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

Maneuver Training Center 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. It 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. MTC continued to enhance the range complex and significant facility improvements to support the training and tenant population in 2017.

In support of the National Guard Logistics Staging Base mission, Directorate of Logistics and Directorate of Public Works were focused on modernization of facilities, and efficiencies to support our training customers. Throughout the course of FY17, DPW was instrumental in a multitude of arenas affecting the overall maintenance and sustainment for several facilities on the installation. Numerous structures were added to the real property inventory and the DPW stands ready to execute over $5,000,000 worth in barracks renovations and $1,000,000 worth in admin facility renovations if funding becomes available to meet current health, safety and efficiency demands.

The DPW was also instrumental on the construction of several larger projects to include two new dining facilities, a new Post Command Headquarters, a new and improved rappel tower for air assault and rappel master training, as well as conducting intrusion and infiltration studies on the sewer infrastructure. The DPW also oversaw the maintenance repairs on the MA60 Dam and minor repairs to the BAAF Hangar. For design contingencies for eventual funding obligation, the DPW was focused on the CERFP Training Site, Gym renovations and roof repairs, TUASOF Facility, radio repeater towers, range complex towers and the BAAF drainage and lighting repair as well as improved security parameters for the BAAF.

Fort Pickett infrastructure maintenance and improvements continued to see focus during this time span, as various missions included small scale sustainment tasks. Several projects were dispatched to transient units for execution to include range sustainment, range road grading and the quarry set-up, projects that assisted in countering insufficient manpower alignments. Road grading and the quarry set-up were vital for improving self-sufficient goals for the installation. Both of these projects encompassed the overall vision of the long range master plan for the post and will pay dividends once completed.

DPTS also expanded its virtual training capabilities by planning a new Training Support Center to house the large suite of training aids and simulation devices assigned to support training for Army National Guard units in the region. MTC led by DPTS demonstrated its ability to provide training opportunities by supporting two Exportable Combat Training Centers in FY17 for the 1-50th IBCT headquartered in Lawrenceville, NJ and the 56th SBCT headquartered at Horsham Air Guard Station in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. This combined arms exercise resulted in the collective training of over 7,000 Soldiers with the assistance of over 1,000 contractors and observer controllers.

These accomplishments have directly enhanced MTC’s ability to provide a relevant, adaptable platform for guard, reserve, active and DOD customers to conduct world class training.

State Military Reservation

Camp Pendleton 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 and various public safety organizations. It houses the Virginia Commonwealth ChalleNGe Youth Academy, the Virginia Air National Guard’s 203rd RED HORSE Squadron, the Virginia Army National Guard’s 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, Troop A and Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 1173rd Composite Truck Company, 329th Regional Support Group and Recruit Sustainment Program #9.

The post features administrative buildings, conference facilities, barracks, classrooms, dining facilities, a live-fire qualification range and multiple 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.

Designated as a Collective Garrison Training Center in 2010, Camp Pendleton has been able to balance a significant growth in training along with recreational opportunities for Guard families. Through the development of existing training areas and partnering with other stakeholders in the area, Camp Pendleton is now a go to spot for individual training tasks, various collective training tasks, TOC operations, aviation training, and Special Operations training events. This development has grown Camp Pendleton’s customer base from Virginia Army National Guard units to a truly joint training site.

Training conducted at Camp Pendleton includes range operations, TADSS, obstacle course, land navigation, driver’s training, air operations, CBRN training, amphibious training, canine training, search and rescue training, as well as various training events on an as requested basis.
Long term investment in Camp Pendleton to sustain and improve facilities continues on a record pace. This year witnessed one of the Multi-purpose tents replaced with a KSPAN corrugated metal structure by the 203RD Red Horse Squadron, the complete renovation of Cottage 94, and the complete renovation of the Post Headquarters Building. Construction underway includes the renovation of Hurt Hall, renovation of Barracks 246, and the extension of the water and sewer lines to the range area.

Camp Pendleton continues to develop community relationships both on and off post. Various events were held at Camp Pendleton this year, such as the Shamrock and Rock and Roll Marathons, Virginia Association of Volunteer Rescue Squads Annual Competition, multiple non-profit fund raising events, Boy Scouts of America and Military Youth camps to name a few.

Finally, Camp Pendleton is nationally recognized as a historic district and for its natural resources management. Camp Pendleton received the 2016 Secretary of the Army Environmental Award for Cultural Resource Management.

