By Maj. Holli Nelson
| West Virginia National Guard Public Affairs | Sept. 9, 2020
For 180 days, the West Virginia National Guard has been a cornerstone in the State of West Virginia’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
At the height of this response, more than 700 Guard members were activated to conduct a multitude of missions, which have been focused along a key set of efforts: operationalizing the event, stabilization of the population, data and analytics support, logistical movement of critical supplies, and innovation.
Currently, the WVNG is supporting the state with two-thirds the number of Soldiers and Airmen that were a part of the pandemic response at the beginning. With approximately 330 personnel on duty, the WVNG continues to support the workload that has not seen a decrease, with fewer personnel.
"Our brave men and women of the West Virginia National Guard have been among our greatest heroes throughout this pandemic in every way," Gov. Jim Justice said. "Whether it's been testing our most vulnerable, providing PPE training to others on the front lines, implementing new ideas and technologies, coordinating our resources, and so much more, our guardsmen and women have absolutely run to the fire like no one else and I could not be more thankful for their service to the state and our people."
Today, we reflect back on the various missions and support provided by Guardsmen and women. At this 180-day mark, the WVNG has assisted in a number of milestones, to include:
“The true testament to this pandemic response is the ability of our Guard members to adapt to an ever-changing environment and to be innovative in their approach to problem solving,” said Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard. “For the last six months, these men and women have met every challenge and done an exceptional job in leading the response for the citizens of West Virginia. I could not be more proud to be the leader of this organization, even in the most complex response in my career.”
“All of this has occurred while we also deployed and welcomed home up to 1,000 National Guardsmen and women as a part of our National Defense mission overseas,” Hoyer added.
The WVNG’s focused response has been recognized at some of the highest levels of government, including by Vice President Mike Pence and White House Advisor Dr. Deborah Birx, who lauded the capabilities and ingenuity of the Guard in a recent visit to the state.
With a bench of nearly 6,400 experienced and proven profession Soldiers and Airmen, the WVNG has proven is capabilities in domestic operations over the past 180 days. Whether it be through collaborative partnerships, innovative solutions to the most pressing problems in the state or personnel to provide a quick reaction force when our citizens need us most, we remain ready to spring to action to aid the citizens of West Virginia through the end of this pandemic and beyond.