The Virginia National Guard is helping with relief effort in Caribbean

Posted at 9:19 PM, Sep 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-30 21:21:11-04

ST. CROIX, U.S.V.I. – Approximately 1,000 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are conducting recovery operations in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Virginia National Guard’s Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team serves as the mission command headquarters for Joint Task Force Stonewall, a multi-state, multi-service team providing a variety of capabilities to support the U.S. Virgin Islands National Guard and territory leadership. They are also coordinating with the more than 250 active duty military personnel assisting with recovery operations as well as civilian responders.

The group is providing much-needed supplies to citizens and assisting local authorities with security after hurricanes battered the region.

“We are making steady progress,” said Col. Scott Smith, the JTF Stonewall commander. “Our Soldiers and Airmen, a composite group from 18 different states and the District of Columbia, are integrated into all aspects of recovery operations to include delivery of commodities at points of distribution, traffic control, security operations, airfield operations and communications support to critical infrastructure sites with the U.S. Virgin Islands National Guard, Federal Emergency Management Association and other territorial and federal agencies. We were welcomed with open arms by our gracious hosts from the Virgin Islands National Guard, and I am so proud of our Soldiers and Airmen who answered the call of duty to help our fellow citizens.”

Virginia National Guard Soldiers are assisting assisting local law enforcement on St. Criox and St. Johns with traffic control points and running the operations center for JTF Stonewall.

“It’s all pretty impressive,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Henry Motley referring to everything the task force has accomplished in just a few days. “They’re dedicated to this mission and the resiliency and determination shown by the U.S. Virgin Islands Soldiers and Airmen is simply inspiring. They’ve taken a beating from two hurricanes and their still fighting back to help their neighbors!”

Approximately 120 Soldiers from the 116th IBCT Headquarters in Staunton are serving in the JTF Stonewall Joint Operations Center, and about 350 Soldiers from units around the state are supporting recovery operations.