By Mr. Cotton Puryear | Virginia National GuardSeptember 4, 2019
RICHMOND, Va. - The Virginia National Guard has staged approximately 60 Soldiers and 20 vehicles for state emergency support duty Sept. 5, in the Eastern Shore and Hampton Roads areas. They are ready to assist local and state emergency agencies to respond to potential impacts from Hurricane Dorian. The Soldiers are staged with Humvees and light/medium tactical trucks for high water transportation and also have chain saws for debris reduction. The VNG also has two rotary-wing aviation rescue hoist crews on standby.
"Whether we are mobilizing 60 Soldiers in two key locations for possible Hurricane Dorian response or staging 1,500 Soldiers across the commonwealth as we did for Hurricane Florence, the Virginia National Guard has shown that it can rapidly respond with the capabilities our state agency partners request," said Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. "I am incredibly proud of the Soldiers who quickly responded to the call of duty and are stationed in Onancock and Hampton Roads and the joint team of Soldiers, Airmen, Virginia Defense Force personnel and state and federal civilians supporting them. It is an honor for us to be part of the multi-agency state response, ready to keep our fellow Virginians safe."
Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Sept. 2 authorizing the VNG's mobilization as well as other state agencies to organize resources and deploy people and equipment to assist in response and recovery efforts.
"Hurricane Dorian is a serious storm, and current predictions indicate that it may affect parts of Virginia," said Governor Northam. "I am declaring a state of emergency to ensure that localities and communities have the appropriate level of assistance, and to coordinate the Commonwealth's response to any potential impacts from Hurricane Dorian. I encourage Virginians to take all necessary precautions to make sure they are prepared as well."
During domestic operations, the VNG receives missions through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and responds as part of a multi-agency team with the Virginia State Police, the Virginia Department of Transportation and other state and local emergency agencies to provide support capabilities to communities in need. The VNG is not able to respond to direct support requests from the public, so people in need should call 911 and not the VNG directly.
"It is important that we get our personnel and equipment staged and ready at the right locations before the severe weather hits, so we can respond if needed," explained Brig. Gen. James Ring, Virginia National Guard director of the joint the staff.
Additional personnel and equipment can be brought on duty if needed, said Ring.
Additional Soldiers, Airmen and Virginia Defense Force members will be on duty in Richmond and Fort Pickett to provide mission command, logistics, administrative and public information support.