Task Force Normandy Soldiers recognized for federal duty

Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran presents the Governor's National Service Medal to Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Winchester-based 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Sept. 17, 2016, in Richmond, Virginia, in recognition of their federal active duty service from September 2015 to July 2016. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran presents the Governor’s National Service Medal to Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Winchester-based 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Sept. 17, 2016, in Richmond, Virginia, in recognition of their federal active duty service from September 2015 to July 2016. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

SANDSTON, Va. — Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran presented the Governor’s National Service Medal to Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Winchester-based 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Sept. 17, 2016, in Richmond, Virginia, in recognition of their federal active duty service from September 2015 to July 2016. Senior Virginia National Guard leaders from the state level as well as the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team were on hand to formally welcome the Soldiers home and thank them for their service.

“On behalf of Governor Terry McAuliffe, his entire administration and 8.4 million Virginians, thank you so much for what you do,” Moran said. “We are so proud of you, and I am so excited to present the Governor’s National Service Medal as a further display of our commonwealth’s appreciation of the job you have done. You make each and every one of us proud to be a Virginian.”

More than 450 Soldiers from units based in Winchester, Woodstock, Leesburg and Suffolk provided security for installations in the U.S. Army’s Central Command area of operations in Qatar. As part of their security mission, Soldiers from the battalion, also known as Task Force Normandy, searched nearly 140,000 vehicles and more than 303,000 individuals, and they conducted nearly 970 security patrols. Their higher headquarters praised the battalion for making significant improvements in base security plans. They also drove approximately 253,000 miles without any safety issues or accidents.

The Virginia Governor’s National Service Medal was created in 2005 by then-Governor Mark R. Warner to recognize the service of the men and women of the Virginia Army and Air National Guard called to active federal service since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The award was first presented Nov. 11, 2005, at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond.

Soldiers from the Lynchburg-based 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, also known as the Red Dragons, took over the security mission from Task Force Normandy July 11.

Since September 11, 2001, more than 15,000 Virginia 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. There are currently more than 700 Soldiers and Airmen deployed in the Middle East and Cuba conducting security operations, providing engineer support and conducting other missions.

Additional information on Task Force Normandy:

In addition to their security mission, the deployment provided the unit with opportunities for rigorous individual and squad level training on core infantry skills. Every Soldier in the battalion qualified on their primary weapon and took part in short range and advanced rifle marksmanship training. The battalion was also able to conduct live fire training at the fire team, squad and section level, and crews were able to qualify on their crew served weapons.

Soldiers were also able to take advantage of educational opportunities and earned 727 college credits and completed 16,553 military education courses.

The battalion is headquartered in Winchester and is made up of the following company-level units for the deployment:

– Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment and Company F, 429th Brigade Support Battalion based in Winchester
– Company B, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment based in Woodstock with additional Soldiers assigned to the detachment in Warrenton
– Company C, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment based in Leesburg
– Troop B, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment based in Suffolk

Soldiers from Company A, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment based in Charlottesville with a detachment in Harrisonburg, as well as Soldiers assigned to 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion based in Fredericksburg, also took part in the mission and deployed with the battalion.