POSTED February, 2013
Story by Lt. Joel S. Ferguson, Atlantic Strike Team
Behind the parades and high profile public addresses that comprised the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C., were many units of the U.S. Coast Guard that were working hard to make sure the event was a resounding success.
One such unit was the Atlantic Strike Team. The AST is one of the three teams in the National Strike Force that exists to provide Federal On-Scene Coordinators with timely and proficient assistance in oil, chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear response missions. Sector Baltimore requested that the AST provide a 12 person response team and a liaison officer for the incident command post.
The NSF team, which consisted of nine AST members, two Pacific Strike Team members, and two Gulf Strike Team members, deployed along with the AST’s 48-foot Hazardous Materials Response Trailer and 10-ton support truck. The team’s mission was to augment Sector Baltimore’s emergency response options and provide the sector commander with site safety, emergency stabilization, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) sampling, chemical identification, air monitoring, technical decontamination, radiological isotope identification, and Level A exclusion zone entry capabilities in case the need for these specific skill sets arose.
Baltimore - Petty Officer 1st Class Jonathan Davis, a machinery technician from the Pacific Strike Team, gives a brief to U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Michael Linnington on the strike team's radiological detection equipment and capabilities. National Strike Force members representing the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific strike teams deployed to support Sector Baltimore's emergency response operations for the 2013 Presidential Inauguration. Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Masaschi.
While staged at the incident command post, the AST conducted WMD sampling training and set up and recovered a technical decontamination line in preparation for possible chemical or radiological decontamination requests.
The HMRT garnered its share of attention. Many USCG members stopped by and asked for a quick tour of the trailer’s interior. The NSF team also had the opportunity to host Rear Adm. Steven Ratti, the Coast Guard 5th District Commander, and U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Michael Linnington, Commander, Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region. During their visit, petty officers demonstrated radiation gear capabilities and air monitoring equipment.
“It’s always a good thing when no deliberate event triggers the need for strike team assistance during special activities like this,” said Lt. Joel Ferguson, the AST operations officer. “But we were proud to play our part in support of Sector Baltimore during the Inauguration.”
While the AST led the deployed NSF team in D.C., another twelve-person AST response team was on standby at Joint Base McGuire, Dix, Lakehurst, in New Jersey, to deploy in support of the EPA.
“The World’s Best Responders: Any Time, Any Place, Any Hazard.”