Members of the all-volunteer Virginia Defense Force (VDF) conducted training on the communications systems and security capabilities they could use during emergency response operations in support of the Virginia National Guard July 13, 2019, in Lynchburg, Virginia. VDF personnel trained on high-frequency radio employment for voice and data messaging and security capabilities like access control.

The communication training utilized the VDF’s mobile communication platform (MCP) trailers as well as hand-held systems. The VDF MCP is a 7.5 feet by 16 feet trailer equipped with multiple radio systems for voice and data communications, and it also features a map board and work space so it can function as a mobile command post. Using an MCP, members of the VDF are able to communicate across a variety of radio spectrums with emergency response and public safety organizations as well as amateur radio operators. In the event of severe weather like hurricanes or heavy snow where traditional communication systems could become disrupted, the VDF MCPs would provide a vital communications capability for the Virginia National Guard as it conducts operations to assist with keeping citizens of the commonwealth safe.

This training is the latest in a series of training events where VDF personnel have honed their communication skills. VDF personnel took part in the United Resolve multi-state, multi-agency communications exercise at locations across the state June 1, 2019, and they used equipment in the their MCPs to establish high-frequency radio communications at units in Richmond, Cedar Bluff, Winchester and Lynchburg, as well as state guard organizations in New York, California, Washington and Indiana, elements of the Virginia Civil Air Patrol and the Healthcare Emergency Amateur Radio Team in Newport News. In addition to voice communications, the exercise tested data transmission capabilities for text email messages and transferring digital photos.

Last year when Hurricane Florence threatened Virginia, the VDF brought nearly 50 personnel on duty to assist the Virginia National Guard with the statewide response. VDF personnel provided multiple capabilities including interoperable communications, operations center augmentation, operations center liaison, incident management assistance, state-managed shelter logistics and public information.

The VDF will also train and rehearse the administrative, mission command and logistics procedures they would use if they were called to emergency response duty to augment the Virginia National Guard.

Source: Virginia National Guard