Friday, August 17, 2012

Oregon Army National Guard, Coast Guard conduct week-long training exercise

ASTORIA, Ore. — Coast Guard Sector Columbia River’s Vessel Boarding Security Team and the Oregon Army National Guard 102nd Civil Support Team trained together in Astoria this week to prepare for potential chemical and/or radiation threats posed by vessels entering the Columbia River.

In the event that the Coast Guard VBST discovers high levels of radiation or unfamiliar chemicals aboard a vessel, the CST would be called upon to identify the material, and decontaminate the vessel and any members of the team with whom it had come into contact.

The teams worked together in a real world scenario April 8, 2011, when the freight vessel Pan Pac Spirit was cleared to enter the Columbia River. Both teams boarded the vessel, which had recently transited through potentially contaminated waters in the vicinity of Fukushima, Japan. The VBST provided security and basic radiation detection while the CST offered more technologically advanced radiological and chemical detecting capabilities.

Coast Guard members from Station Cape Disappointment in Ilwaco, Wash., assist a member of the Oregon National Guard 102nd Civil Support Team aboard the Tongue Point Job Corps training vessel Ironwood during a training exercise in Astoria, Thursday, August 16, 2012. The exercise was part of week-long joint training operation hosted by Sector Columbia River. (Coast Guard photo by Fireman Loumania Stewart.)

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