Posts From January, 2013

Gov. Perry Activates State Resources as Winter Storm Threatens Texas Panhandle 

"Gov. Rick Perry has activated Texas Military Forces (TXMF) personnel and equipment as a severe winter storm threatens communities in the Texas Panhandle. These resources will be used to provide assistance as necessary on roadways as the storm makes its way across the region." (Click title for the complete release from the Office of the Governor)

Friday, January 25, 2013 5:10:00 PM Categories: Blog

Texas Air Guardsman returns as NGB vice chief, learns Army Guard operations 

Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, vice chief of the National Guard Bureau, receives training from Sgt. 1st Class Kyle York, a member of the Texas Army National Guard, on a M249 Squad Automatic Weapon during a visit to Camp Swift, near Bastrop, Texas, Jan. 23, 2013.
Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, vice chief of the National Guard Bureau, receives training from Sgt. 1st Class Kyle York, a member of the Texas Army National Guard, on a M249 Squad Automatic Weapon during a visit to Camp Swift, near Bastrop, Texas, Jan. 23, 2013. Lengyel is visiting Texas to learn more about Army operations. (National Guard Photo by Staff Sgt. Phil Fountain/Released)

 Texas Air Guardsman returns as NGB vice chief, learns Army Guard operations

 Story by Staff Sgt. Phil Fountain
 
 CAMP MABRY, Texas - The vice chief of the National Guard Bureau toured several Texas Army National Guard facilities  during an official visit to the state, Jan. 21-24.

 Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, of San Antonio, a member of the Texas Air National Guard, returned to the Lone Star State as  the second-in-command at the U.S. National Guard's headquarters, located in Arlington, Va., to learn more about Army  National Guard operations.

 Lengyel, a command pilot with more than 3,000 flying hours, mostly in the F-16 Fighting Falcon, began his military career  after completing the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at North Texas State University (now the University of North  Texas), in Denton.

 His Texas Air National Guard experience includes previous leadership positions at the 149th Fighter Wing,  headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio - Lackland.

 His current position, Vice Chief, National Guard Bureau, was created in 2012, when the position of Chief, National Guard  Bureau, was included as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lengyel said.

 "We're going through the process of informing everybody about the new position of vice chief and what it does," Lengyel said. "We're trying to put the lanes in the road on where it is I can best support the chief, in his new role on the JCS."

Lengyel said that he has been empowered to run the day-to-day operations of the National Guard Bureau, on behalf of the chief. This frees up the chief, Army Gen. Frank J. Grass, to work more at the strategic level.

"Part of my portfolio is the process of the administration of all the people and the resources that are in the NGB," Lengyel said. "I'm working closely with the directors of the Army Guard and the Air Guard, to make sure we have a synchronized National Guard Bureau effort."

The three-star general officer said he is adjusting to his new role in the joint-service environment.

"Although we're one National Guard, we have an 'Army Way' and an 'Air Way,'" he said. "It's important that I understand both."

During the four-day visit to Central Texas, Lengyel was briefed on the state's joint domestic operations capabilities and the Texas Army National Guard's 36th Infantry Division, headquartered here, and its subordinate units. Additionally, he visited two armories, one in Round Rock and another in Taylor, facilities at Camp Swift, in Bastrop, and the Austin-Bergstrom Flight Facility, in Austin.

"We're honored that Lt. Gen. Lengyel came to Texas to review Army Guard operations," said Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, The Adjutant General of Texas. "It's always great to be able to showcase the capabilities and relevance the Texas Military Forces provide to the state and nation."

"There will be ongoing conversations," Nichols said. "I'm proud to have worked with him here in Texas, and look forward to continuing our relationship in his new role."

Throughout his orientations, the vice chief viewed diverse types of Army Guard units, and saw how they can operate in wartime and homeland defense missions.

"It's great to be back in Texas. I'm honored to serve in Washington, but it sure is good to come home," Lengyel said.

Thursday, January 24, 2013 2:41:00 PM Categories: Texas Air National Guard

MLK Day of Service - Jan. 21, 2013 

What is the MLK Day of Service?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’"

Each year, Americans across the country answer that question by coming together on the King Holiday to serve their neighbors and communities.

