Category Archives: Military

Items on naval facilities and other coastal bases and on Department of Defense environmental issues.

On Virginia Water Radio for Veterans Day 2017: The U.S. Army

Virginia Water Radio’s episode for the week of November 13, 2017, is “For Veterans Day 2017 – The U.S. Army and Its Wide-ranging Water Connections.”  The 4 min./31 sec. episode, available online at, is the latest in a series of annual episodes on the military services in honor of Veterans Day.

Virginia Water Radio’s is a weekly broadcast/podcast produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center.  The home page is  Have a listen or two!

Virginia State and Locality Responses to Hurricane-affected Areas in August-September 2017, According to Governor’s News Release on September 22, 2017

On September 22, 2017, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe authorized the Virginia National Guard to send 120 soldiers to the U.S. Virgin Islands as part of the response efforts among several states and agencies to Hurricane Maria and earlier to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  Following is an excerpt from the Governor’s Office news release on the Virgin Islands deployment; the excerpt also includes information on deployment by state agencies and local response teams to other areas for previous storms in 2017.

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Governor McAuliffe today has authorized the Virginia National Guard to send 120 soldiers to the U.S. Virgin Islands to join a multi-state, multi-agency response effort to recent hurricanes.  The Commonwealth of Virginia continues to send needed supplies, personnel and expertise into the storm-ravaged areas to assist with recovery and give emergency managers on the ground a rest from the relentless demands of their jobs helping others deal with these catastrophic events.

An advance team arrived in the region on September 18, 2017, just before Hurricane Maria made landfall.  The 120 soldiers authorized today are assigned to the Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and will deploy in the next week as the mission command headquarters to synchronize the response and coordinate logistical support.  Up to 400 additional soldiers are scheduled to follow soon after to conduct humanitarian assistance, clear roads, and distribute essential supplies to citizens.  Virginia National Guard soldiers will be deployed on the ground by the U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp to get assistance where it is most needed. …

Virginia has coordinated 10 missions of aid to these regions [listed below], not including countless assistance efforts coordinated by religious and non-profit organizations based in Virginia.  The largest single mission is readying to deploy this week, including the hundreds of Virginia National Guard personnel deploying to the Virgin Islands to assist with the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. …Since Hurricane Harvey struck Texas last month, Virginia has been providing emergency management and response assistance across the southeastern portions of the nation.  Missions can be coordinated through federal partners such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), or through a cooperative agreement between states called the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), through which impacted states can input their needs for assistance and other states can quickly mobilize resources to meet those needs.  Logistics and financial reimbursement are then coordinated through the EMAC system. …

*In late August, the Virginia National Guard sent approximately 40 soldiers and six helicopters to Texas to assist with Hurricane Harvey recovery operations, and after transporting medical personnel and supplies, they safely returned to Virginia in early September.

*On September 18, a joint incident management team comprised of 15 individuals from across the Commonwealth deployed to assist with emergency operations center management in Monroe County, Florida (Florida Keys).  The team will provide command and control support in the region through early October.

*A Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) volunteer coordinator is currently working in Texas to assist with coordination of thousands of volunteers arriving in the area through non-profit and religious organizations.  This mission is slated to continue through the end of September.

*Roanoke’s 17-person Strike Team 6 deployed to Texas on August 30and spent more than a week conducting water rescues of civilians trapped in the rising flood waters from Hurricane Harvey.

*The 14-person Fairfax Task Force 1 deployed to Texas on a mission organized by the federal government to assist in swift water rescues of civilians from August 27 to September 6.

*Virginia Beach Virginia Task Force 2 deployed to Texas to assist in federal government organized assistance, providing swift water rescue support through September 5.

*A blended incident management team comprised of emergency managers from across the Commonwealth deployed to Texas from September 1 to September 9 to provide emergency management command and control support.

*Virginia’s Task Force 2 from Virginia Beach deployed to Puerto Rico under a federal response effort to provide on-the-ground emergency response support for both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.  Personnel originally deployed September 4 in anticipation of Irma, and 16 additional personnel were deployed on September 7 to address the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria.

*Virginia’s Task Force 1 from Fairfax deployed to Alabama September 6 to provide immediate on the ground support following the impacts of Hurricane Irma.

*The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation Restoration and Cleanup Strike Team deployed to Florida in late August to assist with on-the-ground cleanup efforts from Hurricane Irma.

To learn how to help those who have been affected by the recent natural disasters please visit

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Source: Governor McAuliffe Authorizes National Guard to Deploy Significant Force to U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 9/22/17.

Sea Level Rise and Military Readiness are the Focus of Oct. 27, 2017, Conference by the Virginia Coastal Policy Center at the College of William and Mary Law School

Defending Our Coasts: Ensuring Military Readiness and Economic Viability as Waters Rise” is the theme of the 5th annual conference of the William and Mary Law School’s Virginia Coastal Policy Center.  The conference will be held on October 27, 2017, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., at the College of William and Mary School of Education, 301 Monticello Avenue in Williamsburg.

For more information, visit; phone (757) 221-3800; or e-mail:

Detailed Investigative Report on Munitions Disposal at Radford Army Ammunition Plant on New River in Montgomery County, Va., Published by ProPublica in July 2017

“Open burns, ill winds,” published by ProPublica on July 20, 2017, is a long, detailed, investigative article examines the U.S. military’s practices for disposing of munitions waste.  It focuses specifically on the use of open-air burning at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant (RAAP) along the New River in Montgomery County, Virginia, and concerns over potential health impacts of air emissions from that kind of disposal.  It examines permitting and permit monitoring issues for federal and state regulators regarding potential water, air, and health contaminants; the history of disposal practices at other various locations in the United States and in other countries; and concerns and questions raised by local residents.  The article is available online at

On its Web site,, ProPublica states that it is “an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.”

