Governor, First Lady host reception for families of deployed Va. Guard personnel

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and First Lady of Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe host a reception for families of deployed Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen Dec. 20, 2014, at the Governor's Mansion in Richmond, Va.  (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office)

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and First Lady of Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe host a reception for families of deployed Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen Dec. 20, 2014, at the Governor’s Mansion in Richmond, Va. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office)

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and First Lady of Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe hosted a reception for families of deployed Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen Dec. 20, 2014, at Virginia’s Executive Mansion in Richmond, Va. Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran, Deputy Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Adam Thiel, Brig. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, and members of the Virginia National Guard Family Programs Office joined the McAuliffes in thanking the families for their sacrifice and support for the missions their loved ones are performing while they are deployed.

“On behalf of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia, thank you for all you do for us,” Governor McAuliffe told the families.

Many of the families were from the Virginia Beach-based 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group. Approximately 70 Soldiers from the 529th CSSB are currently on federal active duty in Kuwait where they are the mission command headquarters for approximately 1,600 military and civilian contractor personnel performing critical combat sustainment operations for U.S. and coalition forces in the region.

“We have a tremendous group with us here in Kuwait,” wrote Lt. Col. Mike Waterman, commander of the 529th, in the battalion’s December family newsletter. “They continue to perform every day, handle constant changes with ease, and bring a high level of professionalism to their job. I receive daily compliments on the outstanding service our Virginia Soldiers provide to our subordinate units, and I am very proud of them.”

Waterman also stressed the importance of support from families. “The families back home continue to provide tremendous strength and support,” he said. “You are vital members of the team and an integral part of our success. Together, the 529th Soldiers and families are making it happen.”

Dorothy McAuliffe said she and Governor McAuliffe were very moved when they saw families saying goodbye to their loved ones at the 529th’s departure ceremony in June, and she wanted to welcome the families to the mansion to see the holiday decorations and express their appreciation for their sacrifice and commitment.

“It really honors our family to have you here, and we appreciate everything that you do for us, and your family does for us overseas,” she said.

The St. Christopher’s Middle School Choir performed several holiday songs during the reception, and children were invited to decorate holiday cookies.

The Virginia National Guard also has approximately 12 Soldiers and Airmen deployed all over the world, including Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, UAE, Philippines, Qatar and Kosovo.

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Photos on Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157649791078166/