June 24, 2006

New Virginia National Guard capability authorized

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - Maj. Gen. Robert B. Newman, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, announced a new capability has been authorized for the Virginia National Guard. Newman said the Virginia National Guard has been authorized a National Guard Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High-Yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package (NG CERFP). He said this package will add significant capability to support homeland security operations within the Commonwealth.

The NG CERFP is made up of traditional National Guard Soldiers from existing National Guard units who are trained and equipped to perform the functions of casualty decontamination, medical triage and treatment, and casualty search and extraction at a catastrophic incident scene. Currently a CERFP capability exists in the National Guard of 12 states with at least one located in each of the 10 Federal Emergency Management Agency regions. The 2006 National Defense Authorization Act provided for the continuation of this capability and the addition of five more NG CERFP. Virginia was one of the five states authorized the additional CERFP.

The Virginia National Guard Joint Force Headquarters will provide command and control for the CERFP. The 237th Engineer Company located in West Point and the 203d Civil Engineer Squadron (Red Horse) located in Virginia Beach will provide the capability to extract victims from damaged structures; the 229th Chemical Company, Virginia Army National Guard, located in Roanoke will provide mass decontamination capability; and the 192d Medical Squadron, Virginia Air National Guard in Sandston provides medical triage capability to the CERFP. The 34th Civil Support Team located in Blackstone will provide the weapons of mass destruction capability for the CERFP.

The focus of the CERFP mission will be for the Virginia National Guard to build an enhanced homeland defense capability within Virginia. However, the units that make up the Virginia National Guard CERFP will also continue to support their traditional state and federal mission in addition to supporting this new mission.

The proximity to the National Capital Region, numerous important major military facilities and Virginia’s population of over seven million people are among the reasons to add this to the Virginia National Guard’s current mission set. The Virginia National Guard has the requisite force structure, equipment storage facilities, airfield access, and training areas required to support the CERFP mission. This mission added to the state’s Immediate Response Force capability, military police, aviation and ground transportation capabilities create a significant disaster response and recovery capacity for Virginia and the United States.

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