DEPARTMENTS OF THE ARMY AND AIR FORCE

OFFICE OF THE ADJUTANT GENERAL OF VIRGINIA
VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD
600 EAST BROAD STREET
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23219-1832

News Release

For Release: Immediate Contact: Maj. Tom Wilkinson

Release No.: 1 Date: Jun. 24, 1998 (804) 775-9107

VIRGINIA GUARDSMAN ASSISTS IN RESCUE OF SUICIDE VICTIM

Sgt. Maj. Gareth R. Hilton, a soldier assigned to the 29th Infantry Division (Light) at Fort Belvoir, recently participated in the rescue of a drowning victim in Cleveland, Ohio.

Hilton, 46, lives in Marshall, Va., and is employed with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department when heís not soldiering on the weekends. While visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Hilton was playing with his fianceís son when he observ ed a crew member of a passing ship frantically waving and yelling. Another couple ran to the water, which prompted him to follow. In the water was a man struggling for his life.

Hilton and others formed a human-chain to rescue the man. Once they had him out of the water, they conducted first aid measures until the rescue squad arrived.

"I looked down in the water and saw a guy that looked like he had swim fins on," said Hilton. "I thought, Ďthatís strange,í but then I realized it was his jogging pants around his ankles and his wrist was tied to his neck with a sho elace."

Hilton was carrying a knife, which was used to cut the victim free and facilitate his rescue. His actions and quick thinking with the other rescuers saved the manís life.

Hilton has served in all three components of the Army. Active duty, Army Reserve and most recently the National Guard. He joined the Army in 1970 and served with the 82d Airborne Division for two years. He then joined the 11th Special Forces Group in the Army Reserve where he served part-time until 1994. He joined the Virginia Army National Guard in 1994, serving with the 3rd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne), he was then 1st Sgt. of Com pany A, 3-116th Infantry and is currently the Sgt. Maj. of the Division Tactical Action Center.

# # #

News Release
Headquarters 29th Infantry Division (Light)
Virginia Army National Guard
Attn: Public Affairs Office
9810 Flagler Road, Suite 101
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-5902

VIRGINIA COMMUNITY WELCOMES LOCAL NATIONAL GUARD UNIT HOME FROM BOSNIA

Story by Master Sgt. Gary Glover, 29th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office

On the 54th anniversary of the beginning of the end of World War II in Europe, the soldiers of Company C, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division (Light) celebrated their contribution to world peace. Team Stonewall received their official welcome home from a six-month mission in Croatia during a ceremony hosted by the town of Leesburg and Loudoun County, Va.

Company commander Capt. Michael Patterson and First Sgt. Bennie Dancy each received the Meritorious Service Medal, and the 147 members of Charlie Company were awarded the National Guard Commendation Medal for their participation in Operation Joint Guard. The medals and citations were presented by Maj. Gen. Carroll Thackston ,The Adjutant General of Virginia, and Maj. Gen. Carroll Childers, commander of the 29th Infantry Division (Light).

In assessing their performance during deployment, Maj. Gen. Childers told Team Stonewall they were "as good as the best, better than the rest." He also praised his soldiers' friends, families, employers and communities for thier support, telling them, "You are heroes in your own right."

Charlie Company also was hailed by U.S. Senator Charles Robb and U.S. Congressman Frank Wolf, who visited them during their deployment. Mr. Wolf noticed the difference they had made, saying, "Life has returned to normal, thanks to you. I env y you. Bosnia is better and the world is safer."

On behalf of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, Dale Myers presented Capt. Patterson a pewter medallion of the county seal and a proclamation declaring June 6, 1998, "Charlie Company Day." Ms. Myers also recited a poem she had writ ten in Team Stonewall's honor.

Leesburg mayor Jim Clem also proclaimed the day as "Company C Welcome Home Day."

Capt. Patterson ended the presentations by thanking his soldiers and their families for their outstanding effort during deployment. He also returned flags that had presented to Charlie Company at their farewell ceremony nine months earlier, saying the flags had flown over his soldiers everywhere they went to remind them of home.


DEPARTMENTS OF THE ARMY AND AIR FORCE
OFFICE OF THE ADJUTANT GENERAL OF VIRGINIA
VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD
600 EAST BROAD STREET
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23219-1832

For Release: Immediate Contact: Lt. Col. Kenny Smith

Release No.: 1 Date: May 9, 1998 (804) 328-3003

129th FIELD ARTILLERY RETURNS FROM BOSNIA

FORT BENNING, GA -- The 129th Field Artillery Detachment from Sandston, will return from an eight month tour in Bosnia today. The 31-man unit deployed on Sept. 6 and spent their deployment in war-torn Sarajevo.

The unit conducted counter-battery fire missions in the country, ensuring all enemy artillery was tracked and identified at its source. They manned three artillery radar sites in and around the city of Sarajevo and provided a vital asset to the Stabilization Force mission. Their radar equipment is used to identify artillery rounds in flight and determine its origin so U.S artillery assets can be employed if necessary. They arrived in country on Oct. 2 after conducting training at Forts Benning and Stewart in Georgia.

They returned to Fort Benning on Wednesday, May 6, and conducted three-days of out-processing before departing for home. The unit will arrive at the Richmond International Airport at 3 p.m. and proceed to the Armory at 5901 Beulah Road to be reunited with family and friends. Secretary of Public Safety Aronhalt and Maj. Gen. Carroll Thackston, the adjutant general of Virginia will formally welcome the soldiers home upon their arrival at the Armory at 4 p.m. An awards ceremony is also planned.

This unit is the last of three Virginia Army National Guard units to return from duty in Bosnia.

# # #


Headquarters 29th Infantry Division (Light)
Virginia Army National Guard
Attn: Public Affairs Office
9810 Flagler Road, Suite 101
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-5902

Assistant Division Commander Promoted

Story by Master Sgt. Gary Glover, 29th Infantry Division (Light) Public Affairs Office

Col. Daniel E. Long, Jr., Assistant Division Commander for Maneuver, 29th Infantry Division (Light), marked the 54th anniversary of D-Day with a ceremony celebrating his promotion to Brigadier General.

The Adjutant General, State of Virginia National Guard, Maj. Gen. Carroll Thackston, Division Commander Maj. Gen. Carroll Childers, and Brig. Gen. Long's wife Diane awarded him his star.

Brig. Gen. Long has earned the Expert Infantry Badge, and is a graduate of the Air Assault School, the Army Ranger School, and the Army War College. He served as commander of the 29th Infantry Division(Light) Second Brigade. When the unit was dea ctivated, he furled its colors. Brig. Gen. Long succeeds the

recently-retired Brig. Gen. Lloyd McDaniel.

During the ceremony Master Sgt. Elmer F. Theede also was promoted to Sgt. Maj. He continues in his position as Sergeant Major, Director of Logistics, National Guard Bureau.

