RICHMOND, Va. -- The Virginia National Guard has staged approximately 60 Soldiers and 20 vehicles for state emergency support duty in the northwest area of the state Dec. 16, 2020, and they are ready to assist local and state emergency agencies respond to potential impacts from heavy snow along the I-81 and I-66 corridors. Expected missions for the VNG include using Humvees and light/medium tactical trucks to provide transportation for first responders through deep snow or help evacuate citizens in need of shelter as well as providing debris reduction teams with chain saws to help clear roads if needed.
“I am incredibly proud of how quickly and safely our personnel responded to the call to stage for possible winter storm response operations,” said Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. “Our men and women leave their families and their jobs on short notice so they can be available for duty, and I thank them for their dedication. Our state partners count on us to provide the capabilities requested by Virginia communities, and we are honored to be part of the multi-agency team helping our fellow Virginians in times of need.”
Soldiers assigned to the Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team have Soldiers staged in the Staunton, Winchester and Warrenton readiness centers and prepared to assist communities if needed. Additional Soldiers, Airmen and Virginia Defense Force members are on duty providing mission command, sustainment and public information support.
Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Dec. 15 with Executive Order 73 authorizing the VNG’s mobilization as well as other state agencies to organize resources and deploy people and equipment to assist in response and recovery efforts.
During domestic operations, the VNG receives missions from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and responds as part of a multi-agency team with the Virginia State Police, the Virginia Department of Transportation and other state and local agencies to provide support capabilities to communities in need.
Individuals impacted by severe weather and in need of assistance should contact local authorities or 911 in cases of emergency. Localities looking for National Guard support should send requests to their local and regional emergency management coordinators, and VDEM ensures the appropriate organization provides the resources in a timely manner.
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.
View photos of Soldiers preparing for possible mission on Flickr:
Virginia National Guard staged and ready for possible winter storm response operations