Governor McAuliffe commends Virginia National Guard

Governor Terry McAuliffe commends the Virginia National Guard for the organization's service to commonwealth and country at a legislative reception hosted Jan. 15, 2014, by the Virginia Guard Officer's Association and Virginia Guard Enlisted Association at the Library of Virginia in Richmond, Va. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Governor Terry McAuliffe commends the Virginia National Guard for the organization’s service to commonwealth and country at a legislative reception hosted Jan. 15, 2014, by the Virginia Guard Officer’s Association and Virginia Guard Enlisted Association at the Library of Virginia in Richmond, Va. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

RICHMOND, Va. — Governor Terry McAuliffe, Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran, Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security John Harvey and members of the Virginia General Assembly commended the Virginia National Guard for the organization’s service to commonwealth and country at a legislative reception hosted Jan. 15, 2014, by the Virginia Guard Officer’s Association and Virginia Guard Enlisted Association at the Library of Virginia in Richmond, Va. Earlier in the day, Virginia National Guard Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force displayed some of the Guard’s capabilities for domestic operations outside the General Assembly building.

“I wanted to come by tonight and thank you for all that you do,” McAuliffe said. “As governor, I am going to be there every single day for you, because you have been there for us every single day. It is an honor to come by here and thank you for your service and everything you have done for this great country and the greatest state in the country, the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

The Department of Military Affairs is one of he 11 state agencies under the secretary of public safety, and Moran said, “I couldn’t be more proud to be able to have the opportunity to work with you and the entire Guard of the Commonwealth. Thank you for everything you do each and every day.”

Harvey, a retired admiral, recognized the role the Virginia Guard has played in the many federal mobilizations of Soldiers and Airmen since Sept. 11, 2001. “You carried the load for this commonwealth, you carried the load for this nation, and you have carried it extremely well,” Harvey said. “That’s what we needed from our National Guard. Thanks for what you do ever day.”

The Virginia Department of Military Affairs is the state agency that provides leadership and administrative support to the Virginia Army National Guard, Virginia Air National Guard and Virginia Defense Force. DMA plans, coordinates, maintains situational awareness and employs forces for homeland security and homeland defense in order to respond to any incidents within the Commonwealth.

The Virginia Department of Military Affairs had more than 225 personnel on duty Jan. 11, 2014, supporting the inauguration of McAuliffe as the 72nd Governor of Virginia in Richmond. Soldiers from the Virginia Army National Guard, Airmen from the Virginia Air National Guard and members of the Virginia Defense Force supported a variety of missions including ceremonial music, firing a 19-gun salute with artillery howitzers and command and control of the inaugural parade elements. A formation of Virginia Guard Soldiers and Airmen also led the inaugural parade.

Members of the Virginia Army National Guard, Virginia Air National Guard and Virginia Defense Force demonstrate some of their domestic operations capabilities with equipment displays outside the Virginia General Assembly Building Jan. 15, 2014, in Richmond.   (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Members of the Virginia Army National Guard, Virginia Air National Guard and Virginia Defense Force demonstrate some of their domestic operations capabilities with equipment displays outside the Virginia General Assembly Building Jan. 15, 2014, in Richmond. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Units participating in the displays outside the General Assembly Building were the Virginia Guard’s Counterdrug Program, the 34th Civil Support Team, the command and control suite of the Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear High Yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package, the 200th Weather Flight and a Mobile Communications Platform from the VDF.

The Virginia National Guard Counterdrug Program places Guardsmen in communities conducting Drug Demand Reduction classes for schools and civic organizations as well as supporting law enforcement agencies with criminal analysts, ion scanning for drug residue on currency, and aviation support. The Program also provides prevention, treatment and outreach services to Guardsmen and family members and manages the Joint Substance Abuse Program for drug testing.

The Fort Pickett-based 34th CST is comprised of 22 full-time Army and Air National Guard personnel with the mission to support civil authorities at a domestic CBRNE incident site with identification and assessment of hazards, advice to civil authorities, and facilitating the arrival of follow-on military forces during emergencies and incidents of weapons of mass destruction terrorism. The unit complements and enhances, but does not duplicate, state CBRNE response capabilities is divided into six sections: command, operations, communications, administration/logistics, medical/analytical and survey.

The CERFP can conduct tasks associated with incident management, search and rescue, mass decontamination, medical triage and treatment and fatality search and recovery. The force is made up of traditional Soldiers and Airmen from units based in Petersburg, West Point, Rocky Mount and Langley Air Force Base as well as the D.C. National Guard.

The 200th Weather Flight provides tailored tactical combat-environment weather observing and forecasting support to the Army National Guard’s 29th Infantry Division and to the Adjutant General of Virginia and Joint Staff during hazardous weather situation in the commonwealth. With the assistance of the 200th Weather Flight, the Virginia Guard is able to anticipate the impact of hazardous weather and help determine the most effective employment locations for Virginia Guard personnel.

The VDF is an all-volunteer force authorized by the Code of Virginia and organized under the Virginia Department of Military Affairs reporting to the Adjutant General of Virginia. The organization capitalizes on the civilian skills and expertise of it members and trains to augment the Virginia Guard at command and control operations centers, provide liaison teams for incident management assistance and sheltering management as well as communications and security augmentation.

About the Virginia National Guard:

The Virginia National Guard trains to be a premier ready, relevant, resilient and rapidly responding operational force capable of executing the orders of the President of the United States and the Governor of Virginia to deploy mission-tailored forces to save lives, protect people and property, ensure safety, relieve suffering and provide reassurance. The National Guard is a great value for the commonwealth and the nation and can maintain readiness at a fraction of the cost of active duty forces. The National Guard has a unique state and federal mission set, and members bring a wide variety of specialized civilian-acquired skills, experience and mature leadership to any mission in addition to their military skills.

Since September 11, 2001, more than 15,000 Virginia Guard Soldiers and Airmen have mobilized on federal active duty for homeland security missions and combat operations, sustainment support and peacekeeping in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo and other locations around the world. Approximately 150 Soldiers from the Emporia-based 1710th Transportation Company and about 10 Soldiers from the Sandston-based Detachment 26, Operational Support Airlift Command are currently on federal active duty in Afghanistan, and about 20 Soldiers and Airmen are on federal duty at other locations around the world.

Since 2001, the Virginia National Guard has called up more than 7,300 personnel for duty to support domestic emergency operations as part of a coordinated state-wide response, as well as missions in Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia, New York and Vermont.

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Governor, cabinet secretaries and members of General Assembly commend Virginia Guard
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