Va. Guard wraps up snow response operations

Four Virginia National Guard Soldiers from the Charlottesville-based Company C, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team were the last on state active duty Feb. 15, 2014, to support the Greene County Rescue Squad after almost 300 were on duty assisting with snow response operations across Virginia. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Four Virginia National Guard Soldiers from the Charlottesville-based Company C, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team were the last on state active duty Feb. 15, 2014, to support the Greene County Rescue Squad after almost 300 were on duty assisting with snow response operations across Virginia. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

SANDSTON, Va. — Four Soldiers from the Charlottesville-based Company C, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team were the last Virginia National Guard personnel on state active duty Feb. 15, 2014, after nearly 300 total supported response operations across the state. Most personnel returned to routine operations Feb. 14, but the Company C Soldiers stayed on duty one more day to support the Greene County Rescue Squad. Travel on rural secondary roads in the area was still difficult because of heavy snow, and the Soldiers were able to assist the rescue squad in reaching homes in need of medical assistance.

“I was very pleased with the brigade’s rapid response to the storm,” said Col. John Epperly, commander of the 116th IBCT. “I was particularly pleased with the ease of interagency integration and operation from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and Virginia State Police down to local first responders. Our Soldiers performed magnificently in support of the Commonwealth.”

Operating from readiness centers along the I-81, I-95, Route 29 and Route 460 corridors, nearly 300 Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force supported winter storm response efforts beginning Feb. 12. Soldiers working in coordination with the Virginia State Police conducted more than 40 missions assisting and transporting local fire, police and emergency medical services personnel and nearly 30 missions assisting stranded motorists and citizens. They also conducted numerous route assessment patrols to determine road trafficability and provide situational awareness in their area of operations.

“The civilian population were very receptive and seemed to appreciate our presence, waving hello and ‘thumbs up’ signs were common during our rounds,” said Spc. Savannah Conley from Company B, 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. Soldiers from Company B conducted route assessment patrols and assisted stranded motorists in the Manassas and Leesburg areas.

“We accomplished our objective of getting our units into place before the snow started to fall, and now we are staged and ready to assist with response operations if we are needed,” said. Col. James Zollar, director of joint operations for the Guard.

Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency Feb. 11, 2014, and authorized up to 300 Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force could be brought on state active duty.

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