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Home : News : State Partnership Program
NEWS | Jan. 31, 2024

Virginia Guard Begins Federal Duty Before Poland Deployment

By Mike Vrabel, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.  –  Approximately 70 Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to Headquarters, 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group, began a federal active-duty mobilization with a departure ceremony Jan. 28.

Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears spoke at the event, as did Brig. Gen. Charles Martin Jr., the VNG assistant adjutant general - Army, and Lt. Col. Carlos Maldonado, commander of the 529th CSSB. Maldonado and Command Sgt. Maj. David Elliott Jr., the 529th CSSB command team, furled their organizational colors during the ceremony to signify the official start of the mobilization. They will unfurl the colors when they arrive in Poland and officially take responsibility for their mission.

“It is my distinct honor to be standing here today as the battalion commander of a great formation of Americans that are dedicated not only to their craft but also to each other,” Maldonado said. “My confidence in the Soldiers could not be higher. They have proven time and time again that they are ready to excel at any mission we are assigned. I am indebted to them for the sacrifice, dedication and professionalism that they show every day.”

The 29th Infantry Division Band performed ceremonial music at the departure. Previous commanders of the 529th, including Maj. Gen. Michelle Rose, Col. Dennis Rohler, Col. Juanita Rohler and retired Col. Mike Waterman, also attended.

The 529th troops will serve under the command of the U.S. Army’s 3rd Division Sustainment Brigade to provide sustainment command and control and support to forward-stationed U.S. and allied forces in the region. Their mission will be part of a rotation of forces conducting multinational training and operations with allies and regional security partners to increase military interoperability, build contingency response capabilities and deter adversaries in Europe.

This is the fourth federal active-duty deployment for the 529th since being federally recognized in 2009, with previous deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait. The mobilization order is for 365 days but could be extended.

A combat sustainment support battalion is a multifunctional logistics headquarters exercising mission command for assigned companies, teams and detachments to provide maintenance support and distribute food, fuel, ammunition and other supplies. They expect to have supply, transportation and maintenance companies under their command, but additional units could be assigned to meet mission requirements.

Soldiers of the 529th conducted annual training at Fort Barfoot to prepare for the deployment. Training events included individual weapons qualifications, live-fire ranges and asymmetric warfare training. They also gained valuable experience for the mobilization when they supported a Joint Readiness Training Center rotation July 6 to Aug. 6 at Fort Johnson, Louisiana. Conducted in support of the Hawaii Army National Guard’s 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the 529th was in charge of running the division support area, where they provided command and control of more than 400 National Guard Soldiers from five states .

“You have trained on individual and collective tasks that have prepared you for this moment,” Martin told the deploying troops at the ceremony. “You have honed your skills at the Joint Readiness Training Center last year, and more recently at Fort Barfoot over the past two weeks. Be confident in your training and maintain the indomitable spirit that makes you the best Soldiers in the world.”

After the ceremony, Soldiers and their families said their goodbyes before the troops loaded onto charter buses.