RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia National Guard staged Soldiers and trucks in the Eastern Shore and Hampton Roads areas Oct. 3 to respond to potential severe weather.
Eight Soldiers and four tactical trucks capable of high water transportation were ready on the Eastern Shore and 12 Soldiers and six trucks were standing by at readiness centers in the Hampton Roads area.
The Virginia National Guard was in close contact with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and other first responders should they need assistance.
“We are extremely proud of the rapid response of our personnel to get high water transportation capabilities in place where it could be needed, and the VNG will remain on duty as long as possible flooding and high winds are expected,” said Brig. Gen. James W. Ring, Virginia National Guard director of the joint staff.
Typical missions for the VNG during severe storm response operations are transporting first responders, moving people to safe locations, clearing roads and power line routes of debris and distributing food and water in remote areas.
Debris reduction teams have been alerted for possible duty but not activated and staged.
The Virginia Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team was also in a higher state of readiness and prepared to activate if needed. The Virginia HART is a VNG Black Hawk helicopter with rescue hoist capabilities and rescue technicians from the Chesterfield County Fire and Emergency Medical Services Scuba Rescue Team. VNG aviators bring the capabilities of their helicopters to the mission, while Chesterfield brings first responders with swift-water rescue training and other life-saving proficiencies.
Additional Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force were on duty to provide logistics, administrative and operations center support for the response teams at multiple locations in the state.
The VNG initially staged about 60 Soldiers and Airmen at key locations in the Abingdon, Roanoke, Richmond and Virginia Beach areas to respond if needed after Hurricane Ian Sept. 30. Most of those forces stood down Oct. 2. Some were redirected to the Eastern Shore and additional personnel were brought on duty Oct. 3 in the Hampton Roads area.
During domestic operations, the VNG receives missions from VDEM and responds as part of a multi-agency team with other state and local agencies to support Virginia communities. VDEM determines where capabilities are allocated.