Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals major league baseball (MLB) team, rumbled with thunderous applause. Fans cheered with excitement as the 2018 All-Star Game was about to start on July 17.
Fans not already standing were asked to stand. A quiet still replaced the cheering. Honor replaced excitement. The colors of the nation were presented, and the national anthem played.
While most everyone stood, there were some nearby who didn’t. They didn’t sit in protest or to advocate any cause. They are advocates of protecting the lives, freedoms and liberties of those who gathered to watch the All-Stars play.
The District of Columbia Army National Guard’s 33rd Civil Support Team (CST), along with the Delaware Guard’s 31st CST, sat in response trucks and operations centers throughout D.C., ready to respond to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) attacks.
The composition of the 33rd CST makes it uniquely qualified to assess, advise and assist D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services, the FBI and other local and federal partners in response to CBRN threats. With team members focused on all levels of threat assessment, from those who handle administrative and operational tasks to doctors and nuclear medical scientists, the 33rd CST is equipped to respond to the full spectrum of CBRN threats.
The 33rd CST is the only D.C. National Guard unit whose members are all active Guard reserve and on call 24/7 to respond to the needs of local and federal partners. The CST is called upon regularly to support large recurring events in D.C., such as the presidential inauguration, State of the Union Address, July 4th celebrations and other regularly scheduled large-scale events.
The team also provides as-needed support to local and federal agencies during non-regularly scheduled large-scale events such as the March for Our Lives, Rev. Billy Graham’s funeral and the Washington Capitals’ Stanley Cup parade.
Due to the high volume of big events that take place in D.C., the 33rd is on mission more regularly than other CSTs. The 33rd also maintains an intense training schedule that includes full-team and equipment training about six times per year.
As fans stood to honor the anthem and then enjoyed the All-Star Game, members of the D.C. National Guard’s 33rd CST sat in trucks and operations centers around D.C., ready to be called upon.
By Kevin Valentine, D.C. National Guard