“Three Things” Spring 2021 – VNG Land Component Commander Update
Virginia Army National Guard Team,
Since the time of my last message, our operational environment has continued to evolve. However, I find that in the ways that count, our situation is unchanging. Despite ever shifting conditions and unprecedented challenges, we are a professional and capable force standing ready to serve our Commonwealth and Nation when called upon. Over the last quarter a large proponent of our Formation answered that call and in the months to come, many more will follow. In reflection of the past few months and in anticipation of the hard work yet to come, my three things for this quarter are as follows:
The Vaccine. Each day, increasing numbers of our Soldiers choose to become fully vaccinated. We are making great strides in this area thanks to MEDCOM’s tireless efforts but still have a long road ahead of us when it comes to vaccinating our force. We need your help. We need your willingness to take a positive step towards protecting your health and securing the welfare of our Formation. Every Soldier who receives the vaccine helps mitigate not only the spread of COVID-19 to their unit but also the spread of the virus to their loved ones and local communities. The vaccine is available to all Virginia National Guard uniformed personnel, civilians, tri-care eligible dependents over the age of seventeen and tri-care retirees. Individual appointments can be scheduled by visiting the following website: https://informatics-stage.health.mil/VANGCOVIDApp/COVID.aspx
2. We Can’t Learn Fieldcraft Remotely. As we distribute the vaccine throughout our formations, it is also time that we look towards the future and a return to METL training. Over the next 12 months, we are planning for multiple possible overseas deployments. It is an exciting time to be in the Virginia Army National Guard and to represent U.S. interests abroad. However, we will not be successful in our mission-sets unless we first recognize the unique challenges ahead of us and prepare ourselves accordingly. The bulk of our formations have been conducting remote training for the majority of this year and as any Soldier knows, we cannot learn our fieldcraft remotely. To build cohesive teams, we must train as a team. To truly know our battle drills, we must practice. In short, to deploy we must be ready. If you feel ill prepared for what lies ahead, I challenge you to get ready. Take advantage of every opportunity to train yourself. Bring your A-game to every drill and annual training. Now more than ever, focus on Soldier care and the readiness of your teams. I know you are up to the rigors of the months ahead.
3. The Importance of Political Agnosticism. As Soldiers we are members of a profession. Like all professions, we must conduct ourselves according to a code. I believe that we must be a politically agnostic force to respond with efficacy and integrity to the call of our Commonwealth and Nation. When we, as an organization, violate our apolitical creed, we erode the trust of our Nation in our warfighting abilities. As a member of the Virginia Guard team you are either hindering or assisting our efforts to be an impartial and trustworthy pillar of our Nation’s defense. I implore each of you to use good judgement in how your political beliefs manifest themselves in your daily lives. Please take a look at the Adjutant General’s policy letter below for details regarding online standards of conduct. Remember that the dedication of our Armed Forces is and will always be to the Constitution of the United States of America.
As always, thank you for your steadfast dedication to our Commonwealth and Nation. I look forward to seeing you all around the Formation.
Death to Tyrants,
K. WEEDON GALLAGHER
Brigadier General, VaARNG
Land Component Commander