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.

In July 2017, two groups of more than 500 29th ID Soldiers returned after serving overseas for more than seven months in support of Operations Inherent Resolve and Spartan Shield.

During the deployment to Kuwait in support of Operation Spartan Shield, the 29th ID provided mission command for joint training exercises and military-to-military engagements with partner nations to promote regional stability and theater security cooperation. Task Force Spartan conducted more than 1,300 military-to-military engagements, planned and executed 15 bilateral and multilateral exercises in 10 countries, coordinated and executed 17 minor military construction projects, and completed more than 30 project assessments.

A second group, Task Force 29, mobilized in August 2016 and served in Jordan, where they conducted joint training and engagements with personnel from the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army, as well as other allied countries. While in Jordan the Soldiers of TF 29 coordinated and executed more than 150 security cooperation engagements and coordinated multiple exercises and subject matter expert exchanges, such as medical evacuation exercises designed to demonstrate the capability of Jordanian air assets. They also planned and coordinated multiple engagements with JAF female soldiers and participated in 13 exchanges focused on NCO duties and responsibilities in battalion and brigade command post operations.

In June, 29th ID Soldiers around the globe commemorated the 73rd anniversary of D-Day. Soldiers of the 29th Infantry Division Color Guard participated in a ceremony honoring World War II veterans held at the Omaha Beach memorial in St. Laurent-Sur-Mer, France. The 29th Division Band provided music for the ceremony at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford.

The 29th Infantry Division Band also deployed to Kuwait to provide music for the transfer of authority  ceremony at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait marking the successful establishment of the first intermediate division headquarters under U.S. Army Central Command, 3rd Army July 13, 2017.

In July 2017, the 29th ID celebrated its 100th anniversary. It was first constituted on paper July 18, 1917, shortly after the U.S. entered World War I.

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.

In 2017 the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team grew by adding three new companies: Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment; Bravo Company, 229th Brigade Engineer Battalion and Echo Company, 429th Brigade Support Battalion. This year the 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Regiment from the Kentucky National Guard also joined the 116th IBCT, increasing the line infantry battalions to three.

More than 1,900 Soldiers from the 116th IBCT answered the nation’s call by serving in four countries, one U.S. territory, and within the Commonwealth of Virginia during five National Guard Civil Support operations and two Title 10 Deployments.
The brigade supported the Commonwealth of Virginia by providing 24 Soldiers during Hurricane Matthew in Oct. 2016, 77 Soldiers during Winter Storm Helena in Jan 2017, 436 Soldiers supporting the Presidential Inauguration in Jan. 2017, 436 Soldiers to the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville in Aug. 2017 and 464 Soldiers supported Hurricane Relief in the U.S. Virgin Islands from Sept. to Oct. 2017.

While in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the 116th IBCT provided mission command for a joint task force that consisted of just over 1,700 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from 30 states and territories, supporting the U.S. Virgin Islands government and Virgin Islands National Guard. In 2017, Title 10 mobilizations included Operation Spartan Shield, Qatar Security Forces with 456 Soldiers from the 1-116th Infantry Battalion who re-deployed in March 2017, and the 116th Military Engagement Team served in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait with 26 Soldiers who re-deployed in January 2017.

The brigade re-enlisted 284 Soldiers and improved retention by 6%. A total of 961 116th IBCT Soldiers graduated from a military school including 304 from duty military occupational specialty schools and 398 Soldiers completing professional military education. The 116th IBCT had 114 functional area graduates including HAZMAT and unit movement officer and 115 Soldiers completed additional skill identifier schools.

Additionally, the 116th IBCT had five Soldiers complete Ranger School, seven finish Ranger Training Assessment Course, six Sniper School graduates, five finished Battle Staff, 54 Soldiers completed Air Assault School, 11 graduated from Pathfinder, eight graduated from Rappel Master School and 33 earned the coveted Expert Infantryman’s Badge. Soldiers of the 116th IBCT conducted training exchanges with two countries and had the first dedicated Red TUAS at JRTC.
The 116th maintained an operational readiness rate above 92%. Soldiers completed 2,053 overdue services at Annual Training 2017, passed a rigorous Command Logistics Review Team inspection, achieved 98% execution rate for 2065 O&M Budget and turned in roughly $3M in excess equipment.

