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About the Virginia National Guard
The Virginia National Guard is a unique dual-status force with a federal mission to provide a combat reserve for the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force to fight our nation’s wars and a state mission to provide a response force that answers the call of the Governor to defend the commonwealth. The VNG traces the history and tradition of Citizen-Soldier service to the founding of Jamestown in 1607, and there has been a military presence defending Virginia ever since.
The VNG’s current strength is approximately 7,200 Soldiers, 1,200 Airmen, 300 Virginia Defense Force members and 400 federal and state civilians, and they bring more than $250 million in annual income into the commonwealth.
VNG facilities are valued at more than $1.6 billion and in the last four years have brought more than $325 million worth of military construction and facility improvement projects into the state. VNG has more than $1.8 billion in military equipment, much of which is available at no cost to the commonwealth for use during emergency response operations across the state.
From August 2021 to December 2022, more than 2,000 Virginia National Guard personnel have mobilized on federal active duty in the United States and overseas, the most since 2007. VNG Soldiers on duty in the U.S. provided engineer, transportation and unmanned aerial surveillance support to the Department of Defense-approved mission assisting Customs and Border Protection on the Southwest Border and cyberspace operations support to U.S. Cyber Command. Soldiers deployed overseas provided mission command for multi-national forces in Kuwait, mission command and base life support in Iraq and Kuwait, a security response force in the Horn of Africa, air defense site security in Iraq and conducted NATO peace support operations in Kosovo.
VNG Airmen also supported a short-notice air superiority support in the United Arab Emirates. VNG Soldiers are currently providing engineer utilities support in Kuwait and are scheduled to return in early 2023. Since September 11, 2001, more than 18,500 VNG Soldiers and Airmen have mobilized across the globe and here in the United States for homeland security missions.
Primary Warfighting Capabilities
VaARNG: Light infantry and cavalry, towed field artillery, rotary wing aviation, combat engineer, sustainment and cyber
VaANG: F-22 fighter jet air dominance, civil engineer, cyber operations, weather forecasting and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
Primary Domestic Response Capabilities
VaARNG: High mobility transportation, rotary wing rescue hoist, cyber network defense, urban search and rescue, HAZMAT detection and decontamination
VaANG: Civil engineer, imagery analysis, incident awareness and assessment, weather forecasting, medical triage
VDF: Operations center augmentation, civil support security, interoperable radio communications, regional liaison, incident management assistance
Virginia Department of Military Affairs
The Virginia Department of Military Affairs is the state agency that provides leadership and administrative support to the Virginia Army National Guard, Virginia Air National Guard and Virginia Defense Force. DMA plans, coordinates, maintains situational awareness and employs VaARNG, VaANG and VDF forces for homeland security and homeland defense in order to respond to any incidents within the commonwealth.
Virginia National Guard Sergeant Bob Slaughter Headquarters at Defense Supply Center Richmond: The 102,000 square foot, $30 million building meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold requirements and is the first structure purpose built to serve as a headquarters for the VNG in its more than 410-year history. The headquarters houses a state-of-the-art Joint Operations Center and work spaces for collaboration with agency partners and mission command support during routine and domestic response operations.
Fort Pickett Maneuver Training Center near Blackstone: more than 225 full-time state and federal employees provide support to tenant and training units on approximately 41,000 acres featuring a combination of open and wooded terrain maneuver areas and 21 ranges capable of supporting almost any weapons system in the U. S. Army inventory with barracks to support more than 5,000 personnel as well as an Army airfield operation.
State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach: More than 20 personnel full-time state and federal employees provide support to tenant organizations and training using at the state-owned, 328-acre installation for National Guard units, as well as all other DoD, active duty and reserve units and public safety organizations with facilities including a live-fire qualification range, nine different virtual trainers, wooded training areas, helipad, airfield damage repair site, beach and amphibious landing site.
Army Aviation Support Facility in Sandston: provides full-time support to aviation units including flight operations, safety, maintenance, standardization and training. Approximately 120 full-time employees at the AASF and the annex at the Chesterfield County Airport support a number of aircraft including 18 UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters, three HH-60 medical evacuation Black Hawk helicopters, four UH-72 Lakota light utility helicopters and a C-12 twin turboprop passenger and cargo aircraft.
