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NEWS | Jan. 11, 2022

VNG troops help open roads, clear trees along power line routes

By Cotton Puryear | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office

Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen helped open roads in Stafford County Jan. 7, 2022, and cleared trees along power line routes in Louisa County Jan. 8 after heavy snow downed trees causing road blockage and power outages. The VNG staged approximately 60 Soldiers and Airmen for possible severe winter weather response duty Jan. 6 after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency and authorized the activation of the VNG. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management requested the VNG provide debris reduction teams capable of clearing roads of fallen trees. All personnel were alerted Wednesday evening and were staged and ready for duty by Thursday. Soldiers in Louisa County were released from duty at the end of the day on Saturday,  and Airmen in the Stafford County area completed their mission Friday evening. VNG Soldiers on standby in the Southwest Virginia area ended their mission Friday morning. VNG Soldiers assigned to the Powhatan-based 180th Engineer Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group cleared trees along a power line route to help with electricity restoration efforts in Louisa County. After confirmation the power lines on the route were not active, Soldiers used chain saws to clear trees so Rappahannock Electric Cooperative crews could rehang the lines to help restore power in the area. VNG Airmen assigned to the Virginia Beach-based 203rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers, 192nd Mission Support Group, 192nd Wing use chain saws to help reduce debris and clear roads of fallen trees Jan. 7, 2022, in Stafford County, Virginia. The Airmen cleared about 25 trees to open a road that had been blocked since Tuesday. Members of the Virginia Defense Force provide operations center augmentation during Virginia National Guard winter storm response Jan. 7, 2022, at the VNG Joint Operations Center at Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, and at the Virginia Emergency Operations Center in Richmond, Virginia. Additional VNG personnel provided logistics, administrative and operations center support at the VNG Headquarters at Defense Supply Center Richmond. “Once again our Soldiers and Airmen have quickly answered the call to be ready to assist their fellow Virginians during a potentially hazardous weather situation,” said Brig. Gen. James W. Ring, the VNG Director of the Joint Staff, when the activation was announced. “It is important our state agency partners know we are able to quickly respond when we are requested, and we owe a special thanks to our families and employers. Without their support, we couldn’t perform our mission.” During domestic operations, the VNG receives missions from VDEM and responds as part of a multi-agency team with other state and local agencies to provide support capabilities requests by Virginia communities.

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