RICHMOND, Va. - The Virginia National Guard staged about 60 Soldiers and Airmen across the commonwealth for possible severe weather response operations related to Hurricane Ian.
Guard members were positioned Sept. 30 at key locations in the Abingdon, Roanoke, Richmond and Virginia Beach areas. They were prepared to provide high mobility transportation and clear debris.
“The key to rapid response is staging personnel and equipment at key locations before the severe weather hits,” explained Brig. Gen. James W. Ring, VNG Director of the Joint Staff. “Our Soldiers, Airmen and Virginia Defense Force personnel quickly left their loved ones and their jobs on very short notice to assist their fellow Virginians in times of need, and we extend a special thanks to their families and employers for their continued support.”
Additional personnel in the Richmond area were alerted to be prepared to provide rotary wing rescue hoist, reconnaissance and aerial transport capabilities. Other Guard members can be called on if necessary to clear roads and offer high mobility transport.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s emergency declaration authorized the VNG to bring personnel on state active duty to support state and local authorities in advance of possible severe weather.
Typical storm response missions for the VNG include transporting first responders, distributing food and water to people in remote areas and using chain saws to clear roads or power line routes.
Additional Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force will provide logistics, administrative, operations center and public information support in the Richmond area and at the staging locations.
During domestic operations, the VNG receives missions from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. The Guard is part of a multi-agency team that responds with other state and local agencies to assist Virginia communities.
Localities seeking VNG support should contact VDEM, which determines which organization can best help as they coordinate the regional and statewide response.