329th Regional Support Group

Constituted July 18, 1917 in the Virginia National Guard as Headquarters, 54th Field Artillery Brigade, and assigned to the 29th Division, the unit was converted and reorganized September 1, 2008, as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 329th Support Group. The RSG consists of the 276th Engineer Battalion, the 529th CSSB and the 1030th Transportation Battalion.

Today, the unit deploys to provide contingency and expeditionary base operations support, with responsibilities for managing facilities, providing administrative and logistical support of Soldier services, and ensuring the security of personnel and facilities on a base camp. The RSG provides mission command of assigned units during homeland security, homeland defense, and civil support missions within the United States, to include managing the reception, staging, onward movement, and integration of supporting forces.

The 329th RSG is also assigned mission command of the Fort Stewart Mobilization Support Force. This force is comprised of twenty Army National Guard and Army Reserve Units from eleven states. This contingency mission provides the capabilities to respond to a rapid influx of mobilized units should the need emerge.

Significant accomplishments of calendar year 2017 included mission command of the 2017 Presidential Inauguration that augmented security of the outer-cordon as well as providing authority of the 229th Military Police that assisted local law enforcement with the Charlottesville protests in August. The RSG provided administrative and command support of the 1940th contracting team’s damage assessment to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico after the damages left by Hurricane Maria in September.

Additional support missions included organizing Army Training Network from Fort Leavenworth-based instructors for all 329th RSG command teams. The RSG also hosted local community leaders for the unveiling of a new road sign honoring the 54th Field Artillery Brigade during the observation of the unit’s 100th anniversary. The RSG hosted senior leaders from Army Materiel Command and U.S. Forces Command during a Command Post Exercise Function, or CPX-F, during annual training. The exercise assessed the unit’s ability to plan sustainment support in a simulated forward-deployed expeditionary environment.

Today, the RSG accepted the challenge from higher echelon leadership to conduct collective training events to increase the readiness posture of the organization. This includes remaining flexible with the ability to establish mobilization centers.

91st Cyber Brigade

The 91st Cyber Brigade was officially activated on Sept. 1, 2017, and is the Army National Guard’s first, and only, cyber brigade. The brigade consists of four battalions (with a fifth battalion to be stationed), five cyber security companies, five cyber warfare companies, and 11 cyber protection teams. The brigade is arrayed across 31 states and has an authorized overall strength of 985 soldiers. The primary mission of the Brigade is to provide training and readiness oversight over these units, as well as operational command and control when needed.
The 91st Cyber Brigade was conceived in November 2016, approved in February 2017, and activated in September 2017, making it one of the fastest implementations of force structure from conception to activation in National Guard history.

Throughout 2017, the 91st Cyber Brigade was focused on building up its assigned strength while developing the required administrative paperwork to officially recognize the unit. The 91st Troop Command and the Virginia Data Processing Unit provided the initial manning for both the cyber protection battalions and the cyber brigade headquarters. In less than 10 months, the 91st Cyber Brigade grew its assigned strength from 40% to 95%.

The 91st Cyber Brigade simultaneously mobilized 197 cyber warriors in support of three federal mobilizations while conducting multiple state active duty missions. These federal mobilizations support both United States Cyber Command and Army Cyber Command, supporting operations throughout the globe while defending the homeland from overseas cyber threats. The 124th Cyber Protection Battalion provided cyber network assessments to 10 localities in support of the Department of Technology.

The 91st Cyber Brigade participated or supported multiple cyber exercises during 2017. The brigade provided subject matter experts to support the Commonwealth of Virginia during the DHS-sponsored Cyber Guard Prelude. The brigade then provided planners as part of the USCC National Level Exercise, Cyber Guard. Cyber Guard is a whole of government exercise focused on the strategic-level planning and tactical cyber response to critical infrastructure. The 124th Cyber Protection Battalion supported the National Guard’s Cyber Shield Exercise at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. This exercise is focused on the NG’s protection of DOD Information Networks, and is the primary collective exercise for the NG Defensive Cyberspace Operations Elements.

The 91st Cyber Brigade has three lines of effort. Those LOEs are successful federal mobilizations, achieving IOC/FOC to the joint standard, and establishing TRO and implementing efficient and sustainable processes. The brigade’s center of gravity for growth and success is talent management. The 91st Cyber Brigade is working towards these LOEs by partnering with academia (George Mason University) and industry (Dominion Energy) to develop training relationships that are mutually beneficial.

