Virginia Guard personnel preparing for possible winter storm response operations

A Virginia National Guard Soldier assigned to the Fredericksburg-based 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team prepares a Humvee for possible winter storm operations duty Feb. 16, 2015, in Fredericksburg, Va. (Photo by Capt. Andrew J. Czaplicki, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

A Virginia National Guard Soldier assigned to the Fredericksburg-based 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team prepares a Humvee for possible winter storm operations duty Feb. 16, 2015, in Fredericksburg, Va. (Photo by Capt. Andrew J. Czaplicki, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

SANDSTON, Va. — The Virginia National Guard has been authorized to bring up to 300 Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force on state active duty for possible assistance with the state’s severe winter weather response operations. The Virginia Guard plans to stage approximately 125 personnel Monday evening, Feb. 16, 2015, at readiness centers along the I-81 corridor and in the Central Virginia area along Route 29, I-64 and I-95 in order to be ready to respond if needed. Additional personnel may be called to duty if required.

Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency Monday afternoon, an action that authorized the state active duty and also allows state agencies to assist local governments in responding to the winter storm expected to cover many parts of the state with 3-14 inches of snow.

The alert process to notify personnel to report for duty began Monday after the Governor’s declaration, and Virginia Guard personnel are scheduled to be in place by late evening Monday, so they will be ready to respond if needed.

“This storm could bring difficult travel and widespread power outages for the next few days,” McAuliffe said. “Please postpone travel during the storm, charge up your mobile devices so you can stay in touch and take time to check on your neighbors in case they need help.”

Potential missions for the Virginia Guard and Virginia Defense Force include assisting stranded motorists, transportation of healthcare professionals and the seriously ill to medical treatment facilities, transportation of personnel or equipment to potential heating or sheltering locations and downed tree removal, said Col. James Zollar, director of joint operations for the Virginia Guard.

“Getting our personnel staged and ready at key locations before the severe weather hits is critical to our ability to rapidly respond when needed,” he said.

The Virginia National Guard receives their missions through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management to assist the Virginia State Police, the Virginia Department of Transportation and other state and local emergency response organizations and is not able to respond to direct support requests from the public, Zollar said.

“If you need assistance because of the winter storm, please call 911 or your local dispatcher and let them know you need help and do not contact the Virginia National Guard directly,” he said. “They will determine what emergency services are best suited to assist you, and they will contact us if it appropriate for us to take action.”

Virginia Guard personnel last served on state active duty in February 2014. Operating from readiness centers along the I-81, I-95, Route 29 and Route 460 corridors, nearly 300 Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force supported winter storm response efforts beginning Feb. 12. Soldiers working in coordination with the Virginia State Police conducted more than 40 missions assisting and transporting local fire, police and emergency medical services personnel and nearly 30 missions assisting stranded motorists and citizens.

Va. Guard wraps up snow response operations – Feb. 16, 2014
http://vaguard.dodlive.mil/2014/02/16/5011/