For more on developments at the RAAP since 2015, please see this Water Central News Grouper post: Hazardous Waste Open-air Incineration at Radford Army Ammunition Plant (RAAP).

Jet Fuel Spill on May 10-11, 2017, at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach

On May 10-11, 2017, an estimated 94,000 gallons of jet fuel spilled from a leaking fuel line at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach.  The Navy discovered the leak on May 11 and contained the spill to the base that day, but by then the spill had spread to Wolfsnare Creek (a tributary of Lynnhaven Bay/Lynnhaven River/Chesapeake Bay).  By May 11, the Coast Guard announced that it had contained the spill at that waterway.  As of May 16, recovery of the spilled fuel from that creek was still taking place, the Virginia Department of Health was asking people to avoid any recreational activities in the creek south of Virginia Beach Boulevard, and some residents were reporting smelling fuel fumes in their homes.  On May 17, the Navy announced that it was temporarily re-locating residents of three neighborhoods affected by the fumes from the spill. On May 19, the Navy reported that the spill had been caused by a switch being in an incorrect position during a refueling operation, leading to fuel flowing into and out of a 2000-gallon container, rather than into the three intended 880,000-gallon tanks.  Reports on May 19 indicated that about 180 homes in the city had been affected by the spill.  By May 26, the Navy had declared that emergency operations were over and tasks would now turn to remediation of the spill’s effects.  On June 23, the Navy announced that it would be discipling nine sailors for failing to perform duties that led to the jet fuel spill, and one civilian may also face disciplinary action.

Following are some news media accounts of the spill and its aftermath, listed from most recent to oldest:
Navy is disciplining nine sailors for 94,000-gallon jet fuel spill in Virginia Beach, Associated Press, as published by Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/25/17.
Residents return to their homes in Virginia Beach after Oceana jet fuel spill. But questions linger, Virginian-Pilot, 6/2/17.
Emergency over, Navy shifts to remediation following Oceana jet fuel spill, Virginian-Pilot, 5/26/17.
A switch in the wrong position caused Oceana’s largest ever jet-fuel spill, Navy says, Virginian-Pilot, 5/19/17.
Navy officials reveal what caused NAS Oceana jet fuel spill last week, Southside Daily, 5/19/17.
Navy providing investigation update into jet fuel spill, WAVY TV-Hampton Roads, 5/19/17.
How has the NAS Oceana jet fuel spill affected watermen?, WAVY TV-Hampton Roads, 5/18/17.
Navy offers temporary relocation to some residents near Oceana fuel spill, WAVY TV-Norfolk, 5/17/17.
Navy offers relocation assistance for neighbors impacted by jet fuel leak, WTKR TV-Norfolk, 5/17/17.
Navy starts voluntary relocation for residents affected by Oceana jet fuel spill, Virginian-Pilot, 5/17/17.
Navy relocating residents affected by jet fuel spill, WVEC TV-Norfolk, 5/17/17.
6 days after fuel spill, Virginia Beach is still in recovery “emergency phase”, Southside Daily, 5/16/17.
“My whole house reeks”: Jet fuel vapors invade Virginia Beach neighborhoods, Virginian-Pilot, 5/15/17.
Navy continues cleanup of jet fuel spill at Oceana; London Bridge Road reopened, Virginian-Pilot, 5/15/17.
Wildlife rehab specialist called in after 5 birds found dead following Oceana jet fuel spill, Virginian-Pilot, 5/12/17.
Government agencies hear public concerns about NAS Oceana fuel spill, WTKR TV-Norfolk, 5/15/17.
Navy to hold public information session Monday to discuss fuel spill in Virginia Beach, Virginian-Pilot, 5/14/17.
Watch: Crews working to clean up jet fuel spill at NAS Oceana, WTKR TV-Norfolk, 5/11/17.
Thousands of gallons of Navy jet fuel spilled at Oceana, traffic diverted near base, Virginian-Pilot, 5/11/17.

On Virginia Water Radio for Veterans Day Week 2016 – The U.S. Air Force and Its 100-Year History in Virginia’s Hampton Roads Region

Virginia Water Radio’s latest episode, for the week of November 7, 2016, is “For Veterans Day 2016–The U.S. Air Force, Including 100 Years on Virginia’s Coast.”  The 4 min./13 sec. episode, available online at, examines the origins of today’s Air Force, including the role of Langley Field, now Langley Air Force Base, adjacent to Hampton, Va.


Runways at Langley Field in 1941.  Photo taken from Langley Air Force Base/633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs, “A Century of Airpower/Langley History,” online at (photos on that Web site are available for public use, according to that office, 11/7/16).

Virginia Water Radio’s is a weekly broadcast/podcast produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center.  The home page is  Have a listen or two!

On Virginia Water Radio for 5-30-16: The Potomac River, Flowers, and the Origin of Memorial Day

Virginia Water Radio’s latest episode, for the week of May 30, 2016, is “Memorial Day’s Origin, from a Potomac River Perspective.”  The 4 min./19 sec. episode, available online at, repeats a May 2015 episode that explores the Civil War origin of Memorial Day.  It features two musical selections: one inspired by the Potomac River in the Civil War; and one inspired by forest flowers, in recognition of Memorial Day’s origin in the placing of flowers on Civil War soldiers’ graves.

Ferry ramp on Virginia side

Potomac River viewed from the Virginia shore across the river from White’s Ferry, Md., May 12, 2008.

Virginia Water Radio’s is a weekly broadcast/podcast produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center.  The home page is  Have a listen or two!