CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The Virginia National Guard is sending approximately 40 Soldiers and 20 light medium tactical vehicles to support the North Carolina National Guard with recovery efforts after Hurricane Florence caused widespread flooding. The Soldiers departed Saturday.
The VNG will keep a force of Soldiers on standby and postured for possible support to the Southwest Virginia region if needed, and personnel not on standby will return to routine operations.
"We are incredibly fortunate that Hurricane Florence seems to have missed Virginia, so now we will turn our attention to supporting our neighbors to the south," said Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the adjutant general of Virginia. "We will keep a small force on standby in Virginia in case the Southwest Virginia area needs any assistance. I am incredibly proud of the great team effort that enabled us to have personnel and equipment ready to respond here in Virginia, and we welcome the opportunity to lend a hand in North Carolina. We know they would do the same for us if we needed the help."
VNG Soldiers assigned to the Virginia Beach-based 1173rd Transportation Company, 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group conducted pre-mission checks Saturday morning, and they are traveling south to link up with the North Carolina National Guard.
VNG Soldiers will remain staged at key locations so they could rapidly respond to the Southwest Virginia area if needed. The Soldiers could provide high water mobility transport, debris reduction with chain saw teams as well as engineer equipment capabilities. The VNG had more than 1,300 personnel staged and ready to support local and state emergency management officials with response to Hurricane Florence Sept. 12.
Previous Hurricane Recovery Support:
VNG Soldiers supported hurricane recovery operations in the U.S. Virgin Islands in October 2017. Soldiers assigned to the Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team provided mission command for the joint task force that consisted of more than 1,300 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from 25 states and Washington, D.C. supporting the U.S. Virgin Islands government and Virgin Islands National Guard. The JTF had two core missions of supplying and managing points of distribution and providing assistance to law enforcement in traffic control, fixed site security and basic policing. Soldiers assigned to the Virginia Army National Guard's 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment and 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment managed points of distribution that provided citizens with more than 19,700 cases of water, nearly 25,000 meals and more than 8,000 tarps.
The Fort Pickett-based 157th Engineer Platoon provided the 20 personnel and six dump trucks, and the Blackstone-based 3647th Maintenance Company provided a maintenance team and support vehicle for the Vermont National Guard in September 2011 in the wake of Hurricane Irene. While in Vermont, the Soldiers transported 781 loads in the dump trucks for a total of 8,860 cubic yards of rock and fill dirt. They drove more than 25,600 miles and logged in nearly 2,900 hours of training time on their equipment. They augmented the 133rd Engineer Battalion from the Maine Army National Guard and worked directly for the Vermont Agency of Transportation in coordination with a civilian contractor.