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NEWS | Nov. 1, 2012

Virginia Guard winding down most hurricane recovery operations

By Cotton Puryear Virginia National Guard

SANDSTON, Va. - Most Virginia National Guard personnel in support of Hurricane Sandy support operations have moved into the recovery phase as of late Wednesday afternoon, and the only personnel still actively engaged in missions are operating in the Easter Shore area.

By the end of the day, the Virginia Guard expected to have about 75 personnel still on duty. All other personnel will be released. Most of those are staged out of the Onancock readiness center and supporting local emergency response organizations, and the other personnel are on duty at the Joint Operations Center in Sandston and supporting sustainment operations out of Fort Pickett.

Virginia Guard aviators from the Sandston-based 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment, 91st Troop Command flew Gov. Bob McDonnell, public safety secretary Marla Graff Decker and other cabinet members and senior state officials on an aerial assessment mission to the Eastern Shore area Wednesday.

Soldiers working out of Onancock trudged through high water and cut trees to clear a path for two rescue missions that transported seven adults and one child to safety at two locations on Cattail Road in the Mears, Va., Tuesday.

The rescue mission took place one day after another high water transport required carrying a person who was unable to walk more than 200 yards through chest-high water. The Soldiers had been on duty since Sunday and conducted numerous high water rescue missions to transport 34 citizens to shelters and transported six firefighters.

Virginia National Guard personnel began assisting Virginia State Police and local emergency response organizations late in the day Monday at numerous locations across Virginia, and at the height of operations had more than 650 Guard personnel staged and ready to respond.

During that time, Virginia Guard personnel conducted almost 60 reconnaissance patrols to report road conditions and damage assessment, performed 10 debris reduction missions and transported 36 people to safety.