DEPARTMENTS OF THE ARMY AND AIR FORCE
OFFICE OF THE ADJUTANT GENERAL OF VIRGINIA
VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD
600 EAST BROAD STREET
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23219-1832

News Release 

For Release: Immediate Contact: Maj. Tom Wilkinson

Release No.: 1 Date: Apr. 22, 1998 pager (888) 850-7789

FIRST INFANTRY GUARDSMEN RETURN FROM BOSNIA

FORT BENNING, Ga. -- Company C, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry from Leesburg, Va., will return from Bosnia tonight. The unit is the first National Guard infantry unit to be mobilized and deployed since Vietnam. The 147-man unit is scheduled to arrive at Lawson Army Airfield at 7 p.m. They will proceed to the Harmony Church area to conduct their out-processing and depart for Virginia on Saturday.

While in Bosnia, the soldiers were assigned to guard a bridge in Slavonski Brod over the Sava river. This bridge connects Croatia to the Republic of Serbska. The bridge is an important asset to the Stabilization Forces in Bosnia. One platoon was always on the bridge for a week at a time, and resided in "Troll Village" a tent village under the bridge. The unit was also tasked with guarding the Life Support Area (LSA) for Task Force Pershing about a mile away. The rifle platoons alternated from securing the bridge to LSA security. The remainder of the rifle platoons comprised the QRF (Quick Reactionary Force). A rapid response team capable of reacting to situations at the bridge. They were required to maintain a readiness status 24 hours a day.

The unit was mobilized in September and spent more than a month training at Fort Polk, La., before deploying toBosnia. Forces Command requested an infantry unit from the National Guard Bureau (NGB) for the mission, and NGB in turn asked Virginia because it has the Reserve Component’s only light infantry division. The unit was selected due to its readiness posture and past performance.

Like the unit in Vietnam, Company C has proven their worth to the Total Army concept. The tradition of the citizen-soldier is a testament to the patriotism and professionalism that made this historic mission a success.

# # #

DEPARTMENTS OF THE ARMY AND AIR FORCE
OFFICE OF THE ADJUTANT GENERAL OF VIRGINIA
VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD
600 EAST BROAD STREET
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23219-1832

News Release 

For Release: Immediate Contact: Maj. Tom Wilkinson

Release No.: 2 Date: Apr. 24, 1998 pager (888) 850-7789

LEESBURG INFANTRY UNIT RETURNS FROM BOSNIA

FORT BENNING, Ga. -- Company C, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry from Leesburg, Va., will return to Virginia on Saturday. The unit is the first National Guard infantry unit to be mobilized and deployed since Vietnam. The unit is scheduled to arrive at Dulles Airport on two separate flights at approximately 8 and 9 p.m. They will proceed to their Armory to store their equipment.

While in Bosnia, the soldiers were assigned to guard a bridge in Slavonski Brod over the Sava river. This bridge connects Croatia to the Republic of Serbska. The bridge is an important asset to the Stabilization Forces in Bosnia. One platoon was always on the bridge for a week at a time, and resided in "Troll Village" a tent village under the bridge. The unit was also tasked with guarding the Life Support Area (LSA) for Task Force Pershing about a mile away. The rifle platoons alternated from securing the bridge to LSA security. The remainder of the rifle platoons comprised the QRF (Quick Reactionary Force). A rapid response team capable of reacting to situations at the bridge. They were required to maintain a readiness status 24 hours a day.

The unit was mobilized in September and spent more than a month training at Fort Polk, La., before deploying to Bosnia. Forces Command requested an infantry unit from the National Guard Bureau (NGB) for the mission, and NGB in turn asked Virginia because it has the Reserve Component’s only light infantry division. The unit was selected due to its readiness posture and past performance.

The unit arrived at Fort Benning on Wednesday, Apr. 22, and is conducting out-processing before being released to return home. The unit is scheduled to depart Fort Benning at 6 and 7 p.m. on Saturday. Upon arrival at Dulles, the unit will be bused to their Armory in Leesburg. They will be released that evening after their equipment is accounted for and stored. They will return to the Armory on Sunday to complete their out-processing from active duty.

A formal "Welcome Home" ceremony is planned for June 6 in Leesburg.

# # #

The 129th Field Artillery Detachment from Sandston, Va. is scheduled to return to Fort Benning, Ga. between May 5 and 9 on 9 and be in Sandston on May 9.

The 29th Infantry Division (Light) Color Guard led by MG Childers marches in Virginia Governor James S. Gilmore, III's Inaugural Parade on 17 January 1998.

Headquarters 29th Infantry Division (Light)
Virginia Army National Guard
Attn: Public Affairs Office
9810 Flagler Road, Suite 101
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-5902


Students Shoot For Gold (April, 18)

Not even gray skies and the end of Spring Break could keep some students from shooting for the gold. The National Guard armory in Bedford, Va, home of the 116th Infantry, 1st Battalion, Company A, hosted the 2nd annual JROTC Air Rifle Match yesterday.

Competing for top prizes were students from Bedford Science and Technology Center and Buckingham County High School. 1st Sgt. George DuBarry and volunteer unit members greeted participants, as well as organized and conducted the match under official program regulations as published by the National Guard Marksmanship Training Unit in North Little Rock, Ark.

The unit's Family Support Group was on hand to offer snacks and refreshments. The National Guard Bureau sponsors these annual events nation-wide. The matches provide beginning and developing shooters a chance to compete for medals and trophies as well as enhance their firing skills. The competition is only open to shooters between 14 to 18 years old.. Shooters must be sponsored by an organization, club or school affiliated with the National Guard Junior Marksmanship Program. Anyone who has achieved a National Rifle Association Rifle Classification of expert or higher is unable to compete.

Firing teams consist of four members representing the same sponsoring organization. To ensure a fair match, members may only fire a .177 caliber sporter air rifle manufactured in the United States, with a cost not exceeding $180. The only modification allowed to any rifle is the shortening or lengthening of the stock to accommodate the individual shooter. The course of fire for the match consists of 30 rounds fired in three phases. Ten rounds are fired from each position, including the prone, kneeling and standing positions. The shooter has ten minutes to fire the ten rounds. Each shooter shoots only one set of targets, and scores are used to compute both individual and team totals.

Jay West, representing Bedford Science and Technology Center, won 1st place Top Male Shooter and "Top Gun" of the tournament with a high score of 213, out of as possible 300. Other 1st place winners included Cameshia Gray of Buckingham High School for Top Female Shooter, with a score of 211. Team A of Buckingham won the 1st place team award with a combined score of 769. The event ended with raffle prizes applause and encouraging words from DuBarry, congratulating the participants on their success and expressing his hope to see them next year.

A Company, 3/116th Hosts First Annual Open House

Story by Pvt. 1st Class Karyn Wiedman and Master Sgt. Gary Glover

Company A, 3rd Battalion, 116th Regiment, 29th Infantry Division (Light), Virginia Army National Guard hosted its first annual open house at the Manassas Armory on January 18th, 1998.

Army vehicles, such as HummVees, a specially modified five-ton truck and a UH60A Blackhawk helicopter gave curious guests a view from the driver's seat.

Weapon training aids, similar to video games, attracted a lot of attention from kids and adults alike. Soldiers were available to offer assistance in "playing these games" as well as to inform people of the games to the military in training.

"I like playing with and looking at the stuff, but it's also neat to learn what it's really used for," said Derek Moran, 9, student at the Emmanual Christian Academy.

