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Fort Eustis disaster response task force has new commander

Then-Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Van attends an event in Kuwait on Jan. 22, 2018. Since promoted to major general, Van took command of Joint Task Force Civil Support at Fort Eustis, Va., on Friday, Aug. 28, 2020.

ADRIANA M. DIAZ- BROWN/U.S. ARMY

By DAVE RESS | The Daily Press | Published: August 29, 2020

(Tribune News Service) — The Army’s Fort Eustis-based experts at helping civil authorities deal with chemical, biological or nuclear disasters have a new commander: Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Van.

Van assumed command of Joint Task Force Civil Support on Friday.

It is the nation’s only standing chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear response task force. Its job is to offer the military’s skills and resources when federal, state or local authorities ask for help.

That help can range from search and rescue work to the emergency medical response the task force took charge of managing during the COVID-19 crisis in New York and New Jersey.

Van succeeds Maj. Gen. William “Bill” Hall, who led the deployment of more than 2,700 service members to New York and New Jersey during the height of the coronavirus crisis there. They worked at the medical facility set up at the New York’s Jacob Javits Convention Center, as well as at 11 New York City hospitals and three hospitals and two field medical stations in New Jersey.

Hall said his experience convinced him that the task force and its expertise “are the insurance policy our nation needs.”

Van has been serving as chief of staff of Chief of Staff at U.S. Army Central Command at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.

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