Virgin Islands Army National Guard
The Virgin Islands National Guard's mission is to assist local civil authorities in the event of natural disasters, civil disturbances and/or emergencies. The National Guard strives to maintain its readiness to respond to the needs of the citizens in the event of emergencies and is actively involved in counter-drug distribution programs.
The Governor, by Executive Order No. 304-1987, merged the Virgin Islands National Guard (VING) and the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA). This Executive Order established the Office of the Adjutant General, which is comprised of four activity centers: Administrative, Maintenance, Security and VITEMA. Legislation submitted with the Fiscal Year 1988 Executive Budget created the Office of the Adjutant General (OTAG). The Administrative unit seeks to provide financial and administrative services, including personnel management, to all activities of OTAG. The Maintenance unit provides building upkeep, repairs and groundskeeping for VING facilities. The Security unit provides protection for VING facilities and property.
The Virgin Islands Territorial Management Agency's (VITEMA) mission is to coordinate territorial response to emergencies and disasters as well as educate the public on components of disaster preparedness, including mitigation planning and implementation. VITEMA seeks to provide a planning capability for the protection of the population - both residents and visitors alike. VITEMA is also responsible for the coordination of territorial resources to mitigate, respond and recover from natural disasters.
The Virgin Islands Army National Guard maintains 2 armories, and is present in 2 communities. The Virgin Islands Army National Guard makes a significant financial contribution to the communities where Guard members live and work. Units within the command are located on two different islands -- St. Croix and St. Thomas -- separated by 40 miles of water. Soldiers live on three islands: St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John. The distance from St. Thomas to St. John is three miles. The budget for a National Guard program in the Virgin Islands does not stretch as far as it would in most states because of the high cost of living. About 40 percent of his program budget is spent on entitlements.
The Virgin Islands Army National Guard (VIARNG) units received training in the Continental United States, Italy, Germany, Puerto Rico and Home-stations during 1999. The 786th Quarter Master Battalion, 640th Quarter Master Detachment and teams from the 610th and 630th Water Purification units received training at Fort Pickett, Virginia. The units were able to practice skills using the latest Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Unit (ROWPU) technology. Teams from the Signal Support Activities deployed to Germany to wire buildings in support of the 2nd Signal Brigade's local area network (LAN).
The Virgin Islands National Guard Counterdrug Task Force (CDTF) hosted a Southeast Region Counterdrug Conference from 28th June to 2nd July 1999, on the island of St. Croix. There were representatives from the National Guard Bureau and 11 other states of the southeast region. Also, the CDTF and the Drug Demand Reduction Program hosted the 1st Annual Drug Free Bazaar on St. Thomas on March 27, 1999 and on St. Croix, on October 31, 1999.
Some force structure changes occurred in the VIARNG during FY 1999. The 23rd Civil Support Detachment (RAID-L) was activated and a Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) was added to the VIARNG. During Hurricanes Jose and Lenny, several units were activated to render emergency evacuations, search and rescue operations, curfew enforcement, road cleaning and debris removal.
The 666th Army National Guard Band, stationed in the Virgin Islands, was established in 1973 as one of the units of the Virgin Islands Army National Guard. It is unique in that, in addition to its concert and marching bands, it is the only military band which has a calypso combo and a steel ensemble.
During FY99 the VIARNG had a successful training year deploying units to annual training sites in CONUS and OCONUS. The 786th Water Supply Battalion exercised command and control of several subordinate water units in the deployment of newly developed prototype ocean intake systems at Ft. Dix, NJ. The 661st MP Gd Company participated in an Enemy Prisoner of War operation with the 300th MP Camp. The famous 666 Army Band deployed in support of the US Embassy in Bolivia for their 4th of July celebrations.
At home, engineer units supported renovations of a public medical facility on St. Croix while contributing to several other community and government agencies under MSCA. The VIARNG also started its own Boy Scout and Girl Scout troop. We enjoy growing support for counterdrug operations and a drug-free community through our partnership in Weed and Seed programs with local and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as with our active support to the VI HIDTA task forces.
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