RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia National Guard Soldiers are assisting state and local emergency officials responding to flooding in Buchanan County, with additional Soldiers prepared to help from Winchester and Fredericksburg.
"Our state and local partners depend on our ability to rapidly respond, and this is just another example of the dedication they have demonstrated time and time again to help their fellow Virginians in a time of need," said Brig. Gen. James W. Ring, Virginia National Guard director of the Joint Staff. "We owe a special thanks to their families and employers for their continued support, which is so critical to mission success."
Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency because of the impact of Tropical Depression Ida, providing resources to localities and authorizing state active duty for the VNG to assist as part of the state's emergency response team.
The southwest region of Virginia had already experienced heavy rainfall, leading to flash floods and complicating storm preparation efforts. In addition to the flood threat, there is also a risk of tornadoes across the commonwealth through Wednesday.
About 10 VNG Soldiers assigned to the Cedar Bluff-based 1033rd Engineer Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group, staged at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management command post in Hurley with four light-medium tactical trucks to provide high water transport capabilities. The Soldiers helped evacuate 12 adults and two children, in addition to transporting food and water.
Another 30 Soldiers assigned to the Fredericksburg-based 229th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and the Winchester-based 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th IBCT, staged at their respective armories with trucks capable of high water transportation and chainsaw teams for clearing debris.
Additional Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force will also be on duty in Richmond and at Fort Pickett, providing mission command, administrative, logistics and public information support.
"My thoughts are with those across the country impacted by this devastating storm," Northam said. "While we're fortunate in Virginia to have avoided the hurricane itself, heavy rainfall is expected to cause additional flash flooding and dangerous conditions in portions of the commonwealth. I'm grateful to the first responders and rescue crews currently on the ground, and I urge Virginians in these regions to stay alert."
During domestic operations, the VNG receives missions through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and responds as part of a multiagency team with the Virginia State Police, the Virginia Department of Transportation and other state and local emergency agencies.