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National Guard unit in Onancock takes on a new mission

Family and friends gathered to watch Saturday morning as a new Virginia Army National Guard unit was activated in Onancock. 

1st Lt. Nathaniel R. Gant at the ceremony formally assumed command of the 576th Engineer Utilities Detachment, based at the Onancock readiness center on Ker Street.

"This day marks the start of this unit ... It's the first of its kind in this armory," said Gant.

The new unit will be staffed with skilled positions including electricians, plumbers, carpenters and construction equipment operators.

The armory at 67 Ker Street formerly housed a transportation unit, and the transition to the new unit has been continuing at the center over the past several months. 

The mission of the new detachment is to provide facilities engineering support in the area of carpentry, electrical, masonry, plumbing and road maintenance and repair. The 576th will fall under the Virginia Beach-based 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group, according to Virginia National Guard spokesman Alfred Anderson Puryear.

Additionally, the unit will continue to be able to provide assistance to local residents during severe weather events, as it has in recent years.

The National Guard has staged several vehicles in Onancock capable of maneuvering through high water or heavy snow, Puryear said.

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