Va. National Guard personnel to assist flood response operations in Alleghany and Botetourt counties

SANDSTON, Va. — The Virginia National Guard has activated approximately 20 Soldiers with Humvees and light/medium tactical trucks to assist with flood response operations after the Governor of Virginia declared a state of emergency Thursday night. The alert notification was made in the early hours of June 24, 2016, and the Soldiers and vehicles expected to be in place and ready to assist local law enforcement and emergency response organizations Alleghany and Botetourt counties by late morning.

“The Virginia Department of Emergency Management contacted us about providing assistance, so we are moving personnel and vehicles in order to rapidly respond if needed,” said Brig. Gen. Paul F. Griffin, director of the joint staff for the Virginia National Guard.

Expected missions for the Guard include using Humvees and light/medium tactical trucks to provide transportation for emergency services personnel through high water to conduct damage assessments and assist anyone in danger from high water, Griffin 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 June 23 in response to record flooding expected along the Jackson River. The declaration enabled public safety agencies including the Virginia National Guard, Virginia State Police and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management to begin planning for appropriate resources needed to assist.

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

“If you need assistance because of the severe weather, 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.”

The Virginia National Guard last served on state active duty in February 2016 when more than 60 Soldiers assisted with cleanup efforts in areas of Virginia hardest hit by severe weather. Soldiers with chain saws organized in debris reduction teams helped clear fallen trees and other debris in Essex, Westmoreland, Sussex, Patrick and Appomattox Counties. Virginia Army National Guard air crews flew two rotary wing aviation missions to transport emergency managers on an aerial visual assessment and also captured images for damage estimates.