183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute

The Virginia Army National Guard’s 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute has a rich history and is recognized as one of the best warrior training locations due to the ability to leverage world class instructors and modern classroom facilities, as well as the extensive training resources at Fort Pickett. This allows the Regional Training Institute to enhance our Warriors’ mastery of their craft while honing their leadership skills.

The Regiment is comprised of over 100 of the finest trainers in the Virginia Army National Guard organized into three battalions. The Regional Training Institute specializes in a multitude of areas, to include the 11B, 11C and 88M Military Occupational Skill transition courses, the Air Assault and Pathfinder mobile training teams, the Light Leader and Rappel Master courses, the Virginia Army National Guard’s Marksmanship Program, and the Officer and Warrant Officer Candidate Schools.

In 2017 the Regiment was successful in training more than 500 Soldiers from across the Active Component, Army Reserve and Army National Guard. Instructors from 1st Battalion, under the command of Lt. Col. Todd Riviezzo, were focused on training infantryman and graduated almost 300 Soldiers from the courses they provided in 2017. Instructors from 2nd Battalion, under the command of Lt. Col. Corey Stavinoha, focused on transportation training courses and qualified more than 100 new truck drivers, as well as conducting additional bus driver and truck driver training to units throughout the Virginia Army National Guard.

Instructors from 3rd Battalion, under the command of Lt. Col. Robert Fitch, had the privileged mission of training the future leaders of the Virginia Army National Guard as they host the Officer Candidate and Warrant Officer Candidate Schools. This past year saw the battalion commission 33 second lieutenants. The Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of OCS Training placed second in the Virginia Guard’s Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year competition. Members of the most recent class of the Officer Candidate School won third place in the 2017 Adjutant General Rifle Matches, which is an incredible accomplishment. The Warrant Officer Candidate School produced nine newly minted Warrant Officers. While training at Fort McClellan, Alabama, Warrant Officer 1 Melissa Huntley-Bosco was named the Distinguished Honor Graduate for the course, marking the first time in 11 years that a Virginia Guard Soldier was awarded the honor.

192nd Wing

The 192nd Wing, Virginia Air National Guard, mission is to provide a fully-trained organization of volunteer-Airmen dedicated to protect and defend the vital interests of the nation, state and community. The wing provides combat-ready personnel and equipment to support United States’ national security objectives in a federal capacity; protects life and property and preserves peace, order and safety in a state capacity; and participates in local, state and national programs that add value to the U.S. in a community capacity.
The 192nd FW is headquartered at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. In addition to state missions, the wing associates with the regular Air Force, spanning three major commands, and performs standalone federal missions. The wing is comprised of four groups assigned to specific areas of expertise required to execute the missions: 192nd Operations Group, 192nd Maintenance Group, 192nd Mission Support Group and 192nd Medical Group.

The 192nd OG directly supports the USAF’s mission in the air, space and cyber domains. In 2017, they mobilized for six months to support Operation Inherent Resolve. During this deployment, they flew 534 F-22 Raptor flights, 4600 combat hours and dropped 263 bombs, executing a critical role in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The 192nd MXG provides combat-ready personnel and aircraft maintenance to the F-22 Raptor mission. During 2017, MXG launched 5,390 sorties for more than 11,525 F-22 hours flown. They supported the 27th Aircraft Maintenance Unit Theater Security Package in Southwest Asia. Additionally, they executed a short-notice generation of six F-22 aircraft over the 4th of July holiday to bolster the 5th generation presence in the United States Central Command area of responsibility, all in support of fight against ISIS.

The 192nd MSG provides three combat-ready squadrons specializing in civil engineering, supply, security, services, contracting, personnel, communications and logistics plans support. In 2017, they supported multinational exercises including Atlantic Trident and Northern Edge. They backed Operation Inherent Resolve and processed 107 spare repairs supporting 1,200 combat air strikes and the destruction of numerous ISIS facilities. 192nd MSG defenders deployed to several locations in Southwest Asia.

The 192nd MDG ensures a healthy and mission ready force. In 2017, they supported the presidential and gubernatorial inauguration, completed a CERFP exercise with their Army counterpart and supported exercise Vigilant Guard. The 192nd MDG was rated number one in the Drug Demand Reduction Program and number two in the region for mission readiness.

Medical Command

Virginia Army National Guard Medical Command helps foster the medical readiness aspect of the Virginia Army National Guard, and it facilitates force health protection, medical and dental support to assure all Soldiers meet the operational, training and mobilization readiness that is required to execute any mission that is received by the state.

