The West Virginia National Guard’s official COVID-19 response mission is ending, but some guard members will remain in a support capacity.
During his COVID-19 press briefing Thursday, Gov. Jim Justice announced the activation of 60 West Virginia National Guard personnel to continue COVID-19 support around the Mountain State through September. But, he said the guard’s larger COVID-19 response mission will end effective July 1, praising the work service members had done for the state.
“Absolutely the National Guard in this state needs to be thanked and loved and appreciated forever,” Justice said. “They did an unbelievable job and they continue to do that every day.”
The announcement comes following a large drawdown of troops in March, after which Justice said the mission moved predominantly to transporting and delivering supplies around the state.
The governor claimed that at two years and 110 days, the National Guard’s COVID-19 response was the longest federal mission the state had ever done.
Maj. Gen. William Crane thanked Justice, as well as all the service members who served as part of the COVID support mission.
Crane also addressed concerns of vaccination rates in service members, and stated that overall 95 percent of the National Guard has received their mandatory vaccines.
“We continue to be prepared and ready to respond to whatever it is that you might need us to do, Governor or whatever the state citizens may need us to do,” he said.