Find out more at: www.MLKDay.gov

Monday, January 21, 2013 5:20:00 PM Categories: Blog

Civil Support Team trains with Texas airlift wing 

Members of the National Guard's 6th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team, headquartered at Camp Mabry, in Austin, Texas, and members of the Texas Air National Guard's 136th Airlift Wing, headquartered at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, load a military vehicle onto a C-130 Hercules, assigned to the 136th Airlift Wing, at NAS Fort Worth JRB, Dec. 5, 2012.
Members of the National Guard's 6th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team, headquartered at Camp Mabry, in Austin, Texas, and members of the Texas Air National Guard's 136th Airlift Wing, headquartered at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, load a military vehicle onto a C-130 Hercules, assigned to the 136th Airlift Wing, at NAS Fort Worth JRB, Dec. 5, 2012. (National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class William Gee / Released)

 Civil Support Team trains with Texas airlift wing

 Story by Staff Sgt. Phil Fountain
 

 CAMP MABRY, Texas - About 20 members of the National Guard's 6th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support  Team (CST), headquartered here, conducted joint-service training involving C-130 Hercules aircraft and crews assigned  to the Texas Air National Guard's 136th Airlift Wing at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Dec. 5, 2012.

 The aircraft loading operation was part of a three-day training mission for the 6th CST, which is responsible for  responding to disasters and catastrophic events, said Air Force Maj. Michael A. Torres, the unit's deputy commander.  When activated by civil authorities, the CST deploys an advance party to the site of the incident, within 90 minutes of  notification, and they must be self sustainable for a minimum of 72 hours.

 "The idea for the [C-130] training was to use organic assets within the state in a way that could help us quickly deploy  and integrate with our civilian partners," Torres said. "Ultimately, we work for the [civilian] incident commander."

 "The CST is different than other civilian counterparts, in that it possesses a mobile, analytical laboratory, which provides  on-scene, presumptive analysis, allowing incident commander's to quickly implement life saving actions," he said.

 The organization is comprised of full-time, Title 32, Army and Air National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, who have been  trained in: operations; administration and logistics; communications; medical science; and reconnaissance and survey  operations.

 "We're built up from many specialties, but we are all trained HAZMAT technicians and specialists," Torres said. "We train  all year in different scenarios and situations to support our first responders."

Torres said there are 57 CSTs located throughout the United States, with at least one in each state and territory, and that the concept was developed in 1999. National Guard assets, similar to CSTs, have assisted in the response to: the 9/11 terrorist attacks; the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster; Hurricane Katrina; and numerous high profile events at large population venues.

During the recent training, 6th CST members coordinated with 136th Airlift Wing personnel to load equipment and vehicles onto the tactical cargo aircraft.

In addition to the 6th CST, the Texas Air Guard benefited from the training activities, said Air Force Lt. Col. Tom Suelzer, the domestic operations officer for the Texas Air National Guard and chief of staff for Joint Task Force 71 (Maneuver Enhancement Brigade).

"The 136th Airlift Wing conducts training throughout the year to maintain a regional and national response capability across the full spectrum of domestic operations," Suelzer said, "from hurricane support to CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear) Consequence Management."

The 136th Airlift Wing's C-130s are available to the Texas governor for disaster relief efforts, and are the only such Air National Guard aircraft controlled by a state along the United States' Gulf Coast.

"The 136th, with its hard-working people and responsive airlift capability, is a state treasure and a key regional asset," said Suelzer.

Additional joint-training is likely to be developed for the 6th CST and the 136th Airlift Wing to conduct in the future, Torres and Suelzer said.

"Training with the 136th [Airlift Wing] provided the opportunity to validate planning, as well as identify future force packaging needs and priorities," Torres said, "depending on the number of aircraft available in an actual emergency response."