When directed, Medical Command provides medical assets to support units that are tasked with the protection of life, property, preservation of peace, order and public safety accomplished by National Guard Civil Support in the case of disaster response, humanitarian relief, civil disturbance, counter drug operations, and combating terrorism. Medical Command is able to execute this mission because it is staffed with all health care professionals that include, but are not limited to, patient administration, combat medics, nurses, physician assistants, doctors, surgeons, case managers, public health professionals, dental health care specialists and dentists.

Together, the assigned 72 Soldiers execute this mission every year, keeping the Virginia Army National Guard a medically ready force to “Fight Tonight”.

During the last training year, Medical Command assisted with the mobilization of Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers for different missions that included recovery support in the U.S. Virgin Islands after Hurricane Maria as well as mobilization for tours in the Middle East in support of Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Spartan Shield.

Medical Command also conducted two Medical Sustainment Courses during the fiscal year. This is a 110-hour course that focuses on the validation of skill, medical education and demonstration of the individual competence, or MEDIC, and continuing education. This course keeps our Combat Medics knowledgeable and mission oriented for critical tasks that focus on the Tactical Combat Casualty Care.

Another course is the Field Sanitation Team Course. This course allows the Virginia Army National Guard to send representatives from each unit to be trained on preventative measures that affect units as a whole or are beyond the resources of the individual Soldier. The Soldiers that are certified through this training are able to implement preventative measures to ensure the highest standard of health while in the field environment.

Medical Command is the one stop shop for all medical support aspects for the state. Without the mission and efforts of the trustworthy and highly dedicated Soldiers assigned to the unit, it would be impossible to organically maintain the medical readiness of the Virginia Army National Guard.

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 and 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.

In recent months when severe weather struck the commonwealth, VDF personnel worked in a number of different capacities. In the Virginia Emergency Operations Center, they assisted with processing requests for support in Emergency Support Function 16, the Guard’s response cell in the VEOC. They also assisted with mission tracking in the Guard’s Joint Operations Center and helped with public information support as well as providing interoperable communications and incident management assistance to units in the field.

During domestic operations, the Virginia National Guard receives missions through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management to assist the Virginia State Police and other state and local emergency service organizations as part of the state emergency response team.
In addition to current mission sets like interoperable communications, operations center augmentation, incident management assistance and public information, the VDF will train personnel for more general support to civil authorities and emergency response capabilities.
The VDF is also growing cyber defense capabilities and has assisted with numerous Virginia National Guard network security assessments for Virginia localities in a state active duty status.

The VDF plans to conduct four three-day training assemblies at Fort Pickett this year that will focus on professional military education, small unit leadership and headquarters staff operations as well as refresher training on communications equipment and initial entry training for new members. Operational readiness evaluations will also be conducted to ensure personnel and equipment are ready for possible state active duty response missions.

In the last 18 months, members of the VDF volunteered in their communities assisting organizers and law enforcement at events like the Virginia War Memorial during Veterans Day and Memorial Day, the Winchester Apple Blossom Festival and the World War II Commemoration in Richmond.
The Virginia National Guard and Virginia Defense Force trace the heritage and traditions of citizen service to the founding of Jamestown when Capt. John Smith organized the colonists for defense. Since the colony’s founding on May 14, 1607, there has not been a day since without a military presence in Virginia to protect citizens at home and defend freedom overseas.

Counterdrug Task Force

The Virginia Counterdrug Task Force continues to be an integral part of the Commonwealth’s efforts to reduce the availability and demand for illegal drugs by supporting law enforcement agencies with criminal analysts and aviation support, providing Ion Scanning of evidence and currency for drug residue and by integrating Army and Air Guardsmen in community substance abuse prevention coalitions.

The Virginia National Guard Counterdrug Aviation Element conducted 553 hours of counterdrug aviation operations support in 2017 to multiple federal, state and local law enforcement agencies within the commonwealth. These missions included countless illegal heroin and cocaine distribution, methamphetamine transactions, and indoor marijuana grow take-downs. VANG-CDAE marijuana eradication support to the DEA and Virginia State Police resulted in the eradication of 6,782 plants with an estimated street value of $20,346,000. In addition to the narcotics value of eradication efforts, a total of $468,240 in assets/currency and 277 weapons were seized, which resulted in 171 drug related arrests.