Fort Pickett Maneuver Area Training Equipment Site: More than 100 personnel assigned to the MATES provide maintenance support for 112 units and more than 500 combat vehicles and other equipment positioned at Fort Pickett including M1 tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, howitzers and a variety of other tracked and wheeled vehicles. In addition to VNG vehicles, MATES personnel maintain equipment assigned to the North Carolina, West Virginia and Pennsylvania Army National Guard which is drawn when units from those states come to Fort Pickett for training. In addition to vehicle maintenance shops, MATES also contains supply areas and repair shops including vehicle painting, body work, communications equipment and small arms.
Field Maintenance Shops: More than 100 personnel work at the 13 Field Maintenance Shops spread out over different locations throughout the commonwealth with the mission to provide field maintenance support for surface equipment that is beyond the capabilities of supported VNG units. The FMS maintains authorized repair parts and supplies, and it provides contact teams to repair equipment and return it to the unit to conduct operations and training. They also provide maintenance support to VNG units conducting domestic response operations.
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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116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team
The 116th IBCT is authorized approximately 3,500 Soldiers and is the largest major command in the Virginia National Guard. The 116th has units throughout Virginia from Winchester to Pulaski along I-81, from Staunton to Virginia Beach along I-64, from Danville to Lynchburg to Warrenton along Route 29 as well as Fredericksburg, Manassas and Leesburg. An infantry battalion based in Barbourville, Kentucky, is also aligned with the 116th for training and readiness oversight. A brigade combat team is the basic deployable unit of maneuver in the U.S. Army and carries with it support units necessary to sustain its operations away from its parent division. The 116th consists of three infantry battalions, a cavalry squadron, a field artillery battalion, a brigade support battalion and brigade engineer battalion.
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329th Regional Support Group
Constituted July 18, 1917, in the Virginia National Guard as Headquarters, 54th Field Artillery Brigade, and assigned to the 29th Division, the unit was converted and reorganized September 1, 2008, as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 329th Regional Support Group. The RSG consists of the 276th Engineer Battalion, the 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion and the 1030th Transportation Battalion.
Today, the unit deploys to provide contingency and expeditionary base operations support, with responsibilities for managing facilities, providing administrative and logistical support of Soldier services, and ensuring the security of personnel and facilities on a base camp. The RSG provides mission command of assigned units during homeland security, homeland defense, and civil support missions within the United States, to include managing the reception, staging, onward movement, and integration of supporting forces.
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91st Cyber Brigade
The 91st Cyber Brigade was officially activated on Sept. 1, 2017, and is the Army National Guard’s first and only cyber brigade. The brigade consists of five battalions, five cyber security companies, five cyber warfare companies, and 11 cyber protection teams arrayed across more than 30 states. The primary mission of the brigade is to provide training and readiness oversight over these units, as well as operational command and control when needed.
The 91st Cyber Brigade was conceived in November 2016, approved in February 2017, and activated in September 2017, making it one of the fastest implementations of force structure from conception to activation in National Guard history.
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183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute
The Virginia Army National Guard’s 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute has a rich history and is recognized as one of the best warrior training locations due to the ability to leverage world class instructors and modern classroom facilities, as well as the extensive training resources at Fort Pickett. This allows the Regional Training Institute to enhance our Warriors’ mastery of their craft while honing their leadership skills.
The Regiment is comprised of over 100 of the finest trainers in the Virginia Army National Guard organized into three battalions. The Regional Training Institute specializes in a multitude of areas, to include the 11B, 11C and 88M Military Occupational Skill transition courses, the Air Assault and Pathfinder mobile training teams, the Light Leader and Rappel Master courses, the Virginia Army National Guard’s Marksmanship Program, and the Officer and Warrant Officer Candidate Schools.
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The Virginia Air National Guard's192nd Wing's mission is to provide a fully-trained organization of volunteer-Airmen dedicated to protect and defend the vital interests of the nation, state and community. The wing provides combat-ready personnel and equipment to support United States’ national security objectives in a federal capacity; protects life and property and preserves peace, order and safety in a state capacity; and participates in local, state and national programs that add value to the U.S. in a community capacity.
