Va. National Guard staging personnel in Staunton and Gate City for possible snow response operations

A Virginia National Guard Soldier assigned to the Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team clears the snow off a Humvee  Feb. 22, 2015, in Staunton to prepare for possible snow response missions after another round of heavy snow blanketed the state. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

A Virginia National Guard Soldier assigned to the Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team clears the snow off a Humvee Feb. 22, 2015, in Staunton to prepare for possible snow response missions after another round of heavy snow blanketed the state. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

STAUNTON, Va. — The Virginia National Guard is staging more than a dozen Soldiers in Staunton and Gate City early Sunday morning Feb. 22, 2015, for possible response operations after another round of heavy snow blanketed the state.

“The Virginia Department of Emergency Management contacted us about providing assistance to Highland County and Wise County, so we are staging personnel at our readiness centers in Staunton and Gate City in order to rapidly respond if needed,” said Col. James A. Zollar, director of joint operations for the Virginia National Guard.

Virginia National Guard aviators are also on standby for possible aerial reconnaissance missions later in the day.

Expected missions for the Guard include using Humvees and light/medium tactical vehicles to provide transportation for emergency response personnel to be able to reach rural areas to provide assistance and conduct damage assessments, Zollar said. The 4×4 light medium tactical vehicle, or LMTV, has a 2.5-ton capacity and the 6×6 medium tactical vehicle, or MTV, has a 5-ton capacity.

Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency Feb. 16 and authorized up to 300 Virginia National Guard personnel could be brought on state active duty for possible response operations, and more than 125 personnel were staged and ready at locations across the commonwealth by that evening. The Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force were ready to support the Virginia State Police, the Virginia Department of Transportation and other state and local emergency response organizations.

McAuliffe also authorized aviators from the Sandston-based 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment to deliver food, mail and medical supplies Feb. 16 to residents of Tangier Island. The 1.2 square mile island, located in the Chesapeake Bay, had been unable to receive routine seaport deliveries due to icy conditions.

Additional personnel could be brought on duty if more assistance is needed, Zollar said.