State Partnership Program

Established in 2003, the goal of the State Partnership Program is to establish broad reaching, friendly ties between partner states and partner countries at all levels of society utilizing the National Guard as the catalyzing force and means of support. September 2016 marked the 25th anniversary of Tajikistan’s independence, and the partnership between the Virginia National Guard and Tajikistan is in its 14th year. As part of the SPP, the Virginia National Guard regularly conducts information exchanges on a variety of subjects related to security and emergency response operations. The Guard also facilitates trips from Tajikistani officials to the United States.

Officers from the Tajikistan Ministry of Defense who specialize in chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives response operations conducted an information exchange with personnel for the Virginia National Guard’s 34th Civil Support Team Feb. 21-22, 2017, at Fort Pickett, Virginia. The exchange was part of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program that links states and partner nations in support of mutual interests, and their visit also included a tour of the Virginia Emergency Operations Center and meeting with officials from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

Funeral Honors Program

The Virginia National Guard Military Funeral Honors Program started in January 2007, and it is composed of five teams located throughout the state which provide funeral details, not just to National Guard Soldiers but to veterans of the active Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard. They have performed more than 21,000 funeral services throughout the commonwealth and average almost 190 services each month. More than a dozen Army National Guard Soldiers from Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina completed a five-day Level 1 Funeral Honors Training hosted by the Virginia National Guard Funeral Honors Program Dec. 11-15, 2017, at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

The 40-hour certification course, which included eight Soldiers from Virginia, three from Maryland and two from North Carolina, prepares National Guard Soldiers to conduct professional military funeral honors in accordance with military service tradition and covers everything from the correct wear of the uniform, to the drill and ceremony aspects of the service, to instilling the mental toughness needed to perform the ceremonies. The Virginia National Guard Military Funeral Honors conducts a Level 1 training course once a quarter throughout the fiscal year with Soldiers trainers from Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina. Virginia hosts the Level 2 National Training Course and the Level 3 National Recertification Course annually..

Commonwealth ChalleNGe
Commonwealth ChalleNGe Youth Academy is the Virginia component of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program based at the Camp Pendleton State Military Reservation in Virginai Beach, Virginia. ChalleNGe is 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. The program is open to 16-18 year olds, and the cadets either work toward getting their GED or return to high school once they’ve completed the five-month residence phase of the program. ChalleNGe graduated 101 cadets during a commencement ceremony for Class 46 in March and 116 cadets from Class 47 in August. More than 4,000 Virginia teens have graduated from Commonwealth ChalleNGe since it started in 1994.

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.
Students attend STARBASE for a five-day program on site at the readiness center.

During the 2017 calendar year, DoD STARBASE increased funding to the Winchester STARBASE Academy in order to hire an additional instructor to support two classes attending simultaneously. STARBASE instructors provided an exciting science, technology, engineering and mathematics program to 60 classes, graduating 1,349 students from the five-day program. Out of these classes, 70% were from Title I schools, serving low socioeconomic, at-risk students.

In addition to serving these 60 classes, the STARBASE staff also spent five days as guest instructors at the Clarke County summer STEM camp teaching robotics and computer-aided design programming, went to Virginia Beach to teach robotics to students at the National Guard Youth Camp and ChalleNGe program and provided activities at four local elementary school STEM nights. Instructors also ran a STARBASE 2.0 program, an after-school program for middle school students. They trained students in robotics building and programming and took a team of students to the First Lego League Robotics Competition.

Family and Youth Programs

The Family Programs Office primary mission is to establish comprehensive programs that facilitate ongoing communication, involvement, support and recognition between National Guard families and the National Guard through partnership that promotes the best in both. The Family Programs Office facilitates this through education, outreach services, and partnerships leveraging resources, training, and constantly capitalizing on new capabilities, concepts, and technological advances to promote Family readiness before, during and after mobilization through effective reintegration processes.

Virginia Family Assistance Center Specialists logged a total of 3,793 cases, 49,732 quick-trackers, and 150,000 mass communications. A total of 5,325 wellness calls were provided in support to deployed family members, resulting in Soldiers and families receiving $198,000 in direct financial assistance. The Airman and Family Readiness Program Manager provided 317 formal one-on-one consults to Airmen/family members, 726 informal consults, 18 workshops and 7 outreach events.

The Yellow Ribbon team planned and organized two predeployment, three during-deployment and five post-deployment Yellow Events with over 985 soldiers and 1,175 families attending. The program also ran the first joint Yellow Ribbon Event held in the State which incorporated partnerships between Maryland and Virginia in support of the 29th ID.

