Virginia National Guard deployed to Texas for hurricane relief

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Members of Virginia’s National Guard left for Texas today to aid in relief efforts.

8News caught up with the 40 soldiers on their way out of town early Thursday. In addition to the 40 troops, seven helicopters will also be deployed to aid in search and rescue efforts, as well as damage assessment from the air and distributing supplies.

One soldier said that today is the day their training pays off.

“This is a sad occasion, but I’m excited because this is something that I’ve trained for most of my career,” said Antonio Williams, Sgt. First Class. “So, I’m actually going to do what the National Guard was designed to do.”

These soldiers will be assisting the Texas National Guard, but because of the bad weather, it will take them about two days to get to the Lonestar state.

Guard members say preparation for the unknown is key. They must take everything they need for a week.

“Obviously there are a lot of federal and state agencies flooding the area, but we don’t know what they need, they don’t know what we need until we are able to get there and meet up with them and work out the logistics,” said Herbert Stover, a Chief Warrant Officer.

Three members of Chesterfield County’s scuba rescue team are also on the way for basket and water rescues. They got the official word that they were leaving last night.

Jake Britt from Chesterfield Fire said he too is ready to use his training.

“We have trained for the last 4-5 years for this,” Britt said. “We have had deployments within the state. We have never gone out of the state for this, so it’s a big deal for us and the National Guard.”

There has been no word yet about when the soldiers will return.

Officials said the Virginia National Guard still has aviation capabilities here in the Commonwealth if needed.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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