103rd WMD Civil Support Team
The team passed its fifth Army evaluation with flying colors in Anchorage during February's second weekend, when the temperature reached 9 degrees. The Office of the Secretary of Defense certified it on March 12.
The Alaska National Guard team had been certified for only a few weeks when it was summoned to Fort Greely in mid-April to check out barrels of chemicals uncovered during a construction dig.
Civil authorities needed to know if there was anything in those old rusted and bent steel barrels that could harm the construction workers, the people who would have to remove them, or the Alaskan environment.
They called the Guard team with the fleet of blue vehicles, the 103rd Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Team, based near Anchorage. The 22-member team had been trained to detect chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear substances.
After driving 280 miles to the north through a snowstorm and spending 12 hours at the arctic site, one of the team's senior sergeants said nothing to fear was found in those old barrels.
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