Va. Guard displays capabilities, commended by state leaders

Governor Terry McAuliffe visits with Virginia National Guard Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force displaying some of the Guard's warfighting and domestic operations capabilities Jan. 19, 2017, outside the Virginia General Assembly building in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Sr. Airman Kellyann Novak 192nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

Governor Terry McAuliffe visits with Virginia National Guard Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force displaying some of the Guard’s warfighting and domestic operations capabilities Jan. 19, 2017, outside the Virginia General Assembly building in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Sr. Airman Kellyann Novak 192nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia National Guard Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force displayed some of the Guard’s warfighting and domestic operations capabilities Jan. 19, 2017, outside the Virginia General Assembly building in Richmond, Virginia. Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. hosted a reception in the morning, and the Virginia National Guard Association and Virginia Guard Enlisted Association hosted a legislative reception in the evening at the Library of Virginia. Virginia Guard Soldiers, Airmen and VDF troopers were recognized in both the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates, and throughout the day Governor Terry McAuliffe, First Lady of Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe, Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran and members of the General Assembly commended the Virginia Guard for the organization’s service to commonwealth and country throughout the year.

“We continue to see outstanding support from our state leaders and the Virginia General Assembly, and it is important that we demonstrate to them some of our many capabilities and provide them the opportunity to interact directly with troops,” Williams said. “All through the day, Governor McAuliffe, First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe, Secretary Moran state senators and delegates expressed their appreciation for the Guard’s hard work and dedicated service here at home and overseas, and we are grateful for everything they do to support the Guard.”

At the same time the Virginia National Guard was displaying its capabilities in Richmond, nearly 300 Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen were preparing alongside a force of approximately 7,500 National Guard personnel from across the country to support the 58th Presidential Inauguration Jan. 20, 2017, in Washington, D. C. Virginia Guard personnel will assist with traffic control, crowd management, communications, medical and chaplain support, and additional personnel from the Virginia Army National Guard, Virginia Air National Guard and Virginia Defense Force will conduct mission command and sustainment support in Sandston and other locations in the state. Read more about the Virginia National Guard’s inauguration support at http://go.usa.gov/x9mGd.

Just two weeks ago nearly 200 members of the Virginia National Guard were on duty and ready to assist with the state’s multi-agency response to heavy snow Jan. 7-9, 2017, throughout the Hampton Roads area. Soldiers were staged and ready the morning of Jan. 7 with less than 12 hours notification, and their assistance included recovering a fire truck in Newport News and helping Virginia State Police clear abandoned vehicles in Accomack County. Read more at http://go.usa.gov/x9mGw.

Units participating in the displays outside the General Assembly Building include the Virginia Guard’s Counterdrug Program, the 192nd Intelligence Squadron, the 203rd RED HORSE Squadron, the 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment and the VDF. In addition. Virginia National Guard cyber experts will be on hand to explain the Guard’s computer network defense capabilities.

The Virginia National Guard Counterdrug Program places Guard personnel in support of law enforcement agencies as criminal analysts to provide trace detection with Ion Scan and TruNarc technology as well as aviation support. The program also provides civil operations support, which works with community coalitions to provide capacity and coalition development. Virginia Counterdrug Program support resulted in stopping the flow of $586 million worth of illicit drugs making it to the citizens of the commonwealth of Virginia and stopped the flow of $645 million in illicit proceeds making its way back through the black market economy to criminal enterprises as well as assisting with the seizure of more than 175 vehicles and 660 weapons and more than 700 arrests.

During domestic operations, Airmen from the 192nd Intelligence Squadron use full motion video from fixed and rotary wing platforms to provide incident awareness and assessment. The 192nd IS also provides systems interoperability for emergency managers and first responders to enable effective communication across agencies and jurisdictions. IAA synchronizes and integrates the planning and execution of various information capabilities which provide situational awareness and assessment to civil authorities in support of domestic operations.

Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team will be on hand with one of their M119A2 howitzers as well as a Humvee equipped with a Virginia Statewide Agencies Radio System used to communicate with the Virginia State Police during domestic response operations. Over the next 12 months the battalion will transform into a larger, more robust composite field artillery battalion, and more information about the transformation is available at http://go.usa.gov/x9mGh.

More than 120 Virginia Air National Guard engineers reunited with friends and family Oct. 26, 2016, at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach after serving on federal active duty in Southwest Asia since March. Leaders from state government and the Virginia National Guard were also on hand to thank the Airmen for the service and welcome them home. Airmen assigned to the Virginia Beach-based 203rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers, or RED HORSE, completed 35 projects at 11 different locations in seven countries in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and Operation Inherent Resolve. Read more at http://go.usa.gov/x9mGe.

Cyber security experts from the Virginia Army National Guard and Virginia Defense Force continued their weeklong vulnerability assessments Dec. 13-16, 2016, and for the first time a member of the VDF served as the technical lead for the mission. The first assessment was conducted in March 2016 after Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe authorized funds to put Virginia Guard personnel on state active duty to conduct a series of assessments aimed at improving network security in the state, and this was the seventh conducted since March. Read more about the cyber assessments at http://go.usa.gov/x9mGz.

The VDF is an all-volunteer state military force authorized by the Code of Virginia and organized under the Virginia Department of Military Affairs reporting to the Adjutant General of Virginia. The organization capitalizes on the civilian skills and expertise of it members and trains to augment the Virginia Guard at command and control operations centers and provide interoperable communications and security augmentation. Read more about the VDF at http://go.usa.gov/x9m7c.

About the Virginia National Guard:

The Virginia National Guard is a unique dual-status force with a federal mission to provide an combat reserve to fight our nation’s wars and a state mission to provide a response force that answers the call of the Governor to defend the commonwealth.

Nearly 1,500 Soldiers and Airmen served on federal active duty in 2016, and Virginia Guard units conducted a wide variety of missions including mission command, military-to-military partnership building, security and rotary wing flight operations and maintenance. Nearly 850 personnel are still serving on federal active duty in the Middle East, and they join the nearly 15,000 Soldiers and Airmen who have mobilized for homeland security missions, combat operations and peacekeeping and stabilization missions since September 11, 2001.

More than 1,100 Va. Guard personnel served on state active duty in the last 12 months in response to severe weather events as part of the state’s multi-agency team. Soldiers transported first responders through heavy snow and high water, helped get citizens to safety and used chain saws to help clear debris and open roads after tornadoes and hurricanes. Soldiers, Airmen and Virginia Defense Force troopers also assisted with mission command, logistics and public information support.

Read more about the Virginia National Guard’s accomplishments in 2016 at http://go.usa.gov/x9mGm.

Read the Virginia National Guard’s top stories of 2016 at http://go.usa.gov/x92dA.

The Virginia National Guard has lost 10 Soldiers to hostile enemy action since Sept. 11, 2001, and the full list is online at http://go.usa.gov/x9mGV.