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NEWS | Jan. 11, 2022

Virginia National Guard to support governor’s inauguration

By Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office

RICHMOND, Va. – More than 200 Virginia National Guard and Virginia Defense Force personnel will support the inauguration of Glenn Youngkin as the 74th governor of Virginia in the state capital Jan. 15.

VNG Soldiers, Airmen and members of the VDF will marshal the inaugural parade elements, play ceremonial music, fire a 19-gun artillery salute with blank ammunition and conduct a flyover with F-22 fighter jets. Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will also lead the inaugural parade.

“It is an honor for the Virginia National Guard and Virginia Defense Force to support the governor’s inauguration and recognize our new commander in chief,” said Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the adjutant general of Virginia. “As we take part in the ceremony, we remember that more than 2,000 of our personnel are currently mobilized on federal active duty conducting missions overseas and training in the United States to deploy in the coming weeks.”

The Virginia National Guard is a dual-status force with a federal mission to serve as the combat reserve of the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force to help fight wars and a state mission to provide a response force that answers the governor’s call to protect the commonwealth.

Williams said the inauguration has tremendous training value for the Guard’s civil support mission.

“Every opportunity we have to work with our partners in state and local government helps us be better prepared if we are called to assist with any sort of domestic response operation,” Williams said.

After the inaugural parade, Williams will present the new governor with one of the shell casings from the ceremonial 19-gun salute.

VNG and VDF members will conduct the following inauguration missions:

- Soldiers and Airmen assigned to the VNG’s Joint Staff will provide mission command for all VNG and VDF personnel.

- VDF personnel will volunteer their time to provide command and control for the parade and assist with staging and marshaling the parade marching elements.

- Soldiers assigned to the Troutville-based 29th Division Band will provide ceremonial music for the inaugural activities.

- Soldiers assigned to the Norfolk-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, will fire the ceremonial 19-gun salute with four M119A3 105 mm howitzers. Most of the battalion is on federal active duty training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, before deploying to the Middle East.

- Brig. Gen. K. Weedon Gallagher and Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Smith, the Virginia Army National Guard command team, will lead the marching formation of the inaugural parade consisting of a joint color guard and personnel from the Virginia Army National Guard and Virginia Air National Guard. The joint color guard will consist of the U.S. and Virginia flags and the organizational colors of the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and Virginia Defense Force. At previous inaugurations, the organizational colors for the 29th Infantry Division, the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and the 329th Regional Support Group were included in the marching formation, but all three unit headquarters are mobilized on federal active duty.

- Pilots from the Virginia Air National Guard’s 149th Fighter Squadron, 192nd Operations Group, 192nd Wing, will perform a two-ship F-22 Raptor flyover during the ceremony. The F-22 Raptor is the U.S. Air Force’s premier air dominance fighter aircraft, and they will launch and recover from Langley Air Force Base, Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton, Virginia, home of the 192d Wing. Pilots from the 149th Fighter Squadron represent the most talented collection of combat-tested, weapon-school and instructor-pilot qualified Citizen Airmen in the Air National Guard.

- VNG Soldiers, Airmen and members of the VDF will provide mission tracking and coordination support at the Virginia Guard Joint Operations Center in Richmond and at the Unified Command Post in Richmond.

- Additional Soldiers, Airmen and VDF personnel will provide administrative, logistics and public information support.