The Stonewall Brigade troops demonstrated the equipment they use when in the field, then encouraged their guests to try the gear themselves. Some did, even sampling the pre-packaged Meals-Ready-to-Eat (MREs).

The 20th Special Forces Group from Fort A.P. Hill, Va., displayed weapons from around the world. "These are the guns that are out there. We, as Special Forces, need to recognize and be able to use them," said weapons expert Staff Sgt. Andrew Sushkiw.

Sgt. 1st Class William Shouse helped coordinate the publicity campaign that drew more than 700 visitors to the open house. He promoted the event through media announcements, posters and banners, and was interviewed on-air by national talk show host G. Gordon Liddy. "These open houses are a good way to let the community in and offer an in-depth view of what we do," he explained.

First Lt. Ian Murch added, "Events like these are crucial for making the community aware of our dual roles as citizens and soldiers in the community and the nation."

The City of Manassas and Prince William County honored their local citizen-soldiers with an official proclamation of January 8, 1998, as National Guard Appreciation Day.

- ### -

 

VIRGINIA BRIDGE

JOINT GUARD
NATIONAL GUARD BUREAU
SLAVONSKI BROD, CROATIA

12 NOV 97

By MSgt. Bob Haskell (703) 607-7377 DSN 327-7377

A dark-haired woman driving a late-model compact station wagon discovered on Veterans Day just how seriously Army National Guard infantrymen from Virginia are protecting a bridge over the Sava River along the northern Bosnian border these days.

The woman in the white car cruised past a military police checkpoint on the paved road leading up to the bridge early on the mild afternoon of Nov. 11. She approached the north end of the bridge where she had to slow down for cement barriers that every car must zigzag around while approaching the bridge.

That was as far as the small car got. Two citizen-soldiers from Virginia's 116th Infantry, the legendary Stonewall Brigade, charged into the middle of the road from a guard tower that overlooks that end of the bridge on the Croatian side of the river and faced the woman and her two passengers down.

Sgt. Adam Crippen from Sterling, Va., and Spec. Erik Carlson from Leesburg had their M-16 rifles locked, loaded and leveled at the white car. The woman braked to a sudden stop. Then she backed the car down to the checkpoint where the driver was questioned and the vehicle was searched before the three women were sent on their way.

It ended as a harmless encounter for everyone concerned. The woman told the MPs she did not know the bridge was so heavily protected. But it said a mouthful about the resolve that 130 Virginia Army Guardsmen from Company C in Leesburg have brought to their winter's mission of guarding the rebuilt span between Bosnia and Croatia that they inherited from active Army soldiers in the 10th Mountain Division on Nov. 1.

It was the first encounter of its kind for the Virginia Guardsmen in that region, said SSgt. Joe Miller of Warrenton, Va., the squad leader for Crippen and Carlson.

It said much about the training they have received at Fort Benning, Ga., and Fort Polk, La., since being alerted for this foreign duty last May.

It said even more about their determination to do this job right now that Charlie Company has become the first reserve component infantry outfit deployed to a foreign tactical zone since Indiana rangers from Company D, 151st Infantry were sent to Vietnam in 1968.

"This is our bridge," 1st Lt. Charles Muzzi of Annapolis, Md., emphasized to visiting reporters a few minutes after the encounter with the white car.

The bridge has recently been reopened to international traffic, he explained. But every vehicle is carefully monitored because the bridge is still a vital military link between the Army's staging base in Taszar, Hungary, and camps in Bosnia where NATO forces have been enforcing a fragile peace for nearly two years.

Relations between the Serbian and Muslim-Croatian factions remain tense in the area.

"We still hear gun fire here every day," said Miller. "It's celebrity fire, for weddings and parties and things like that. At least that's what they tell us."

Sounds of a political rally carried by loudspeakers to the "Troll Village" where the Virginia citizen-soldiers have taken up residence in tents under the Bosnian end of the bridge was another sign of the war-torn area's unrest.

But these Guardsmen had seen enough during their first 11 days in the area to reinforce their commitment to help the people resume life as they knew it before the nearly four-year war reduced parts of their community to rubble.

"We see corn and firewood stacked in rooms of the houses where people are still living so they can try to make it through the winter," Mussi said.

"When you start patrolling the streets around here, you have a daily reminder of why this mission is important," he added.

Meanwhile, the Guard soldiers are making the best of their own Spartan accommodations that are considerably less comfortable than the homes they left behind.

"The living conditions aren't bad," said Miller who is a civilian map-maker for the National Imagery and Mapping Agency in Bethesda, Md. "We have our own weight room and chow hall and shower tent. "It's not home, but it's not complete misery," he smiled.

Therefore, protecting the bridge from any potential threat is as important to the Guard soldiers who live under it as it is for the people who use it and for the Bosnian and Croatian people who live around it.

"Most likely she was unaware of what was going on," said Miller of the woman driving the white car. "But you never know."

- 30 -

Headquarters
29th Infantry Division (Light)
Virginia Army National Guard
Attn: Public Affairs Office
9810 Flagler Road, Suite 101
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-5902

 

HHC 3/116TH INFANTRY TAKES PART IN CIVIL DISTURBANCE TRAINING 

story by Master Sgt. Gary Glover, 29th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office 2 Nov 97

Fairfax County, Va. -- The doors bang open and the restless crowd surges onto the sidewalk. The 8:00 showing of the cops-and-crime movie "Colors" has just ended, and gangbangers from rival crews eagerly square off in front of the Biograph Theater on State Street. Just seconds later, two ranks of riot police in helmets and face masks march around the corner, shields and nightsticks at the ready.

So why is everybody smiling?

Well, first, it’s 8:00 A.M., not P.M. Second, "State Street" is really just a piece of asphalt that runs through Hogan’s Alley, a realistic small town mockup at the Federal Bureau of Investigation training academy an hour south of Washington, D.C. And third, the young thugs threatening this small town’s tranquility are really National Guard soldiers from Winchester, Va. The only real element in the scenario is the police force, and they’re out to get some serious practice on this crisp, cool November Sunday.

Troops from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division (Light), Virginia Army National Guard, volunteered to play various parts during a civil disturbance training exercise held by Fairfax County, Va., law enforcement agencies.

HHC commander Capt. Steve Delahunty explained that the joint civilian-military training exercise is a "win-win" situation for everybody. "This is good community relations. Anytime we get a request for support, we like to be able to say ‘yes,’ and the public gets to see what we can do for them. This is a high visibility event. Besides, a lot of these police officers are prior service military. Maybe when they see what we can do, we can convince them to join the Guard," he said.

The Guardsmen started the day as bad guys, but got the opportunity to switch sides throughout five training scenarios. The first, gang violence outside the Biograph Theater, stressed the skills necessary to disperse an angry crowd. A minor twist in the script, turning the gang members into nonviolent protestors, caused a major shift in tactics. Law enforcement officials immediately had to improvise a shift from confrontation to negotiation. Other realistic scenarios gave participants the opportunity to deal with looters and mobs of brick-throwing protestors.

Platoon leader 1st Lieut. Michael Roberts said HHC soldiers don’t normally get this type of training. "We’re cavalry scouts, mortar men and TOW crews. However, HHC has the mission requirement to provide civil disturbance support in northern Virginia. So this weekend is our ‘train the trainer’ exercise. We’re learning a lot we can use for our unit civil disturbance training coming up in February."

