Florida Guardsman becomes ‘Dragon Soldier’

Written by  //  May 9, 2012  //  Feature Stories

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44th CST Deputy Commander inducted into the Order of the Dragon

By Lt. Col. Michael A. Ladd
44th Civil Support Team

CAMP BLANDING JOINT TRAINING CENTER (May 9, 2012) – Just a day before Cinco de Mayo, the number of “Order of the Dragon” members in the Florida National Guard doubled. On May 4, Maj. John T. Wilson, the deputy commander for the 44th Civil Support Team – Weapons of Mass Destruction, was inducted into the Chemical Corps Regimental Association’s Order of the Dragon – an honorary grouping of Chemical Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, Sailors and DoD civilians that have been recognized for their career service to the Chemical Corps. 

Maj. John Wilson (left) receives the Order of the Dragon certificate and award from 44th Civil Support Team Commander Lt. Col. Michael Ladd. Photo by Capt. Tecarie Czarnecki

The Chemical Corps Regimental Association (CCRA) awards the Order of the Dragon to recognize “Dragon Soldiers” who have demonstrated the highest standards of integrity and moral character, and who display an outstanding degree of professional competence. Recipients must have contributed to the promotion of the Chemical Corps in numerous ways during the course of their career. 

Wilson is no stranger to being an innovator and example in the Civil Support Team (CST) program and the Chemical Corps Regiment. As an original member or “plank holder” of the 44th Civil Support Team with more than 12 years in the unit, it was a younger “Capt. Wilson” that conducted operations in support of the anthrax attacks in Boca Raton, Fla., in 2001; a mission that lasted for more than two weeks and dealt with a very deadly anthrax hazard. Under his personal leadership, his Survey Section was tasked with a deadly mission and accomplished that mission without incident. 

Few CST members nationwide can bring that level of real world experience to the table. When reaching out to first responders and federal agencies, the pedigree he brings to the table speaks volumes from the “been there – got the t-shirt” mantra. As a result of that effort, Wilson is also immortalized in a display at the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) School at Ft Leonard Wood, Mo. During his first viewing of the display, Wilson corrected the pose of the mannequin by insisting, “His knee shouldn’t be on the ground – mine wasn’t!” The display was adjusted. 

“This was really a no-brainer” said Lt. Col. Michael Ladd, commander of the 44th CST, “John has always been highly regarded for not only his vast CBRN expertise but also his EOD knowledge – that combo brings a seasoned flavor to the way in which we (the 44th CST) approach our mission. 

“John has lived, by example, the very qualities this recognition codifies – very well deserved!” Ladd said. 

When asked about the presentation of the Order of the Dragon Wilson replied: “What an honor – you never go about your daily business looking for or seeking awards but it is kinda nice when you’re recognized like this!” 

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