Assembly commends Virginia Guard
Maj. Cotton Puryear
Army Guard Public Affairs Officer
Kirk Cox presents a framed copy of House Joint Resolution 314
to Maj. General Claude Williams. (Photo by Maj. Cotton Puryear,
Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office)
Va. - The Virginia General Assembly recognized the Virginia National
Guard with a Joint Resolution commending the men and women of the Army
and Air Guard for their efforts in the nation's War on Terror and response
to disasters in Virginia as “an expression of the admiration and gratitude
of the General Assembly and the people of Virginia.” Delegate Kirk Cox
presented Maj. Gen. Claude Williams, the adjutant general of Virginia,
with a framed copy of House Joint Resolution 314
in the center aisle of the House of Delegates chamber on Feb. 23. Also
on hand were members of the Army and Air Guard who have served overseas
since September 11, 2001.
to presenting the resolution to Williams, Cox introduced the five soldiers
and airmen to the members of the House of Delegates and read a brief
summary of what role they played during their deployments overseas.
The members of the House followed the presentation with a standing ovation.
a reception before the presentation ceremony, Cox, Williams and Secretary
of Public Safety John Marshall all stressed the critical role played
by supportive families and employers in the success of the many missions
being carried out by the Virginia Guard.
soldiers and airmen from the Virginia Guard were on hand during
the ceremony to represent their fellow Guard soldiers stationed
all over world. The were recognized on the floor of the House
of Delegates and are shown holding up a framed copy of House Joint
Resolution 314. From left to right:
Staff Sergeant Gary F. Pesnell, Specialist Mathew B. Bulloch,
Staff Sergeant Quinton P. Gillus, Senior Airman Holly M. Portillo
and Private First Class Djann L. Alexander.
(Photo by Maj. Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public
resolution acknowledged that the 7,500 soldiers of the Army National
Guard and the 1,200 members of the Virginia Air National Guard have
“played an increasingly vital role in protecting the nation and pursuing
the war on terror” and recognized the service of Guard soldiers in Operation
Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Kuwait, Virginia National Guard
units deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, as well
as being a vital part of the nation's homeland defense.
also recognized the service of the Virginia National Guard in assisting
in flood recovery operations in May 2002, helping local officials in
the Valley cope with severe winter weather in February 2003, and, most
recently, providing support in recovery operations following Hurricane
Isabel in September 2003.
of Army and Air Guard participating in ceremony:
Sergeant Quinton P. Gillus from Richmond, Va. Gillus served as Special
Forces Communications Sergeant for Special Forces Operational Detachment
Alpha, Company B, 3rd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne),
Virginia Army National Guard while deployed to Afghanistan.
First Class Djann L. Alexander from Virginia Beach, Va, Alexander
served as a Border Customs Agent in Kuwait for all incoming and
outgoing military equipment and served as perimeter guard of an
Iraqi Enemy Prisoner of War Complex as a member of the 229th Military
Police Company, Virginia National Guard.
Mathew B. Bulloch from Charlottesville, Virginia. Specialist Bulloch
was deployed to Guantanamo Bay Cuba and provided external security
to the Al Qaida and Taliban detainees as a member of Company A 2nd
Battalion 116th Infantry, 29th Infantry Division (Light), Virginia
Army National Guard.
Sergeant Gary F. Pesnell, Jr. from Herndon, Virginia. Pesnell served
as the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) Supervisor
while deployed to Thumrait Air Base, Oman. He also supervised
the Third Country National escort team. After Thumrait closed,
he was moved to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar and assisted with the
installation of the HVAC system for a new 10,000 square foot base
theater. He was part of a 10-man team that tore down damaged
aircraft hangers and completed minor quality of life construction
projects for the base as a member of the 203rd Red Horse Flight,
Virginia Air National Guard.
Airman Holly M. Portillo from Chesapeake, Virginia. Portillo also
was deployed to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar as part of a 30-person
crew that constructed a new 10,000 square foot base theater for
the new base. She was the lead engineering assistant responsible
for surveying and layout of the building to include the foundation
and steel frame. She was involved in every aspect of the construction
from concrete placement, steel erection and wall construction to
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