Evaluators told the Guardsmen not to do things "the way it’s done on TV," "When you go in to secure an area, move quickly, but plan on being there all day, because that’s how long it takes." Most soldiers quickly adapted to the urban setting, because advice and feedback they got in Hogan’s Alley reminded many of them of military training or combat experience: "Don’t lead with your head. Secure your line of sight, then move. Keep cover and concealment as much as possible. Don’t get caught in each other’s crossfire. Don’t rush."

Police officers going through exercises as trainees listened as soldiers explained how to make squad maneuvers more efficient and maintain line integrity while moving around obstacles. Graders repeatedly gave the troops a "good job" for their performance, praising them for their abilities to adapt to rapidly changing situations and work together in complex squad arrangements with a minimum of coaching.

Capt. Delahunty said he’s extremely pleased with the professional relationship the unit has established with local law enforcement agencies. He added that the day’s activities have given him ideas on further opportunities for joint participation. "For example, I’d like to set up an exchange for our Explorer Scouts and their youth auxiliary cadets," he said.

###

INFANTRY DEPLOYMENT

By MSgt. Bob Haskell 703 607-7377 DSN 327-7377

National Guard Bureau 19 OCT 97

FORT POLK, La.-- Generals bid Godspeed to nearly 1,000 Army citizen-soldiers, including 147 Virginia Army National Guard infantrymen, embarking on an historic mission to Bosnia at Fort Polk's field of honored ghosts in central Louisiana on a postcard-perfect Sunday in mid-October.

"You are about to embark on one of life's great adventures. You are going to another country to allow its people to taste the fruits of liberty," Brig. Gen. Samuel Thompson III told the Guardsmen and 800 Army Reserve military police people during the Oct. 19 deployment ceremony at Honor Field.

Thompson commands Fort Polk's Joint Readiness Training Center where the mobilized men and women underwent some intense training, including 36 live fire exercises, for their winter's work as peacekeepers in war-torn Eastern Europe.

"The success of your mission will be directly related to your units' discipline," Thompson cautioned his audience. "Never let your guard down, for it will be at that moment that you will be tested."

The troops were expected to fly to Europe on Oct. 21-22 and be at their duty stations by Nov. 1. Then they will claim their slices of history.

The Virginia Guardsmen out of Leesburg, from Charlie Company of the 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry, will replace active duty soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division guarding the Sava River bridge. That is the first reserve component infantry company mobilized for foreign duty since 1968 when Indiana Army Guard Rangers were sent to Vietnam.

The Reserve MPs from Florida, New York and North Carolina will replace active Army MP companies in Bosnia. That is the first time that has happened since NATO assumed the peacekeeping mission from the United Nations in December 1995. National Guard MPs, however, have been rotated to Europe to replace active Army units deployed to Bosnia from the beginning.

Maj. Gen. Carroll Childers, commander of the Army Guard's 29th Infantry Division that includes Charlie Company, and Maj. Gen. Thomas Plewes, a Virginia native and deputy commander of the U.S. Army Reserve Command from Atlanta, Ga., also addressed the troops where some of the Army's heroes are honored.

One plaque pays tribute to PFC Milton Olive III who won the Medal of Honor after falling on a live grenade and sacrificing his life to protect four of his buddies in Vietnam in October 1965. Another plaque is dedicated "to all American prisoners of war and missing in action, both living and deceased."

There is also the ghost of Leonidas Polk for whom the fort is named. He became the Episcopal bishop of Louisiana in 1841, and he was a Confederate lieutenant general when he was killed at Pine Mountain, Ga., in June 1864.

That setting made it easy to be serious about soldiering. His Guardsmen have lived up to the image, insisted Childers, a former Ranger.

The ceremony's four-man color guard consisted of former soldiers in "The Old Guard," the 3rd Infantry at Fort Myer, Va., who now belong to Charlie Company. And Childers found plenty of satisfaction in calling Spc. Peter Bowden "the most famous solider in the U.S. Army these days." because Bowden is pictured on the cover of Army magazine's 1997-98 Green Book, its institutional yearbook.

Childers also made it clear he believes this company is primed to do its bit in guarding the Sava River bridge that is a vital military lifeline between Bosnia and Hungary.

"The fact that no one has dropped out, that all 147 men are deploying, speaks highly of this company," observed Childers. "The fact they were all validated without having to be replaced by anyone else is a real testimony to the National Guard."

-30-

 

FINELY TRAINED

By MSgt. Bob Haskell 703 607-7377 DSN 327-7377

National Guard Bureau 16 OCT 97

Fort Polk, La. -- A blinding, ground-trembling explosion punctured the dark of a quiet, mid-October evening beside a small, remote lake in the heart of Louisiana. It was one more wake-up call for members of a Virginia Army National Guard infantry company rehearsing for their winter's peacekeeping duties in Bosnia and Croatia.

The citizen-soldiers in the 3rd Platoon learned a few lessons the easy way when a dark pickup truck slammed to a stop just outside their guard post, when two men bolted from the cab, and when the pyrotechnic package carried in the back lit up the night.

Take cover fast. Watch the tree lines for more enemy action. Get help for the casualties. And -- always -- stay on your toes. The next car bomb you encounter could be for real.

Athletes know that the harder they practice, the better they play their games. The same goes for soldiers preparing for duty in a tense part of the world where push among unfriendly ethnic factions can come to shove.

"The harder you train, the less you will bleed," said Sgt. Ambrose Hawk, the platoon's fire support NCO, of the realistic dress rehearsal the 147 members of Charlie Company from Leesburg, Va., experienced for a few weeks among the pine forests of Fort Polk, La.

That is the 300-square-mile home of the Army's Joint Readiness Training Center, a finishing school where light infantry soldiers who have learned combat skills at such places as Fort Benning, Ga., put their training to some practical tests.

That is where the National Guard company from Virginia's 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry and four Army Reserve military police companies from New York, North Carolina and Florida finished their training on Oct. 19 before embarking for Bosnia to replace active Army units on Joint Guard peacekeeping duties.

Five months after beginning the mobilization process at their armory in northern Virginia, the Charlie Company soldiers commanded by Capt. Michael Patterson were cock-sure confident they were ready to replace an active duty company from the 10th Mountain Division and guard a battered bridge across the Sava River -- especially after six weeks of seasoning at Fort Polk.

Controlling civilians on the battlefield, dealing with the media, protecting each other, keeping that vital bridge secure and open to military traffic between Hungary and Bosnia, and guarding the tent city that other deployed soldiers call home were among the peacekeeping lessons stressed by nearly 50 First U.S. Army trainers who put the Virginia soldiers through their paces during long days and nights in Louisiana.

"They have put us through more intense training and worse-case scenarios than we think we'll even encounter over there," said 1st Sgt. Bennie Dancy, a 24-year Guard and Reserve infantry veteran who saw Vietnam as a young soldier with the 101st Airborne Division. The training at Fort Polk included three different weeks when operations ran 24 hours a day.

