RICHMOND, Va. –
Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran presented the Governor’s National Service Medal to Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and 29th Infantry Division March 19, 2017, in Richmond, Virginia. The medals recognized the Soldiers who served in specialized teams on federal active duty overseas. Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, was also on hand to recognize the Soldiers and present his challenge coin to Soldiers for outstanding duty performance. Both Moran and Williams also thanked family members for their outstanding support during the deployment.
“On behalf of Governor Terry McAuliffe and myself, thank you for what you do,” Moran said. “We take every opportunity we are allowed to talk about how great the Virginia National Guard is. The medals we present today are a small token, and it is intended to represent the appreciation of all 8.4 million Virginians and express just how proud all of us are of our Soldiers and our Guard.”
Moran recognized Soldiers assigned to the 116th Military Engagement Team. The team of approximately 25 Soldiers came from units across the state, and during their federal mobilization the 116th MET conducted military-to-military engagements with partners in U.S. Army Central Command’s area of responsibility including Kuwait, Jordan, Oman and Tajikistan.
Moran also presented medals to Soldiers assigned to the 29th Infantry Division who were organized into engineer and administrative teams in Southwest Asia in support of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve and U.S. Central Command.
Created in 2005 by then-Governor Mark R. Warner, the Governor’s National Service Medal recognizes the service of the men and women of the Virginia Army and Air National Guard called to active federal duty since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
During their nine-month overseas mobilization, the 116th MET was based in Kuwait, with Soldiers also training in Jordan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Oman. The 26-Soldier team conducted 53 engagements with military members from 12 countries, including Uzbekistan, Lebanon, the United Kingdom and Tajikistan. In Jordan, team members completed more than 150 engagements with leaders of the Kingdom’s military. Collectively, the team flew more than 1 million kilometers, drove more than 100,000 kilometers and spent more than 1,200 man days on mission, traveling throughout the region and working with military members of partner nations.
During their travels, Soldiers of the 116th MET worked in small teams, often pulling in subject matter experts from other units in the region, engaging with partner nation military members on topics including infantry tactics, tactical communications, border security and control, professional development and the military decision-making process. Each engagement, no matter the location, aimed to build or enhance relationships with partner nation military members and also to identify and expand on commonalities between the U.S. military and its partners, sharing best practices and lessons learned along the way.