Va. Guard Soldiers to mobilize for federal duty in Kuwait, Jordan

116thInfantryRegimentalCrestSANDSTON, Va. – A team of approximately 25 Soldiers pulled from Virginia National Guard units across the commonwealth has received a mobilization order to enter active federal service as the 116th Military Engagement Team for duty based out of Kuwait, according to an announcement made Jan. 8, 2016, by Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. The Soldiers are scheduled to begin serving on federal active duty March 10, 2016, and the mobilization is expected to be for about 12 months.

“This is an important mission and a great opportunity for us to build stronger relationships with our partner nations in key regions of the world,” Williams said. “We have assembled a group of highly capable senior officers and noncommissioned officers with a wealth of experience gained through years of service and multiple active duty mobilizations. This team is well suited for the task of promoting regional security and stability, and I am confident they will be fantastic representatives on behalf of the commonwealth and our nation.”

The 116th Military Engagement Team is unique in that it was created specifically for this mission and falls under the Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team as they prepare for federal active duty. The team pulls Soldiers from units across the state and will deploy to conduct military-to-military engagements with partners in U.S. Army Central Command’s area of responsibility including Kuwait, Jordan, Oman and Tajikistan to enhance regional stability and security. The Soldiers were selected for the mission based on their skills, military occupational specialties and experience.

“We are very excited about the military engagement team mission,” said Col. Todd Hubbard, commander of the 116th MET. “We will be working with the militaries of our partner nations to exchange information, build trust and increase their capabilities. Guard units have performed this mission for several years, establishing a track record of success.”

The 116th MET will spend approximately three weeks training in a traditional National Guard status at Fort Pickett, Virginia, in February and March where they will accomplish numerous administrative and field training tasks in preparation for the mobilization, including weapons qualification, equipment issue, drivers training and medical evaluation. Following their training at Fort Pickett, the Soldiers will transition to federal active duty and report to Fort Hood, Texas, where they will complete approximately 30 to 45 days of additional training before heading overseas.