ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (Jan. 30, 2014) – The Florida National Guard’s 48th Civil Support Team (CST) will have a new home in the future in Pinellas Park.
Fiscal Year 2014 Military Construction (MILCON) funding has been earmarked for a $5.7 million facility to house the 22-person team on the property of the C.W. Bill Young Armed Forces Reserve Center in Pinellas Park.
Currently the 48th CST – one of two civil support teams in Florida – is based in a temporarily leased facility at the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport.
According to Florida National Guard Construction and Facility Management Officer (CFMO) Lt. Col. Mark Widener the move will be beneficial to the Soldiers and Airmen of the 48th, and cost-effective to the Florida National Guard.
“This is a tremendous boost to the organization because it will allow for us to put the 48th CST members in a permanent facility,” Widener said.
Because the FY 14 MILCON funding has not been released yet, there is no projected date for beginning of construction on the new facility.
The 16,200-square-foot facility will be based on a design similar to the 44th CST building at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center, to include an operations center, a medical section, secure communications sections, a decontamination area, storage rooms, and a chemical/biological testing room.
The AFRC in Pinellas Park, which belongs to the U.S. Army Reserves, is currently home to Army Reservists and the headquarters for the Florida National Guard’s 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
“This is truly a partnership with the United States Army Reserves,” Widener explained. “We could not do without this partnership.”
The 48th Civil Support Team can provide assistance to state and local authorities by: identifying chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents or substances; assessing potential consequences; and assisting with determining appropriate response measures.
Commander of the 48th CST Lt. Col. Joe Defee said his team is excited about the move, and called the new building a “crucial piece” of their response plan.
“It will be built and configured to provide the CST the means to systematically load personnel and equipment, and rapidly deploy within thirty minutes,” Defee said. “The 48th CST has been involved in the initial design and building concept with the CFMO, and we’re leaning forward with them to complete this project as soon as possible.”