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SANDSTON, Va.—The Virginia National Guard is a dual-status

military force with both a state and federal mission, and it effectively

balanced the demands of those missions through 2016 in one of the

busiest years in recent memory.

“I am incredibly proud of the dedicated service and tremendous

duty performance from our entire force in 2016,” said Maj. Gen.

Timothy P.Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. “We also owe a

special thanks to their families, loved ones and employers because we

couldn’t perform our mission without their critical support.”

The National Guard’s federal mission is to provide the combat

reserve forces to help fight our nation’s wars, and nearly 1,500

Soldiers and Airmen served on federal active duty in 2016. Virginia

Guard units conducted a wide variety of missions including mission

command, military-to-military partnership building, security and

rotary wing flight operations and maintenance. Nearly 850 personnel

are still serving on federal active duty in the Middle East, and they

join the nearly 15,000 Soldiers and Airmen who have mobilized for

homeland security missions, combat operations and peacekeeping and

stabilization missions since September 11, 2001.

“This has been one of our busiest years in terms of number of

people mobilized for federal active duty, and our personnel have met

and exceeded every challenge,” Williams said. “In particular, I look

at the great work of the Soldiers of the 29th Infantry Division as they

prepared for a mobilization on very short notice, and now they will

be leading more than 18,000 personnel in the Middle East. That’s the

largest number of people they have led since World War II, and they

have a great team in place to make sure the mission is successful.”

The Guard’s state mission is to answer the call of the governor to

assist citizens of the commonwealth during times of need, and more

than 900Virginia National Guard personnel served on state active duty

this year in response to severe weather events as part of the state’s

multi-agency team. Soldiers transported first responders through heavy

snow and high water, helped get citizens to safety and used chain saws

to help clear debris and open roads after tornadoes and hurricanes.

Soldiers, Airmen and Virginia Defense Force troopers also assisted

with mission command, logistics and public information support.

“Once again this year we demonstrated our ability to quickly

respond when called by the governor after severe weather hitsVirginia”

Williams said. “In some cases our personnel were staged and ready to

respond in less than 12 hours, and that is no easy task when you have

to leave work and family. But the Guard is a critical part of the state’s

response capabilities, and our personnel are dedicated to meeting the

demands of the mission to help keep our fellowVirginian’s safe.”

The Virginia National Guard consistently ranks at the top in the

nation in readiness indicators tracked by National Guard Bureau, and

it received national recognition for renewable energy, maintenance,

marksmanship and military education. It received a Secretary of the

Army Energy and Water Management Award in the Renewables

and Alternatives category, and the Fort Pickett-based Maneuver

Area Training Equipment Site was selected for a 2015 Army Award

for Maintenance Excellence in the Army National Guard Table of

Distribution andAllowance Category.Virginia National Guard Soldiers

took first place in the U.S. Army Service Pistol Team Championship

and excelled in numerous other team and individual categories at the

2016 All-Army Small Arms Championship. The Virginia National

Guard’s Fort Pickett-based 183rd Regiment, Regional Training

Institute was awarded “Institute of Excellence” status by U. S. Army

Training and Doctrine Command and evaluated as full accredited.

“There are so many examples of how our uniformed personnel

and state and federal workforce are exceeding the standard,”Williams

said. “We are so fortunate to have such a great group of dedicated

people who won’t settle and want to be the best.”

The all-volunteer Virginia Defense Force continued to improves

its capabilities and build expertise in interoperable communications.

These dedicated professionals bring significant civilian expertise with

them and help make sure theVDF can provide critical communications

when needed, and they also a force multiplier for the Guard providing

operations centers augmentation and public information support. In

Virginia National

Guard meets

challenges of

busy 2016

By Cotton Puryear


Virginia National Guard

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