Sept. 3 , 2010

Virginia Guard personnel ready for possible post-storm recovery operations from Hurricane Earl 

By Cotton Puryear        
Virginia Dept. of Military Affairs

RICHMOND, Va. —As Hurricane Earl made its way up the East Coast shoreline Sept. 2, the Virginia National Guard had approximately 200 Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force on state active duty and ready for possible post-storm recovery operations. Personnel began staging Sept. 1 and were ready to respond, but received no official requests for assistance from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management as Earl bypassed the Hampton Roads area.


Cadet Axia Jelderks of Virginia Beach, Va., assists Staff Sgt. Lee Oakes of Norfolk, Va., during an inspection of a Humvee Sept. 1, 2010. Jelderks and Oakes are assigned to the Virginia National Guard's Norfolk-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, which is preparing for a possible state mobilization in response to Hurricane Earl. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A. J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

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“Even though we did not receive any requests for assistance, I am very proud of how the Virginia Guard responded in this situation,” said Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia. “Our personnel rapidly responded to the call from the Governor, and we were ready to go in case we were needed to assist the citizens of the Hampton Roads area.”

Late in the afternoon Sept. 3, personnel began to stand down and shifted into recovery and refit operations. "As our personnel move into the recovery phase of this operation, they will reset our equipment to ensure that the Virginia Guard remains prepared to respond when called," said Col. Jeff Hice, joint operations officer for the Virginia Guard. Virginia Guard personnel will be officially released Friday evening and will be available for any future mission requests from VDEM.

Soldiers from the Hampton-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Brigade Combat Team were on duty to provide high-water transport capability and Airmen from the Virginia Beach-based 203d RED HORSE Civil Engineering Squadron were prepared to provide support for light debris removal. Members of the Virginia Defense Force were also on duty at the Virginia Guard’s command and control cell at VDEM as well as in Norfolk to provide back up communications capability if the storm had damaged the communications infrastructure.

Governor Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency in the Commonwealth of Virginia Wednesday morning, a step that authorized state agencies to take precautionary action to prepare for any potential impacts in eastern Virginia from Hurricane Earl. The declaration authorized the Adjutant General of Virginia to call up those resources he thought were necessary to ensure the Virginia Guard could fulfill its mission in the event the storm impacted Virginia.

“The key to the rapid response for this event was having personnel in place and ready to respond before the hurricane moved into the region," Hice said.

The Virginia National Guard receives their missions through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management to assist state and local emergency response organizations, Hice said.

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