Hawaii National Guard CST team helps insure public safety during independence day celebrations.

Posted on Aug 13, 2013 in In The News

July fourth, a day celebrated by family and friends across the United States poses unique security and safety concerns for those entrusted to protect the public. The highly trained professionals of the Hawaii National Guard’s Weapons of Mass Destruction – Civil Service Team partnered with the Honolulu Fire Department, Honolulu Police Department, Honolulu Emergency Medical Ser- vice to help insure the public safety during 4th of July celebration. While their efforts were largely unnoticed, they were ready to re- spond in the event of a disaster or terrorist event.

“Our primary mission was to assure public safety and ensure a secure environment for 4th of July spectators in the vicinity of Ala Moana Beach Park during Independence Day festivities.  As a CST, our goal was to provide all of the needed support for civil authorities who were responsible for enforcing safety and security measures at Ala Moana Park during the holiday’s events.” said Lt Col Lance Okamura, Commander 93rd CST (WMD)

About 20 soldiers and airmen were involved in the Independence Day operations. No major threats were projected for the 4th of July.  However, because HPD Police Dogs were unable to work at Ala Moana Beach Park, the 93rd professionals provided unique threat assessment and detection capabilities. This assured the officials responsible for the public’s safety/security that Ala Moana Beach Park was consistently free of any potential threats that might harm the community. The 93rd CST  swept, searched, and screened, the air, land and sea providing analytical assessment of conditions of the park. The guardsmen were postured to provide unique immediate response capabilities on scene that HPD, EMS, Honolulu Fire, and other local, state, and federal civilian agencies on Oahu don’t have in the event an incident were to occur at Ala Moana.

Each team member has the responsibility to maintain their certification and proficiency as weapons of mass destruction and chemical biological radioactive nuclear and high-yield explosives responders requiring hours of study and hands on training to re-certify on a quarterly basis. They also maintain hazardous material technician status, and their their professional and mission specific training, many also hold advanced college degrees in chemistry, biology, of medical science.

The day began early at 6am with team personnel working closely with their civilian counterparts at HPD and the EMS in conducting threat assessment patrols and threat analysis operations throughout the entire Ala Moana Beach Park.  The team’s command and staff were able to provide continual intelligence and updates to the unified command team (consisting of HPD and EMS Senior Officials) regarding the status and security situation of the area.  Operations concluded at late in the evening when it was determined by HPD that the Beach Park was closed.