W.Va. Guard holds tabletop exercise on COVID-19 response

By Edwin L. Wriston | March 18, 2020


Senior staff with the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) held a tabletop exercise, March 17, 2020, in order to test operations, logistics and response to needs that might be requested by Governor Jim Justice, state partner agencies, and local communities during the current Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) response in West Virginia.


Led by members of the Army Interagency Training and Education Center (AITEC), the discussion-based exercise gave leaders the opportunity to work through a wide-range of topics, from manpower issues including both the military and civilian Guard workforce, to integration within the joint agency response across the state and scenarios where the WVNG might be called into response.


“Our goal with this tabletop exercise was to identify the wide range of State Active Duty (SAD) missions the Guard may be asked to participate in to assist our partner agencies and local communities, to identify gaps in operational planning and capabilities, and to engage in honest dialog and assessment of the opportunities we have to serve the citizens of West Virginia over the coming weeks and months,“ stated Lt. Col. Walter “Wally” Hatfield, AITEC deputy commander. “As always, our primary focus is providing a ready force to support our citizens, under direction of the Governor, and to serve and help protect our fellow West Virginians.”


The exercise concluded by identifying tasks that the organization can now work through to ensure a seamless response to numerous potential scenarios that the state might face.


“Because Guard members live and work in every community in our state, and our expertise ranges from engineers to doctors, pilots to maintainers, we bring a vast set of skills to any domestic operation mission,” stated Col. William Crane, director of the joint staff. “Our personnel are prepared, taking every necessary caution to ensure the health of our force is protected and we are ready to answer the call if and when we are needed by the citizens of West Virginia.”


The Guard continues to work hand-in-hand with agency partners across the State of West Virginia to plan and prepare for any type of COVID-19 response.