NORFOLK, Va. –
A deployment ceremony for the Virginia National Guard’s Norfolk-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 13, 2021, in Norfolk, Virginia. Approximately 300 Soldiers will deploy on federal active duty 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 battalion also has units based in Hampton and Hanover.
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,” said Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, when he announced the mobilization Aug. 30. “I have no doubt they will master the weapons system and be ready to accomplish their mission when they arrive in the Middle East.”
The Soldiers join the VNG's Fort Belvoir-based 29th Infantry Division and Virginia Beach-based 329th Regional Support Group already serving on federal active duty in the Middle East, and additional units will mobilize in the coming months. More than 1,000 Virginia and Kentucky Army National Guard Soldiers just began their federal mobilization as Task Force Red Dragon under the command of the Lynchburg-based 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. They will provide a security force in support of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, and it is the largest VNG single-unit mobilization since World War II.
By January 2022, more than 2,000 VNG personnel will be mobilized , the most since the Iraq surge in 2007. When you add in National Guard Soldiers from Maryland and Kentucky serving in the 29th Infantry Division, it is the most Soldiers the division has mobilized since 1942.
After the deployment ceremony, the Soldiers will train at Fort Bliss, Texas, for 30 to 45 days, then spend two months training on the C-RAM at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. They will deploy to multiple locations in the Middle East, and 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 Headquarters 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