Latest News from the Virginia National Guard
  • SALINAS, Puerto Rico — Maj. Gen. Charles W. Whittington, Jr., commander of the 29th Infantry Division, Virginia National Guard, visited the 92nd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Puerto Rico National Guard, during the 92nd MEB annual training at Camp Santiago Joint Maneuver Training Center in Salinas, Puerto Rico, in July 2014. “The alignment for training principle allows for great units like the 92nd [MEB] to integrate with a division like the 29th [ID]. We are able to benefit from the talents that come from both organizations and it’s absolutely essential to the longevity of the Guard units,” said Whittington. The visit is part of a newly resuscitated partnership between the 29th ID and the 92nd MEB that originally began shortly before 9/11, […]

    92nd MEB essential to the 29th ID says Maj. Gen. Whittington

    SALINAS, Puerto Rico — Maj. Gen. Charles W. Whittington, Jr., commander of the 29th Infantry Division, Virginia National Guard, visited the 92nd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Puerto Rico National Guard, during the 92nd MEB annual training at Camp Santiago Joint Maneuver Training Center in Salinas, Puerto Rico, in July 2014. “The alignment for training principle allows for great units like the 92nd [MEB] to integrate with a division like the 29th [ID]. We are able to benefit from the talents that come from both organizations and it’s absolutely essential to the longevity of the Guard units,” said Whittington. The visit is part of a newly resuscitated partnership between the 29th ID and the 92nd MEB that originally began shortly before 9/11, […]

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  • NORFOLK, Va. — Brig. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, spoke to a group of more than 115 artillerymen and their guests from the Hampton-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team July 12, 2014, during their Saint Barbara’s Day Celebration at the Norfolk Naval Station in Norfolk, Va. Eight officers and noncommissioned officers received the United States Field Artillery Association’s Order of Saint Barbara award as part of the celebration. Named for the patron saint of the artillery who protects Soldiers from fires and sudden death, the Order of Saint Barbara recognizes members in good standing who have demonstrated the highest standards of integrity and moral character, displayed an outstanding degree of professional competence, […]

    Adjutant General challenges artillery leaders to pursue excellence

    NORFOLK, Va. — Brig. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, spoke to a group of more than 115 artillerymen and their guests from the Hampton-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team July 12, 2014, during their Saint Barbara’s Day Celebration at the Norfolk Naval Station in Norfolk, Va. Eight officers and noncommissioned officers received the United States Field Artillery Association’s Order of Saint Barbara award as part of the celebration. Named for the patron saint of the artillery who protects Soldiers from fires and sudden death, the Order of Saint Barbara recognizes members in good standing who have demonstrated the highest standards of integrity and moral character, displayed an outstanding degree of professional competence, […]

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  • SANDSTON, Va. – From April to June, approximately 110 Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers, comprised of flight crews and support personnel, rotated through Guatemala in two-week cycles in support of Operation Beyond the Horizon, serving as the only rotary wing asset for the exercise. The Soldiers, from the Sandston-based 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment, flew more than 140 missions, moved more than 900 individuals and hauled nearly 9,000 pounds of cargo through the skies of Guatemala aboard three UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. Operation Beyond the Horizon is a joint foreign military interaction and humanitarian exercise sponsored by U.S. Southern Command. The Virginia Soldiers had the opportunity to work with Guatemalan armed forces, as well as Soldiers and Airmen from across […]

    Va. Guard aviators fly nearly 300 hours over Guatemalan skies

    SANDSTON, Va. – From April to June, approximately 110 Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers, comprised of flight crews and support personnel, rotated through Guatemala in two-week cycles in support of Operation Beyond the Horizon, serving as the only rotary wing asset for the exercise. The Soldiers, from the Sandston-based 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment, flew more than 140 missions, moved more than 900 individuals and hauled nearly 9,000 pounds of cargo through the skies of Guatemala aboard three UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. Operation Beyond the Horizon is a joint foreign military interaction and humanitarian exercise sponsored by U.S. Southern Command. The Virginia Soldiers had the opportunity to work with Guatemalan armed forces, as well as Soldiers and Airmen from across […]

