Va. National Guard to station 29th Division Band at new Roanoke Regional Readiness Center

SANDSTON, Va. — The Virginia National Guard’s 29th Division Band will be the first unit to relocate to the new Roanoke Regional Readiness Center, according to an announcement made April 25, 2017, by Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. The announcement came after Virginia Guard leaders met with representatives from the Clifton Forge and Alleghany County communities where the 29th Division Band is currently stationed.

“We are incredibly grateful for the support from Clifton Forge and Alleghany County, and I want to personally thank them for everything they have done for our Soldiers and families over the years,” William said. “This was no easy decision. We are faced with tough realities with our facilities resources, and consolidating into regional readiness centers makes sense. We are excited about returning to the Roanoke area, but at the same time we are also sad to be closing the chapter of our direct involvement in such a wonderful community.”

In the event of a situation like severe weather requiring Guard assistance, Soldiers will still be able to rapidly respond in the region with troops and equipment stationed in Lexington and Staunton, Williams said.

The exact timeline for the move has not been finalized, but the unit should move in late spring or early summer 2017. More information about a formal ribbon cutting ceremony for the new facility will be announced when those details are finalized.

The 29th Division Band currently occupies a space colocated on the campus of Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, and the space will be turned over to the college.

The relocation of the 29th Division Band will be the first in a series of moves to the Roanoke Regional Readiness Center as the Virginia National Guard continues to develop the facility. Near term plans include setting up a field maintenance shop. A regional maintenance facility and additional troop units will transition to the facility in the future, Williams said.

The Virginia National Guard secured the site of the former Botetourt Correctional Center in June 2015.

The total site area is approximately 56.5 acres in Troutville, located at State Drive and Route 651, east of I-81 and north of Roanoke. It is adjacent to a Virginia State Police shooting range and a Virginia Department of Transportation regional maintenance facility.

The Botetourt Correctional Center closed in the winter of 2010 and was declared surplus state property. It was transferred to the Virginia National Guard at no cost.

By utilizing this site and most of its existing facilities, the Department of Military Affairs is saving the taxpayers significant money and limiting environmental impacts as compared to building an all new facility. while providing a capability to more efficiently support our national defense and state public safety missions, Williams said.

The 29th Division Band consists of 34 enlisted Soldiers and one chief warrant officer. Its mission is to support the Virginia National Guard with musical performances around the state.

In addition to the full band, the 29th Division Band contains 18 different musical performance teams. These include the concert band, marching band, ceremonial band, rock band, jazz ensemble, jazz combo, brass ensemble, brass quintet, saxophone ensemble, clarinet ensemble, flute ensemble, trombone ensemble, an F horn/euphonium ensemble, the fife and drum, the color guard and a sound reinforcement team.

Read more about the 29th Division Band’s recent performance at the dedication ceremony for the American Revolution Museum in Yorktown at https://go.usa.gov/x58K8.

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About the Virginia National Guard:

The Virginia National Guard is a unique dual-status force with a federal mission to provide an combat reserve to fight our nation’s wars and a state mission to provide a response force that answers the call of the Governor to defend the commonwealth.

Nearly 1,500 Soldiers and Airmen served on federal active duty in 2016, and Virginia Guard units conducted a wide variety of missions including mission command, military-to-military partnership building, security and rotary wing flight operations and maintenance. Nearly 400 personnel are still serving on federal active duty in the Middle East, and they join the nearly 15,000 Soldiers and Airmen who have mobilized for homeland security missions, combat operations and peacekeeping and stabilization missions since September 11, 2001.

More than 900 Va. Guard personnel served on state active duty in the last 18 months in response to severe weather events as part of the state’s multi-agency team. Soldiers transported first responders through heavy snow and high water, helped get citizens to safety and used chain saws to help clear debris and open roads after tornadoes and hurricanes. Soldiers, Airmen and Virginia Defense Force members also assisted with mission command, logistics and public information support.

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