VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - The Army activated the 437th Civil Affairs Battalion in a ceremony at Fort Story Saturday afternoon. The battalion is the only one of its kind in the state of Virginia.
"We're now on the books for any needs for a contingency mission or Afghanistan," said LTC Bradley Heston. "The Army knows we're here, and if they need us, they'll ask for us."
The soldiers' mission is the same in times of war and peace, to create stability in foreign countries. Civil affairs soldiers are the middle men between military and civilians living on the battlefields.
"Rebuilding communities, digging wells for locals that don't have water, building schools where schools aren't around, we do it all," said CSM Stephen Coville II.
Many of the soldiers assigned to the battalion are multilingual and have experience serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The reservists come to Fort Story from Tidewater, Richmond, Washington D.C., and as far as Michigan and upstate New York.
The ceremonial unfurling of the purple and white civil affairs flag at Saturday's ceremony symbolizes their readiness to serve.
"For us to activate is truly a momentous occasion," said LTC Heston.
Charges have been made in a domestic abuse investigation involving a 74-year-old woman in Elizabeth City.
Witnesses tell WAVY.com the attack of a shopper was the cause of a heavy police presence at the Ross department store at Military Circle in Norfolk Wednesday night.
Drivers traveling between Hatteras Island and the mainland were forced to use an emergency ferry Wednesday, following the sudden closure of the Bonner Bridge Tuesday.