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News from the Oklahoma National Guard

NEWS | Oct. 19, 2023

63rd Civil Support Team trains with first responders from across the state

By Staff Sgt. Reece Heck, Oklahoma National Guard

In a weeklong operational readiness exercise, the Oklahoma National Guard's 63rd Civil Support Team with Task Force One and various first responders from across the state honed their search and rescue skills recently. The event, which takes place every two years, allows the 63rd CST and other first responders the opportunity to collaborate, train, and stay prepared in the case of a disaster.

TF-1 is made up of two urban search and rescue teams who are trained and equipped with high level rescue capabilities. The teams consist of 125 members from 33 agencies in and around the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metropolitan areas.

Sgt. 1st Class Simmons explained the importance of building relationships with other first responders during exercises like this one.

“The last thing you want to do is, in the event of a natural disaster is show up on scene and start swapping phone numbers and names. [This exercise's] purpose is to maintain that discipline, that networking, and relationship building.,” Simmons said. “That way when you get on scene of a natural disaster, all you’re doing is a handshake, then it’s straight to work to help the victims and help everything get back to normal as quick as possible.”

In the past, these agencies collaborated in support of different natural disasters, such as the 2019 floods in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the 2013 Moore, Oklahoma Tornado. This training also allows the CST to practice different skills and proficiencies they normally wouldn’t get to practice.

"So outside of our primary focus, which is chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear-related incidents, our secondary operations are search and rescue. Within search and rescue, we do confined space, collapsed structure, swift water operations, and wide area search," said Simmons.

One scenario included extracting a victim from a collapsed structure after a tornado. The CST practiced drilling through concrete to safely get the victim to safety.

The CST also performed swift water rescue training which involved first responders working together to harness and zip line themselves from a bridge to save a drowning victim from flood water.

In the face of potential disasters, the 63rd Civil Support Team's commitment to preparedness and collaborative readiness stands as a testament to their dedication to the safety and well-being of the people of Oklahoma.
Video by Spc. Danielle Rayon
Oklahoma National Guard Museum hosts Veterans Day Ceremony
Oklahoma National Guard
Nov. 11, 2023 | 2:02
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma National Guard Museum hosted its annual Veterans Day ceremony, Nov. 11, 2023.
The ceremony drew a diverse crowd including military members, their families, supporters and retired service members. The event, a time-honored tradition, paid tribute to those who have served with reverence and respect.
The museum's grounds echoed with the presence of those who have served, creating a reverent atmosphere befitting the occasion. Attendees gathered to honor the sacrifices made by veterans and to express gratitude for their service.
Col. Brad Carter, assistant adjutant general – Army, Oklahoma National Guard, addressed the gathering, delivering a powerful message that resonated with the audience.
“To those veterans who accepted carrying the torch of responsibility, we are forever indebted,” Carter said. “For those veterans who were willing to pick up that torch from those before them, we are eternally grateful, and for those who are waiting to grasp it, go forward with the sacrifices made by those who also wore the uniform foremost in our mind.”