Nevada Guard fires up Exercise Desert Torch in Vegas

Local Las Vegas residents had the opportunity to witness a flurry of training activity starting April 20, as the Nevada Guard’s 92nd Civil Support Team conducted mock emergency HAZMAT scenarios throughout parts of the valley.

“For me this training enhances our readiness,” Commander Maj. Nick Agle said. “We are here to train with our first responder counterparts so that we’re ready, capable, and effective if we get that call.”

The 92nd CST is one of about 57 National Guard teams that work to respond and react to domestic Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high yield explosive (CBRNE) threats. They work extensively with first responders, State, and Federal Agencies to ensure a seamless integration during exercises and real world events.

The exercise kicked off on Silver Mesa Way near Desert Inn Road and Maryland Parkway in the heart of Las Vegas. The training tested personnel from every agency and their ability to react to the simulated CBRNE threats.

Staff Sgt. Ian Fritzsche with the 92nd Civil Support Team removes his level-A fully encapsulated chemical entry suit after clearing hazardous materials in mock training scenarios during Exercise Desert Torch, April 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nev. (National Guard photograph by Staff Sgt. Ryan Getsie)

This year, the 92nd partnered with the Clark County Fire Department, Las Vegas Bomb Squad, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to complete the 2021 Desert Torch Exercise. It is a weeklong training event that had Soldiers reacting to mock scenarios wearing level-A, fully encapsulated chemical entry suits. Their job was to assist local authorities in identifying the chemical or biological threat downrange.

“We want to maintain these critical relationships with our first responders,” Agle said. “God forbid there’s an incident that occurs, but if it happens we already have a solid working relationship with these agencies. We are all ready and we know what each group can bring to the table.”

Sgt. Rjhun Rimon with the 92nd Civil Support Team adjusts his communication earpiece prior to donning his level-A fully encapsulated chemical entry suit before clearing hazardous materials in mock training scenarios during Exercise Desert Torch, April 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nev. (National Guard photograph by Staff Sgt. Ryan Getsie)

Nevada’s CST is staffed with 22 full-time service members from both the Air and Army National Guard. Members are assigned according to their specialty, with six primary functional areas: command, operations, communications, administration/logistics, medical and survey/entry. The first CST element to arrive on scene is the Initial Response Team (IRT). They will assess the area, confirm if contamination is present, and then request additional assets if required. They are able to rapidly deploy on a moments notice and are on alert 24/7.

First Sgt. John Fansler with the 92nd explained that his team is designed to respond and assist with any CBERN situations in order to keep the public safe. This training is designed to build upon the community of first responders by sharing resources and lessons learned.

“We train to help serve and protect Nevadans,” Fansler said. “We are also here to build important relationships with our first responder community so if something does happen we are ready to respond.”
 

A Soldier’s respirator equipment from the 92nd Civil Support Team rests on a bag during mock training scenarios for Exercise Desert Torch, April 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nev. (National Guard photograph by Staff Sgt. Ryan Getsie)

 
 
 

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