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Eclipse National Guard deployment will bring HAZMAT capabilities

By March 21, 2024No Comments

The Oklahoma National Guard is one of many agencies planning to set up shop in McCurtain County during the April 8 total eclipse.  Despite a great deal of speculation on social media, the role of the unit coming here is focused on emergency response.

The 22-man team from the 63rd Civil Support Team will be available to assist local government agencies during the eclipse event, during which the county is expected to see a massive influx of visitors.  According to a press release from the Oklahoma National Guard issued Monday, the 63rd will provide local first responders with additional HAZMAT (hazardous material) capabilities.

National Guard officials also noted that their presence was requested by local authorities.

“McCurtain County Emergency Management requested our support because they expect up to 100,000 additional people visiting their communities to watch the eclipse,” said Lt. Col. Jabonn Flurry, 63rd CST commander. “This influx of visitors has the potential to overtax local resources and thanks to the training and experience our Guardsmen have working alongside local agencies all across Oklahoma, the CST is uniquely qualified to support our fellow Oklahomans.”

In the event of a HAZMAT emergency like an industrial fire that requires specialized training, the 63rd CST’s resources will respond, allowing local emergency responders to continue their assistance to citizens and the expected increase of visitors.

Members of the 63rd CST receive more than 650 hours of HAZMAT and high-tech training from agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Energy, the Department of Justice, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

According to National guard officials, this mission stands as the most recent example of the many ways the Oklahoma National Guard supports our fellow Oklahomans. The 63rd CST, along with many other Oklahoma National Guard units, has a long history of supporting local and state agencies including flood response, wildfires, winter weather and tornado recovery.

The 63rd is not the only agency that will set up in McCurtain County for the eclipse.  As noted in the March 12 edition of the McCurtain Gazette, from 110 to 150 Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers will be here during the once-in-a-lifetime event and around 150 other first responders and volunteers will be on hand as well, with many staying at their the Broken Bow Schools Sports Complex or Idabel’s former National Guard Armory.

For more information about how the State of Oklahoma is preparing to keep Oklahomans and visitors to our state safe during the solar eclipse, visit