Va. Guard Soldiers from Winchester-based infantry battalion to mobilize for overseas duty

Soldiers from the Virginia National Guard's Winchester-based 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team conduct final preparations for their pre-mobilization annual training  July 9, 2015, in Winchester, Va. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Soldiers from the Virginia National Guard’s Winchester-based 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team conduct final preparations for their pre-mobilization annual training July 9, 2015, in Winchester, Va. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

SANDSTON, Va. — The Virginia National Guard’s Winchester-based 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team has received a mobilization order to enter active federal service for duty in Southwest Asia in support of ongoing overseas contingency operations, according to an announcement made July 8, 2015, by Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. Approximately 450 Soldiers will begin serving on federal active duty Sept. 8, 2015, and the mobilization is expected to be for about 12 months.

“The Virginia National Guard continues to play an important role in providing forces to fight our nation’s wars and defend the ideals of freedom all around the world,” Williams said.

The battalion is headquartered in Winchester and Soldiers from company-level units based in Winchester, Woodstock and Leesburg will mobilize for the mission. In addition, Soldiers from the Suffolk-based Troop B, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team will be assigned to the battalion for the deployment, and Soldiers from Winchester-based Company F, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the battalion’s forward support company, will mobilize as well.

Soldiers will conduct training at Fort Pickett for about three weeks to accomplish a number of administrative and field training tasks to prepare for the mobilization including weapons qualification, equipment issue and medical evaluation.

The battalion is scheduled to report to Fort Bliss, Texas, at the start of their federal active duty for approximately 30 days of additional mobilization training before deploying. Once they arrive in Southwest Asia, they will operate as a security force providing access control, tower guards and other security support.

Normally units receive anywhere between six and 18 months notice to mobilize for federal active duty, but 3rd Battalion received less than 180 days notification, Williams said. “While we would have preferred more notice about this mission, I know the experienced officers and noncommissioned officers of 3rd Battalion will get this unit ready to deploy by their mobilization date in September,” he said.

The mobilization order called for an active-duty period not to exceed 400 days, but the Secretary of Defense can extend tours for operational needs not to exceed 24 months or 730 days.

“This is a very short notice mobilization, and that has presented a number of challenges,” said Maj. Kurt Kobernik, commander of 3rd Battalion. “We are confident that we will meet and overcome all those challenges and be mission ready by our mobilization date. Our battalion is full of well-trained Soldiers with significant experience who will make sure we are ready to go.”

Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry mobilized for federal duty in Afghanistan from March 2004 to July 2005, and mobilized for duty in Iraq and Kuwait from September 2007 to May 2008.

Soldiers from Troop B last deployed to Iraq from August 2011 to December 2011 as part of Task Force 183 where they conducted convoy security operations in support of Operation New Dawn.

Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, Company F and Troop B have also supported numerous state active duty missions in support of snowstorms and other hazard weather conditions.

Additional background information on 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry and Troop B, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry:

Va. National Guard staged and ready in Winchester, Staunton, Gate City, Leesburg, Fredericksburg and Harrisonburg for snow or flood duty – March 5, 2015
http://vaguard.dodlive.mil/2015/03/05/7038/

Virginia Guard Soldiers staged and ready for possible winter weather response operations – March 3, 2014
http://vaguard.dodlive.mil/2014/03/03/5021/

Infantry Soldiers assist Arlington Police during 57th Presidential Inauguration – Jan. 24, 2013
http://vaguard.dodlive.mil/2013/01/24/2840/

Virginia National Guard personnel assist in the wake of severe thunderstorms – July 11, 2012
http://vaguard.dodlive.mil/2012/07/11/1588/

Governor McDonnell Thanks 1,100 Virginia Guard Troops for Their Service as They Return Home from Iraq – Dec. 7, 2011 http://vko.va.ngb.army.mil/VirginiaGuard/news/dec11/GovernorThanksTroops.html

Virginia Guard supports winter storm recovery efforts – Jan. 10, 2010
http://vko.va.ngb.army.mil/VirginiaGuard/news/jan10/stormwrapup.html

Winchester-based Virginia Guard battalion wins top readiness award – Oct. 8, 2008
http://vko.va.ngb.army.mil/VirginiaGuard/news/oct2008/kerwinaward.html

Winchester-based infantry battalion changes command, awards streamers – Aug. 28, 2008
http://vko.va.ngb.army.mil/VirginiaGuard/news/aug2008/3-116thcoc.html