By Maj. Holli Nelson
| West Virginia National Guard Public Affairsr | March 23, 2020
Lt. Col. John Snedegar, Medical training Officer, Medical Detachment, West Virginia National Guard (WVNG), assists state partner agencies by manning phone lines at the West Virginia Poison Center, part of the statewide Coronavirus 2019/COVID-19 response efforts, March 19, 2020, in Charleston, West Virginia. The members are answering questions and inquiries from concerned citizens on a hotline established as part of an interagency whole-of-government approach in response to the ongoing pandemic. (U.S. Army National Guard video by Edwin L. Wriston) (Photo by Edwin Wriston)
Members of the West Virginia National Guard's (WVNG) Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High Yield Explosive (CBRNE) Battalion, 35th Civil Support Team (CST) and the 35th CBRN Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) provide hands-on Personal Protective Equipment instruction March 11, 2020, to the staff of Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, W.Va. The training was conducted in order to help prepare the facility for potential future cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). (US Army National Guard photo by Edwin L. Wriston) (Photo by Edwin Wriston)
Today, more than 60 members of the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) are serving the State of West Virginia in the response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The WVNG has the following missions taking place to augment civil authorities, provide expertise to local hospitals and first responders and assist with logistical movement of supplies to areas around the state.
“The men and women of the West Virginia National Guard have shown extraordinary tenacity, resilience and innovation over the past few weeks as we have faced an unprecedented challenge unlike anything we have known before,” said Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, West Virginia Adjutant General. “During times of emergency, the West Virginia National Guard has made its mark as a calming force able to address any obstacle and handle new challenges. We will continue to be a leader as we work alongside Governor Justice, Dr. Clay Marsh, Dr. Catherine Slemp, and our various state agencies partners who are working night and day in this extraordinary battle.”
He continued, “Our organization will also take all necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of our force by following the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as WVDHHR. Our people and their families are our number one priority and our protocols and procedures for health screenings, social distancing, teleworking and personal hygiene will take precedence as we carry out our missions in support of this great state.”
All current and future missions performed by the WVNG are a part of a coordinated state-level public health preparation and response effort for the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, initiated by Governor Jim Justice, and being led by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.
The West Virginia National Guard has a bench of nearly 6,400 experienced and proven Air and Army National Guard professionals who frequently train side-by-side with state and local emergency responders, making them well-suited for domestic operations.
Our National Guard members work and live in every community have a proven record of accomplishment supporting civilian authorities during and after homeland emergencies.