29th Infantry Division

Known as the Blue and Gray Division, the 29th Infantry Division is an Army National Guard operational-level headquarters located at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Its origins date back to World War I and is most known for its participation in the D-Day landings at Omaha Beach in World War II. The 29th ID wartime mission is to provide mission command to subordinate brigades and forces tailored for an assigned mission. It is one of eight divisions in the Army National Guard.

The Virginia Army National Guard's 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment and the 29th Infantry Division Band are aligned under the 29th.

The 29th Infantry Division exercises training and readiness oversight over the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team from Florida and Alabama, the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team from Kentucky and Virginia, the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team from North Carolina and West Virginia, the 29th Combat Aviation Brigade from Maryland and Virginia, the 226th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade from Alabama, the 113th Sustainment Brigade from North Carolina and the 142nd Fires Brigade from Arkansas.
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More than 450 National Guard Soldiers assigned to the 29th ID from Virginia and Maryland, as well as Soldiers from seven other states came together to participate in a Warfighter exercise in the fall of 2019 at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania.

These Soldiers, as well as dozens more from the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania- based 28th Infantry Division, the Fort Campbell, Kentucky-based 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington-based I Corps, participated in Warfighter 20-1, a culminating exercise designed to test and formally evaluate the readiness of the division staff to operate as a forward-deployed command headquarters.

Also included in the training audience was the Arkansas National Guard’s 142nd Field Artillery Brigade and 77th Combat Aviation Brigade, the South Carolina National Guard’s 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, the New Mexico National Guard’s 111th Sustainment Brigade and the Virginia National Guard’s 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

In March 2020 Soldiers from the 29th ID were placed on state active duty while supporting various COVID-19 response events including test sites, distribution of food and key supplies and training people how to use personal protective equipment.

Virginia’s emergency declaration March 12 activated the VNG and authorized personnel to begin coming on duty to support COVID-19 response operations. Soldiers of the 29th ID immediately began assisting with operations, logistics and medical planning with the Virginia Emergency Support Team and in multiple Virginia Department of Emergency Management regions across the state.

The VNG established three multi-function “strike teams” in the east, west and central areas of the state. A strike team is a battalion-level mission command headquarters with subordinate units with transportation and material handling capabilities as well as organic medical support. One of these strike teams was commanded by one of the division’s subordinate unit, the 116th IBCT, to assist with loading supplies and transport them where they need to go.

Maj. Gen. John M. Rhodes succeed Maj. Gen. John M. Epperly as the commander of the 29th Infantry Division on Sept. 1, 2020.
Rhodes previously served as the 29th Infantry Division deputy commanding general for operations since Sept. 12, 2018. He served in command and staff positions at every level of the Mississippi Army National Guard and served as Mississippi National Guard Assistant Adjutant General – Army and the commander of the 66th Troop Command prior to his assignment with the 29th.

The 29th Infantry Division assisted federal agencies in securing the nation’s capital before and during the 59th Presidential Inauguration.

Soldiers of the 29th ID were among the more than 26,000 National Guard members from 50 states and three territories who were activated to support the inauguration by augmenting the Capitol Police, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Park Police and D.C. Metro Police Department.
 
The 29th ID leadership commanded Task Force Freedom, comprising of more than 9,000 personnel from 24 states, and was responsible for securing property at the U.S. Capitol, protecting government employees, providing logistical support, staffing traffic control points, and providing crowd management.
 
Virginia National Guard personnel made the transition from citizen to Soldier in a 24-hour period, some with a mere 12-hour warning before they were packing their gear, leaving family, school and jobs behind as they boarded busses. Shortly after arriving in D.C., Soldiers and Airmen started a rotating 12-hour shift schedule to provide 24-hour security details to assist civilian law enforcement in protecting property and providing a safe environment as multiple states started to fill the ranks.
 
According to an announcement made in February 2021, the 29th Infantry Division received a mobilization order for federal active duty in the Middle East. In spring 2021, more than 500 Soldiers of the 29th will begin a 10-month long deployment in the Central Command Area of Operations as Task Force Spartan to provide leadership, command, control, and in-depth staff analysis for Operation Spartan Shield.

This is the second time in recent years the 29th ID has deployed as Task Force Spartan with Soldiers serving on federal active duty from November 2016 to July 2017. They were the first intermediate division headquarters under U.S. Army Central Command and provided mission command for joint training exercises and military-to-military engagements with partner nations to promote regional stability and theater security cooperation.
 
2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment
 
Soldiers assigned to the Sandston-based 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment, 29th Infantry Division traveled to Marine Corps Outlying Field Atlantic in Atlantic, N.C., March 2020, to conduct aerial door gunnery from their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.
 
Virginia National Guard flight crews trained with Chesterfield County Fire and Emergency Medical Services Scuba Rescue Team members on rescue hoist operations Nov. 19, 2020, in Chesterfield, Virginia.
 
