July 2, 2002, 13:52 EDT

Virginia Army Guard unit considered for mobilization

by Lt. Col. Chester C. Carter, III
Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Officer

BLACKSTONE, Va. - Maj. Gen. Claude Williams, the adjutant general of Virginia, announced the 1st Battalion, 246th Field Artillery, Virginia Army National Guard, which has units located in Danville, Martinsville, Chatham and South Boston, Va., is being considered for mobilization in support of the Homeland Defense mission. Williams indicated that as a part of an ongoing contingency planning process the 246th Field Artillery is being considered for mobilization in support of Operation Noble Eagle, the United States' response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Williams said that a mobilization order has not been received and that a final decision to mobilize the unit had not been reached. The decision to mobilize an Army National Guard unit and place it in a federal status takes place in the Department of Defense in response to the nation's military needs. He said that this is a very dynamic process that is constantly subject to change. Williams emphasized that the activity taking place at the units is being done to assure that soldiers are ready should a mobilization order be received.

Williams said Virginia Army and Air National Guard units are always subject to mobilization and being placed in a federal status. He pointed out that the soldiers and their families and employers that could be affected by a mobilization should have as much advance notice as possible. This notice give those affected by the mobilization the opportunity to prepare for it and its potential impact. He indicated his primary concern is assuring the soldiers and others affected by the mobilization an opportunity to fully prepare if the unit is in fact mobilized.

Williams said that he would not speculate on a specific date the unit may be mobilized or if it would in fact be mobilized. He re-stated that the Virginia National Guard has not received a mobilization order affecting the 246th Field Artillery. He pointed out that he commanded a Virginia Army National Guard unit that was mobilized and deployed overseas during Operation Desert Storm. He said that the original date for his unit mobilization changed. He also pointed out that more recently Virginia National Guard units had been notified of potential deployments in support of Operation Noble Eagle and Operation Enduring Freedom in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and those deployments did not take place in all cases.

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