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

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Darrell Busquets
Virginia Army Guard pilot continues family’s aeronautical legacy 
Oct. 15, 2021
When Chief Warrant Officer 3 Darrell Busquets joined the military, it was an enlisted engineer. Since then, he’s trained as an infantryman, deployed as a combat engineer, and earned his wings as an Army aviator. Today, he’s the battalion standardization pilot for the Virginia National Guard’s Sandston-based 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment, 29th Infantry Division. 

Staff Sgt. Shenika Marable, an equal opportunity leader for Task Force Spartan and 29th Infantry Division, shows off a coin she received in commemoration of her honor graduate status from the Equal Opportunity Leaders Course she recently attended. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. True Thao)
Richmond native named honor graduate, Equal Opportunity Leader
Sept. 13, 2021
On her first deployment to Kuwait with the 29th Infantry Division in support of Operation Spartan Shield, Spc. Shenika Marable wistfully wished to be an equal opportunity leader (EOL) for the unit. Army regulations that required an EOL be a sergeant-promotable or higher rank dashed her hopes.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Sandra Williams and her son, Spc. Alexander Williams, share a light moment during a recent visit. (U.S. photo by Sgt. Marc Loi)
29th ID mother, son deployed together
Sept. 11, 2021
When deployed Chief Warrant Officer 3 Sandra Williams misses her son, Alex, she doesn’t have to do math to figure out what time it is where he is located before calling him. Because they are deployed together in support of Operation Spartan Shield, the mother-son combo not only share the same moon – they share the same time zone.

Virginia Army National Guard Spc. Toraj Rozbeh, who was born and raised in Afghanistan before immigrating to the United States, is deployed to Kuwait with the 29th Infantry Division. He is serving as an interpreter and cultural adviser for the Task Force Freedom command team during Operation Allies Refuge.
Afghan-American 29ID Soldier supports Afghanistan evacuation efforts
Sept. 10, 2021
U.S. Army Soldiers are embracing opportunities to support Afghanistan evacuation efforts in every way possible. Spc. Toraj Rozbeh, an Information Operations Specialist currently deployed to Kuwait with the Army National Guard’s 29th Infantry Division, Task Force Spartan, U.S. Army Central, is sharing and maximizing his ethnicity as an Afghan American to assist with building bridges and easing the processes throughout Operation Allies Refuge efforts.

Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Norfolk-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team conduct an indirect fire exercise Aug. 6, 2021, at Fort Pickett, Virginia. Thunder Soldiers conducted dry runs before live-firing their 155-millimeter howitzers. During the training, Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, and Col. Chris Samulski, commander of the 116th IBCT, visited with the unit and thanked them for their hard work. The training was part of the Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team’s annual training being held July 31 through Aug. 15, 2021, at Fort Pickett. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Holden Russell)
Virginia National Guard Norfolk-based artillery battalion to mobilize for federal duty in the Middle East
Aug. 30, 2021
The Virginia National Guard’s Norfolk-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team will mobilize for federal active duty in late Fall 2021 according to an announcement made Aug. 30, 2021, by Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia.

The Shield Newsletter

29th ID Organization

Fort Belvoir-based 29th Infantry Division
https://www.facebook.com/29thID/

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