Feb. 5, 2010

Virginia Department of Military Affairs personnel ready for snow duty

By Maj. Cotton Puryear
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Department of Military Affairs has more than 400 personnel from the Virginia Army and Air National Guard and Virginia Defense Force on duty at key locations in the commonwealth ready to assist state and local emergency services organizations respond to the winter weather that hit Virginia Feb. 5.

  Virginia Guard Soldiers called out in response to winter storm

Soldiers from Headquarters Company, 116th Brigade Combat Team prepare their vehicles for potential missions in the Staunton, Va., area Feb. 5. Approximately 30 Soldiers from the brigade are on state active duty in the Staunton area ready to assist local authorities in case of emergency. The Soldiers will be positioned in area emergency operation centers. (Phots by Capt. Matt Nowak, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Please visit the Virginia Guard Flickr page for more photos.

Virginia National Guard has stationed Soldiers and vehicles in the following locations as of Feb. 5 at 6 p.m.:

  • Soldiers from the Staunton-based Headquarters Company, 116th Brigade Combat Team are on station and ready to assist fire and rescue organizations in Verona, Swoope and Waynesboro and Stafford County.
  • Soldiers from the Winchester-based 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Brigade Combat Team are on station and ready to assist fire and rescue organizations in Page and Frederick Counties.
  • Soldiers from the Fredericksburg-based Company F, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Brigade Combat Team are on station and ready to support fire and rescue organizations in Culpeper County and Warrenton.
  • Soldiers from the Fredericksburg-based Company D, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Brigade Combat Team are on station and ready to assist with transporting emergency services personnel at Prince William Hospital on station and ready to support fire and rescue organizations in Prince William and Loudon Counties.
  • Soldiers from the Charlottesville-based Company C, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Brigade Combat Team are on station and ready to support fire and rescue organizations in Greene County and the City of Charlottesville.

Gov. Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency Feb. 3 and authorized up to 500 DMA personnel for state active duty. If needed, the DMA will bring an additional 100 personnel on duty when the weather picture and state and local support requirements become more clear.

“We are moving DMA personnel into position today in order to be on standby for possible missions to assist state and local emergency response organizations with rescue and transportation operations,” said Col. Rob McMillin, Virginia National Guard joint operations officer, said Feb 4. Personnel were ready for duty Friday morning.

McMillin stressed that the Virginia National Guard receives their missions through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management to assist state and local emergency response organizations and is not able to respond to direct support requests from the public.

“During the winter storm in December 2009, we received calls directly from citizens, and we are not able to respond to those requests.” McMillin said. “We urge people who need assistance to make a request through their local dispatcher or 911 service, and that request will be forwarded to the DMA when appropriate.”

The following personnel are on duty to provide planning, command and control functions:

  • Approximately 50 Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force are scheduled to be on duty at the Joint Operations Center in Sandston and Virginia Emergency Operations Center in Richmond conducting planning and command and control functions.
  • Approximately 35 personnel from the Sandston-based 91st Troop Command are scheduled to be on duty in Sandston as Joint Task Force 91, the command and command control headquarters for all field units.
  • Approximately 25 personnel are scheduled to be on duty in Fort Pickett conducting logistics planning and support.

This is the third time since the middle of December the DMA has put personnel on weather-related duty. The DMA had nearly 250 Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force on duty in Richmond and throughout Southern Virginia providing assistance with transportation, evacuation and rescue operations and general support to state and local emergency response organizations in response to a winter storm that hit the Commonwealth Jan. 29.

The DMA had nearly 700 Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force on state active duty to assist state and local authorities with the response to a major winter storm that began Dec. 18, 2009. Soldiers and Airmen were on duty along the I-81 corridor from Winchester to Danville, and also conducted support operations in Lynchburg, Stafford and Charlottesville. Soldiers continued to operate in the Southwest Virginia area through Dec. 24.

The Virginia Department of Military Affairs plans, coordinates, maintains situational awareness and employ forces for homeland security and homeland defense in order to respond to any incidents with the Commonwealth. On order of the Governor, the Department of Military Affairs will provide capabilities to assist civil authorities in protecting life and property, preserving peace, order and public safety. The Virginia Defense Force, the Virginia Air National Guard and the Virginia Army National Guard all fall under the Virginia Department of Military Affairs.

Related Stories:

January 2010 winter storm wrap up

December 2009 winter storm wrap up

Photos from December 2009 snow duty

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