West Virginia National Guard

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West Virginia National Guard
Active 1947 - present
Country West Virginia
Role "To meet state and federal mission responsibilities."
Part of West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety
Commanders
Civilian leadership President Barack Obama
(Commander-in-Chief)
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin
(Governor of the State of West Virginia)
State military leadership Major General James A Hoyer

The West Virginia National Guard is a part of the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. It comprises the West Virginia Army National Guard and the West Virginia Air National Guard.

The leadership of the West Virginia National Guard includes:

  • Adjutant General: Major General James A. Hoyer
  • Director, Joint Staff: Brigadier General David Buckalew, USAF
  • Assistant Adjutant General for Army: Brigadier General Charles Veit
  • State Enlisted Leader: CSM Lawrence R. Vance

West Virginia Army National Guard[edit]

Hanover, WV, May 29, 2009 – West Virginia National Guard troops clear flood debris from the side of the highway. The debris was left from early May flooding in Hanover along US Highway 52.

The West Virginia Army National Guard (WVARNG) is the United States Army component of the West Virginia National Guard. It has 38 units and activities stationed in 22 counties throughout West Virginia and overseas.[1] The WV ARNG is supporting Homeland Security activities, and has deployed troops as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, and peace keeping missions in Kosovo.

The WVARNG has a three-fold mission:[citation needed]

  • (a) Federal Mission: As a Reserve Component of the Army, maintain combat ready units and Soldiers who are available to mobilize in support of the U.S. National Military Strategy;
  • (b) State Mission: Provide organized, trained and equipment units to protect life and property and to preserve peace, order and public safety when ordered by the governor; and
  • (c) Community Mission: To add value to the communities in which we live, work and serve.

Units include the:

Two units of the West Virginia Army National Guard, the 150th Cavalry Regiment and the 201st Field Artillery Regiment, are among the nineteen Army National Guard units with campaign credit for the War of 1812. The 150th Infantry Regiment served with the 38th Infantry Division between the wars, served in the Panama Canal Zone during World War II, and was an armoured cavalry regiment for a time after World War II.

West Viriginia is also home to the 249th Army Band, stationed in Morgantown, WV. The band's history dates back to the turn of the century when it consisted of two bands, the 201st Infantry Band in Morgantown, WV and the 150th Infantry Band in Bluefield, WV. Upon release from federal service in World War Two, these two bands were consolidated into the current 249th and was stationed in Fairmont, West Virginia. In 1995, the 249th was stationed in Morgantown. The band is made up of members from throughout the state as well as surrounding states. These personnel make up a Concert Band, Ceremonial Band, Jazz Ensemble, Rock Band, and several other small ensembles including, but not limited to, a Brass Choir, Jazz Quartet, and Percussion Ensemble.

West Virginia Air National Guard[edit]

The West Virginia Air National Guard is the air force militia of the WV NG. It is considered a part of both the United States Air Force and the West Virginia National Guard

The West Virginia Air National Guard was officially federally recognized on March 7, 1947, as the 167th Fighter Squadron, based at Kanawha Airport in Charleston. During the early years of the 167th, it flew the T-6 Texan trainer, P-51 Mustang and P-47 Thunderbolt. The unit was activated October 10, 1950 during the Korean War, and was designated the 167th Fighter Bomber Squadron when it returned on July 10, 1952. In December 1955, the unit was redesignated as the 167th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, and relocated to Eastern West Virginia Region Airport in Martinsburg, WV.

Today the West Virginia Air National Guard is composed of two airlift units, the 130th Airlift Wing based in Charleston, and the 167th Airlift Wing based in Martinsburg. Currently, the 167th is flying the C-5 Galaxy and the 130th is flying the C-130 Hercules in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. In addition, the 130th and the 167th Wings took part in Operation Desert Shield. Both units report to Air Mobility Command.

130th Airlift Wing[edit]

130th Airlift Wing.svg
A WV Air National Guard C-130H

On 13 May 2005, the Department of Defense released its Base Realignment and Closure, 2005 (BRAC) report, and the 130th Airlift Wing was one of the units slated to be eventually decommissioned. Its complement of eight C-130H aircraft would be realigned to Pope Air Force Base, and its complement of expeditionary combat support (ECS) personnel to the 167th Airlift Wing.

Upon learning of this, several former commanders of the 130th Airlift Wing along with members of the local Kanawha County Commission and the Yeager Airport Board of Directors formed the Keep 'Em Flying grassroots organization to try to prevent the unit from being decommissioned. Following an outpouring of community support, money was raised for newspaper ads and radio ads, and to hire analysts familiar with BRAC, all in an attempt to save the unit. On June 13, 2005, members of the BRAC commission came to Charleston to evaluate the base and talk to General Tackett, Governor Joe Manchin, Senator Robert Byrd, Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito and Col. Bill Peters, Jr., former commander of the 130th and chair for Keep 'Em Flying.

Following this visit, and taking in all the information that was presented to them during that time, the BRAC commission voted unanimously, 9–0, to keep the unit intact.

167th Airlift Wing[edit]

167th Airlift Wing.png

Since the September 11 attacks 2001 on New York City and Washington, D.C., the unit has had members deployed to the Afghan and Iraq wars. Unit members have received six Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts in support of these operations. In December 2006, the 167th received its first C-5 Galaxy, out of a total of 11 aircraft. At present, the runway at Shepherd Field in Martinsburg is being expanded and reinforced to accommodate the much larger and heavier Galaxy.

References[edit]

  1. ^ WV ARNG, About the WV Army National Guard, accessed May 2009

External links[edit]