Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of Governor Bob McDonnell
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 7, 2011
Office of the Governor
Contact: Jeff Caldwell
Phone: (804) 225-4260
Virginia National Guard
Contact: Cotton Puryear
Governor McDonnell Thanks 1,100 Virginia Guard Troops for Their Service as They Return Home from Iraq
RICHMOND – Governor
Bob McDonnell today expressed his appreciation for the service of
Virginia National Guard Soldiers returning home from federal active duty
in Iraq. More than 1,100 soldiers are scheduled to return to Virginia
in December after months of service in support of Operation New Dawn.
The first group of about 120 Soldiers scheduled to return to Virginia
are from the Suffolk-based Troop B, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry
Regiment, 116th Brigade Combat Team, and they are expected home Dec. 8.
Virginia’s governor, McDonnell serves as the commander in chief for
more than 10,000 members of the Virginia Army National Guard, Virginia
Air National Guard and Virginia Defense Force.
Virginian should feel a sense of pride at the selfless service
exhibited by these citizen soldiers,” Governor McDonnell said. “In
addition to risking their lives for their country, the men and women of
the Virginia National Guard put their lives on hold to answer our
nation’s call of duty, and that is no easy task. Not only do we owe
these brave Virginians a debt of gratitude for defending the ideals of
freedom in a foreign land, but we also must thank their families and
employers. Without the unending support of families and employers, these
dedicated patriots could not perform their missions with the focus and
determination necessary to succeed. I can think of no better gift for
the families of these brave Virginians than to have their loved ones
home for the holiday season.”
return of the troops to the United States, and ultimately to Virginia
throughout December, coincides with the 375th birthday of the National
Guard on Dec. 13.
the National Guard recognizes it official birthday in 1636 in
Massachusetts, we trace the heritage and traditions of the selfless
service of citizen soldiers back to the founding of Jamestown in 1607,”
Governor McDonnell said. “Those traditions live on today throughout the
Commonwealth, through all of the branches of the armed forces serving
here, as well as the thousands of veterans who call Virginia home.
Without the sacrifices made by these great Americans, we would not enjoy
the freedoms we have today. As George Washington once said, ‘The
willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war,
no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they
perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by
their nation.’ This is our time to give thanks to these brave men and
women for their service.”
the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, more than 14,000 Virginia
Guard soldiers and airmen have served on federal active duty in support
of Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi
Freedom and Operation New Dawn. Their missions have ranged from helping
to maintain security in the United States to furthering the cause of
freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan, to serving in the NATO peacekeeping
mission in Bosnia and Kosovo.
275 Virginia Army National Guard soldiers from the Sandston-based 2nd
Assault Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment, 91st Troop Command returned
to the United States on Dec. 3 and 4 after serving in Iraq since April
of this year. The battalion conducted air assault and combat support
aviation operations. They flew more that 16,500 combat flight hours
during more than 1,800 combat missions while performing split-based
operations from seven different locations. The battalion executed an
average of 15 missions a day and flew more than 30,000 passengers.
Additionally, they planned and executed multiple direct action air
assault missions that were instrumental in reducing the number of
attacks on United States forces. The remaining 50 soldiers from the
battalion are still conducting missions in Iraq and are scheduled to
return home later this month.
105 Soldiers from the Christiansburg-based Company C, 1st Battalion,
116th Infantry Regiment, approximately 75 Soldiers from the Virginia
Beach-based Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry and about 130 Soldiers
from the Fredericksburg-based Company D, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry
Regiment returned to the United States Dec. 6, 2011 after serving in
Iraq since August 2011. The Soldiers will spend about five to 10 days
conducting a number of different administrative and reintegration
training activities at their demobilization station at Camp Atterbury,
Ind. to transition from active duty back to traditional National Guard
status prior to returning to Virginia.
Soldiers are part of a group of about 825 Soldiers from across the
commonwealth who mobilized for duty in Iraq as Task Force 183 under the
command of the Portsmouth-based 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment.
Approximately 120 Soldiers from the Suffolk-based Troop B, 2nd Squadron,
183rd Cavalry Regiment returned to the United States Dec. 1, 2011. They
are conducting demobilization activities at Camp Atterbury and their
return schedule to Virginia has not been finalized.
Soldiers from the Fredericksburg-based Company A, 116th Brigade Special
Troops Battalion, the Norfolk-based Troop A, 2nd Squadron, 183rd
Cavalry Regiment and Portsmouth-based Headquarters Troop, , 2nd
Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment are scheduled to return later this
month as part of a phased redeployment as U. S. forces leave Iraq, but
their exact return date has not been finalized. The Soldiers officially
began federal active duty June 1.
task force conducted 181 convoy escort missions. Units in the task
force drove more than 50,000 miles escorting convoys throughout their
area of operations and all commodities were delivered safely with no
military vehicle accidents and no incidents with local population. They
escorted more than 14 million gallons of fuel and more than 5,000 trucks
hauling all military classes of supply like food and water, major end
items, ammunition and repair parts. The supported sustainment convoys
hauled commodities for all bases in Iraq, whether by direct support or
handoff to other units at re-supply hubs that relayed supplies to their
final destinations. Convoy escort teams reacted to 22 enemy attacks from
small arms fire, indirect fire and IED detonations.
the soldiers return from Iraq, the Virginia Guard will have about 260
soldiers and airmen serving on federal active duty in Afghanistan.
ask that during this holiday season, as we give thanks for our families
and our precious freedoms, we remember those serving our country in
harm’s way, and their families, and we pray for the safe and speedy
return home of these patriots,” Governor McDonnell said.