Governor McAuliffe Directs Virginia National Guard to Deliver Supplies to Iced-in Tangier Island

February 20, 2015  //  

VDEM Press Release

10501 Trade Court
Richmond, Virginia 23226

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Feb. 20, 2015

CONTACT: Dawn Eischen
(804)  897-6510 or (804) 674-2400
Dawn.Eischen@vdem.virginia.gov

Cotton Puryear
(804) 539-1451
cotton.puryear@us.army.mil

Governor McAuliffe Directs Virginia National Guard to Deliver Supplies to Iced-in Tangier Island

RICHMOND, Va. — As part of the Commonwealth’s continued support to local governments following consistently frigid temperatures, Governor Terry McAuliffe authorized Virginia Army National Guard aviators to deliver food, mail and medical supplies to residents of Tangier Island yesterday; an action carried out in conjunction with the emergency declaration issued Feb. 16. The 1.2 square mile island, located in the Chesapeake Bay, has been unable to receive routine seaport deliveries due to icy conditions.

“Accomack County contacted us to see if there was any way critical supplies could be delivered to Tangier Island since icy conditions were preventing boats from making their usual deliveries,” said State Coordinator Jeff Stern. “We coordinated with Maryland public safety officials and the Coast Guard, and tasked National Guard aviators to carry out the mission at the direction of the governor. This was executed within hours after we received the request thanks to this week’s emergency declaration.”

The aviators responsible for the successful mission are from the Sandston-based 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment and flew the mission on a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

"I am really proud of how quickly and effectively our air crews responded to this request," said Brig. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. "They displayed the Guard motto of always ready, always there. This is just another example of the great partnership we have with VDEM and how that partnership helps keep the citizens of the commonwealth safe."

The crew flew first to the Accomack County airport to pick up emergency management personnel to assist in moving the needed cargo, then flew to Crisfield, Maryland to pick up the supplies before heading to Tangier Island where the aircraft and cargo were met by residents of the island.

“Our entire job and our role is really focused on the community and on helping them out,” explained Chief Warrant Officer 3 Joshua Jacobsen, who helped pilot the mission and who moved to Virginia from Minnesota two years ago. “It felt good for me personally to give back to the state that I feel has really embraced and welcomed me as a Virginian.

Tangier Island has been iced in since late last week when freezing temperatures swept the commonwealth, making regular deliveries of mail and supplies impossible.

“We all forget sometimes how great it is to have our military, and they keep us free, but in these situations it’s not just to protect our outer boundaries, but to help the citizens as well,” said Charles Pruitt, director of public safety for Accomack County. “It’s great to have the National Guard available to do this for us.”

Earlier this week, more than 125 Virginia National Guard personnel staged for possible winter storm response operations at locations across the commonwealth after McAuliffe declared a state of emergency Monday afternoon. The Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force were ready to support the Virginia State Police, the Virginia Department of Transportation and other state and local emergency response organizations.

Photos of the mission are available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157648598909053/

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Be ready. Be willing to help.

Virginia Disaster Relief Fund