News | May 22, 2020

NY 24th CST Exemplifies Unity of Effort During Pandemic Response

By By Task Force Northeast Public Affairs Task Force Northeast

NEW YORK (May 20, 2020) – The 24th Civil Support Team showcased the unity of effort the Department of Defense achieved across its entire joint, active and reserve force during the COVID 19 pandemic response. 

The commanding general of Task Force Northeast recognized the New York National Guard unit during a ceremony for their outstanding support as part of the whole-of-government response.

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William “Bill” Hall presented service members with his unit's challenge coin at a ceremony at the Javits Convention Center where the Soldiers and Airmen of the 24th CST supported the Defense Department’s largest field hospital. 

"There are different standards of response in our world,” Hall said. “And the two gold standards, in my opinion, are civil support and the chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear response teams; and I would tell you guys what you do every day is just phenomenal.”

As part of their support to the COVID-19 response the 24th CST is running a COVID-19 testing station at the Javits Center to quickly test military and civilian personnel for the coronavirus if they show symptoms or think they were exposed to the virus. The team collects samples and runs tests using its mobile lab to cut the response time.  During their support to the total force in the Northeast the unit collected and tested more than 1300 samples from DoD personnel.  Additionally, the 24st CST provided personal protective equipment training, N95 mask fitting, and a decontamination station at the entrance to the patient treatment areas of the Javits New York Medical Station.

The rapid and accurate testing provided by the 24th CST allowed commanders to have a real-time picture of the effectiveness of force health protection measures. The team’s contribution also gives unit commanders the confidence and assurance that its forces are returning home healthy. 

The 24th CST is one of two civil service teams in the New York National Guard.  It is made up of 22 Soldiers and Airmen trained to detect the presence of biological, chemical and radiological hazards using its sophisticated mobile laboratory.

"Seeing the defense support of civil authorities (DSCA) plan come together was impressive," said 24th CST Deputy Commander U.S. Army Maj. Rob Freed. "The 24th CST supports counter-terrorism missions with civilian law enforcement agencies frequently, but our team hasn't been involved in a DSCA operation of this scale since Hurricane Sandy.”

Hall said the work of the men and women of the 24th CST assured the task force members working directly with patients were able to continue to safely do their jobs.

"You've all done a great job and you have a great team, and that doesn't go unnoticed,” Hall told members the 24th CST.  “What I've witnessed in New Jersey and here in New York, is that everything has come together seamlessly, and you should be proud of what you’ve done here."

The 24th CST originally deployed to the Javits New York Medical Station on March 18 and has provided daily support to the whole-of-government COVID-19 response.