STAUNTON, Va. –
Virginia National Guard Soldiers across the state are assisting Virginia State Police troopers and local emergency organizations get through heavy snow to respond to vehicle crashes, evacuate citizens in need of medical assistance and have also helped get needed equipment to a house fire. As of the morning of Jan. 23, 2016, the Guard has approximately 400 personnel staged and ready along the I-81 corridor between Lexington and Winchester, along the Route 29 corridor from Warrenton to Danville, as well as in the areas near Northern Virginia, Richmond, Fredericksburg and Gate City.
View photos from Va. Guard response operations:
“I am extremely proud of how well our personnel are working as part of the commonwealth’s multi-agency response team,” said Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, “After we received the authorization from Governor McAuliffe, we aggressively moved our forces into place so they would be ready to go when needed. It is great to see how the skills, experience and resources of our Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force are able to assist the statewide effort to protect the citizens of the commonwealth.”
The Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team is providing mission command for the response operations in the field and is working almost 25 mission requests from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management to provide support to several localities as well as the Virginia State Police in Northern Virginia area and along the I-81 and US 29 corridors.
“The Virginia State Police is fortunate to have the National Guard as an additional resource to aid us in our storm response efforts,” said Col. W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “When every second counts in an emergency situation, having the ability to respond as swiftly and safely as possible is essential for our troopers.”
The Virginia National Guard also has Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force on duty in Richmond, Sandston and Fort Pickett where they are providing mission command, administrative and logistical support for the overall mission.
McAuliffe authorized up to 500 personnel for state active duty in his initial emergency declaration, and then he increased that to 700. The Guard could bring additional personnel on duty if needed.