Youth Program highlights included one summer camp, eight community resource meetings and support to 10 Yellow Ribbon events focused on teaching resilience communication throughout all phases of deployment. They had 21 Teen Panel Members, four State Teen Panel Training Calls and two State Teen Panel Leadership Trainings.

34th Civil Support Team

The mission of the 34th Civil Support Team is to support civil authorities during a domestic incident. These incidents can include a terrorist attack or threatened terrorist attack, a natural or manmade disaster in the United States, clandestine/drug lab evidence collection, and/or an unintentional release of nuclear, biological, radiological, toxic or poisonous chemicals. The 34th CST supports the requesting agency by identifying unknown substances, assessing current and projected consequences, advising on response measures, and assisting with appropriate requests for additional support.

The 34th CST is a joint Army and Air National Guard unit of 22 full-time specialized Soldiers and Airmen. It consists of six sections that support each other during operations. The command section of three personnel provides leadership and liaisons allowing the team to meet the objectives of the requesting civilian agency. The operations section of two personnel plans and executes all training and real world missions. The survey section of eight personnel conducts the down range operations during an incident. This section enters the contaminated area in order to physically survey and collect samples for analysis. The decon section of three personnel provides the team with an internal decontamination. The communications section of two personnel has highly specialized equipment to provide the team and local agencies with phones, internet, and radios. The medical section of four personnel supports the team with a physician assistant and combat medic for medical emergencies. In addition, it also includes a nuclear science officer who has a mobile laboratory and ability to conduct analysis and identify samples of unknown substances collected.

During 2017, the 34th CST supported numerous requests from civilian Virginia agencies. The 34th CST conducted chemical and radiological monitoring and sweeps during the Vice Presidential Debates, Governors Inauguration, Richmond Rally, and supported local counties during NASCAR, marathons and festival events. Outside of Virginia, the 34th CST supported the Washington D.C. National Guard’s 33rd CST with the 58th Presidential Inauguration. In conjunction with real world support, the 34th CST continued to hone its skills by participating in 29 exercises and numerous individual chemical based school trainings. The 34th CST continues its rigorous training and support requirements into 2018, continuing to be prepared to respond in support of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States of America.

34th CERFP

The Richmond-based 34th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package completed its sixth mission confirmation assessment through the U.S. Army’s Northern Command-proctored external evaluation April 27, 2017 at the Virginia Beach Fire Training Center in Virginia Beach, Virgniia. This evaluation rated the 34th CERFP as one of the top-performing CBRNE response enterprises in the country.

Being one of the original CERFPs formed in 2006, the 34th CERFP is a key element of the Department of Defense’s contingency plan to provide immediate lifesaving capabilities to local, regional and national emergency responders.

Prior to the evaluation, the 34th CERFP performed duties in support of the 58th Presidential Inauguration by staging at Fort A.P. Hill and Bowling Green. More than 200 Soldiers and Airmen conducted equipment familiarization training and other tactical-level rehearsals during the inauguration while maintaining a strict 90-minute deployment timeline to the National Capital Region. Following the inauguration, the 34th CERFP shifted into a full-scale exercise at the U.S. Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Training Center collocated at Fort A.P. Hill.

The full-scale exercise involved a response to a simulated train derailment outside of a fictional underground metro-station near Springfield. Soldiers from the 237th Engineer Company’s Search & Extraction Element breached the surface of the metro-station, located and extracted several simulated survivors. Those survivors underwent mass casualty technical decontamination provided by Soldiers from the 229th Chemical Company that is designed to remove any chemical, biological and radiological hazards that the survivors may have encountered during the derailment.

Once decontaminated, survivors received onsite medical triage and stabilization. Highly-trained Airmen from Detachment 1, 192nd Medical Group evaluated, treated and prepared over 300 survivors for emergency evacuation. Concurrently, Airmen from the 113th Flight Services Squadron practiced recovering human remains from beneath the metro-station.

The entire process was overseen by Soldiers from Headquarters Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, which form the Command and Control Element. The Command and Control Element manages communication between the 34th CERFP and the local incident command. Airmen from the 192nd Communications Flight support the 34th CERFP’s communications architecture and enable each element to independently communicate with each other and others over radio and internet.

In 2018, the 34th CERFP is participating in Atlantic Fury, a national-level exercise held at Fort Pickett.