Representatives from local, state, and government agencies gathered to observe the 54th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team (CST) change of command during a formal ceremony held April 23 in Madison, Wis.
The 54th CST is made up of full-time Wisconsin Army and Air National Guard troops responsible for rapidly responding to emergencies and terrorist events involving weapons of mass destruction or toxic industrial chemicals.
During the ceremony, Army Lt. Col. Eric Leckel took command of the 54th CST from Air Force Lt. Col. David May, who distinctively served as the unit commander for nearly three years.
"For me, this command has been a personal and professional highlight — in fact a life-impacting event," May said. "I somehow found myself in this very fortunate position to have been a part of this team. The ranks are full of brilliant Soldiers and Airmen and I can't wait to see where the team is headed. Team member number 85, Lt. Col. Eric Leckel, is the right leader at the right time and Eric, I know that you will take the team to the next level. "
"Great moments are born out of great opportunity," Leckel said upon taking command. "Team, we have the opportunity to continue to build capacity to assist our interagency partners to protect the citizens of Wisconsin. I am excited to be part of the team as we go forward the next three years."
The team is a key element of the Department of Defense's overall program to provide support to civil authorities in the event of an incident involving weapons of mass destruction in the United States, and has the unique mission of assisting local first-responders in determining the nature of an attack, providing medical and technical advice, and paving the way for the identification and arrival of follow-on state and federal military response assets.