Va. Guard stages more Soldiers in Staunton, Sandston, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Danville

A Virginia National Guard Soldier from the Sandston-based Battery A, 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment tests his satellite navigation device to prepare for possible snow response missions Feb. 25, 2015, in Sandston, Va. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

A Virginia National Guard Soldier from the Sandston-based Battery A, 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment tests his satellite navigation device to prepare for possible snow response missions Feb. 25, 2015, in Sandston, Va. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

SANDSTON, Va. — The Virginia National Guard staged another 50 Soldiers from the Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Feb. 25, 2015, at readiness centers in Staunton, Sandston, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Danville in anticipation of another round of winter weather forecast to hit the commonwealth Wednesday night. These Soldiers join almost 35 Soldiers on duty in Wise and Lee counties, as well as Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force on duty in Sandston, Richmond and Fort Pickett providing mission command and logistical support for the Guard’s operations.

“The Virginia Department of Emergency Management requested that we stage additional forces in key locations in the Hampton Roads, Richmond and Danville areas to assist local first responders if the expected snow reduces their abilities to travel and provide assistance to citizens,” explained Col. James Zollar, Virginia National Guard director of joint operations.

Expected missions for the Guard in these locations include using Humvees and light/medium tactical vehicles to provide transportation to reach areas where heavy snow has blocked roads. 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.

Virginia National Guard Soldiers assisted the Wise County Sheriff’s Office with five medical and safety evacuations since coming on state active duty Feb. 22, 2015, with three of those evacuations saving the patients’ lives. Soldiers from the Cedar Bluff-based 1033rd Engineer Company, 276th Engineer Battalion also continue to assist with delivering food, water and medicine to locations throughout the county.

The Guard added 12 Soldiers from the Gate City-based 1032nd Transportation Company, 1030th Transportation Battalion on duty to provide support to Lee County Wednesday morning, and an additional 12 Soldiers with engineer equipment will join the 10 Soldiers already on duty in Wise County on Wednesday afternoon to help clear ice and snow berms created by plowing the primary roads. Soldiers will continue to assist with the delivery of food, water and other supplies as needed. Soldiers have run more than 40 resupply missions delivering food, water, medicine and kerosene to the towns of Appalachia, Pound, Norton, Wise, Big Stone Gap and Coeburn. They also delivered more than 25 pallets of water to resupply locations in the county.

The Virginia National Guard Soldiers who were on standby in Highland County were released Tuesday afternoon.

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.”

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.

—–

Va. Guard Soldiers help save lives, deliver supplies in Wise County; additional forces to stage in Lee County
http://vaguard.dodlive.mil/2015/02/24/6972/