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Home : News
NEWS | Aug. 26, 2022

Fort Pickett Hosts Guard Chief for Weapons Qualification

By Mike Vrabel, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office

FORT PICKETT, Va. – Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, completed a weapons qualification course for the M17 pistol and M4 carbine at Fort Pickett Aug. 1.

Hokanson experienced the latest individual weapons qualification standards expected of all Soldiers in the National Guard while simultaneously demonstrating his personal proficiency in marksmanship. 

“Readiness is job No. 1 for all of us in uniform,” said Hokanson. “I went to the range today to qualify — and to ensure I’ve experienced firsthand the latest standards we expect of our Soldiers. Any day working on Soldier skills is a great day!”

Lt. Col. James Shaver, the MTC Fort Pickett garrison commander, said he was proud of the installation’s staff and their work to make hosting the general possible.

“The team at Fort Pickett prides themselves on outstanding service, and this was truly a group effort to support the CNGB,” said Shaver. “We treat all customers as VIPs, but I’m extremely proud of the all-hands effort to show the senior leadership and his staff what these great patriots do on a daily basis.”

First Sgt. Marshall Hancock, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the Fort Pickett Directorate of Plans, Training and Security, praised the DPTS staff and Soldiers assigned to 3rd Battalion, 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute. 

“I am very proud of the DPTS team and thankful for the support from 3-183rd RTI Marksman Training Unit for supporting this task for our most senior leader in the National Guard,” said Hancock. “This event showcased how great of a team we have within DPTS and in the Virginia Army National Guard with our Soldiers and civilian employees. Fort Pickett Maneuver Training Center is a great place to train on the East Coast for our DOD members regardless of what branch you serve in.”

MTC Fort Pickett encompasses roughly 42,000 acres near Blackstone, Virginia, including 28 live-fire ranges, 74 firing points, two drop zones, 17 landing zones, six observation points, four nap of the earth flight paths and 45 maneuver areas. Fort Pickett also manages 18,000 feet of restricted airspace and has a C-17-capable airstrip at Blackstone Army Air Field. More than 225 state and federal employees help operate and maintain the facility, which includes barracks to support more than 5,000 personnel.