Governor, First Lady host receptions for Va. Guard families

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. 6, 2015, at Virginia's Executive Mansion in Richmond, Virginia. Children were invited to decorate holiday cookies as part of the activities at the reception. The Virginia National Guard currently has nearly 500 Soldiers from all over the state conducting security and support operations in Southwest Asia and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (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. 6, 2015, at Virginia’s Executive Mansion in Richmond, Virginia. Children were invited to decorate holiday cookies as part of the activities at the reception. The Virginia National Guard currently has nearly 500 Soldiers from all over the state conducting security and support operations in Southwest Asia and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office)

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and First Lady of Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe hosted receptions for families of deployed Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen Dec. 5 and 6, 2015, at Virginia’s Executive Mansion in Richmond, Virginia. Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran, Deputy Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Adam Thiel, Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virgina, 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 mobilized on federal active duty.

“Thank you all for your service,” Governor Terry McAuliffe said. “It is a team effort, it is a family effort, and we are the greatest country in the world because we have the greatest military in the world. We wanted to bring you here to say thank you to all of you for what you mean to us, for what you mean to the commonwealth and what your loved ones mean to our nation. On behalf of all the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia, thank you for your service to this great country.”

The Virginia National Guard currently has nearly 500 Soldiers from all over the state conducting security and support operations in Southwest Asia and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Since September 11, 2001, more than 15,000 Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have mobilized on federal active duty for homeland security missions and combat operations, sustainment support and peacekeeping in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo and other locations around the world. Nearly 600 Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are scheduled to mobilize in 2016.

“It is our honor and pleasure to invite you here and to recognize your sacrifice and service to our commonwealth and our nation,” Dorothy McAuliffe said. “It is particularly important to the Governor and to me to have you here and say thank you for your service and for your family member’s service.”

The following units are currently serving on federal active duty:

More than 450 Soldiers assigned to the Winchester-based 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, also known as Task Force Normandy, officially began their security mission in Southwest Asia with a transfer of authority ceremony with 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment held Nov. 5, 2015, and celebrated Thanksgiving in their new duty location.

A platoon of approximately 30 Soldiers assigned to the Virginia Beach-based Delta Platoon, 229th Military Police Company, 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group held a departure ceremony Oct. 18, 2015, in Virginia Beach, to mark their start of federal active duty at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where they are conducting security operations.

Ten Virginia National Guard Soldiers from the Fort Belvoir-based 29th Infantry Division are currently mobilized in Southwest Asia in support of Operation Inherent Resolve and U.S. Central Command efforts as members of Combined Joint Interagency Task Force, Syria. They are operating as an engineer team conducting construction project management and contracting efforts throughout the area of operations and as an administrative team supporting personnel actions for Army forces deployed to forward positions throughout the region.

The following units returned from federal mobilizations this year:

Active duty and Virginia National Guard Airmen assigned to the 94th Fighter Squadron and 149th Fighter Squadron returned Oct. 8, 2015, to Langley Air Force Base, Va., after a six-month deployment to the Middle East. Approximately 200 members of the 1st Fighter Wing and 192nd Fighter Wing, operating the F-22 Raptor, were assigned to United States Central Command as part of a theater security package, providing support and stability to the region.

The last group of Virginia National Guard Soldiers from the Virginia Beach-based 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group reunited with family, friends and fellow Soldiers in Virginia April 29, 2015, after serving on federal active duty in Kuwait since July 2014. During the deployment they planned and coordinated combat sustainment support for U.S. and coalition forces in Kuwait and the surrounding region to include Afghanistan and Iraq.

Photos from the Dec. 5 reception.

Photos from the Dec. 6 reception.

Read more:

Task Force Normandy begins security mission – Nov. 30, 2015

Va. Beach military police platoon begins federal active duty – October 20, 2015

29th ID Soldiers support Operation Inherent Resolve – July 13, 2015

Langley Airmen return from supporting ISIL airstrike missions – Oct. 13, 2015

Soldiers from Va. Beach-based 529th CSSB return to Virginia after federal deployment to Kuwait – April 30, 2015