From disaster response to deployments around the globe to training and forging new partnerships, the West Virginia National Guard made numerous significant accomplishments in 2018.
“Our soldiers and airmen continue to demonstrate the value and expertise of the West Virginia National Guard on the local, national and international stage and this year was no exception,” Maj. Gen. James Hoyer said in a press release from the National Guard.
“As one of the major economic drivers in the state, delivering more than half a billion dollars to the West Virginia economy, the West Virginia National Guard once again has proven its value, and we will continue to do so into 2019 and beyond,” continued Hoyer, who is the adjutant general of the WVNG.
In 2018, soldiers and airmen supported such events as hurricane recovery efforts, flooding response and international partnership building in Peru, Qatar, Africa and the Baltic states, according to the press release. The guard also deployed nearly 700 individuals in support of contingency operations and state active duty support.
In addition, these men and women assisted the state by augmenting correctional officers, overseeing recovery efforts from the 2016 flood, supporting drug prevention efforts in their communities and assisting in the state’s economic development and diversification through programs such as Patriot Guardens.
Other West Virginia National Guard accomplishments in 2018 include:
- All units exceeded end strength with more than 100 percent manning. The Recruiting and Retention Battalion’s Final Formation Program achieved 98.4 percent of its reenlistment mission and became a model program throughout the nation.
- Nearly 550 soldiers and airmen deployed in support of contingency operations in other countries.
- The 1092nd Headquarters Battalion deployed the 821st Horizontal Construction Company, 115th Vertical Construction Company and 119th Sapper Engineer Company to Germany and Poland as part of Resolute Castle, a multinational joint training exercise for NATO and U.S. Army engineers that supports Atlantic Resolve.
- The 1st Battalion, 201st Field Artillery Regiment participated in Operation Northern Strike, a joint, multi-national, combined arms training event at Camp Grayling, Mich., with 5,000 participating soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines.
- Special operators concluded deployments to the Republic of South Korea, the European Theater, Nepal and Bangladesh.
- The 35th Civil Support Team (Weapons of Mass Destruction) completed more than 70 missions supporting multiple state and federal partners
in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear and hazardous material response operations.
- The WVNG-Qatar partnership was formally established in May, marking the second partner nation for the WVNG and the sixth SPP country in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. The program conducted 37 engagements with partner nations Peru and Qatar, developing the non-commissioned officer corps, mentoring women in the military and conducting subject matter expert exchanges.
- The WVNG Counterdrug Task Force flew more than 473 hours supporting counter narcotics missions that facilitated law enforcement officials eradicating and seizing illegal drugs and assets valued at over $1 billion.
- The West Virginia National Guard Mountain-eer ChalleNGe Academy received the exemplary partnership award for student-centered support from The Education Alliance during the 2018 West Virginia Education Summit. The ChalleNGe Academy graduated 4,360 West Virginia teens since 1993.
- Camp Dawson’s training center, in Kingwood, trained a record 161,000 personnel, its second largest number in history.
- The WVNG was one of four states selected to author cyber security strategy policy for the state’s executive branch of government that can be shared across the states and territories.
- 1st Lt. Emily Lilly, a platoon leader with Charlie Troop, 1st Squadron, 150th Cavalry Regiment, became the first female National Guard soldier to graduate from the U.S. Army Ranger School in Fort Benning, Ga.
- WVNG STARBASE programs provided 151 aca-demies with focused STEM curriculum serving more than 3,700 students in Kanawha, Berkeley and Jefferson counties.