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NEWS | Sept. 23, 2023

VNG staged, ready in Hampton Roads area for possible severe weather response operations

By Cotton Puryear | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

The Virginia National Guard has staged approximately 35 Soldiers with tactical trucks capable of high water transportation Sept. 23, 2023, at VNG facilities in the Hampton Roads area in order to support the response to impacts of Tropical Storm Ophelia. The personnel are ready to conduct missions and will link up with local emergency managers to provide assistance if needed. VNG troops will also have chain saw teams to conduct debris reduction operations.

“We are incredibly proud of how quickly and safely our personnel answered the call to mobilize for emergency response duty and be there for their fellow Virginians in a time of need,” said Brig. Gen. Todd Hubbard, Virginia National Guard director of the joint staff. “Our planners have been working in close coordination with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the rest of Virginia’s emergency response community to determine the appropriate capabilities to position in advance of the severe weather. Getting our troops and equipment in place before the weather hits puts us in a position to quickly respond when needed. We also owe a special thanks to our families and employers for their continued support which is so critical to mission success.”

Typical missions for the VNG during hurricane or tropical storm response operations are transporting first responders, moving citizens to safe locations or distributing food and water in remote areas as well as providing chain saw teams to help reduce debris to clear roads or power line routes.

Hubbard said the VNG will remain on duty as long as possible flooding and high winds threaten the region in order to quickly and safely provide capabilities requested by localities. 

Governor Glenn Youngkin declared a State of Emergency Sept. 22 in advance of Potential Tropical Cyclone Sixteen, and the declaration authorized state active duty for the VNG.

The VNG also has helicopters on standby for emergency resupply, aerial incident awareness assessment and hoist operations.

Additional Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force are on duty to provide logistics, administrative and operations center support for the response teams at multiple locations in the state.

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. VDEM determines where capabilities are allocated, and the VNG does not respond to direct requests for assistance. Localities looking for VNG support should make their requests to VDEM, and they determine which organization can best provide the requested assistance as they coordinate the regional and statewide response.

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