March 25, 2008

Manassas and Powhatan Guard units ordered to federal active duty

RICHMOND Virginia National Guard units from Manassas and Powhatan have been ordered to federal active duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to an announcement made March 24 by Maj. Gen. Robert. B. Newman, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia. Newman said that approximately 170 Soldiers from the Manassas-based 266th Military Police Company and approximately 160 Soldiers from the Powhatan-based 180th Engineer Company will enter active federal service in early October 2008.

“The Virginia National Guard continues to play a vital role in the Global War on Terror,” Newman said. “At this time we do not have specific information about the exact mission or deployment location of these two units, but the Virginia National Guard will ensure these Soldiers are fully trained and ready for their mobilization. We will also make sure their families receive any support they need during the time these Soldiers are mobilized.”

Both units have started pre-mobilization training in preparation for entering federal active duty. The pre-mobilization training will take place at the units' home armories as well as Fort Pickett, which is located in Blackstone, Va.

The mobilization orders call for an active duty period not to exceed 400 days, but the Secretary of Defense can extend tours for operational needs not to exceed 24 months or 730 days. When the units mobilize in early October, both will report to training facilities in the United States to conduct final training prior to heading overseas. The 266th Military Police Company is scheduled to conduct their final mobilization training at Camp Shelby, Miss., and the 180th Engineer Company is scheduled to conduct their training at Fort McCoy, Wis.

The 180th Engineer Company is expected to perform their doctrinal engineer mission when they deploy to Iraq. The unit is trained and equipped as a horizontal construction company, and they expect to be building force protection berms, hauling dirt and other engineer material, emplacing protective barriers and maintaining roads in their area of operations.

The 266th Military Police Company is expected to perform their doctrinal missions of area security, maneuver and mobility support and law and order.

The Virginia National Guard currently has more than 1,700 Soldiers on active duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. “Even with the additional deployment of more than 300 Soldiers in support of our federal mission, the Virginia National Guard is trained and ready to support the Commonwealth if called upon during a time of natural disaster or threat to our homeland security,” Newman said.

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