While training in Tunisia last month, the Wyoming National Guard’s 84th Civil Support Team, based in Cheyenne, Wyo., witnessed their Tunisian counterparts spring to action in support of civilian authorities.
The 84th CST traveled to Tunisia to conduct several weeks of training in support of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program. Wyoming has had a formal partnership with the African country of Tunisia since 2004. While training alongside the 61st Engineer Regiment, Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Company, the 84th CST witnessed critical civil support between the Tunisian Ministry of Defense and the Tunisian Ministry of Health. The Tunisian CBRN Co. received an unknown substance from the Ministry of Health. Tasked by the Ministry, the team analyzed and identified the substance as cocaine.
The 84th CST was training with their Tunisian counterparts when the Tunisian Ministry of Health delivered 28 cellophane-wrapped bricks marked “TNT/Dynamite.” The 84th CST witnessed the process where the Tunisians correctly analyzed and identified the substance as cocaine.
The Tunisian CBRN Co. demonstrated collaboration capabilities and efficiency using NATO-issued equipment to identify an unknown substance successfully. Each equipment operator on the team demonstrated individual competency, highlighting their value to local agencies. The company identified approximately 32 kilograms of cocaine and removed it from distribution. The total street value estimated was over $1 million.
“While I am certain our Tunisian partners would’ve made the identification without us, it was great for us to observe and validate their capabilities. Our team learned from a real-world scenario that reinforced the domestic mission of the National Guard,” said Maj. Casey Henry, commander of the 84th CST.
Training between Wyoming and Tunisian forces aligns with the Wyoming National Guard’s goal of maintaining a strong partnership with Tunisia. The Wyoming National Guard will benefit from this training by identifying violent extremist organizations and their regional capabilities. Both parties benefit by building a trusting and productive relationship and sharing best practices.
“Working with our Tunisian partners was an outstanding opportunity for the 84th Civil Support Team. We learned from them and tried to leave them with a few of our best practices,” said Henry. “I’m impressed with their professionalism and look forward to future training opportunities with them.”
The partnership significantly benefits the stabilization of a legitimate military within northern Africa, where Tunisia has one of the few viable democracies.
“Our Tunisian partners are in a daily fight with enemies of a stable government and immediately put tactics, techniques, and procedural changes into practice to save lives,” said Brig. Gen. David Pritchett, director of the Joint Staff for the Wyoming National Guard. Pritchett was in Tunisia observing the training.
The 84th CST’s mission is to support civil authorities in Wyoming as a domestic CBRN resource. Each member’s highly specialized training makes the CST an asset to Wyoming communities. They have the skills and equipment to identify CBRN substances, assess current and projected threats, advise on response measures, and assist with procuring additional resources.
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