January 29, 2009

Virginia Defense Force assists with Virginia Guard support missions at Inauguration

RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Defense Force augmented the Virginia National Guard in support of the inauguration of a United States President during the 56th Presidential Inauguration Jan. 20.

The presidential inauguration attracted well over two million attendees, greatly taxing the infrastructure and support facilities of local municipalities. National Guard troops were called from several states to conduct various missions around the D.C. Metro area to assist in providing order and security.  As the Virginia National Guard prepared for its role in the event, a mission arose well suited for the skills of the Virginia Defense Force. 

Capitalizing on new levels of training and integration within the VDF, Maj. Gen. Robert B. Newman, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, directed that elements of the VDF be placed on State Active Duty for transport escort duty and to assist in command and control and communications missions at the Joint Forces Joint Operations Center and with the 91st Troop Command.

The troops called up were comprised mostly of security personnel from the VDF’s Military Police Company in Petersburg.  The 23d Battalion’s Echo and Bravo companies – from Leesburg and Fredericksburg, respectively - provided additional troops. Between receiving the mission taskings on the late afternoon of Jan. 16 and reporting for duty at noon on Jan. 19, approximately 65 VDF members volunteered for State Active Duty for missions which were expected to extend for 48 hours, with a little more than half being put into service. 

The transport escort mission was to provide light security for motor coaches transporting civilian medical personnel into the District of Columbia to serve at a number of city hospitals.  All mission taskings were successfully accomplished. This activation and service represents new levels in the Commonwealth’s confidence in the Defense Force’s capabilities and its readiness to perform when called upon.

Maj. Gen. (VA) John D. Taylor, Commanding General of the VDF, said that he was extremely satisfied with the performance of its personnel and stated that the VDF stands ready and capable to perform further missions in support to the Commonwealth as a member of the Virginia Department of Military Affairs.

Further information about the VDF may be found on its website:  www.vdf.virginia.gov, or by contacting division headquarters at the VNG armory, 500 Dove Street, Richmond, Virginia 23222;  local: 804-228-7018; Tollfree: 866-791-9164.

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