Clemmons native new commander of National Guard team

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 8, 2019

By Sgt. Lisa Vines
N.C. National Guard

GREENVILLE — The North Carolina National Guard’s 42nd Civil Support Team (Weapons of Mass Destruction), gathered at the River Park North auditorium in Greenville to welcome U.S. Army Lt. Col. Bradley Merritt, the new commander and former deputy commander, during a change of command ceremony July 26. Lt. Col. Merritt is a graduate of West Forsyth High School and is the son of Larry and Lyn Merritt of Clemmons, who participated in the ceremony.

“The 42nd Civil Support Team is a unique active-duty National Guard unit designed to provide a specialized capability of responding to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive (CBRNE) incident primarily within the United States, the District of Columbia, its territories and possessions,” said U.S. Army Col. Jeffrey Bain, the commander of 60th Troop Command, during the ceremony.

Merritt takes over the 42nd CST as an experienced leader with multiple overseas tours since his commissioning in 2002. The Clemmons native is looking forward to returning to lead the CST.

“As we go through the next few years I look forward to being a part of the team and making sure we are heading in the right direction,” Merritt said.

As the CST welcomes a familiar face, they are also saying goodbye to another. U.S. Army Lt. Col. Joel Eberly, the outgoing commander, is retiring after 31 years of service.

“It’s been a blessing to be here, and I’m going to miss these soldiers most of all,” said Eberly. “This was the best assignment I’ve had in my 31 years by far.”

The 42nd CST proved that it is a close-knit group as former leaders, Soldiers, first responders and Greenville town representatives attended the ceremony. The unit frequently works with emergency management and local communities as part of its mission.

“The unit is gaining a truly great leader,” said Bain. “I have no doubt Lt. Col. Merritt will bring great ideas and enthusiasm to the CST. The CST can feel confident that it is getting an outstanding new commander.”

In response to a weapons of mass destruction situation, the 42nd CST’s mission is to assess the event in support of the local authorities and advise civilian responders of the appropriate actions. The team provides a rapid response to a suspected or actual terrorist attack.

The 42nd is one of 57 CSTs throughout the National Guard. At least one CST is assigned to each state, as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. California and New York each have two CSTs.