The 192nd is headquartered at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. In addition to state missions, the wing associates with the regular Air Force, spanning three major commands, and performs stand-alone federal missions. The wing is comprised of four groups assigned to specific areas of expertise required to execute the missions: 192nd Operations Group, 192nd Maintenance Group, 192nd Mission Support Group and 192nd Medical Group.
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Virginia Army National Guard Medical Command helps foster the medical readiness aspect of the Virginia Army National Guard. Through force health protection, medical and dental support, Virginia Soldiers meet the operational, training and mobilization readiness that is required to execute any mission that is received by the state.
When directed, Medical Command provides medical assets to support units that are tasked with the protection of life, property, preservation of peace, order and public safety accomplished by National Guard Civil Support in the case of disaster response, humanitarian relief, civil disturbance, counter drug operations, and combating terrorism. Medical Command is able to execute this mission because it is staffed with all health care professionals that include, but are not limited to, patient administration, combat medics, nurses, physician assistants, doctors, surgeons, public health professionals, dental health care specialists and dentists. Together, the assigned 72 Soldiers execute this mission every year, keeping the Virginia Army National Guard a medically-ready force.
News about Medical Command: https://ngpa.us/23487
Virginia Defense Force
The VDF is authorized by Title 44 of the Code of the Virginia as the all-volunteer reserve of the Virginia National Guard, and it serves as a force multiplier integrated into all Guard domestic operations. The VDF reports to the Adjutant General of Virginia as part of the Virginia Department of Military Affairs along with the Virginia Army and Air National Guard.
Members of the VDF volunteer their time for training and are only paid when called to state active duty by an authorization from the Governor of Virginia.
In addition to current mission sets like interoperable communications, operations center augmentation, incident management assistance and public information, the VDF will train personnel for more general support to civil authorities and emergency response capabilities. The VDF is also growing cyber defense capabilities and has assisted with numerous Virginia National Guard network security assessments for Virginia localities in a state active duty status.
Visit the VDF website: https://vdf.virginia.gov/
News about the VDF: https://ngpa.us/23488
Counterdrug Task Force
Established in 1989, the Counterdrug Task Force supports law enforcement and drug prevention partners with reducing the impact of illegal drugs in the Commonwealth. In Fiscal Year 2022, the Task Force supported law enforcement agencies with 590 criminal investigations that resulted in the denied revenue of $750 million to criminal organizations and the arrest of over 800 suspects.
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State Partnership Program
Established in 2003, the goal of the State Partnership Program is to establish broad reaching, friendly ties between partner states and partner countries at all levels of society utilizing the National Guard as the catalyzing force and means of support. September 2016 marked the 25th anniversary of Tajikistan’s independence, and the partnership between the Virginia National Guard and Tajikistan is in its 14th year. As part of the SPP, the Virginia National Guard regularly conducts information exchanges on a variety of subjects related to security and emergency response operations. The Guard also facilitates trips from Tajikistani officials to the United States.
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Funeral Honors Program
The Virginia National Guard Military Funeral Honors Program started in January 2007, and it is composed of five teams located throughout the state which provide funeral details, not just to National Guard Soldiers but to veterans of the active Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard. They have performed more than 21,000 funeral services throughout the commonwealth and average almost 190 services each month.
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Commonwealth ChalleNGe Youth Academy is the Virginia component of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program based at the Camp Pendleton State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach, Virginia. ChalleNGe is a 17-and-a-half-month program that is structured in a military-style environment designed to promote academics, attention to detail, time management, and leadership, while promoting self-esteem, confidence and pride. The program is open to 16-18 year olds, and the cadets work toward earning their GED, or multiple high school credits through the Credit Recovery program. Cadets either return to high school, enlist in the armed forces, college or trade school, once they’ve completed the five-and-a-half-month residential phase of the program, then enter a one year Mentoring phase. More than 5,000 Virginia teens have graduated from Commonwealth ChalleNGe since it started in 1994.
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Visit the Commonwealth ChalleNGe website: https://www.vachallenge.org/
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STARBASE is a Department of Defense educational program, sponsored by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs where students participate in challenging activities in science, technology, engineering and math. The STARBASE mission is to expose our nation’s youth to the technological environments and positive civilian and military role models found on Active, Guard, and Reserve military bases and installations, nurture a winning network of collaborators, and build mutual loyalty within our communities, by providing 5 days, 25 hours of exemplary hands-on instruction and activities that meet or exceed the National Standards. The Winchester STARBASE Academy at the Winchester Readiness Center immerses students in a unique classroom experience where all activities are student-centered, hands-on, encourage higher order thinking, and incorporate STEM applications in the real world.
