About the Virginia National Guard

The Virginia National Guard is a unique dual-status force with a federal mission to provide a 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.

The Virginia National Guard has mobilized nearly 2,000 Soldiers and Airmen for federal active duty overseas deployments since January 2014, and a medical evacuation detachment is currently mobilized to support the NATO mission in Kosovo. They join more than 15,000 Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen who served in combat operations, homeland defense, peacekeeping and stabilization missions since Sept. 11, 2001.

Since January 2014, the Virginia National Guard has mobilized nearly 2,570 Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force on state active duty to respond to hurricanes, winter storms and flooding across the Commonwealth.

Virginia Department of Military Affairs

The Virginia Department of Military Affairs is the state agency that provides leadership and administrative support to the Virginia Army National Guard, Virginia Air National Guard and Virginia Defense Force. DMA plans, coordinates, maintains situational awareness and employs forces for homeland security and homeland defense in order to respond to any incidents within the Commonwealth.

Maneuver Training Center Fort Pickett

Fort Pickett is comprised of approximately 41,000 acres and is operated by the Virginia National Guard. It features a combination of open and wooded terrain maneuver areas and 21 ranges capable of supporting almost any weapons system in the U. S. Army inventory. In addition, the installation has a rail spur and C-17 capable airfield as well as barracks to support more than 5,000 personnel. Morale, welfare and recreation facilities include a gym, post exchange and leisure center.

State Military Reservation

The State Military Reservation is a state-owned, 328-acre installation which provides training facilities for National Guard units, as well as all other Department of Defense, active duty and reserve units as well as public safety organizations. It houses the Virginia Commonwealth ChalleNGe Youth Academy, the Virginia Air National Guard’s 203rd RED HORSE Squadron, and the Virginia Army National Guard’s 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion and Troop A and Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment. The post features administrative buildings, conference facilities, barracks, classrooms, dining facilities, a live-fire qualification range and nine different virtual trainers as well as a chapel, fitness center, distance learning center, wooded training areas, helipad, land navigation course, airfield damage repair training site, beach and amphibious landing site.

29th Infantry Division

Known as the Blue and Gray Division, the 29th Infantry Division is an Army National Guard operational-level headquarters located at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, which consists of Soldiers primarily from Maryland and Virginia. Its wartime mission is to provide mission command to subordinate brigades and forces tailored for an assigned mission. It is one of eight divisions in the Army National Guard. Its origins date back to World War I and is most known for its participation in the D-Day landings at Omaha Beach in World War II. The 29th recently mobilized Soldiers to participate in Operation Spartan Shield and Operation Inherent Resolve, both in the CENTOM area of operations. The 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment and the 29th Infantry Band are under administrative control of the 29th. The division currently has training relationships with North Carolina National Guard’s 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team and Arkansas National Guard’s 142nd Field Artillery Brigade.

116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team

The 116th IBCT is authorized approximately 3,500 Soldiers and is the largest major command in the Virginia National Guard. The 116th has units throughout Virginia from Winchester to Pulaski along I-81, from Staunton to Virginia Beach along I-64, from Danville to Lynchburg to Warrenton along Route 29 as well as Fredericksburg, Manassas and Leesburg. An infantry battalion based in Barbourville, Kentucky, is also aligned with the 116th for training and readiness oversight. A brigade combat team is the basic deployable unit of maneuver in the U.S. Army and carries with it support units necessary to sustain its operations away from its parent division. The 116th consists of three infantry battalions, a cavalry squadron, a field artillery battalion, a brigade support battalion and brigade engineer battalion.

Virginia Defense Force

The VDF is authorized by Title 44 of the Code of the Virginia as the all-volunteer reserve of the Virginia National Guard, and it serves as a force multiplier integrated into all Guard domestic operations. The VDF reports to the Adjutant General of Virginia as part of the Virginia Department of Military Affairs along with the Virginia Army National Guard and Virginia Air National Guard. Members of the VDF volunteer their time for training and are only paid when called to state active duty by an authorization from the Governor of Virginia.

Commonwealth ChalleNGe Youth Academy

Commonwealth ChalleNGe, the Virginia component of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program, is a 17-and-a-half-month program that is structured in a military-style environment designed to promote academics, attention to detail, time management, and leadership, while promoting self-esteem, confidence and pride. It includes a five and a half month residential program which focuses on preparing at-risk teens and high school dropouts for the General Educational Development test and future employment, military or higher education opportunities. Each Commonwealth ChalleNGe class accepts up to 180 youth per session and more than 4,000 cadets have completed the program since Commonwealth ChalleNGe started.

Winchester STARBASE

Science and Technology Academies Reinforcing Basic Aviation and Space Exploration, or STARBASE, is a Department of Defense educational program, sponsored by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs where students participate in challenging activities in science, technology, engineering and math. Students are immersed in a unique classroom experience for five days where all activities are student-centered, hands-on, encourage higher order thinking and incorporate STEM applications in the real world.