Adjutant General COVID-19 Update: April 10, 2020
Virginia National Guard Team:
It has been almost a month since Virginia declared a state of emergency and launched a multi-agency response to COVID-19 and activated the Virginia National Guard and Virginia Defense Force so we could do our part to help the fight.
We have approximately 300 personnel on duty supporting response efforts, and are postured to bring additional personnel on duty based on the needs of the Commonwealth. This includes Soldiers, Airmen and members of the VDF assisting with operations, logistics and medical planning. Additionally, Soldiers are assisting with logistics support at warehouse operations and mobile testing sites at several locations in the state.
Supporting the Commonwealth’s fight against COVID-19 is the most important thing we are doing now, and I have directed the planning for all annual training events this summer be suspended so we are focused on what matters most – assisting our fellow Virginians. Our planners will provide details on what AT will look like as soon as possible.
We received the authorization for Title 32 federal funding, and we hope to have Soldiers and Airmen on official orders soon. This is a huge step for the National Guard nationwide, and it means our VNG personnel will receive federal pay and benefits. Remember that under Title 32, we still remain under state control and the Governor of Virginia is still our commander in chief.
Protecting our force remains our top priority. All personnel conducting support operations for COVID-19 response are following the prescribed health protection guidelines of social distancing, cloth face coverings and hand washing to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep people healthy.
This past weekend, many of our units conducted drill remotely where they focused on distance learning training. We will continue this approach through April as well as May. Our training plan in June will depend on the health protection guidelines in place at that time.
Some training and maintaining can’t be done remotely. We are still conducting flight operations to maintain currency, and our maintenance personnel are using staggered schedules to meet the social distancing guidelines. A special thanks to all these personnel who are making sure our equipment is ready to go when we need it.
While our primary focus has been on our operations here in Virginia, it is very important we remember our Soldiers and Airmen deployed overseas on federal active duty. We have been in contact with those personnel, and they are safe and secure. They continue to conduct their missions using the appropriate health protection measures, and we all keep them in our thoughts and prayers for the challenging work they are doing.
As is the case with everything we do in the VNG and VDF, we couldn’t accomplish our mission without the support of our families, employers and communities. These are difficult times, but it is good to see everyone rally behind us and help us meet this challenge. Our Family Programs team is doing great work answering questions and helping people find the resources they need, and we all appreciate their important efforts.
Thanks to everyone for pulling together and working as a team during this crisis. You are what makes our state and nation great and we’ll get through this!
Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams,
28th Adjutant General of Virginia