Governor commends the Va. National Guard

Governor Ralph Northam speaks to attendees at a legislative reception hosted Jan. 18, 2018, by the Virginia National Guard Officer’s Association and Virginia Army and Air National Guard Enlisted Association in Richmond, Virginia. (U.S. National Guard photo by Cotton Puryear)

RICHMOND, Va. — Governor Ralph Northam and Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran commended the Virginia National Guard for the organization’s service to commonwealth and country at a legislative reception hosted Jan. 18, 2018, by the Virginia National Guard Officer’s Association and Virginia Army and Air National Guard Enlisted Association in Richmond, Virginia. Prior to the reception, retired Air Force Col. Rich Anderson, a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates, shared his thoughts on leadership and public service as part of the Virignia National Guard’s ongoing Distinguished Speaker Series.

Both Northam and Moran recognized the Virginia National Guard’s dual state and federal mission and their role in defending freedom overseas and protecting citizens of the commonwealth at home. Northam also thanked the Guard for their support at the inauguration Jan.13.

“Saturday was an exciting day for me and my wife, and I think for the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Northam said about inauguration day. “The Guard’s participation with the 19-gun salute, the flyover and the parade meant the world to us and gets us off to a good start for the next four years.. There is no better better honor and privilege than to serve as the Governor and serve as the commander in chief of the Virginia National Guard.”

Northam also expressed his appreciation for the service and sacrifice of family members and the important role they play, something that he knows about firsthand from his eight years of service in the U.S. Army.

Moran was reappointed to another term as secretary, and he reflected on his previous experiences working with the Guard.

“The opportunities I have had to work with you over the last four years has been a remarkable honor,” Moran said. “We recognize your dual role defending us overseas with your federal mission but also protecting us here at home. Thank you all for what you do.”

Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Carlos Hopkins and Deputy Secretaries of Public Safety and Homeland Security Ryant Washington and Jae K. Davenport as well as members of the Virignia General Assembly also attended the event.

The Virginia National Guard has mobilized nearly 2,000 Soldiers and Airmen for federal active duty overseas deployments since January 2014, and a medical evacuation detachment recently mobilized to support the NATO mission in Kosovo. They join more than 15,000 Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen who served in combat operations, homeland defense, peacekeeping, stabilization and sustainment missions since Sept. 11, 2001.

The Virginia National Guard builds partnerships to maximize resources and ensure its ability to rapidly respond as an effective member of a joint, multi-agency team when needed.

Since January 2014, the Virginia National Guard has mobilized nearly 2,570 Soldiers, Airmen and members of the VDF on state active duty to respond to hurricanes, winter storms and flooding across the Commonwealth. The Virginia Guard also mobilized more than 500 personnel for security operations in Charlottesville Aug. 12, and also deployed more than 500 Soldiers from the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team to assist with hurricane recovery operations in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Virginia National Guard also had nearly 40 Soldiers and VDF members conduct cyber vulnerability assessments in seven different Virginia localities in the last 18 months.