Like most of his men, the 53-year-old Dancy has a civilian life. He lives in Capital Heights, Md. He has worked for the Metro transit authority in Washington, D.C., for 30 years. Now, like all of his men, Dancy is focused on soldiering.

"We have improved tremendously since we've been here at Polk," Dancy said. "The squad leaders have really improved in their troop-leading procedures."

"Infantry skills are perishable. You use them or you lose them," observed Ranger-trained 1st Lt. Charles Mussi as darkness crept over Engineer Lake during his 3rd Platoon's final night in the field. "Here, we could put our knowledge to use. We got back to peak proficiency.

"The constant pressure has been similar to officers candidate school and Ranger school," Mussi added. "You need that to get people's minds right. It's critical in potential combat situations for people to be focused."

The timing could not be better.

-- Defense Secretary William Cohen and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Dennis Reimer, among others, are stressing the importance of integrating National Guard and Reserve troops into the Total Force.

In a Sept. 11 memorandum, Cohen called on Defense leaders to eliminate "all residual barriers -- structural and cultural," to effective integration of the reserve and active components into a "seamless Total Force ... as we move into the 21st century."

Reimer attempted to rebuild bridges with National Guard leaders in Albuquerque, N.M., in September and has stated "I want to bring all components together and leverage the great strength and capabilities that each component has."

-- Charlie Company knows it is under the military microscope as the first reserve component infantry company mobilized for foreign duty since Indiana Army Guard Rangers were sent to Vietnam in 1968.

-- The Bosnian peacekeeping force has been cut back and is becoming more dependent on reserve components at the same time that President Bill Clinton and Cohen are debating the prospects of prolonging this country's commitment for stabilizing eastern Europe beyond next summer.

-- The duty can be diplomatically challenging now that NATO forces are more aggressively seeking out war criminals and have seized control of television towers in the Serb-controlled half of Bosnia.

-- Their leaders are determined to bring these National Guard soldiers home alive when their nine-month tour is done.

"I don't care what they put us through here at Polk. We cannot afford to lose one man," stressed the historically-minded Mussi. He knows how devastated many Virginia communities were after the state's 29th "Blue and Gray." Division suffered massive casualties while hitting Omaha Beach on D-Day in June 1944.

"If anything happens to one of these men, I'm going to have to answer for that on that homecoming day when we go back to that armory in Leesburg," Mussi said.

Observer controllers, the trainers, at Fort Polk believe these Virginia Guard soldiers, who also belong to the 29th Division, are ready for this challenge.

"They've developed some pride here. They have just shined," said Capt. Chris Forbes, the trainers' operations officer. "If the training is solid, when situations occur the training kicks in."

That's what the Virginia citizen-soldiers such as Cpl. Fernard Strowbridge are counting on.

"If we run the drills so many times, it builds discipline and endurance," said Strowbridge who mans a Dragon anti-armor missile. The former sprinter on the Marine Corps track team knows the benefits of practicing hard.

"This training has been difficult," said Strowbridge, "but it keeps you very much on your toes."

- 30 -

INFANTRY LAWYER

By MSgt. Bob Haskell 703 607-7377 DSN 327-7377

National Guard Bureau 17 OCT 97

There are all kinds of lawyers. Defense lawyers. Corporate lawyers. Real estate lawyers. Divorce lawyers. Jailhouse lawyers. For the next few months, Paul Hourihan of Washington, D.C., will be an infantry lawyer -- in a manner of speaking.

At 30, Hourihan is a junior attorney among the 150 lawyers who form the marquee firm Williams & Connolly in the nation's capital and who represent President and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

He is also a machine-gunner, an enlisted man, in a 147-man Virginia Army National Guard infantry company that this winter is guarding a bridge vital for military traffic over the Sava River that links Bosnia and Croatia.

Talk about contrasting lifestyles. Paul Hourihan last Labor Day left the world of federal litigation for nine months of straight-legged soldiering with a rifle platoon in Charlie Company of the 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry. His pay as a specialist, the equivalent of a corporal, will be about 25 percent of his salary as an attorney, he estimated.

That makes Hourihan the kind of citizen-soldier who reinforces the National Guard's right to brag about the quality of its people who stand ready to serve this nation.

"I never believed we would be mobilized for Bosnia. I certainly didn't plan on the ramifications of the salary cut," acknowledged Hourihan who is not married. "But I believe I'm doing an honorable thing. I think it's an important multinational mission. I'm proud to be a part of it."

Charlie company embarked for eastern Europe in late October after training for six weeks at Fort Polk, La. It was the first reserve component infantry company mobilized for overseas duty since Indiana National Guard Rangers were sent to Vietnam in 1968. The men expected to replace an active Army company on the Sava River bridge by Nov. 1.

Why did he join the Guard? Hourihan is one of many men in the company from Leesburg, Va., who can be considered throwbacks to the Civil War when sons of the landed gentry fought and died in Confederate regiments. Charlie Company's enlisted ranks include a mortgage banker, a computer analyst and a State Department engineer.

"I feel strongly about national service. Unless you've got something invested in this country, you don't really appreciate it," explained Hourihan who enlisted in the Virginia Guard in August 1995. He was studying for the Virginia bar after graduating from the University of Virginia Law School.

"I never considered anything other than the infantry. That's what the Army is to me," said the man who grew up near Baltimore, Md. "When I was a little kid playing soldier, I didn't play a judge advocate general officer or a chemical corps officer. I knew I wanted one of the combat arms."

Hourihan is not blowing smoke. He knows he could easily be a part-time military attorney -- perhaps a captain by now -- because of his civilian credentials.

His firm's who's who client list includes the Clintons for the Whitewater land development case; Oliver North during the 1989 Iran-Contra trial; and John Hinckley Jr. who shot President Reagan in 1981 and who was found not guilty because of insanity. The Washington Post and The National Enquirer are other clients.

The Guard is also a welcome change of pace for this serious sort who works 60 or so hours a week four blocks from the White House and who keeps his 6-foot-1 frame in soldierly trim by running through the National Zoo near his home.

"I do law stuff 28 days of the month," he said. "If nothing else, the Guard gets me out of the office for a weekend a month. I also want to have a grounding with a different group of people. It helps keep life in perspective."

Others, however, let him know that they know who and what he is.

"'Where's my LAWYER?'" was the first question one Drill Sgt. Snyder asked his new platoon on the day Hourihan reported for basic training at Fort Benning, Ga. "I didn't hear the end of that for four months," he laughed. "They called me Matlock."

Other Charlie Company soldiers seek him out for some pro bono advice about such legal matters as divorces, bankruptcies, and buying homes.

And while Spc. Hourihan salutes his officers and gives all of his leaders the military respect that is their due, they know with whom they are dealing.

"He's a good soldier, but he does tend to keep you on your toes," acknowledged SFC Phillip Scott, Hourihan's platoon sergeant. "If you approach him about something, you'd best have your ducks in a row."

- 30 -

 

GUARD

By Maj. Tom Wilkinson, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

The Reserve Component of the Armed Forces currently comprises 53 percent of our nation’s defense, and by 1999 that percentage may increase to 63. The Virginia Army National Guard is searching for people who are interested in keeping this nation strong, and who want to join a team of citizen- soldiers. Virginia has a proud military heritage, one that dates back to 1607 with Capt. John Smith at Jamestown, the first English colony in this country.

