Adjutant General COVID-19 Update: May 21, 2020

Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, presents his challenge coin for outstanding duty performance to a Virginia National Guard Airmen collecting samples for COVID-19 test May 14, 2020. (U.S. National Guard photo by Cotton Puryear)

Virginia National Guard Team:

We are now a full two months into Virginia’s response to COVID-19, and the Virginia National Guard continues to make a strong contribution to the overall state effort.

The numbers are impressive: nearly 12,600 samples collected for COVID-19 testing, nearly 1,700 mask fit tests performed, more than 22,100 hours augmenting planning with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management in all seven regions, nearly 60,700 pounds of food distributed and more than 49,000 miles driven delivering supplies and testing kits to multiple locations across the state.

Even more impressive than the numbers are the partnerships built and improved as part of the state’s multi-agency response. Our longstanding relationship with VDEM has grown even stronger, and we have also come to work closely with the Virginai Department of Health and local health districts, long term care and correctional facilities. We have even expanded our partnerships outside of normal state agencies and worked with the Virginia Wing of the Civil Air Patrol to add their impressive resources to help accomplish our transportation missions.

Airmen assigned to the Virginia Wing, Civil Air Patrol load COVID-19 test kits for air transport to the Eastern Shore of Virginia May 17, 2020, in Chesterfield, Virginia. (U.S. National Guard photo by Cotton Puryear)

We recently teamed up with the CAP to get test kits delivered to the Eastern Shore using air transport to get the deliveries made faster both to the testing location and back to the lab for evaluation. We thank our friends in the CAP for their willingness to help out, and we look forward to growing the relationship further.

As we continue to assist with response operations, we are also looking on how the Virginia National Guard will move forward with the rest of Virginia. We are closely following the guidance from Governor Northam for Phase One of reopening and how we will implement it at our facilities and in our workforce.

More specific guidance will be released in the very near future, but in general terms most full-time personnel can expect to see telework continue, and we will evaluate which facilities are deemed essential and will begin opening at fifty percent occupancy.

As we continue to support our state and local partners with the COVID-19 response, we also sharpen our focus on our federal missions and maintaining readiness and lethality. In the near term for monthly drill training, I have given 06-level commanders the authority to conduct June drill either remotely or in person to best meet their unit needs. Any in person training will be conducted using the appropriate social distancing, hand washing and face covering protocols from the CDC and VDH.

While we must maintain the health of our military personnel, civilian workforce and our families, we also have to sharpen our focus on rebuilding readiness. While many of our facilities and full-time maintenance personnel have been working hard to keep vehicles and equipment operational, we need to engage our traditional force as well.

In June, our command teams will focus on maintenance priorities and finalize plans for annual training this summer. We will be getting back to basics and training on the essential tasks every Soldier and Airmen needs to shoot, move and communicate.

This has been a trying time for everyone, and I ask every Soldier, Airmen, VDF member, state and federal civilian and family member to keep an eye on each other to make sure everyone is doing okay. The only way to get through this and move the Virginia National Guard forward with the rest of the state is to work together as a team.

Thanks for all you do!!

Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams,
28th Adjutant General of Virginia