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  • SANDSTON, Va. — A Virginia National Guard family was recently recognized as the Army National Guard Family of the Year for 2014 while a Virginia Guard family member was honored as the National Guard Teen Volunteer of the Year. The Billmyer family, which includes Master Sgt. Jeff Billmyer, Sgt. 1st Class Ellen Billmyer, and their children 1st Lt. Rachel Billmyer, Ben Billmyer and Hannah Billmyer, received the award, which is given to a family that shows outstanding and exceptional service to National Guard family programs. Natalie Unmussig, daughter of Chief Warrant Officer 4 Donald Unmussig, a Virginia National Guard Soldier currently serving as a mobility officer with the National Guard Bureau, received the National Guard Teen Volunteer of the Year, […]

    Va. Guard family, teen honored by National Guard family programs for volunteerism

    SANDSTON, Va. — A Virginia National Guard family was recently recognized as the Army National Guard Family of the Year for 2014 while a Virginia Guard family member was honored as the National Guard Teen Volunteer of the Year. The Billmyer family, which includes Master Sgt. Jeff Billmyer, Sgt. 1st Class Ellen Billmyer, and their children 1st Lt. Rachel Billmyer, Ben Billmyer and Hannah Billmyer, received the award, which is given to a family that shows outstanding and exceptional service to National Guard family programs. Natalie Unmussig, daughter of Chief Warrant Officer 4 Donald Unmussig, a Virginia National Guard Soldier currently serving as a mobility officer with the National Guard Bureau, received the National Guard Teen Volunteer of the Year, […]

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  • CAMP PENDLETON, Va. – Virginia National Guard Airmen and Soldiers from the Virginia Beach-based 203rd RED HORSE Squadron and Gate City-based 1030th Transportation Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group participated in a joint exercise to test the coordination and deployment plans of the Disaster Relief Bed-down System, July 13, 2014, at the Camp Pendleton State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach, Va. The 203rd RED HORSE Squadron’s Airmen are trained and tasked with assembling and operating the DRBS, while the 1030th’s transportation companies can be activated to transport the DRBS containers in the event of an emergency. “The DRBS is a self-contained system of generators and living facilities that can be moved to a disaster site,” said Army Maj. Tim Pillion, 1030th […]

    Soldiers, Airmen train on transporting disaster relief system

    CAMP PENDLETON, Va. – Virginia National Guard Airmen and Soldiers from the Virginia Beach-based 203rd RED HORSE Squadron and Gate City-based 1030th Transportation Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group participated in a joint exercise to test the coordination and deployment plans of the Disaster Relief Bed-down System, July 13, 2014, at the Camp Pendleton State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach, Va. The 203rd RED HORSE Squadron’s Airmen are trained and tasked with assembling and operating the DRBS, while the 1030th’s transportation companies can be activated to transport the DRBS containers in the event of an emergency. “The DRBS is a self-contained system of generators and living facilities that can be moved to a disaster site,” said Army Maj. Tim Pillion, 1030th […]

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  • MARTINSVILLE, Va – Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers loaded the last pieces of construction equipment onto trailers July 2, 2014 culminating four-weeks of grading, hauling, and filling a 15-acre industrial plot in Henry County, Va. that began May 31, 2014. More than 100 Soldiers assigned to the Cedar Bluff-based 1033rd Engineer Support Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, 91st Troop Command continued the construction operation started by the 180th Engineer Company two weeks before as part of their annual training. Soldiers from the unit worked hard to transform a rugged, mountainous hill to a flat usable construction site and have been cutting the tops of large uneven hills, filling large gaps and trenches, and grading the 15-acres to make it suitable for […]

    Va. National Guard engineers help Henry County with economic development project

    MARTINSVILLE, Va – Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers loaded the last pieces of construction equipment onto trailers July 2, 2014 culminating four-weeks of grading, hauling, and filling a 15-acre industrial plot in Henry County, Va. that began May 31, 2014. More than 100 Soldiers assigned to the Cedar Bluff-based 1033rd Engineer Support Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, 91st Troop Command continued the construction operation started by the 180th Engineer Company two weeks before as part of their annual training. Soldiers from the unit worked hard to transform a rugged, mountainous hill to a flat usable construction site and have been cutting the tops of large uneven hills, filling large gaps and trenches, and grading the 15-acres to make it suitable for […]