In July 2020 Lt. Col. Matthew Lewis took command of 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment, 29th Infantry Division from Lt. Col. James Sheldon.
 
The aviation battalion also welcomed Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph R. Viera to the formation during a change of responsibility ceremony held in Oct. 2020.

29th ID News

Brig. Gen. K. Weedon Gallagher and Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Smith, the Virginia Army National Guard command team, led the marching formation of the parade at the inauguration of Glenn Youngkin as the 74th Governor of Virginia Jan. 15, 2022, in Richmond, Virginia. The formation consisted personnel from the Virginia Army National Guard and Virginia Air National Guard and a joint color guard featuring the U.S. and Virginia flags and the organizational colors of the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and Virginia Defense Force. At previous inaugurations, the organizational colors for the 29th Infantry Division, the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and the 329th Regional Support Group were included in the marching formation, but all three unit headquarters are currently mobilized on federal active duty.
VNG supports the Inauguration of the 74th Governor of Virginia
Jan. 26, 2022
More than 200 Virginia National Guard and Virginia Defense Force personnel were on duty Jan. 15, 2022, in Richmond, Virginia, supporting the inauguration of Glenn Youngkin as the 74th Governor of Virginia.

Lt. Col. James Tierney and Command Sgt. Maj. Duane Wolfe, the Task Force Red Dragon command team, unfurl the battalion colors during a transfer of authority ceremony, Jan. 8, 2022, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.
Task Force Red Dragon takes charge of security mission in Horn of Africa
Jan. 24, 2022
The Virginia National Guard’s Task Force Red Dragon took responsibility for the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa’s security forces mission during a transfer of authority ceremony Jan. 8, 2022, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.

Col. Christopher J. Samulski and Command Sgt. Maj. Irving N. Reed Jr., the command team for the Virginia National Guard’s Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, furl their organizational colors Jan. 5, 2022, in Harrisonburg, Virignia.
VNG brigade HQs, aviation battalion begin mission to Kosovo
Jan. 12, 2022
The Virginia National Guard’s Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Headquarters officially began federal active duty Jan. 5, 2022, to take responsibility for the NATO-led Kosovo Force Regional Command-East, and the Sandston-based 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment, 29th Infantry Division started their mobilization as their aviation task force Jan. 2.

Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Hanover-based Battery A, 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team fire a ceremonial 19-gun salute with M119A3 105mm howitzers at the inauguration of Dr. Ralph Northam as the 73rd Governor of Virginia Jan. 13, 2018, in Richmond, Virginia.
Virginia National Guard to provide support for Governor’s Inauguration
Jan. 10, 2022
More than 200 Virginia National Guard and Virginia Defense Force personnel will be on duty Jan. 15, 2022, in Richmond, Virginia, supporting the inauguration of Glenn Youngkin as the 74th Governor of Virginia.

A group of 29th Infantry Division Soldiers deployed to Kuwait in 2021, who also deployed to Kosovo in 2006 ,pose for a photo. Front row, left to right: Chief Warrant Officer 4 Doug Harris, Lt. Col. Mike Silberman, Sgt. Maj. Harold Murdock, and Sgt. Maj. Michael Mattocks. Back row, left to right: Sgt. Maj. Joel Fix, Master Sgt. Brad Staggs, Sgt. First Class Marcus Bailey, and Maj. Scott Drugo.
29th ID Soldiers who served in Kosovo serve together again in Kuwait
Jan. 4, 2022
It was just over 15 years ago that 12 Soldiers who are presently deployed with the 29th Infantry Division as Task Force Spartan were part of a brigade-sized element that assumed the duties of Task Force Falcon, Kosovo Force 8, Multinational Task Force-East based at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo.

29th ID Organization

Fort Belvoir-based 29th Infantry Division
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Fort Belvoir-based Headquarters Battalion, 29th Infantry Division
https://www.facebook.com/HHBN29ID

  • Fort Belvoir-based Headquarters and Support Company
  • Fort Belvoir-based Operations Company
  • Cheltenham, Md.- based Signal Company (Maryland National Guard)
  • Laurel, Md.- Intelligence and Sustainment Company (Maryland National Guard)
  • Troutville-based 29th Division Band

Sandston-based 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment
 https://www.facebook.com/2ndBattalion224thAviation/

  • Sandston-based Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment
  • Sandston-based Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment
  • Sandston-based Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment
  • Sandston-based Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment
  • Chesterfield-based Detachment 2, Company C, 1st Battalion, 169th Aviation Regiment
  • Chesterfield-based Detachment 1, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 151st Aviation Regiment
  • Sandston-based Detachment 2, Bravo Company, 248th Aviation Support Battalion
  • Chesterfield-based Detachment 1, Company C, 2-245th Aviation Regiment 
Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team