Virginia National Guard providing high water transport capabilities, helicopter rescue on standby
By Mr. Cotton Puryear | Virginia National Guard October 12, 2018
RICHMOND, Va. -- The Virginia National Guard has two medium tactical vehicles and four Soldiers providing high water transport capabilities today, in Danville, Virginia, after heavy rains caused widespread flooding in the area. A VNG aviation crew of four Soldiers and a team of three Chesterfield County Fire and Emergency Medical Services Scuba Rescue Team members are on standby Friday morning in Chesterfield County, and they can be in Danville in an hour if needed. The VNG aviators and Chesterfield rescue technicians form the Virginia Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team to provide rotary wing aviation rescue hoist capabilities that can conduct aerial rescue evacuation.
"During domestic operations, the Virginia National Guard receives missions through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and responds as part of the state's multi-agency team," explained Brig. Gen. James W. Ring, Virginia National Guard Director of the Joint Staff. "Our personnel in the Danville area coordinate with local emergency management officials to provide additional capabilities to assist with the response and help people in need."
Soldiers from the Danville-based 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team received the notification late Thursday and quickly staged personnel and equipment in order to be ready to go Friday morning, Ring said. Their 5-ton tactical trucks are capable of transporting personnel and supplies through water as high as three feet.
The HART recently deployed to South Carolina to assist the South Carolina National Guard as they responded to Hurricane Florence, and they also deployed to Texas in September 2017 to assist the Texas National Guard with response to Hurricane Harvey.
The Virginia National Guard staged more than 1,500 personnel Sept. 12, 2018, at key locations across the commonwealth to support local and state emergency management officials with possible response to Hurricane Florence, but most were not needed when the storm turned further south. When Governor Ralph Northam authorized Virginia's resources could be redirected to North Carolina, the VNG sent the HART and approximately 40 Soldiers and 20 light medium tactical vehicles to support with recovery efforts where the hurricane caused widespread flooding.
Soldiers assigned to the Virginia Beach-based 1173rd Transportation Company, 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group used their 5-ton tactical trucks to transport supplies for shelter operations and first responders conducting health and welfare checks in flooded neighborhoods. The HART remained on standby in South Carolina to provide rescue capabilities until the most severe flooding threat ended.
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