NEWS | Sept. 7, 2021

Virginia Beach-based 329th Regional Support Group begins federal duty, will deploy to Middle East

By Staff Reports

The Virginia National Guard’s Virginia Beach-based 329th Regional Support Group Headquarters marked the start of its federal active-duty mobilization with a departure ceremony Sept. 4, 2021, at the State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
 
Jonathan G. Ward, Assistant Secretary of Veterans & Defense Affairs, Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, Brig. Gen. K. Weedon Gallagher, the Virginia National Guard Land Component Commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Smith, the Virginia Army National Guard Command Sergeant Major, were on hand as Col. Todd Pegg and Command Sgt. Maj. Jerome Shelton, the 329th RSG command team, furled their organizational colors during the ceremony to signify the official start of the mobilization. They will unfurl the colors when they arrive in the Middle East and officially take responsibility for their mission.
 
“Some of us here today have done this before,” said Pegg. “Some of us, this is our first. Some of us have been wearing this uniform for several decades. Some of us have been wearing it for a significantly short time period. Some of us are senior commissioned or noncommissioned leaders. And some of us here are much more junior.
 
“I mention those things really just to point out that none of those really matter. It’s not what we are in terms of our age, rank or experience or anything else that defines us. We’ve been asked to do a job and we’re going to do it. It’s what we do both individually and together as a team when a tough ask comes down that defines us. We built a solid team made up of solid individuals. We’re going to do two things- go get the job done and take care of our folks.”
 
More than 80 Soldiers assigned to the 329th begin a 10-month deployment in 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. While based in Virginia Beach, Soldiers assigned to the 329th Regional Support Group live throughout Virginia.
 
“You’ve trained hard, you’ve done a tremendous amount of work to get where you are today and you are ready,” said Williams. “We are all incredibly proud of what you’ve done and what you’ve accomplished. I have absolute and utmost faith in you, your training and your abilities.
 
“To your families, the unsung heroes- the Soldiers of the 329th couldn’t do it without you,” Williams added. “The United States Army asks extraordinary amounts of sacrifice from you. Know that as this organization goes forward, and takes up its place on the global stage, that we’re here to help you.” 
 
According to their official website, the Department of Defense formally established CJFT-OIR Oct. 17, 2014, in order to formalize ongoing military actions against the rising threat posed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria. In conjunction with partner forces CJTF-OIR defeats ISIS in designated areas of Iraq and Syria and sets conditions for follow-on operations to increase regional stability. 
 
Soldiers conducted mobilization training at various locations in Virginia over the last few months, and they will now report to Fort Hood, Texas, for the final mobilization training and will deploy from there. 
 
This is the first deployment of the 329th Regional Support Group Headquarters, but the unit carries the lineage of the 54th Field Artillery Brigade. Soldiers assigned to the 54th served on federal active duty as a liaison team for military activities in Afghanistan from February 2004 to August 2005. 
 
Four 10-Soldier Logistics Military Advisory Teams from the 329th served on federal active duty from March 2009  to April 2010 where they served as mentors, coaches and advisors the Iraqi Army with professional advice on various issues relating to logistics with the goal of helping the Iraqi forces improve their ability to function independently. 
 
Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve website:
https://www.inherentresolve.mil/About-CJTF-OIR/
 
 About the 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.
 
Despite restrictions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, the 329th RSG successfully adjusted to a “new normal” and accomplished several major objectives throughout 2020.
 
For months in late 2019, the 329th RSG diligently planned and prepared to participate in DEFENDER-Europe 20, a joint, multi-national, U.S. Army Europe-led, U.S. European Command exercise designed to test the U.S. military’s ability to rapidly deploy a large combat-credible force to Europe and integrate with partners and allies. While DEFENDER-Europe 20 was cancelled due to the global pandemic the planning and training involved proved invaluable to the operations the 329th would support in 2020.
 
In early 2020, the 1033rd Engineer Support Company provided much needed assistance to flood ravaged areas of southwest Virginia.
 
In the spring, the 329th HHC and its subordinate battalions mobilized over 270 Soldiers to provide significant support to the Commonwealth’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Missions included N95 mask fit training, support to COVID-19 testing sites, logistics support for shipments of personal protective equipment around the Commonwealth, support to local food banks and personnel to conduct the command and control for three Virginia Guard COVID response Task Forces.
 
In the fall of 2020, the 276th Engineer Battalion and 1032nd Transportation Company began their state-side deployments to support domestic federal operations. Prior to mobilizing for their federal mission, the 276th, with the help of their subordinate companies, provided civil disturbance support to Virginia agencies as violent protests spread across the Commonwealth in the spring and summer of 2020.
 
As the 329th entered 2021, operations showed no signs of slowing. The RSG provided requested support to civil disturbances and continued COVID-19 efforts while simultaneously planning for its upcoming federal mobilization.