Story by: Cpt. Esperanza Meza, Texas State Guard
FORT WORTH, Texas – On April 22, 2017, the 4th Regiment, Texas State Guard welcomed its new commander, Col. Robert Hastings, during a change of command ceremony at the Texas National Guard Shoreview Armory in Fort Worth, Texas.
“I am both honored and humbled to have been selected to lead the 4th Regiment,” Hastings said. “The citizens of Texas rely on great units like the 4th Regiment to respond when they are called upon. Our job ahead is to make sure we are, in fact, trained and ready."
Hastings enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1978. He was a distinguished graduate of the Warrant Officer Rotary Wing Aviator Course. He piloted the AH-1 Attack Helicopter with the 7th Infantry Division, the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment and the Army Combat Developments Experimentation Command.
After graduating from Officer Candidate School, he was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant. He served as an attack helicopter platoon leader and forward support platoon leader with the 101st Airborne Division. He also served as a reserve component aviation advisor at the 5th U.S. Army headquarters. Hastings completed Armor Officer Advanced Course and returned to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment where he served as regimental operations officer, air cavalry troop commander and assault helicopter troop commander.
He served as a public affairs officer and the public affairs detachment commander with V Corps and was a senior public affairs instructor at the Defense Information School before retiring from the U.S. Army.
His combat and expeditionary deployments include tours in Iraq, Bosnia and Honduras.
Hastings joined the George W. Bush Administration as the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs. As the senior public affairs official and spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defense, he served as the principal staff advisor to the secretary of defense for strategic communication, public information, internal information and community relations, leading a worldwide public affairs community of some 4,000 military and civilian personnel.
His military education includes the Aviation Officer Basic Course, Scout Platoon Leaders Course, Armor Officer Advanced Course, Cavalry Leaders Course, Public Affairs Officer Qualification and Advanced Courses and Combined Armed and Services Staff School.
Hastings received the Master Army Aviator, Pathfinder and Air Assault badges. His military awards and decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, NATO Medal and Secretary of Defense Staff Identification Badge.
His civilian awards include the Secretary of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal and the Order of St. George Medallion from the Armor/Cavalry Association and the Order of St. Michael Medallion from the Army Aviation Association of America. In 2016, Hastings was inducted into the US Army Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame at Fort Benning, Georgia.
In 2010 Hastings joined the Texas State Guard and has served as the chief public affairs officer, commander of the 19th Regiment and Army Component chief of staff.
“Col. Hastings is a leader who takes care of his soldiers and provides the kind of leadership that results in a well-trained force,” said Brig. Gen. Howard N. Palmer, Jr., Army Component commander, Texas State Guard. “He was selected to be the commander of the 4th Regiment for his proven capabilities to motivate and envision unique solutions to problems. He was chosen for his ability to communicate a vision and supporting goals, and to build consensus toward achieving them,”
Hastings will command 4th Regiment headquarters in Fort Worth and battalions in Weatherford, Decatur and Arlington, Texas.
Hastings resides in Keller, Texas.