Departure ceremonies scheduled for May 14, 15 in Bedford, Christiansburg, Lexington and Lynchburg for Va. Guard infantry battalion

SANDSTON, Va. — Departure ceremonies for the Virginia National Guard’s Lynchburg-based 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team will be held May 14 and 15 in Christiansburg, Bedford, Lexington and Lynchburg to honor the men and women of the battalion as they begin a federal active duty mobilization. Approximately 450 Soldiers from the battalion, also known as the Red Dragons, will begin serving on federal active duty May 13, 2016, and the mobilization is expected to be for about 12 months. They are scheduled to replace the Virginia National Guard’s Winchester-based 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, also known as Task Force Normandy, currently conducting security operations in Qatar.

The battalion is headquartered in Lynchburg and Soldiers from units based in Bedford, Lexington and Christiansburg will mobilize for the mission.

Ceremonies scheduled for May 14:
– Company C, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment: 11:30 a.m. at the Christiansburg Readiness Center at 15 College Street, Christiansburg, VA 24073
– Company A, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment: 3 p.m. at the National D-Day Memorial at 3 Overlord Circle, Bedford, VA 24523

Ceremonies scheduled for May 15:
– Company B, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment: Noon at the Lexington Horse Center at 487 Maury River Road, Lexington, VA 24450.
– Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment: 3 p.m. at Monument Terrace in Downtown Lynchburg at Church/Ninth Street, Lynchburg, VA 24501

After the departure ceremonies, the next step on the battalion’s journey is to report to Texas for approximately 30 to 45 days of additional mobilization training. From there they will deploy to Qatar, and they are expected to operate as a security force for several locations essential to the U.S. interests in the region.

Soldiers conducted training at Fort Pickett for about three weeks to accomplish a number of administrative and field training tasks to prepare for the mobilization including weapons qualification, equipment issue and medical evaluation.

Soldiers from 1st Battalion last served on federal active duty from March to August 2010. They operated out of Contingency Operating Base Adder in Southern Iraq with the mission of securing resupply convoys along the main supply routes in the central, southern and northern sectors of Iraq in order to prevent anti-Iraqi Forces from disrupting theater sustainment operations.

In October 2013, the battalion received the Walter T. Kerwin, Jr., Readiness Award recognizing them as the most combat-ready Army National Guard battalion in the country by the Association of the United States Army.

Soldiers from 1st Battalion have also conducted numerous state active duty missions supporting the citizens of the commonwealth. Most recently, more than 100 Soldiers from the Red Dragons provided mobility assistance in January 2016 to get first responders through heavy snow to complete emergency calls.

More information on 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment:

Photos: Red Dragons train on IED response – March 21, 2016

1-116th Infantry recognized as top Army Guard battalion in the country – October 21, 2014

Virginia National Guard personnel assist in the wake of severe thunderstorms – July 11, 2012

Lynchburg-based infantry battalion returns to Virginia from Iraqi duty – Aug. 25, 2010