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Family and Youth Programs
The Family Programs Office primary mission is to establish comprehensive programs that facilitate ongoing communication, involvement, support and recognition between National Guard families and the National Guard through partnership that promotes the best in both. The Family Programs Office facilitates this through education, outreach services, and partnerships leveraging resources, training, and constantly capitalizing on new capabilities, concepts, and technological advances to promote Family readiness before, during and after mobilization through effective reintegration processes.
Virginia Family Assistance Center Specialists logged a total of 3,793 cases, 49,732 quick-trackers, and 150,000 mass communications. A total of 5,325 wellness calls were provided in support to deployed family members, resulting in Soldiers and families receiving $198,000 in direct financial assistance. The Airman and Family Readiness Program Manager provided 317 formal one-on-one consults to Airmen/family members, 726 informal consults, 18 workshops and 7 outreach events.
The Yellow Ribbon team planned and organized two predeployment, three during-deployment and five post-deployment Yellow Events with over 985 soldiers and 1,175 families attending. The program also ran the first joint Yellow Ribbon Event held in the State which incorporated partnerships between Maryland and Virginia in support of the 29th ID.
Youth Program highlights included one summer camp, eight community resource meetings and support to 10 Yellow Ribbon events focused on teaching resilience communication throughout all phases of deployment. They had 21 Teen Panel Members, four State Teen Panel Training Calls and two State Teen Panel Leadership Trainings.
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34th Civil Support Team
The mission of the 34th Civil Support Team is to support civil authorities during a domestic incident. These incidents can include a terrorist attack or threatened terrorist attack, a natural or manmade disaster in the United States, clandestine/drug lab evidence collection, and/or an unintentional release of nuclear, biological, radiological, toxic or poisonous chemicals. The 34th CST supports the requesting agency by identifying unknown substances, assessing current and projected consequences, advising on response measures, and assisting with appropriate requests for additional support.
The 34th CST is a joint Army and Air National Guard unit of 22 full-time specialized Soldiers and Airmen. It consists of six sections that support each other during operations. The command section of three personnel provides leadership and liaisons allowing the team to meet the objectives of the requesting civilian agency. The operations section of two personnel plans and executes all training and real world missions. The survey section of eight personnel conducts the down range operations during an incident. This section enters the contaminated area in order to physically survey and collect samples for analysis. The decon section of three personnel provides the team with an internal decontamination. The communications section of two personnel has highly specialized equipment to provide the team and local agencies with phones, internet, and radios. The medical section of four personnel supports the team with a physician assistant and combat medic for medical emergencies. In addition, it also includes a nuclear science officer who has a mobile laboratory and ability to conduct analysis and identify samples of unknown substances collected.
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The Richmond-based34th CERFP is capable of providing support to first responders and civilian authorities after a chemical, biological or nuclear incident. The team includes both Virginia Army and Air National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from across the commonwealth, as well as Airmen from the Washington, D.C. National Guard. The team is capable of conducting tasks including consequence management, incident site communications, urban search and rescue, mass causality decontamination, technical decontamination, medical triage and stabilization and human remains recovery.
If an incident requiring CERFP support occurs, Soldiers and Airmen are alerted through the Virginia National Guard’s Joint Operations Center and mobilized on state active duty. If the incident is located within Virginia they would proceed to the incident site and fall under the control of the incident commander. If the incident is located outside of Virginia, Joint Force Headquarters – Virginia would coordinate with the receiving state under the terms agreed to in the Emergency Mutual Aid Compact.
Virginia’s 34th CERFP was authorized in June 2006. There are currently 27 CERFP teams available nationwide with three in FEMA Region 3 in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia.
The 34th CERFP conducted a mass casualty response drill as part of a collective training exercise May 24 - 27, 2022, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. During the four-day training event, the group responded to different mock scenarios, forcing the team to use the full spectrum of their capabilities in challenging weather conditions.
Read more about the CERFP at https://ngpa.us/23126.
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