Governor thanks Va. Guard Soldiers serving in Afghanistan

Soldiers from the 1710th Transportation Company have driven more than 275,000 miles in Afghanistan without a serious accident. (Contributed photo)

Soldiers from the 1710th Transportation Company have driven more than 275,000 miles in Afghanistan without a serious accident. (Contributed photo)

RICHMOND, Va. — Governor Bob McDonnell sent holiday greetings to Virginia National Guard Soldiers serving in Afghanistan and thanked them for their service during a conference call held Dec. 18, 2013. Soldiers from the Emporia-based 1710th Transportation Company and Sandston-based Detachment 26, Operational Support Airlift Command took part in the call along with Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, and Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Green, the Virginia Guard’s senior enlisted leader.

“I wanted to take a moment at this special time of the year to wish you and your fellow Soldiers Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah,” McDonnell said. “We are proud that Virginians are making such a positive contribution to the United States mission in Afghanistan in support of the cause of freedom. There are a lot of really positive things going on in Afghanistan thanks to our men and women in uniform. It is tough, dangerous work, but you are doing it very well. Keep up the great work.”

McDonnell also acknowledged the hardship a National Guard deployment places on families and employers, and recognized the important role their support plays in the success of the Guard’s mission.

“We are really proud of all of you,” Long said. “The Guard is the best prepared, smartest, most capable and best trained that it has ever been in my lifetime, and you are all a part of that. We look forward to having you come home and sharing your experience with you fellow Soldiers.”

Ten Soldiers from Detachment 26 arrived in Afghanistan in November and have flown more than 300 hours providing fixed wing aviation support.

Soldiers from the 1710th Transportation have driven more than 275,000 miles since they began running transportation support missions in June 2013 in Afghanistan. They have conducted more than 40 sustainment and retrograde missions where they hauled more 3,000 20-foot container units for resupply operations and 100 pieces of rolling stock for transport out of country. During these operations, they maintained a 98% operational readiness rate and received a safety streamer for having no serious accidents.

Approximately 150 Soldiers from the 1710th began serving on federal active duty on April 1, 2013, to conduct transportation support operations at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan and are expected to be on active duty for a year.

“Soldiers are being recognized for the great work they are doing here,” said Capt. Rodney Rhodes, commander of the 1710th. Three Soldiers have received Army Commendation Medals and15 Soldiers have received Army Achievement Medals for their outstanding duty performance, and six Soldiers participated in a Transportation Corps history video currently being used at the U.S. Army Transportation School.

The company’s maintenance section has performed nearly 800 quality assurance and quality control inspections before each vehicle leaves on a mission. They have also performed 95 repairs and completed 55 annual services.

“We have a great group of ambassadors here with the 1710th,” Rhodes said. “They know the standard, and they apply that each and every day. They are hard working men and women, and I am proud to be their commander.”

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.

About the Virginia National Guard

The Virginia National Guard trains to be a premier ready, relevant, resilient and rapidly responding operational force capable of executing the orders of the President of the United States and the Governor of Virginia to deploy mission-tailored forces to save lives, protect people and property, ensure safety, relieve suffering and provide reassurance. The National Guard is a great value for the commonwealth and the nation and can maintain readiness at a fraction of the cost of active duty forces and have both a state and federal mission set. National Guard members bring a wide variety of specialized civilian-acquired skills, experience and mature leadership to any mission in addition to their military skills.


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