429th BSB holds open house in Danville

Virginia National Guard Soldiers of the Danville-based 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, host an open house Nov.1, 2014, during their drill weekend in Danville, Va. The event focused on building community relations by providing static equipment displays and child activities. Additionally, local community organizations provided health and wellness activities for children and adults. (Photo by Capt. Jenny K. Hartsock, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Virginia National Guard Soldiers of the Danville-based 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, host an open house Nov.1, 2014, during their drill weekend in Danville, Va. The event focused on building community relations by providing static equipment displays and child activities. Additionally, local community organizations provided health and wellness activities for children and adults. (Photo by Capt. Jenny K. Hartsock, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

DANVILE, Va. — Local elected officials, friends, relatives, and members of the Danville community were invited to an open house held by the 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Nov. 1, 2014, in Danville, Va. Visitors had a chance to learn more about the battalion’s capabilities through static equipment displays as well as take part in activities like a the football throw, a basketball scrimmage, completing a DNA collection kit and much more.

“The intent of today’s open house was to allow members of the Danville community to attain a greater understanding of the role and capabilities of the 429th while continuing to forge a strong relationship with fellow local entities,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Cree, 429th commander. “The open house allowed us the opportunity to demonstrate the professionalism of our force, the high degree of readiness and modern capabilities of our equipment, and to interact with members of the local community that we wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to tell the Virginia National Guard story to.”

Family and friends were able to see where their Guard member conducts National Guard duties and were able to learn why their job is so important to them. The day gave families a sense of how they are a part of a much larger Guard family.

The 429th used the open house as an opportunity to conduct community outreach as well. The purpose of community outreach is to foster and further good relations with communities. Such programs help earn and sustain public support and increase understanding of operations, missions, and requirements of the unit. Members of the Danville community attended and circulated the drill floor, speaking with Soldiers, looking through night vision goggles, and walked away with a better understanding of the capabilities of the 429th.

The 429th partnered with the Danville Police Department where a crime prevention officer completed DNA collection kits on nearly a dozen children. Additionally, the Danville Sheriff’s Office participated in the open house by sending a representative to talk about gun safety as well as to discuss Project Lifesaver International. Project Lifesaver is a nationally recognized program that has helped locate and safely return over 2,700 persons nationwide who wandered away due to mental disorders or brain injuries.

The program works by providing an approved applicant a radio transmitter bracelet attached with a tamper-resistant clasp that is about the size of a wristwatch. If the Project Lifesaver Client is discovered missing, caregivers immediately notify 911 and a tracking team is dispatched from the Sheriff’s Office. Members of the Danville Sheriff’s Office have undergone training approved by Project Lifesaver and the program is available to the citizens of Danville at no cost to the family or client.

“The inclusion of the Sheriff’s Office and the City of Danville Police Department was significant in that it demonstrated to the local community that the Guard is constantly working with other emergency management entities to ensure the highest level of readiness in the event of a required response,” Cree said.

The mission of the 429th is to provide sustainment support to the entire 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the Virginia National Guard’s largest major command with more than 3,600 Soldiers. Each maneuver battalion has a forward support company from the 429th to provide general support to keep them fed, fueled and armed and equipment running, and the 429th also has companies to provide specialized support to the entire brigade. The South Boston-based Company A provides distribution of fuel, ammunition, water and other supply items as well as having capabilities for water purification, the Richmond-based Company B provides maintenance support for vehicles as well as weapons, radios and other electronic devices and the Charlottesville–based Company C provides medical support.

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View and download high resolution photos on Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157646762228124/

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