| West Virginia National Guard | Dec. 31, 2018
Crew members with Battery C, 1st Battalion, 201st Field Artillery, West Virginia Army National Guard, fire an M109A7 Howitzer during exercise Northern Strike at Camp Grayling, Mich., on Aug. 8, 2018. The 201st FA is providing fire support operations during the joint multinational combined arms live fire exercise. (Photo by Sgt. Tawney Schmit)
West Virginia National Guard’s 35th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and High Yield Explosive (CBRNE) Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) decontamination team members participate in a rescue scenario during a Vigilant Guard Massachusetts exercise at Joint Base Cape Cod Nov. 6, 2018. The Massachusetts National Guard hosted Vigilant Guard 19-1, a full-scale civil-military exercise, with 46 federal, state, local and civilian organizations, Nov. 5-9, 2018, in various locations throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. (Photo by Sgt. Zoe Morris)
West Virginia Swift Water Rescue Team (SWRT) rescues a total of 12 victims over the course of three hours in a Vigilant Guard Massachusetts swift water training exercise Nov. 7, 2018. West Virginia SWRT uses a highline, rope rescue throw bags, and dib boats to save multiple swimmers coming down stream and victims from across the Deerfield River. (Photo by Spc. Brianna Lawrence)
The West Virginia National Guard had numerous significant accomplishments in 2018 that included homeland and disaster response missions, deployments around the globe, innovative training and the forging of new partnerships at home and abroad.
“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,” said Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, the Adjutant General of the WVNG. “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.”
This past year was extremely busy and the West Virginia National Guard stayed engaged on all fronts. In addition to training and equipping our forces for rapid mobilization in the event our country calls upon us, Soldiers and Airmen supported such events as hurricane recovery efforts, flooding response and international partnership building in Peru, Qatar, Africa and the Baltic states, as well as deployed nearly 700 individuals in support of contingency operations and state active duty support.
In addition, these men and women assisted their 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 West Virginia Army and Air National Guard units met and exceeded end strength with more than 100 percent manning. In addition to meeting end strength goals, the Recruiting and Retention Battalion’s Final Formation Program (FFP) resulted in the state achieving 98.4 percent of its reenlistment mission and has become a model program throughout the nation.
• Nearly 550 Soldiers and Airmen deployed in support of contingency operations for Operation Freedom Sentinel, Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Spartan Shield in 2018. Detachment 28 Operational Support Airlift successfully stood up the CEASAR II Electronic Warfare Program in Afghanistan, while the 156th Military Police Company provided 24-hour security operations to Afghanistan’s largest bases, Kandahar and Bagram Airfields. Both the 130th Airlift Wing and 167th Airlift Wing deployed personnel to more than 12 overseas countries while the 167th AW conducted weekly aeromedical evacuation missions in support of operations in Southwest Asia.
• The 1092nd Headquarters Battalion deployed the 821st Horizontal Construction Company, 115th Vertical Construction Company & 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, a demonstration of the United States’ commitment to the collective security of Europe.
• The 1st Battalion, 201st Field Artillery Regiment participated in Operation Northern Strike, a joint, multi-national, combined arms training event held at Camp Grayling, Mich. with 5,000 participating Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines. The unit conducted fires in support of both Marine and Army maneuver units and coordinated those missions with air assets to simulate operations on today’s battlefield.
• Our special operators concluded deployments to the Republic of South Korea, the European Theater, Nepal and Bangladesh. All missions were an extremely valuable opportunity to broaden U.S. influence and continue to further build relationships on the international stage.
• 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 (CBRN) 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 (CENTCOM) area of responsibility. The State Partnership 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 in 2018 supporting counter narcotics missions which facilitated law enforcement officials eradicating and seizing illegal drugs and assets valued at over $1 billion.
• The West Virginia National Guard Drug Prevention Support program has supported 49 meetings with state-wide community and education stakeholders and nearly 100 coalition activities such as mentoring sessions and book readings in 16 counties, reaching more than 4,900 students and community members in West Virginia.
• The West Virginia National Guard Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy (MCA) received the exemplary partnership award for student-centered support from The Education Alliance during the 2018 West Virginia Education Summit. The ChalleNGe Academy has graduated 4,360 West Virginia teens since 1993 and its cohort for Class 51, which graduated in December, boasted a 91 percent high school graduation rate and 173 cadets for its largest class in history.
• Training and readiness for the National Guard and other Department of Defense entities remained high in 2018 thanks to the work of the WVNG. Camp Dawson’s training center in Kingwood, W.Va. trained a record 161,000 personnel, its second largest number in history. The Army Interagency Training and Education Center’s (AITEC) CBRN Battalion trained more than 9,400 Soldiers and Airmen in domestic CBRN response across the nation. The AITEC Critical Infrastructure Battalion (CIP) also conducted training and assessments for nearly 7,500 personnel directly involved in the protection of critical infrastructure and key resources throughout the nation.
• 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 54 states and territories. In addition, West Virginia Air National Guard members were hand selected by U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) to assist in the development of a concept of operations to define a state's National Guard support for cyber-related Defense Support to Civil Authority (DSCA) activities. To round out the year for cyber-related activities, Soldiers and Airmen from across the state provided electoral security assistance to the West Virginia Secretary of State and the West Virginia Office of Technology's Information Security Office during the 2018 midterm elections.
• The West Virginia National Guard welcomed a full-time dietician into its ranks, the first of its kind in the Army National Guard.
• 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 Ft. Benning, Ga.
• WVNG STARBASE programs provided 151 academies with focused STEM curriculum serving more than 3,700 students in Kanawha, Berkeley and Jefferson Counties.