Virginia National Guard to conduct drill weekends remotely due to COVID-19

Virginia National Guard to conduct drill weekends remotely due to COVID-19
Members of the Virginia Defense Force assist the Virginia Department of Emergency Management with logistics planning March 17, 2020. (U.S. National Guard photo by Cotton Puryear) (Source: Virginia National Guard)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A large number of soldiers and airmen with the Virginia National Guard will be doing their monthly drills remotely due to COVID-19.

A spokesperson said units conduct drills on different weekends but a large number of units are expected to conduct drills on Saturday and Sunday.

“Most of the training will be remote and take advantage of distance learning opportunities,” said spokesman A. A. "Cotton" Puryear. “We are using a system of checks to verify Soldiers and Airmen are on duty, reviewing their planned training for the day, then checking out at the end of the day to verify the training was completed.”

Puryear added a small number of personnel will be on duty conducting essential vehicle maintenance to ensure they’re ready to go if needed.

“They will be using staggered work schedules, hand washing and social distancing to stay safe,” he said.

Meanwhile, as of April 2 the Virginia National Guard had roughly 150 personnel supporting COVID-19 response efforts and is ready to bring additional personnel on duty depending on the Commonwealth’s needs.

“Once the Virginia Emergency Support Team has determined what National Guard capabilities are needed and where they need to go, additional personnel will be mobilized,” Puryear said. “Virginia’s state of emergency activated the VNG and authorized state active duty.”

Currently, personnel with the Guard and members of the Virginia Defense Force are helping the Virginia Emergency Support Team with operations, logistics and medical planning.

“Additional personnel establish planning teams to support Alternative Care Facilities Working Groups in Virginia Department of Emergency Management Regions in Central Virginia, Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads,” Puryear said. “Virginia National Guard Soldiers are on the ground assisting with logistics support at warehouse operations and mobile testing sites at several locations in the state.”

The Virginia Emergency Support Team provides tasks for the Guard based upon locality needs.

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