Virginia National Guard Hurricane Response

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.

During domestic operations, the VNG receives missions through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management to assist the Virginia State Police and other state and local emergency service organizations as part of the state emergency response team. As the commander in chief of the Virginia National Guard, the Governor of Virginia authorizes VNG personnel and equipment to mobilize for emergency response operations.

Since 2001, the VNG 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.

If another state needs VNG resources to augment their capabilities, they make requests for assistance through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. EMAC is the national system used to facilitate resources across state lines during an emergency or disaster. Requests for assistance are reviewed by VDEM, and they would provide a recommendation to the Governor. Deploying the VNG outside of Virginia requires the Governor’s authorization.

In recent hurricane response operations, VNG personnel have provided transportation through high water with Humvees and light/medium tactical trucks, debris reduction by personnel operating chain chains, transportation and distribution of food, water and other supples, and rotary wing aviation rescue hoist.

Virginia National Guard Hurricane Readiness Resources:
https://vaguard.dodlive.mil/2018/06/01/13145/

Recent VNG Hurricane Response Operations

VNG supports multi-state, multi-agency response to Hurricane Florence

RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia National Guard staged more than 1,500 personnel Sept. 12, 2018, at key locations across the commonwealth to support local and state emergency management officials with possible response to Hurricane Florence, but most were not needed when the storm turned further south. When Governor Ralph Northam authorized Virginia’s resources could be redirected to North Carolina, the VNG sent sent approximately 40 Soldiers and 20 light medium tactical vehicles to support with recovery efforts where the hurricane caused widespread flooding.

Read more:
https://vaguard.dodlive.mil/2018/09/20/11999/

Photos on Flickr:
1173rd Soldiers drive through high water to deliver supplies in N.C.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157671412935447

Virginia Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team departs for South Carolina

RICHMOND, Va. — 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 potential loss of life, limb or eyesight or significant property damage. The HART deployed to Texas in September 2017 to assist the Texas National Guard with response to Hurricane Harvey.

Read more:
https://vaguard.dodlive.mil/2018/09/22/12016/

The HART trains at least once a quarter to ensure they are able to respond if needed. Photos from their most recent training are available at the link below:

Virginia HART practices confined space rescue hoists
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/albums/72157709173891803

Multi-state National Guard team assisting with U.S. Virgin Islands recovery

ST. CROIX, U.S. Virgin Islands – Almost 2,000 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are conducting recovery operations in the U.S. Virgin Islands, focusing on providing much-needed supplies to citizens and assisting local authorities with security after hurricanes battered the region. The Virginia National Guard’s Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team serves as the mission command headquarters for Joint Task Force Stonewall, a multi-state, multi-service team providing a variety of capabilities to support the U.S. Virgin Islands National Guard and territory leadership. They are also coordinating with the more than 250 active duty military personnel assisting with recovery operations as well as civilian responders.

Read more:
https://vaguard.dodlive.mil/2017/10/04/10409/

Photos on Flickr:
Virginia Guard Soldiers distribute food, water in U.S. Virgin Islands
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/albums/72157687418358303

VDF augments Virginia National Guard support for Hurricane Florence

RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Defense Force brought nearly 50 personnel on state active duty to assist the Virginia National Guard with the statewide response to Hurricane Florence Sept. 9-18, 2018. VDF personnel provided multiple capabilities including interoperable communications, operations center augmentation, operations center liaison, incident management assistance, state-managed shelter logistics and public information.

Read more:
https://vaguard.dodlive.mil/2018/09/21/12009/

Va. National Guard helicopters support Hurricane Harvey recovery

SANDSTON, Va. — The Virginia National Guard sent approximately 40 Soldiers and six helicopters to Texas to assist with Hurricane Harvey recovery operations Aug. 31, 2017, and after transporting medical personnel and supplies, they safely returned to Virginia Sept. 6. With the Texas National Guard shifting operations from search and rescue to critical life support and logistics support, the helicopters and crews were able to return to Virginia to be ready for possible impacts from Hurricane Irma. Three rescue technicians from the Chesterfield County Fire and Emergency Medical Service Scuba Rescue Team also deployed with the Guard.

Read more:
https://vaguard.dodlive.mil/2017/09/07/10344/

Photos on Flickr:
Va. Guard aviators transport medical personnel, supplies in Texas
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/albums/72157688612974515

Va. Guard supports state response to Hurricane Matthew

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — More than 160 Virginia National Guard Soldiers served on state active duty to assist with the multi-agency state response to Hurricane Matthew Oct. 9-10, 2016, in the Hampton Roads area. Soldiers driving Humvees and light/medium tactical trucks provided high water transportation and were also organized into teams with chain saws to help clear debris and open roads blocked by fallen trees.

Read more:
https://vaguard.dodlive.mil/2016/10/12/9243/

Photos on Flickr:
Photos: 116th IBCT Soldiers clear blocked road in Va. Beach
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/albums/72157671579227884

Raw video: Va. Guard assists with Hurricane Matthew response
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBPJD7n-4IM

Photos: Soldiers help clear debris in Virginia Beach
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/albums/72157671541480183

Photos: Soldiers transport Hampton Police on route assessment
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/albums/72157673671174522