Governor, First Lady host reception for VNG Soldiers, Airmen and families

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and First Lady of Virginia Pam Northam host a reception for Virginia National Guard Soldiers, Airmen and their families Dec. 16, 2018, at VirginiaÕs Executive Mansion in Richmond, Virginia.  (U.S. National Guard photo by Cotton Puryear)

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and First Lady of Virginia Pam Northam hosted a reception for Virginia National Guard Soldiers, Airmen and their families Dec. 16, 2018, at Virginia’s Executive Mansion in Richmond, Virginia. The reception recognized the Soldiers and Airmen who returned from federal active duty deployments this year and their families as well as families of those personnel who are currently mobilized.

Virginia Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Carlos Hopkins, Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, Virginia National Guard senior leaders and members of the Virginia National Guard Family Programs Office joined the Northams in thanking the Soldiers, Airmen and their families for their service, sacrifice and support for missions around the world.

Nearly 1,500 Soldiers and Airmen served on federal active duty in the last 24 months, and VNG units conducted a wide variety of missions including fighter jet air dominance, mission command, military-to-military partnership building, sustainment, security and rotary wing flight operations and maintenance. 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.

The following units were mobilized on federal active duty in 2018:

Hundreds of friends, family members and fellow Soldiers gathered in Virginia Beach to say farewell to a group of Virginia National Guard Soldiers as they began federal active duty Nov. 25, 2018. The group of approximately 70 Soldiers assigned to the Virginia Beach-based 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group are deploying to the Middle East for about 10 months in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, where they will conduct planning and logistics for U.S. and coalition forces in the Central Command area.
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Virginia Army and Air National Guard cyber warriors are on federal duty in the United States supporting Department of Defense cyber security efforts.

Approximately 25 Soldiers assigned to the Chesterfield-based Detachment 2, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 169th Aviation Regiment returned to the United States Nov. 3, 2018, after serving on federal active duty in Kosovo since January. The Soldiers provided aerial medical evacuation support and training to U.S. and allied forces supporting Operation Joint Guardian in Kosovo.
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U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 1st Fighter Wing and the 192nd Wing returned to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, from a deployment to the Middle East on Oct. 9, 2018. Active duty and Virginia Air National Guard Airmen were deployed 6-months as part of the 94th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. Their efforts enabled USAF F-22 Raptors to deliver air superiority during combat operations, supporting Operation Inherent Resolve and the fight against enemy forces in Iraq and Syria.
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In addition to unit mobilizations, individual VNG Soldiers and Airmen mobilized for federal missions inside the United States and locations all over the world.

Since 2001, the Virginia National Guard has mobilized more than 13,600 Soldiers, Airmen and members of the VDF on state active duty to respond to hurricanes, winter storms, flooding and other severe weather events across the commonwealth as well as in neighboring states, Louisiana and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The VNG also mobilized personnel for security operations in Charlottesville in August 2017 and 2018. The VNG and VDF have conducted cyber vulnerability assessments in seven different Virginia localities in the last 18 months.

Virginia National Guard transportation Soldiers returned from supporting Hurricane Florence flood response operations in North Carolina Sept. 24, 2018, and a team of VNG aviators and Chesterfield County rescue technicians returned from South Carolina Sept. 27. A Virginia National Guard aviation crew of four Soldiers and a team of three Chesterfield County Fire and Emergency Medical Services Scuba Rescue Team members departed Sept. 22, 2018, from Chesterfield County, Virginia, to support the South Carolina National Guard with recovery operations after Hurricane Florence caused serious flooding across the state.

The VNG aviators and Chesterfield rescue technicians form the Virginia Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team to provide rotary wing aviation rescue hoist capabilities that can conduct aerial rescue evacuation in situations where there is a potential loss of life, limb or eyesight or significant property damage. The HART remained on standby in South Carolina to provide rescue capabilities until the most severe flooding threat ended.
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