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  • FORT PICKETT, Va. – Warrant officer candidates enrolled in Class 14-001 of the Fort Pickett-based 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute’s Warrant Officer Candidate School presented their class sign June 29, 2014, to a group of gathered RTI senior leaders, Virginia National Guard warrant officers and WOCS cadre members, along with the guest of honor, retired Chief Warrant Officer 5 Ron Saylor, who formerly served in the Virginia Guard. “The song and sign presentations are team building events that they have to do outside of a normal drill weekend,” explained Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brian Temple, commander and course manager for the Virginia Guard WOCS. “It builds espirt de corps, it builds team unity, it builds trust amongst the candidates because […]

    Virginia Guard WOCS present class sign

    FORT PICKETT, Va. – Warrant officer candidates enrolled in Class 14-001 of the Fort Pickett-based 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute’s Warrant Officer Candidate School presented their class sign June 29, 2014, to a group of gathered RTI senior leaders, Virginia National Guard warrant officers and WOCS cadre members, along with the guest of honor, retired Chief Warrant Officer 5 Ron Saylor, who formerly served in the Virginia Guard. “The song and sign presentations are team building events that they have to do outside of a normal drill weekend,” explained Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brian Temple, commander and course manager for the Virginia Guard WOCS. “It builds espirt de corps, it builds team unity, it builds trust amongst the candidates because […]

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  • FORT PICKETT, Va. – At Fort Pickett, Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from units across the commonwealth received the chance to show off their marksmanship skills at the Adjutant General’s Rifle Match, held May 16-18, 2014, and at the Adjutant General’s Pistol Match, held June 27-29, 2014. The Soldiers and Airmen competed both as individual shooters and on four-member teams, vying for the chance to move forward to the regional competition. “This program is designed to improve individual and unit combat readiness within the Army and Air National Guard. It identifies above average shooters who are then selected to represent Virginia at higher-level matches,” explained Sgt. First Class Sammy Jones, Virginia National Guard marksmanship coordinator. “These annual TAG matches […]

    Virginia Guard Soldiers, Airmen compete in state-level marksmanship matches

    FORT PICKETT, Va. – At Fort Pickett, Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from units across the commonwealth received the chance to show off their marksmanship skills at the Adjutant General’s Rifle Match, held May 16-18, 2014, and at the Adjutant General’s Pistol Match, held June 27-29, 2014. The Soldiers and Airmen competed both as individual shooters and on four-member teams, vying for the chance to move forward to the regional competition. “This program is designed to improve individual and unit combat readiness within the Army and Air National Guard. It identifies above average shooters who are then selected to represent Virginia at higher-level matches,” explained Sgt. First Class Sammy Jones, Virginia National Guard marksmanship coordinator. “These annual TAG matches […]

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  • Summer means picnics, barbecues, parades and fireworks displays, especially around the 4th of July. Summer also means an increase in injuries from backyard grills, bonfires and fireworks. In 2013, an estimated 9,200 people were treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries, 36 percent of whom were under 15 years old. Children between the ages of 10 and 14 were at three times the risk of fireworks injuries than the general population. About a third of the injuries were from small firecrackers, 21 percent from bottle rockets and 20 percent from sparklers. In 2011, fireworks caused $21 million in direct property damage. The National Safety Council advises that the best way to safely enjoy this 4th of July is to watch […]

    Army Safety Gram: Fireworks Safety

    Summer means picnics, barbecues, parades and fireworks displays, especially around the 4th of July. Summer also means an increase in injuries from backyard grills, bonfires and fireworks. In 2013, an estimated 9,200 people were treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries, 36 percent of whom were under 15 years old. Children between the ages of 10 and 14 were at three times the risk of fireworks injuries than the general population. About a third of the injuries were from small firecrackers, 21 percent from bottle rockets and 20 percent from sparklers. In 2011, fireworks caused $21 million in direct property damage. The National Safety Council advises that the best way to safely enjoy this 4th of July is to watch […]

