Guam – A new commander took over the reins of the Guam National Guard’s 94th Civil Support Team – Weapons of Mass Destruction during a Change of Command ceremony recently.
LTC Michael Tougher handed the unit guidon to LTC Joseph Limtiaco during the ceremony held at the unit’s headquarters at the GUNG Joint Readiness Center in Barrigada.
LTC Tougher took charge of the unit in 2009. He led the unit through two major exercises in Saipan. It was also during his command, on June 1 last year, when the 94th CST received its final Secretary of Defense certification, after almost four years of training, which entitled them to actively respond to any man-made or natural disaster within the region.
During his tenure as commander, LTC Tougher also accumulated over 500 hours of specialized training related to all the specialized skills required of all CST personnel.
Recently, the unit completed its latest training in Saipan called Exercise Konfitma, working very closely with the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas’ Office of Homeland Security and other government agencies, as well the 93rd CST from Hawaii and the 103rd CST from Alaska.
“The added value of these exercises to our CST and the local community is almost immeasurable,” said MAJ GEN Benny M. Paulino, The Adjutant General for GUNG, during the ceremony.
“What was striking to me was the rapport that had already obviously been established between the 94th and the other CST units. But even more importantly, there was an evident kinship between the 94th and the local first responders, both on the leader’s level, as well as among the personnel of the key participating organizations. This relationship among fellow first responders is a testament to the leadership of LTC Tougher,” he added.
The unit also responded to real world domestic missions during LTC Tougher’s time of command.
Following the earthquake in Japan that caused radiological leaks from their damaged nuclear reactors, there was concern about radiological contamination entering Guam through the air and sea ports.
The 94th CST was called on by Gov. Eddie Calvo to assist the Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency to conduct commercial cargo radiological screening at the ports to ensure there were no harmful contaminants entering the island. The unit conducted the screening for several days and helped allay fears among the island population about any possibility of radiological contamination.
LTC Limtiaco comes to the 94th CST with strong operations and training experience. His previous assignment included a stint as acting J3 (Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans Support) and as commander for the 203rd Regional Training Institute. He had been deployed to Afghanistan as part of an Embedded Training Team, which provided military to military training support for the Afghan National Army.
The CST mission is to assess any attack using suspected weapons of mass destruction, advise civilian responders on appropriate actions, and facilitate the arrival of additional state and Federal military forces.