Virginia National Guard provides high water transport capabilities in Danville, helicopter rescue on standby

RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia National Guard deployed two medium tactical vehicles and four Soldiers to provide high water transport capabilities Oct. 12, 2018, in Danville, Virginia, after heavy rains caused widespread flooding in the area. The Soldiers spent one day on state active duty and assisted local officials with health and welfare checks. A VNG aviation crew of four Soldiers and a team of three Chesterfield County Fire and Emergency Medical Services Scuba Rescue Team members were on standby Friday morning in Chesterfield County with the ability to reach Danville in an hour if needed. The VNG aviators and Chesterfield rescue technicians form the Virginia Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team to provide rotary wing aviation rescue hoist capabilities that can conduct aerial rescue evacuation.

“During domestic operations, the Virginia National Guard receives missions through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and responds as part of the state’s multi-agency team.,” explained Brig. Gen. James W. Ring, Virginia National Guard Director of the Joint Staff. “Our personnel in the Danville area coordinate with local emergency management officials to provide additional capabilities to assist with the response and help people in need.”

Soldiers from the Danville-based 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team received the notification late Thursday and quickly staged personnel and equipment in order to be ready to go Friday morning, Ring said. Their 5-ton tactical trucks are capable of transporting personnel and supplies through water as high as three feet.

The HART recently deployed to South Carolina to assist the South Carolina National Guard as they responded to Hurricane Florence, and they also deployed to Texas in September 2017 to assist the Texas National Guard with response to Hurricane Harvey.

The Virginia National Guard staged more than 1,500 personnel Sept. 12, 2018, at key locations across the commonwealth to support local and state emergency management officials with possible response to Hurricane Florence, but most were not needed when the storm turned further south. When Governor Ralph Northam authorized Virginia’s resources could be redirected to North Carolina, the VNG sent the HART and approximately 40 Soldiers and 20 light medium tactical vehicles to support with recovery efforts where the hurricane caused widespread flooding.

Soldiers assigned to the Virginia Beach-based 1173rd Transportation Company, 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group used their 5-ton tactical trucks to transport supplies for shelter operations and first responders conducting health and welfare checks in flooded neighborhoods. The HART remained on standby in South Carolina to provide rescue capabilities until the most severe flooding threat ended.

More about the VNG’s response to Hurricane Florence:

Transporters, aviators return from support missions in the Carolinas – Oct. 2, 2018
http://vaguard.dodlive.mil/2018/10/02/12046/

Photos and raw video: 1173rd Soldiers drive through high water to deliver supplies in N.C.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157671412935447

More about joint training between VNG and Chesterfield Fire & EMS:

Va. National Guard helicopters support Hurricane Harvey recovery – Sept. 7, 2017
http://vaguard.dodlive.mil/2017/09/07/10344/

Aviators, first responders train on rescue hoist during Vigilant Guard – May 10, 2018
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157696935834395

Aviators, first responders demonstrate rescue hoist capabilities – April 14, 2018
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157667922277628