Jan. 14, 2010

Virginia Department of Military Affairs to play key role in supporting Governor’s Inauguration

By Maj. Cotton Puryear
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

RICHMOND, Va. — Approximately 300 personnel from the Virginia Department of Military Affairs will be on duty in Richmond Jan. 16 supporting the inauguration of Bob McDonnell as the 71st Governor of Virginia. Soldiers from the Virginia Army National Guard, Airmen from the Virginia Air National Guard and members of the Virginia Defense Force will conduct a variety of missions including providing ceremonial music, firing a 19-gun salute, conducting a flyover with F-22 Raptors and providing command and control of the inaugural parade elements. A formation of Virginia Guard Soldiers and Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force will also lead the inaugural parade.

“I think it is most fitting that the Commonwealth’s Guardians in the Virginia National Guard and the Virginia Defense Force have such a prominent role to play in the Governor’s inauguration,” said Maj. Gen. Robert B. Newman, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia. “Our participation will not only allow us to honor our new commander in chief, but will also provide an opportunity to exercise our ability to effectively conduct operation with state partner agencies. Even though this is a ceremonial mission, every time we work together with other state agencies allows us to improve our response capability.”

Personnel from the Virginia Department of Military Affairs are scheduled to conduct the following missions:

  • Approximately 50 Soldiers from the Petersburg-based 29th Army Band will provide ceremonial music for all the inaugural activities.
  • Approximately 20 Soldiers from the Richmond-based Battery A, 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Brigade Combat Team will provide a ceremonial 19-gun salute.
  • Fighter pilots from the 192nd Fighter Wing from Langley Air Force Base will conduct a fly over with F-22 Raptors.
  • Brig. Gen. Bob Tucker, Virginia National Guard director of interagency operations, will command the lead marching formation of the inaugural parade consisting of a color guard and 60 personnel from the Virginia Army National Guard, Virginia Air National Guard and Virginia Defense Force.
  • Approximately 60 personnel will provide command and control for the inaugural parade and assist with staging and marshalling the parade marching elements.
  • The Virginia Guard provided a color guard Jan. 10 for the Hampton Roads Inaugural Ball and will also provide a color guard for the Richmond inaugural ball.

The DMA plans to conduct rehearsals at the state capitol Jan. 15 after 2 p.m.

The 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 Department of Military Affairs.

The Virginia Army National Guard and Virginia Air National Guard also train for federal active duty missions. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Virginia National Guard has mobilized approximately 1,185 Soldiers and Airmen in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and approximately 4,880 Soldiers and Airmen in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In addition, the Virginia National Guard has mobilized approximately 1,450 Soldiers and Airmen for Operation Noble Eagle homeland defense missions, approximately 470 Soldiers for duty supporting the Kosovo Force (KFOR) peacekeeping mission and approximately 350 Soldiers for duty in Bosnia.

The Virginia National Guard currently has approximately 200 Soldiers and Airmen on federal active duty in Iraq, approximately 30 Soldiers and Airmen on federal active duty in Afghanistan and about 20 Soldiers on duty in Kosovo. About 400 Soldiers from the Lynchburg-based 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Brigade Combat entered federal active duty Jan. 8 for service in Iraq and about 80 Soldiers from the Virginia Beach-based 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group will begin serving on federal active duty March 20 for duty in Afghanistan.

More information about Virginia Guard mobilizations is available here:
http://vko.va.ngb.army.mil/VirginiaGuard/media/MOBoverview.html

The Virginia Defense Force is an all-volunteer force authorized by the Code of Virginia and organized under the Virginia Department of Military Affairs reporting to the Adjutant General of Virginia.

Photos from past Virginia National Guard inauguration support missions:

Gov. Kaine (January 2006):
 http://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157623085736567/

Gov. Warner (January 2002):
 http://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157623085617065/

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