In this drastic era of military draw-downs and base closures, the Reserve Component is in need of more and more quality soldiers. More and more artillery assets have moved to the Guard and Reserve, thus the Virginia Guard is becoming increasingly artillery heavy. Virginia recently acquired an artillery brigade headquarters; is transitioning two battalions to M109 mechanized artillery; provides an artillery training battalion which is part of the Total Army School System responsible for training artillerymen in six states; and has several other artillery units equipped with 105mm and 155mm towed guns.

The majority of this artillery is assigned to the famed 29th Infantry Division (Light). The division was activated on Aug. 25, 1917 at Camp McClellan, Alabama, and has served from the trenches of the Meuse-Argonne in World War I to the beaches of Normandy on D-Day in World War II and fought through Germany to final victory.

"The modern day 29th Infantry Division (Light) has evolved into a very capable military force standing ready to fight and win its country’s wars just as its predecessors did in World Wars I and II," said Maj. Gen. Carroll D. Childers, the division commander.

The Division was inactivated in 1919, and reactivated into the National Guard structure in 1921. It was called to active duty in 1941 and spearheaded the Normandy invasion. It experienced another inactivation and reactivation in 1946 and 1947 respectively, and then in 1967 the unit was inactivated and remained so until 1985.

Since its reactivation in 1985, it has proven its relevance in the land defense mission for Iceland, the Battalion peacekeeping rotation to the Sinai peninsula, the long term training relationship in Estonia, peace keeping and humanitarian support missions in central and south America, support to numerous state emergencies resulting from natural disaster or unusual circumstances of weather, and frequent Company and Battalion missions in support of active Army units at Combat Maneuver Training Centers.

"Most unique is the pending deployment of an Infantry Company to Bosnia," said Childers. "This marks the first time a National Guard infantry company has been committed to such a mission since Vietnam; and coupled with the 129th Field Artillery Detachment’s deployment, the first time for combat arms units of the Blue and Gray Division to enter Europe for doctrinal employment since the end of WWII."

On Aug. 25th, Governor George Allen signed a proclamation recognizing the 80th birthday of the division and identifying that day as 29th (Blue and Gray) Infantry Division Day in the Commonwealth of Virginia. To commemorate and honor all those Virginians, past and present, for their unsurpassed devotion and sacrifice in the service of the Commonwealth and the nation.

"We in the Division have a particular pride in this birthday," said Childers. "We hope that our fellow citizens will take a moment to consider the sacrifice and commitment that Guard members must make to not only continue the tradition of excellence, but to contribute in a real way to the freedom we all enjoy today."

Artillery units are located in 16 communities throughout the state. These communities are Blackstone, Chatham, Danville, Emporia, Farmville, Franklin, Hampton, Martinsville, Norfolk, Onancock, Petersburg, Portsmouth, Richmond, Sandston, South Boston and Suffolk.

Whether you are a veteran or fresh out of high school, and you are interested in joining a team of professional citizen-soldiers, consider contacting our recruiting office at 1-800-572-3019. Or feel free to visit an armory in one of the above locations. Virginia’s proud military heritage is a tradition that lives in all of us, consider joining – It’s a great tradition!

# # #

 

DANVILLE, VA, GUARD UNIT RETURNS FROM BOSNIA 

Sept. 14, 1997

Headquarters

29th Infantry Division (Light)

Virginia Army National Guard

Attn: Public Affairs Office

9810 Flagler Road, Suite 101

Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-5902

 

story by Master Sgt. Gary Glover

The crowd waited patiently in the late summer sun of Danville, Va. An occasional yellow balloon drifted toward the sky as the Dan River High School marching band rehearsed. Yellow ribbons tied around fence posts and street signs for miles silently have marked the passage of time, waiting for this particular day: The troops are coming home.

The 46 members of the Virginia Army National Guard's Detachment 1, 1st Battalion, 246th Field Artillery (Fire Support Element) have been keeping the peace in Bosnia since February. As part of the United Nations Stabilization Force, the 29th Infantry Division (Light) artillery unit served as part of the Nordic Polish (Nord Pol) Brigade, supporting troops from Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Poland and the Baltic nations. In Virginia the field artillery battalion is known as the "Danville Grays," but their Nord Pol comrades call them "Stonewall Artillery."

Detachment commander Maj. Jon Page said his unit had less than a week to prepare to move out once they were called to active duty, but described his troops as "absolutely ready." He said, "We assumed the mission with no loss of efficiency or effectiveness. In fact, once we got on the ground, we enhanced the operation."

Maj. Page said the detachment received nothing but praise from U.S. and allied commanders. The citations and letters Stonewall Artillery received overseas were matched at the welcome home ceremony in the Danville National Guard armory on Sunday, September 14. All 46 soldiers received the Armed Forces Medal with "M" device (mobilization), the Armed Forces Service Medal, the NATO medal, and the Virginia Commendation Medal. In addition, most individuals were awarded the Army Commendation Medal and the Army Achievement Medal.

Maj. Page said, "There's absolutely no doubt in my mind we were the best fire support element in Bosnia--National Guard, Army Reserve, or active duty." He also commented on what his unit brought back. "We learned a lot of new techniques for Operations Other Than War (OOTW) that we can incorporate into future training," he said.

###

DEPARTMENTS OF THE ARMY AND AIR FORCE

OFFICE OF THE ADJUTANT GENERAL OF VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD

600 EAST BROAD STREET

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23219-1832

News Release 

 

For Release: Immediate Contact: Capt. Greg Simpson

Release No.: 2 Date: Sep. 11, 1997 (804) 836-8410

GUARD UNIT LANDS IN ATLANTA FROM BOSNIA

Detachment 1, 1st Battalion, 246th Field Artillery landed at Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport yesterday, and boarded buses for Fort Benning. The unit from Danville, Va., will complete out-processing there before heading home on Saturday, Sept. 13.

The unit served in the Nordic Polish (NORDPOL) Brigade conducting patrols and planned fire support from artillery. The unit left Bosnia on Sept. 2 and arrived in Tazar, Hungary where they began out-processing, before continuing to Germany for more debriefings. The unit departed Germany at 6 p.m. (12 p.m. local time) on Wednesday, Sept. 10.

At Fort Benning, the unit will clear their hand receipts of cold weather gear, and conduct soldier processing including medical screening to ensure their physical status before being released from active duty. They are scheduled to remain at Benning until Saturday.

The unit is scheduled to depart Fort Benning about 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and arrive in Danville between 3 and 4 p.m. A C-130 aircraft from the West Virginia Air National Guard is transporting our soldiers home.

The unit will be greeted at the Danville airport by friends, families and dignitaries. After deplaning, the unit will be transported to the Danville Armory for brief remarks and a ceremonial "Welcome Home" before being released.

# # #

VIRGINIA COMMUNITY HOSTS FAREWELL FOR BOSNIA-BOUND GUARD UNIT

Sept. 7, 1997

Headquarters

29th Infantry Division (Light)

Virginia Army National Guard

Attn: Public Affairs Office

9810 Flagler Road, Suite 101

Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-5902

 

story by Master Sgt. Gary Glover

photos by Master Sgt. Willis Estes and Pvt. Justin Turlak

"COLD STEEL!"

