SANDSTON, Va. (WAVY) - The Virginia National Guard has been authorized to bring up to 500 personnel on state active duty to prepare for possible recovery operations from Hurricane Sandy.
The Virginia Army Guard and Virginia Defense Force are staging personnel in Fredericksburg, the Richmond metro area, Eastern Shore area and Hampton Roads with personnel and equipment capable of performing high water transport, debris reduction and reconnaissance patrols.
The Virginia National Guard has not received any specific mission taskings. Personnel are moving into support areas on Saturday and will be ready for duty as directed by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.
Additional personnel from the Virginia Army Guard, Air Guard and VDF personnel are also on duty in Sandston at the Guard's Joint Operations Center for mission command and sustainment support as well as Fort Pickett and the Virginia Emergency Operations Center. Additional personnel have been alerted for possible duty and will be held in reserve for possible future missions.
"The key to rapid response is positioning personnel and equipment in key locations before the severe weather hits," explained Col. Jim Ring, director of joint operations for the Virginia National Guard. "We want to have our personnel staged and ready to go if we are needed by the citizens of the commonwealth."
The Virginia Guard receives their missions through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management to assist state and local emergency response organizations and is not able to respond to direct support requests from the public, Ring said. "If the severe weather creates any conditions where people need assistance, they should request assistance through their local dispatcher or 911 service, not directly to the Virginia Guard," he said. "When appropriate, the request for assistance will be forwarded to us for action."
Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly 15,000 Soldiers and Airmen have mobilized on federal active duty for combat operations, peacekeeping and homeland security missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo and other locations around the world. Those mobilizations have increased the level of experience, maturity and ability to make sound decisions in our troops, Ring said.
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