March 2, 2003, 16:11 EST

Airlift support soldiers ordered to active duty

BLACKSTONE, Va. - Maj. Gen. Claude Williams, the adjutant general of Virginia,
announced that nine soldiers of Detachment 26, Operational Airlift Support Command located in Sandston, Va. would enter active federal service on March 3, 2003. The Virginia Army National Guard soldiers will enter active federal service at their home armory where they will remain until they depart for their mobilization station at Ft. Benning, Ga.

This mobilization is in support of the United States' homeland security response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. These soldiers will initially be ordered to active federal service for a one-year period. The Secretary of the Army may extend this period an additional 12 months based on operational needs or other requirements. The soldiers' deployment location was not provided. Williams declined to speculate on what the deployment location may be.

The mission of Detachment 26 is to provide fixed wing operational airlift in support of state national guard, military departments and federal agencies. Missions for the unit are scheduled by the Army National Guard operational support airlift command located at Ft. Belvoir, Va. The detachment flies the C-12 airplane. The C-12 is a twin-engine aircraft designed to carry passengers and cargo. The C-12 can deliver a total payload of approximately 4,000 pounds.

In addition to participating in routine training many of the 7,500 soldiers of the Virginia Army National Guard and 1,200 airmen of the Virginia Air National Guard have recently or are currently serving on active duty across the United States and around the World.

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