The rally cry rang out over the Virginia Army National Guard armory grounds in Leesburg for nearly the last time this year on Saturday, September 6, as Company C, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division (Light) prepared for deployment to Bosnia. Addressing the formation, Assistant Division Commander for Support Brig. Gen. H. Steven Blum told the 147 soldiers, "If you can do the mission as good as you look, you'll do fine. Stand tall and proud -- the world is watching you."

The soldiers marched in a parade as part of an official ceremony sponsored by the City of Leesburg and Loudoun County. United States Senator John Warner led a roster of dignitaries who spoke about the importance of the Bosnia mission and how the world would be grateful to "Team Stonewall" and their families. He said missions may have seemed clearer in World War II and Korea than they do now, but that the United States "still and always will be the nation the world looks to for leadership."

Sen. Warner presented company commander Capt. Michael Patterson with a U.S. flag flown over the Capitol in the unit's honor. Other state and local dignitaries presented Capt. Patterson with mementos for the troops to take with them as reminders of home, and expressed gratitude for the sacrifices made by the soldiers and their families.

The Adjutant General of the Virginia National Guard Maj. Gen. Carroll Thackston made the final presentation. He and his wife, Frances Ann Thackston, gave Capt. Patterson's wife Ellen a large yellow ribbon to be displayed outside the armory until Charlie Company returns. Mrs. Patterson, president of the Leesburg Family Support Group, said the group has been in operation since May, setting up "phone trees," planning monthly parties and other morale support activities, "generally assisting our 300 family members in the transition from civilian to military families."

She also said the group is grateful for the community's support while the troops are away. Local citizens are taking part in a "yellow ribbon campaign," visible reminders that their friends and neighbors are overseas. Loudoun County officials also are administering an emergency cash fund available to deployed soldiers' families.

Heather Hawkins, daughter of Spec. Daniel Hawkins, plans to write every month while her father is overseas "to protect the people of Bosnia." Heather's mother Laura says she's also grateful for the support from her husband's employer. "Dan's boss is a Vietnam veteran, so he certainly understands what we're going through."

Since March the Virginia Army National Guard unit has been training for Operations Other Than War -- tasks such as mine clearing, checkpoint operations and cultural awareness. After 45 days of additional training and evaluation at Fort Polk and the Joint Readiness Training Center in Louisiana, Company C will replace an infantry unit from the 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, NY, in the town of Slavonski Brod, Croatia, where they will guard a bridge over the Sava River. Capt. Patterson says Team Stonewall will "defend the bridge against criminal and terrorist attacks."

Even though the unit could be gone for nine months, 1st Sgt. Bennie Dancy said the troops are looking forward to the mission. "Matter of fact, I'm kinda surprised at the high level of morale. I've had no AWOLs or even late soldiers at any of my morning formations."

Chaplain (Capt.) Ed Northrop explained why the troops are so motivated. He said, "Most people will never have an opportunity to do work that's this meaningful. It's very gratifying. Every day we're there, some child gets a chance to grow older."

The spirit of self-sacrifice and human compassion already has surfaced in Leesburg. A bus carrying some Team Stonewall soldiers was delayed briefly by an automobile accident at an intersection near the armory. Rather than march in the parade held in their honor, they chose to stay at the scene and help the authorities and accident victims.

###

DEPARTMENTS OF THE ARMY AND AIR FORCE

OFFICE OF THE ADJUTANT GENERAL OF VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD

600 EAST BROAD STREET

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23219-1832

News Release 

 

For Release: Immediate Contact: Capt. Greg Simpson

Release No.: 1 Date: Sep. 2, 1997 (804) 836-8410

GUARD UNIT HEADED HOME FROM BOSNIA

Detachment 1, 1st Battalion, 246th Field Artillery is headed home from duty in Bosnia after a six month deployment. The unit is from Danville and still has some stops before they get home to friends and family.

The unit served in the Nordic Polish (NORDPOL) Brigade conducting patrols and planned fire support from artillery. The unit conducted a change of command yesterday with the 49th Fire Support Element from the Texas Army National Guard. The 49th assumes the role that our unit played.

Our soldiers departed Bosnia yesterday enroute to a base in Hungary where they will begin their out-processing. They are scheduled to depart for Babenhausen, Germany on Sep. 8, where they will spend a few days before departing for Fort Benning, Ga. Once at Fort Benning, the unit will clear their hand receipts of cold weather gear, and conduct soldier processing including medical screening to ensure their physical status before being released from active duty. They are scheduled to remain at Benning for two or three days.

Upon release from Fort Benning, the unit will be transported home. They should be home between the 13th and the 17th, provided they remain on schedule. A C-130 aircraft is being requested to fly the unit directly into Danville, however that may or may not be possible.

The 1st Battalion, 246th Field Artillery is headquartered in Danville, Va., and the majority of the soldiers are from Danville, South Boston, and Martinsville areas. They departed Danville for training on Jan. 24, 1997, and were visited by Governor George Allen and Maj. Gen. Carroll Thackston, the adjutant general, in Bosnia on Jun. 14. The two visitors spent more than eight hours on the ground with the soldiers and actually covered some of the patrol areas assigned to the unit.

# # #

DEPARTMENTS OF THE ARMY AND AIR FORCE

OFFICE OF THE ADJUTANT GENERAL OF VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD

600 EAST BROAD STREET

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23219-1832

News Release 

 

For Release: Immediate Contact: Maj. Tom Wilkinson

Release No.: 1 Date: Aug. 19, 1997 (804) 775-9107

DISTINGUISHED GUARDSMAN PASSES AWAY

ROANOKE, Va. -- Lt. Col. James H. Harmon, 52, died Sunday of complications surrounding a heart attack. He was the commander of the 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry, located in Roanoke. The unit is an element of the famed 29th Infantry Division, which spearheaded the D-Day landings on Omaha Beach in World War II.

Harmon was a member of the Virginia Army National Guard for the past 32 years. As the battalion commander, he took his unit to the Army’s National Training Center in the Mojave Desert and performed superbly. The unit was the first Reserve Component unit to earn the Center’s Hamby Award for excellence on the training battlefield.

Announced today, the unit was notified for receiving the Milton A. Reckord Trophy as the best Guard unit in First Army’s Region II. Region II consist of seven states. Prior to his death, Lt. Col. Harmon was notified of this honor.

He is survived by his wife Sally and their three children, Tracy, Andy and Catie. The funeral will be Wednesday in Roanoke at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Nazareth Church (on state Route 419). The graveside service will be at 3 p.m. at Thornrose Cemetery in Staunton.

# # #

DEPARTMENTS OF THE ARMY AND AIR FORCE

OFFICE OF THE ADJUTANT GENERAL OF VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD

600 EAST BROAD STREET

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA23219-1832

NewsRelease 

 

For Release:Immediate Contact: Maj. Tom Wilkinson

Release No.:1 Date: Jul. 30, 1997 (804) 775-9107

INFANTRY COMPANY TO MOBILIZE FOR BOSNIA MISSION

RICHMOND, Va. --Company C, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry of the Virginia Army National Guard received their mobilization order with an implementation date of Sep. 3. The unit was notified for training in March and alerted in June.

