“Three Things” Spring 2022 – VNG Land Component Commander Update

Virginia Army National Guard Team:   I would like to start this message by welcoming home the Soldiers of the 29th Infantry Division. As the 29th was among the first of our units to mobilize last year, I look forward to welcoming home even more Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers in the coming months. With the D-Day anniversary approaching, I am reminded of the legacy of sacrifice and service in our Formation. While so much has changed in our world over these last 78 years, the Soldiers of the Virginia Army National Guard are still answering the call of our Nation and leaving their families and homes to serve overseas. Thank you, welcome home, and well done.    Thing One: Army Combat Fitness Test Changes    I am sure many of you have now seen the changes to the Army Combat Fitness Test, or ACFT, including the removal of the leg tuck, the permanent addition of the plank for all Soldiers, and a standardized scoring system by gender and age. The reserve component has also been given another year to prepare before the ACFT is our test of record. During the height of the pandemic, I know many of us, myself included, spent time and effort practicing our mental toughness. While mental resilience is one of the most important skills we maintain as Soldiers, it must be accompanied by physical resilience. It’s time for all of us to rise to the challenge of the ACFT and devote time to our physical toughness. Take a look at the revised ACFT information by visiting https://www.army.mil/acft/.     Thing Two: Fieldcraft    With the summer approaching and significant COVID-19 restraints in the rearview, now is the perfect time to hone our fieldcraft. For the last few years, Army leaders have been changing the way we fight and train. Our expertise conducting counterinsurgency operations, or COIN, in Iraq and Afghanistan came at an expense; much of our field craft expertise atrophied. In recent years, we have refocused our training efforts on large-scale combat operations, also known as LSCO, which depends heavily on field craft to engage and destroy near-peer competitors. Recent world events have reinforced the need for our refocus on LSCO. It is crucial, now more than ever, that we stand trained and ready to respond to whatever challenges lie ahead. During this annual training season, our fire teams should focus on becoming tight-knit and lethal small teams while our battle staffs become reacquainted with tactical operations; integrating vertically, and combining fires for mass effect. In essence, if we train to effectively move, shoot, and communicate, we can defeat any adversary.     Thing Thee: Expanding our Team    We have an outstanding team of recruiters in the Virginia Army National Guard. They work tirelessly to find dedicated and hard-working men and women to fill out our Formation. In many ways, they are the face of the Virginia Army National Guard in our local communities and spend each day identifying and recruiting talent for our organization. However, no number of recruiters could match the scale and impact of each one of you being an advocate for our team within your circles of influence. If you see someone who you think would be a good fit for the Army National Guard, speak up! Input their information as a lead for our recruiting team on the Virginia National Guard app on Android or Apple devices or click here: https://apps.bfac.com/m/vaguard/. Each year, the Virginia Army National Guard conducts professional development training in conjunction with the anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France. This year, the Virginia Army National Guard is inviting five Soldiers to join us June 2-10, 2022, as we visit battlefields, view exhibitions, attend symposiums and come together with partner nations and our sister services. Interested Soldiers should submit a memo explaining why they would like to participate in the training and send it to ng.va.vaarng.mbx.ngva-rr-bn-s3@army.mil by May 8, 2022. Lead champions, or those Soldiers who log the most recruiting leads, will be given preference during the selection process. While the deadline for this has almost passed, we plan to do something similar for the summer season. To keep up with the latest news, follow us on social media at @vanationalguard or at the VNG's official web site at https://va.ng.mil/. Thank you, as always, for your hard work and for choosing to be a part of our organization. Service is a continual choice, a decision that we keep making year after year. So, to you and your families, thank you and I look forward to seeing you around the Formation. Death to Tyrants,                                                                                                                                      K. WEEDON GALLAGHER Brigadier General, VaARNG Land Component Commander