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  • NORMANDY, France – Twenty-seven Soldiers from the Fort Belvoir-based 29th Infantry Division and the Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team travelled to Normandy, France for the 70th anniversary of the Allied landing at Omaha Beach June 6, 2014. Task Force Normandy, led by the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team from Vicenza, Italy, organized 20 U.S. units, including the 29th ID, to commemorate the event. The 29th ID was involved in 22 ceremonies, beginning at Omaha Beach, and following the unit’s path through France during World War II. The unit liberated several small towns from German occupation during World War II. The ceremonies included speeches from local dignitaries and Maj. Gen. Charles Whittington, Commanding General of the 29th Infantry Division. On […]

    29th Infantry Division returns to France for 70th anniversary of D-Day

    NORMANDY, France – Twenty-seven Soldiers from the Fort Belvoir-based 29th Infantry Division and the Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team travelled to Normandy, France for the 70th anniversary of the Allied landing at Omaha Beach June 6, 2014. Task Force Normandy, led by the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team from Vicenza, Italy, organized 20 U.S. units, including the 29th ID, to commemorate the event. The 29th ID was involved in 22 ceremonies, beginning at Omaha Beach, and following the unit’s path through France during World War II. The unit liberated several small towns from German occupation during World War II. The ceremonies included speeches from local dignitaries and Maj. Gen. Charles Whittington, Commanding General of the 29th Infantry Division. On […]

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  • FORT PICKETT, Va. — Soldiers of the Virginia National Guard’s Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team utilized high-tech gear to get high quality training during the brigade’s eXportable Combat Training Capability rotation June 17-26, 2014, at Fort Pickett, Va. With high-tech equipment, intense combat-like conditions and the help of active duty units, 116th IBCT troops and their leaders left their 2014 annual training better trained, motivated and informed than when they arrived two weeks earlier. Seventy platoons of the brigade and 10 of the Fort Bragg, N.C.-based 2nd Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division conducted approximately 1,300 training lane iterations during the rotation. Soldiers of the 116th IBCT participated in training lanes such as engineer route reconnaissance, air […]

    XCTC provides realistic “back to basics” combat training for 116th IBCT Soldiers

    FORT PICKETT, Va. — Soldiers of the Virginia National Guard’s Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team utilized high-tech gear to get high quality training during the brigade’s eXportable Combat Training Capability rotation June 17-26, 2014, at Fort Pickett, Va. With high-tech equipment, intense combat-like conditions and the help of active duty units, 116th IBCT troops and their leaders left their 2014 annual training better trained, motivated and informed than when they arrived two weeks earlier. Seventy platoons of the brigade and 10 of the Fort Bragg, N.C.-based 2nd Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division conducted approximately 1,300 training lane iterations during the rotation. Soldiers of the 116th IBCT participated in training lanes such as engineer route reconnaissance, air […]

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  • FORT PICKETT, Va. – This year marked the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, and the last time units from the 82nd Airborne Division, the 101st Airborne Division and the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team as part of the 29th Infantry Division operated on the same plot of land was during the 1944 invasion. Although not under actual combat conditions, these units came back together for the National Guard’s eXportable Combat Training Capability exercise at Fort Pickett, Va. June 14-28, 2014. “In this exercise we have all the components represented,” said Col. John M. Epperly, commander of the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. “What we are seeing here is that the total Army is coming together to provide […]

    Va. National Guard exercise model for Army Total Force Policy

    FORT PICKETT, Va. – This year marked the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, and the last time units from the 82nd Airborne Division, the 101st Airborne Division and the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team as part of the 29th Infantry Division operated on the same plot of land was during the 1944 invasion. Although not under actual combat conditions, these units came back together for the National Guard’s eXportable Combat Training Capability exercise at Fort Pickett, Va. June 14-28, 2014. “In this exercise we have all the components represented,” said Col. John M. Epperly, commander of the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. “What we are seeing here is that the total Army is coming together to provide […]

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