McDonnell recognizes Va. Guard in final address

Governor Bob McDonnell recognized Sarah Talbert and Tabitha Rhodes at his final State of the Commonwealth Address to a Joint Session of the General Assembly Jan. 8, 2014.

Governor Bob McDonnell recognized Sarah Talbert and Tabitha Rhodes at his final State of the Commonwealth Address to a Joint Session of the General Assembly Jan. 8, 2014.

RICHMOND, Va. — Governor Bob McDonnell recognized the Virginia National Guard in his final State of the Commonwealth Address to a joint session of the Virginia General Assembly Jan. 8, 2014, in Richmond, Va. During the address, he introduced two spouses whose husbands are deployed with the Emporia-based 1710th Transportation Company.

“Tonight, we are joined by Tabitha Rhodes, wife of Company Commander Rodney Rhodes, and Sarah Talbert, wife of Master Sergeant Albert Talbert, who is on his third deployment,” McDonnell said. “Tabitha and Sarah, the people of Virginia thank you for your sacrifice, commend the leadership of your husbands and all who serve with them, and pray for their safe return.”

Approximately 150 Soldiers from the 1710th Transportation Company began serving on federal active duty on April 1, 2013, to conduct transportation support operations in Afghanistan.

Just a few weeks earlier, McDonnell declared December 2013 as Virginia National Guard with a proclamation that recognized many of the organization’s accomplishments during the year, including four units earning national-level recognition.

The Gate City-based 1032nd Transportation Company won the Department of the Army Philip A. Connelly Award For Excellence in Army Food Service, the Virginia Beach-based 229th Military Police Company received the Pershing Trophy from National Guard Association of the United States as the Guard unit with the top marksmanship scores in the country, the Virginia Beach-based 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion earned the Reckord Trophy for the highest state of readiness in the country from the National Guard Association of the United States and the Lynchburg-based 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment received the Kerwin Award as the most combat-ready Army National Guard battalion in the country from AUSA.

In addition to the 1710th serving overseas, the Sandston-based Detachment 26, Operational Support Airlift Command deployed to Afghanistan in November 2013 to provide fixed wing aviation support. The 192nd Fighter Wing supported two overseas F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft deployments providing air dominance capabilities to combatant commands in key areas of the world and mobilized 38 Airmen in support of global intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations. Additional Soldiers and Airmen conducted individual mobilizations in other locations all over the world.

The Virginia Guard’s support for domestic operations was also recognized in the proclamation. The Virginia Guard started the year with more than 600 Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force supporting the 57th Presidential Inauguration Jan. 21, 2013.

More than 160 Guard personnel mobilized on state active duty March 6, 2013, in direct support to the Virginia State Police and other state and local emergency response agencies conducting operations after heavy snow blanketed the Commonwealth.

Finally, the proclamation recognized the Virginia National Guard Funeral Honors Program for performing its 12,000th military honors Oct. 30, 2013, as well as the State Partnership Program celebrating 10 years of working with the armed forces of the Republic of Tajikistan to the benefit of both forces on July 31, 2013.

After the proclamation was published, the Virginia National Guard’s Fort Pickett-based 34th Civil Support Team earned a rating of “T” for trained on 12 collective tasks following a Training Proficiency Evaluation earning the overall assessment rating of “Fully Mission Capable.” The evaluation validates the unit as capable of effectively conducting its mission of providing support to first responders in the event of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incident.

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. The National Guard has a unique state and federal mission set, and members bring a wide variety of specialized civilian-acquired skills, experience and mature leadership to any mission in addition to their military skills.

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. Approximately 150 Soldiers from the Emporia-based 1710th Transportation Company and about 10 Soldiers from the Sandston-based Detachment 26, Operational Support Airlift Command are currently on federal active duty in Afghanistan, and about 20 Soldiers and Airmen are on federal duty at other locations around the world.

Since 2001, the Virginia National Guard has called up more than 7,300 personnel for duty to support domestic emergency operations as part of a coordinated state-wide response, as well as missions in Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia, New York and Vermont.


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