NEWS | Aug. 30, 2021

Virginia National Guard Norfolk-based artillery battalion to mobilize for federal duty in the Middle East

By Cotton Puryear | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office

The Virginia National Guard’s Norfolk-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team will mobilize for federal active duty in late Fall 2021 according to an announcement made Aug. 30, 2021, by Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. Approximately 330 Soldiers will deploy to the Central Command area of operations in the Middle East to provide personnel and site protection using the Counter-Rocket, Artillery and Mortar System, or C-RAM.

The C-RAM was developed to protect people and installations from attack by enemy rockets, artillery and mortar fire. C-RAM capable units intercept and destroy those threats mid-flight. The C-RAM is several sub-systems working together to identify, track, engage and destroy incoming rockets, artillery and mortar threats.

“While C-RAM is not a traditional field artillery mission, I know the Soldiers of 1-111th have proven themselves smart, adaptable and resilient,” Williams said. “I have no doubt they will master the weapons system and be ready to accomplish their mission when they arrive in the Middle East.”

Williams said the VNG is on pace to mobilize the most Soldiers and Airmen since 2007, and the 29th Infantry Division will mobilize the most Soldiers since World War II with troops deploying from units in Virginia, Maryland and Kentucky.

The Soldiers will begin federal active duty in late Fall 2021, spend two months training on the C-RAM, then deploy to multiple locations in the Middle East. The full mobilization is expected to last about 12 months.

“This is definitely a unique deployment,” said Lt. Col. Donald Bailey, commander of the 1-111th. “Although C-RAM capabilities exist outside the mission of the field artillery, our Soldiers remain excited about the opportunity to learn about, train for and support this vital protection mission.”

Bailey explained operational missions such as the C-RAM build readiness and enhance our capability to rapidly respond to disasters and emergencies in the commonwealth.

“I have every confidence this Battalion will prove itself ready and perform with distinction in support of U.S. Central Command’s priorities,” he said. “After an unprecedented period of response to domestic emergencies, including the extended deployment of over 300 Soldiers to the U.S. Capitol to perform security missions in support of federal authorities, I want to extend a special thanks to our families and employers for their continued support and remarkable sacrifice as we transition to pre-mobilization training activities and prepare for the deployment.”

While Soldiers from the 1-111th have previously mobilized for overseas duty, this is the first time the battalion headquarters and all three batteries have deployed since World War II.

The following units will be mobilized:

- Norfolk-based Headquaters Battery, 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team
- Hanover-based Alpha Battery, 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team
- Norfolk-based Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team
- Hampton-based Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team
- Norfolk-based Foxtrot Company, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team

Current and planned VNG federal active duty mobilizations: 

- Approximately 500 Virginia and Maryland National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Fort Belvoir-based 29th Infantry Division are currently on federal active duty in the Central Command Area of Operations as Task Force Spartan to provide leadership, command, control and in-depth staff analysis for Operation Spartan Shield.  

- Approximately 80 Soldiers assigned to the Virginia Beach-based 329th Regional Support Group are scheduled for mobilization in Fall 2021 to the Central Command Area of Operations under the operational control of Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve serving as the base operating support-integrator for multiple installations. 

- Approximately 1,000 Virginia and Kentucky National Guard Soldiers assigned to Lynchburg-based 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team are scheduled to mobilize in Fall 2021 to provide a security force in support of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa. 

- Approximately 100 VNG Soldiers assigned to the Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Headquarters will mobilize for federal active duty in early January 2022 to take responsibility for the NATO-led Kosovo Force Regional Command-East for the 30th rotation of U.S. military forces.
- Approximately 140 VNG Soldiers assigned to the Sandston-based 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment, 29th Infantry Division will mobilize to serve as KFOR 30’s aviation task force providing aerial troop movement and medical evacuation.