This will be the first Reserve Component infantry unit to deploy since Vietnam. The year was 1968, and the United States was escalating its involvement in the Vietnam War. Company D (Ranger), 151stInfantry of the Indiana Army National Guard was mobilized and deployed to support the war effort.

Thirty years later, Company C is gearing up for mobilization and deployment in support of Operation Joint Guard in Bosnia. The unit is an element of the famed 29th Infantry Division, which spearheaded the D-Day landings on Omaha Beach in World War II.The division is the only light infantry division in the Reserve Component. Company C was nominated for the missiondue to their readiness posture, and will replace an active duty unit currently guarding a bridge on the Sava River.

The 147-man unit from Leesburg, Va., recently returned from Fort Benning, Ga., where they conducted required processing and training for deployment. Upon mobilization, the unit will conductor pre-deployment activities in Leesburg, culminating in a Family Day on Sep. 6. They will deploy to Fort Polk, La. and conduct training to include a Joint Readiness Training Center rotation prior to deployment overseas in October.

Like the unit in Vietnam, Company C stands ready to prove their worth to the Total Army concept. The tradition of the citizen-soldier is a testament to the patriotism and professionalism that will make this historic mission a success.

# # #

 

OF THE ARMY AND AIR FORCE

OFFICE OF THE ADJUTANT GENERAL OF VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD

600 EAST BROAD STREET

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA23219-1832

News Release 

 

For Release:Immediate Contact: Maj. Tom Wilkinson 545-2236

Release No.:1 Date: Jul. 21, 1997 Pager (888) 850-7790

INFANTRY COMPANY PREPARES FOR BOSNIA MISSION

FORT BENNING, Ga.-- Company C, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry of the Virginia Army National Guard is conducting soldier readiness processing and individual readiness training in the Harmony Church area this week. The unit was notified for training in March and alerted in June to prepare for a September mobilization with follow-on deployment.

This will be the first Reserve Component infantry unit to deploy since Vietnam. The year was 1968, and the United States was escalating its involvement in the Vietnam War. Company D (Ranger), 151stInfantry of the Indiana Army National Guard was mobilized and deployed to support the war effort.

Thirty years later, Company C is gearing up for mobilization and deployment in support of Operation Joint Guard in Bosnia. Forces Command nominated the unit due to their readiness posture, and the unit will replace an active duty unit currently guarding a bridge on the Sava River.

The 147-man unit is at Fort Benning to conduct the required processing and will return to their home in Leesburg, Virginia on Saturday. Upon mobilization, the unit will deploy to Fort Polk,La. and conduct training to include a Joint Readiness Training Center rotation prior to deployment overseas.

Like the unit in Vietnam, Company C stands ready to prove their worth to the Total Army concept. The tradition of the citizen-soldier is a testament to the patriotism and professionalism that will make this historic mission a success.

# # #

 News Release News Release News Release

 

June 12, 1997

Headquarters

29th Infantry Division (Light)

Virginia Army National Guard

Attn: Public Affairs Office

9810 Flagler Road, Suite 101

Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-5902

 

Fort A.P. Hill --

Soldiers in units of the 29th Infantry Division (Light) are competing for the title of "Best Squad in the Division"at Fort A.P. Hill, Va. This competition is part of the annual training for many of the division’s soldiers who have been practicing for it since last year. The competition involves three days of intensive testing.

The ten squads involved come from three states: Virginia,Maryland, Connecticut, which have subordinate units of the 29thInfantry Division (Light). The squads are composed of nine infantrymen who are competing in four phases of testing.

The phases begin with an air movement by helicopter to their area of operation. During a road march they will cross danger areas and encounter enemy ambushes. Part of the competition includes night operations and live firing on a range.

The squads will be evaluated on the leadership skills of the squad leader, as well as the military skills of the squad members. They will be competing for points. The winning squad will have earned the most out of a possible 1,000 points.

The squad members have competed within their companies and battalions for the right to participate in the division-wide competition.

###

DEPARTMENTS OF THE ARMY AND AIR FORCE

OFFICE OF THE ADJUTANT GENERAL OF VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD

600 EAST BROAD STREET

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA23219-1832

News Release 

 

For Release: Immediate Contact: Maj. Tom Wilkinson

Release No.:1 Date: May 14, 1997 (804) 775-9107

MORE VIRGINIA GUARDSMEN PREPARE FOR BOSNIA MISSIONS

Company C, 3rdBattalion, 116th Infantry located in Leesburg, Va., will begin personnel processing this weekend at their armory in preparation for their possible deployment to Bosnia.

The unit consists of approximately 150 soldiers and is an element of the famed 29thInfantry Division. The unit was notified in March to prepare for a possible deployment in support of Operation Joint Guard in Bosnia. The unit has not received alert notification, but anticipates a late October deployment. The personnel processing is a series of checklists, paperwork and medical screening to ensure soldiers are deployable.

The exact mission of the unit is still being coordinated, but it will most likely be defensive in nature. If deployed, this will be the first National Guard infantry unit to be utilized as such since the Vietnam War. Additionally, this will mark the first use of a Guard infantry unit in operations other than war. The unit is continually training to support the active Army in this manner,and even though the missions in Bosnia have shifted from an‘Implementation Force’ to a ‘Stabilization Force,’ the dangers of the region are still very real. The training our units perform is designed to facilitate their success when called upon.

The unit is scheduled to conduct annual training in July at Fort A.P. Hill,and if mobilized continue training at an installation to be determined prior to their deployment.

Virginia currently has a 46-man field artillery detachment serving in Bosnia. They are working with a multi-national brigade supporting the peacekeeping operations. They are scheduled to return in November.

# ##

Editor’Editor's note: The armory is located at 41905 Loudoun Center Place,just off of Sycolin Drive, across the street from the Leesburg Airport. The best time to talk to soldiers and obtain photos or video is around 10 a.m. on Saturday or Sunday. However, the processing will be taking place both days from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

   

DEPARTMENTS OF THE ARMY AND AIR FORCE

OFFICE OF THE ADJUTANT GENERAL OF VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD

600 EAST BROAD STREET

 

News Releaseease 

 For Release: Immediate Contact: Maj. Tom Wilkinson

Release No.:1 Date: Mar. 31 , 1997 (804) 775-9107

MORE VIRGINIA GUARD UNITS MAY HEAD TO BOSNIA

RICHMOND -- Two units from the Virginia Army National Guard have been identified for possible participation supporting Operation Joint Guard in Bosnia. The units are the 129th Field Artillery Detachment(Target Acquisition) in Sandston, and Company C, 3rd Battalion,116th Infantry from Leesburg.

These units have not been alerted. They have merely been notified to begin training for a potential mission. If either of these units are selected for mobilization, they will mobilize in the July 1997 to November 1997 time frame. The specific missions of these units have not been received, nor has a deployment period been set.

The units will begin using their drill weekends to train once specific missions and tasks have been identified. This will include Soldier Readiness Processing, the paperwork required to ensure soldiers are deployable.

###

Return Home