VNG Soldiers help clear roads after TS Isaias

A Virginia National Guard Soldier assigned the Virginia Beach-based 1173rd Transportation Company, 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group uses a chain saw to help clear fallen trees Aug. 4, 2020, near White Stone, Virginia. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by 1st Sgt. Dave Abbey)

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia National Guard Soldiers used chain saws to help clear roads and assisted with keeping traffic moving Aug. 4, 2020, after Tropical Storm Isaias left a path of fallen trees and debris at multiple locations across Virginia.

“I’m also grateful to the Virginia National Guard,” said Governor Ralph Northam at a press conference Aug. 5 after thanking first responders who were alert during the storm and keeping people safe. “The Guard is always there for us in emergencies, including our ongoing COVID pandemic. Guard members have been helping with logistics and with testing for months.”

A Soldier assigned to the Norfolk-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, fuels a vehicle to prepare a convoy to travel to the Eastern Shore Aug. 3, 2020, in Norfolk, Virginia. (U.S. National Guard photo by A.J. Coyne)

Soldiers assigned to the Virginia Beach-based 1173rd Transportation Company, 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group used chain saws to help clear fallen trees near White Stone, Virginia, and Soldiers assigned the Norfolk-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team helped clear a road of fallen trees and keep traffic moving in Onancock, Virginia. Soldiers also helped clear a fallen tree at the Onancock Readiness Center.

The Virginia National Guard staged approximately 80 Soldiers and 30 vehicles for state emergency support duty Aug. 3, 2020, at multiples locations in the eastern and central portions of the state. Personnel were ready to assist local authorities respond to possible impacts from Tropical Storm Isaias in the Eastern Shore, Hampton Roads and Peninsula areas as well as at key locations along the I-95 corridor. The Soldiers were staged with Humvees and light/medium tactical trucks for high water transportation and also have chain saws for debris reduction.

View photos of the Soldiers clearing roads in White Stone on Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/albums/72157715363409882

View photos of the Soldiers clearing roads in Onancock on Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/albums/72157715370432418

View photos of the Soldiers preparing and moving out to the Eastern Shore on Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/albums/72157715348607646

A Virginia National Guard Soldier assigned to the Fredericksburg-based 229th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team checks the oil level on a chain saw Aug. 3, 2020, in Fredericksburg, Virginia. (U.S. National Guard photo by Cotton Puryear)

“Whether we are mobilizing 40 Soldiers on the Eastern Shore for possible impacts from a tropical storm, assisting with Virginia’s COVID-19 response or staging 1,500 Soldiers across the commonwealth like we did for Hurricane Florence, the Virginia National Guard continues to demonstrate it can rapidly respond with the assistance requested by Virginia localities,” said Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. “Our men and women leave their families and their jobs on short notice so they can help keep their fellow citizens safe, and I thank them for how quickly they responded to the call of duty. We get a tremendous sense of pride being part of the multi-agency state team and making a difference in our communities.”

Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency July 31 authorizing the VNG’s mobilization as well as other state agencies to organize resources and deploy people and equipment to assist in response and recovery efforts. Isaias was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm, but it still poses a weather threat to the commonwealth. “Hurricane Isaias is a serious storm, and current predictions indicate that it may impact parts of Virginia as early as this weekend,” Northam said. “This state of emergency will ensure localities and communities have the assistance they need to protect the safety of Virginians, particularly as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. I encourage Virginians to take all necessary precautions, monitor local weather forecasts, and stay alert.”

During domestic operations, the VNG receives missions from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and responds as part of a multi-agency team with the Virginia State Police, the Virginia Department of Transportation and other state and local agencies to provide support capabilities to communities in need.

Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Norfolk-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, prepare a convoy to travel to the Eastern Shore in preparation for Tropical Storm Isaias Aug. 3, 2020, in Norfolk, Virginia. (U.S. National Guard photo by A.J. Coyne)

Individuals impacted by severe weather and in need of assistance should contact local authorities or 911 in cases of emergency. Localities looking for National Guard support should send requests to their local and regional emergency management coordinators, and VDEM ensures the appropriate organization provides the resources in a timely manner.”

“It is very important that we get our personnel and equipment staged and ready at the right locations before the severe weather hits so we are able to rapidly respond if needed,” explained Brig. Gen. James Ring, Virginia National Guard director of the joint the staff. More personnel and equipment could be brought on duty if needed, Ring said. Additional Soldiers, Airmen and Virginia Defense Force members will be on duty in Richmond and Fort Pickett and remotely to provide mission command, logistics, administrative and public information support.

VNG personnel supported the state’s COVID-19 response from April through July, and they collected nearly 106,000 testing samples, helped distribute nearly 1,350,000 pounds of food and provided more than 51,000 hours of planning augmentation to VDEM.

About the Virginia National Guard:

The Virginia National Guard is a unique dual-status force with a federal mission to provide a combat reserve for the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force 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. The VNG traces the history and tradition of Citizen-Soldier service to the founding of Jamestown in 1607, and there has been a military presence defending Virginia ever since.

Read more about recent VNG hurricane response operations at https://go.usa.gov/xV9CU.

Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned the Norfolk-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team help clear a road of fallen trees and keep traffic moving Aug. 4, 2020, in Onancock, Virginia. (Photo Courtesy 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery)