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News | May 21, 2018

Virginia National Guard cuts ribbon at new state headquarters

By Mr. Cotton Puryear Virginia Department of Military Affairs

Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, members of the Virginia Defense Force, friends and family members joined distinguished guests at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Virginia National Guard’s newly-built Joint Force Headquarters building May 14, 2018, at Defense Supply Center Richmond in Chesterfield County, Virginia. U.S. Senator Mark Warner, First Lady of Virginia Pamela Northam, Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran and Brig. Gen. Linda S. Hurry, commander of Defense Supply Center Richmond, joined Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, and Command Sgt. Maj. Alan Ferris, Virginia National Guard Senior Enlisted Leader, in forming the official party who cut the ribbon on the new facility. The 102,000 square foot, $30 million building is the first structure purpose built to serve as a headquarters for the Virginia National Guard in its 411 year history.

“In many ways, today is a reunion,” Williams said. “I see so many familiar faces from across the decades which helps me put all of this in perspective. Generations of Guardsmen have dreamt of having a headquarters that they could call home. I’ve joked over the last four years that it only took us 411 years to get to this point. The reality is that the journey to today began in earnest 15 years ago.”

Williams reminded the attendees of the multiple locations the Guard’s headquarters was located over the last 30 plus years.

“The common thread throughout is that we made do with what we had,” he said. “Either World War II structures, armories or rented facilities supporting a force that has been growing in relevance on the global stage. Today, this purpose built headquarters symbolizes the reality of our National Guard: the combat reserve of the Army and Air Force with a presence across the globe in every conceivable type of operation from peace keeping to cyber operations to putting steel on target. And when not deployed, our Soldiers, Airmen, Defense Force and civilian personnel stand ready to serve the citizens of the commonwealth.”

Williams pointed out the honor guard from the Jamestown Settlement who assisted with the ribbon cutting and highlight the Virginia National Guard’s partnership with the Jamestown Yorktown Foundation.

“Their presence on this day is extraordinarily significant in that today, 14 May serves as the anniversary of the beginning of the militia tradition in America and by extension the Virginia National Guard’s birthday,” Williams said. Since May 14, 1607, when Capt. John Smith organized the colonists for defense there has not been a day without a military presence in Virginia to defend freedom at home and overseas. The spirit of service and sacrifice lives on in today’s modern Guard Soldiers and Airmen, he said.

“The Governor and I would like to thank you for your service and incredible sacrifice to the nation and to our commonwealth,” Northam said. “We know that this new building will mean improved mission readiness where you can work together in a more efficient manner and get the important work done more effectively. We certainly know you deserve it.”

Warner echoed Northam’s appreciation of the Virginia National Guard, recalling the many times he sent off and welcomed home Guard personnel during his time as governor and commander in chief of the Virginia National Guard.

“I want to simply say to General Williams and all the brave men and women who make up our Virginia National Guard, you do a remarkable job,” Warner said. “Congratulations on your 411th birthday and thank you for the level of protection you provide to us as citizens of Virginia but also to our nation.”

Williams credited a team effort moved forward by many different state and federal entities to bring the project to completion. In particular, he recognized the Virginia National Guard facilities management team for their work through master planning, programming, real estate, environmental, energy, design and construction.

“For those of you who had a direct hand in the construction of our new headquarters you have performed magnificently,” Williams said. “I would surely do a disservice by trying to name everyone, whether engineers, IT specialists, planners, craftsmen or historians, to the many Soldiers, Airmen and civilians, you are what makes this organization, and our nation, great! I do need to call out four amazing team mates: Charlton Dunn, Derrick Hall, Clint Bailey and Jim Edmonds you four have done more for this headquarters than anyone could imagine. Thank you!”

Williams also acknowledged the DSCR staff for their support throughout the process and providing a warm welcome to the base.

“This is a significant event for Defense Supply Center Richmond, the state and the Department of Defense,” Hurry said. “Your presence changes the footprint of this installation in such a positive way. A change we are happy to welcome. DSCR is centrally located to 95, the airport and the rail system, which is a good fit for the Guard. It seems fitting that today is the Virginia National Guard’s 411th birthday. This occasion marks a great and growing partnership, and an exciting time for DSCR, DLA Aviation and the Virginia National Guard. It’s been a team effort, and we are happy to host the state headquarters for the National Guard here on DSCR.”

Hurry explained that DSCR and DLA Aviation are not far behind the Guard in changing the footprint of this base.

“Very soon, our DLA Aviation Operations Center will also be ready, and we hope to see members of the Guard there to celebrate our ribbon cutting, which will take place towards the end of summer,” Hurry said.

In addition to the state-of-the-art facility and numerous historical display areas on the inside, the exterior of the building features a number of historical artifacts.

“Across the front starting to my far left with the WWI German Mortar presented to the Virginia Guard by the Republic of France honoring our service in the American Expeditionary Force 1917 to 1918, the UH-1 Huey representing our Army aviators past and present as well as our Vietnam Veterans,” Williams said. “The M101 Howitzer evoking the memory of the 29th Infantry Division on 6 JUNE 1944 – D-Day. The Republic F-84 Thunderstreak representing the early years and beginning of the Air Force and our Air National Guard. The M-41 Bull Dog tank underscoring the Army National Guard’s combat arms focus. And to your far left, the most recognizable symbol of the National Guard, the Minuteman. The model for this specific statue is WWI veteran then 21 year old SGT John Hickson Company L, 116th Infantry.”

After the ribbon-cutting ceremony and facility tour, Williams recognized several Vietnam Veterans outside by the Huey helicopter and presented them with a Vietnam service pin and thanked them for their service.

Members of the Virginia Defense Force provided traffic control assistance for the ceremony.

The current state headquarters in Sandston houses the adjutant general and his senior staff, as well approximately 275 full-time federal and state employees and traditional Soldiers and Airmen of Virginia National Guard Joint Staff and Air National Guard staff. The readiness center also houses the Joint Operations Center that manages Virginia National Guard operations during routine and emergency response operations. The Virginia National Guard Joint Staff provides support for the entire state in the areas of operations, human resources, family programs, sustainment and logistics and public affairs.

The Virginia Army National Guard staff is located at Fort Pickett near Blackstone, and the Virginia Defense Force staff is located at Waller Depot in Richmond.

The Virginia National Guard currently has several activities and units already on DSCR including the U.S. Property and Fiscal Office Supply Support Activity that includes the Guard’s Central Issue Facility, the Combined Support Maintenance Shop and Company B, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

The current facility in Sandston only provides 58 percent of the authorized space for a state headquarters, and the new facility increases available space to 98 percent, explained Col. Charlton Dunn, the Virginia National Guard construction and facilities management officer.

The funding for the State Headquarters is predominantly federal, with the Department of Military Affairs contributing approximately $471,000 of its own state funds to provide space for its employees. The Virginia Air National Guard is providing approximately $1.02 million for the Air Guard staff with the remaining funds to be provided by the Virginia Army National Guard.

The new facility was built in compliance with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver requirements and makes use of ground-source heat pumps, photovoltaic solar panels and natural gas to create an energy efficient building now and for future generations of employees, Dunn said. This project utilizes Construction Manager at Risk, Building Information Modeling, and a commissioning agent to ensure the best product at appropriate initial and lifecycle costs within existing time constraints.

About the Virginia National Guard, Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Virginia Defense Force:

The Virginia National Guard is a unique dual-status force with a federal mission to provide a combat reserve to fight our nation’s wars and a state mission to provide a response force that answers the call of the Governor to defend the commonwealth.

The Virginia Department of Military Affairs is the state agency that provides leadership and administrative support to the Virginia Army National Guard, Virginia Air National Guard and Virginia Defense Force. DMA plans, coordinates, maintains situational awareness and employs forces for homeland security and homeland defense in order to respond to any incidents within the Commonwealth.

The Virginia National Guard has mobilized nearly 2,000 Soldiers and Airmen for federal active duty overseas deployments since January 2014, and a medical evacuation detachment recently mobilized to support the NATO mission in Kosovo. They join more than 15,000 Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen who served in combat operations, homeland defense, peacekeeping and stabilization missions since Sept. 11, 2001.

Since January 2014, the Virginia National Guard has mobilized nearly 2,570 Soldiers, Airmen and members of the VDF on state active duty to respond to hurricanes, winter storms and flooding across the Commonwealth. The Virginia Guard also mobilized more than 500 personnel for security operations in Charlottesville Aug. 12, and also deployed more than 500 Soldiers from the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team to assist with hurricane recovery operations in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Virginia National Guard also had nearly 40 Soldiers and VDF members conduct cyber vulnerability assessments in seven different Virginia localities in the last 18 months.

The Virginia Defense Force is authorized by the Code of the Virginia as the all-volunteer reserve of the Virginia National Guard and serves as a force multiplier integrated into all Virginia National Guard domestic operations. Members of the VDF volunteer their time for training and community support and are only paid when called to state active duty by an authorization from the Governor of Virginia.