RICHMOND, Va. –
Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to multiple units recently received the Virginia Governor’s National Service Medal in recognition of their service during a federal active duty mobilization in 2021.
Retired Maj. Gen. Craig Crenshaw, the Virginia Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs, and Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, presented Soldiers assigned to the Petersburg-based 276th Engineer Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group and the Chesterfield-based Detachment 1, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 151st Aviation Regiment with their medals at a ceremony Feb. 12, 2022, in Chesterfield County, Virginia.
A week earlier, Brig. Gen. K. Weedon Gallagher, the Virginia National Guard Land Component Commander, presented VNG Soldiers assigned to the Gate City-based 1032nd Transportation Company, 1030th Transportation Battalion, 329th RSG with their medals during a ceremony in Kingsport, Tennessee.
All of the Soldiers were mobilized in 2021 on federal active duty to provide support to the Department of Defense-approved mission assisting Customs and Border Protection on the Southwest Border.
“There are times you’re going to sit back and think about that period you had deployed and the things you did and what difference did it make. Or did it make a difference? Sometimes you can’t tell until years later, how effective that contribution was,” said Crenshaw. “I’ll tell you this: Having spent 35 years as a Marine, having done all types of things, I don’t think there was a day that I did something that didn’t make a difference.
“Years later you have a chance to reflect. I would suggest that would happen to you as you get ready to get back to your business,” Crenshaw added.
Williams also expressed the importance of the Soldiers’ work.
“We asked you, our nation asked you to do a mission set that’s not very common,” said Williams. “Most of us have been where you were, whether it’s down on the Texas border doing security missions here in the United States or around the globe. Every time we’re asked to do that, it’s a tough mission. I can’t tell you how proud I am of you and your families, across the board for what you’ve done. The fact is that you took this mission set and did it well. It’s a critical mission, it’s so important, and what you did will make a difference.”
The medal presentation ceremonies were part of the larger yellow ribbon redeployment events for the units involved with the mobilization. During the events, Soldiers and their families learned about the resources available to them through the Guard and the Virginia Department of Military Affairs, including Youth Services, Family Programs, financial planning and employment assistance. All of the services offered to the Soldiers are in an effort to help their reintegration post-deployment go as smoothly as possible.
“From someone who has deployed several times, I’ll tell you reintegration doesn’t just happen,” said Gallagher at the Kingsport ceremony. “It takes several months and deliberate action. It doesn’t just magically happen. You’re going to have to put energy into it to make it happen.”
Gallagher also thanked the Solders’ families.
“While they were gone there was a gap at home. Thank you for soldiering up for your Soldier and filling that gap while they were gone,” said Gallagher.
Crenshaw, who was newly appointed to his role as secretary in January 2022, told the Soldiers of the 276th and 2-151st how proud he is to be a part of the organization, and also acknowledged the families.
“The role that you have, being able to support, defend and deploy to support our nation and support our state, is extremely important,” said Crenshaw. “I am very proud to be associated with you. The talent, the capabilities within the organization is just tremendous. As the new Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs, you have my 100% support. I recognize the commitment you make. I recognize the commitment your family makes.”
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.