the National Guard get to work for and support national and even world-wide broadcast events, but the 73rd Civil Support Team is the exception.
Members from the unit participated as colleagues at the 2015 U.S. Open this summer, where they supported the New York Police Department's public safety and precautionary efforts. A part of the unit's mission is to provide hazardous material support to national events such as sporting and public gatherings and natural disaster relief.

Members of the unit agree that they have experienced many noteworthy, interesting things, but getting to assist the NYPD at the U.S. Open was a highlight of their career.
"I love tennis, so it was a good time," said 1st Lt. Dan Arnold, 73rd CST medical operations officer. "It's cool to be able to work while watching a historic tennis match with Serena and Venus Williams and be a part of that environment. There's no other way that I'd be able to witness that or see any of that if it wasn't for this job and mission."

The joint force team deploys regularly to aid NASCAR and other public events. This October, the unit will be supporting the safety efforts of Pope Francis' visit to the East coast.

The CST's day-to-day mission is to support local, state and federal agencies responding to an incident involving weapons of mass destruction, as well as being proactive in larger situations where it could arise. They train daily to be prepared to respond to the release of any chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear agents and high-yield explosives, regardless of origin, whether intentional or accidental, as well as response to natural and manmade disasters and ensure operational safety.

"We're like a hazardous material unit on steroids," Arnold said. "If you think of anything happening in the United States, you can bet that we're either on standby or we're there helping out either the local law enforcement, the fire department, or Department of Defense."

The unit is made of Soldiers and Airmen from many different career fields from medical to explosive ordinance disposal.

"It's a joint unit because it's Army and Air Force personnel," said Army SSgt. Tim Corbin, 73rd CST survey team chief. "We also have different career fields. We specialize in emergency management; chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear; communication; medical and so on. Within our small section, we have small sections. Everyone has different experience that they can bring to the table and benefit the unit."
Although the unit gets to do things like the U.S. Open, their day-to-day mission of keeping Kansas safe and healthy is what's really important, Corbin said.
"It's the best kept secret in the Kansas National Guard," he added.