 
Friday, January 18, 2013 2:45:00 PM Categories: Texas Air National Guard

Texas State Guardsmen team up with state agencies to eradicate rabies 

Private Paul Pettit, 3rd Battalion, 1st Regiment, Texas State Guard, unloads a bag of bait to be dropped over the South Texas Zapata area during the 2012 Texas Oral Rabies Vaccination Program.
Private Paul Pettit, 3rd Battalion, 1st Regiment, Texas State Guard, unloads a bag of bait to be dropped over the South Texas Zapata area during the 2012 Texas Oral Rabies Vaccination Program. Since the program's inception in 1995, more than 39 million doses of the oral rabies vaccine, Raboral V RG, have been distributed over approximately 540,000 square miles of Texas. (U.S. Army Photo photo by Laura L. Lopez)

 

 Story by Staff Sgt. Malcolm McClendon

  ZAPATA, Texas – Members of the Texas State Guard and the Texas Wildlife Services, joined forces with the Texas  Department of State Health Services to participate in the Oral Rabies Vaccination Program along the Texas/Mexico  Border, Jan. 8-17, 2013.

 The annual program drops baited vaccines from an aircraft over high-risk wildlife areas to help control rabies. 

 “We have been dropping baited vaccines in to reduce rabies in domestic dogs and coyotes in south Texas since 1995,  and the gray fox in west Texas since 1996,” said Dr. Ernest Oertli, director ORVP, DSHS. 

 Oertli states that the number of rabies cases in south Texas has dropped from around 150 cases in 1995 to zero in  2000, and only one known report since then. Similarly in West Texas, 240 cases were reported in 1996, with the number  dropping to zero in recent years. 

 The program’s success hits home for Alamo, Texas resident, Sgt. 1st Class Gary Vanderpool, 3rd Battalion, 1st  Regiment, Texas State Guard, who has participated in the program for two years. 

 “I live about 1.5 miles from the border, pretty much an area where we drop the vaccines,” said Vanderpool. “I was around  when a rabies outbreak hit the local community years back.”

 Vanderpool remembers hearing about the initiation of ORVP to combat the epidemic.

 “I recall seeing the planes flying overhead and dropping baits,” Vanderpool continued. “I had no idea the State Guard  was involved and much less that I would someday be up there myself.”

 Up in the air, Vanderpool, along with fellow State Guardsmen, 1st Lt. Stephen Walker, Sgt. Joel Hernandez, Sgt. Ignacio  Vega and Cpl. Arial Lim, rotated in two-man crews to help distribute the vaccines.

“One person is the navigator and one person is a baiter,” Vanderpool said. “The navigator helps the pilot watch for hazards such as flocks of birds, wires, or other aircraft. He also keeps watch on the distance of each bait line dropped and relays that information to the baiter. The baiter then takes that info and prepares the proper amount of baits to be dropped accordingly.” 

The baits are delivered from as far south as Zapata to the west near Alpine, across a 25-mile wide “barrier zone” every January. Oertli said the cooler weather helps with the effectiveness of the vaccines.

“There are three main reasons we drop in January,” Oertli said. “One, is that food is scarce in the area, so the animals at risk are more likely to come out to eat the bait; two, the cooler weather helps keep the vaccines viable longer; and three, fire ants. Fire ants are less active in the winter, so less likely to devour the baits.”

Oertli said in addition to the weather, the program’s success is due to the hard work of all the agencies involved, and gave a particular mention to the Texas State Guard.

“The State Guard is a valuable asset to this program.” Oertli continues. “Their flexibility and determination to get the job done, absolutely contributes to the ORVP’s accomplishments. Most of these Soldiers are from the areas affected, so they can see the benefits of their efforts firsthand.”

This success came full circle for Vanderpool.

“I joined the State Guard three years ago, because I wanted to be a Soldier again and serve my community,” Vanderpool said. “Working on ORVP gives me the opportunity to use my soldier skills to plan and execute the mission. The success of my team’s hard work is evident, almost literally, in our own backyard. ”

ORVP’s success in south and west Texas, and communities similar to Vanderpool’s has prompted DSHS to begin assessing the possibility of expanding the program in areas in east Texas.

Thursday, January 17, 2013 8:32:00 AM Categories: Texas Army National Guard

Executive Leadership Development Program 

Lorie Khatod, a civilian with the Department of the Army’s Installation Management Command, discusses her participation in the Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP) during a visit to Camp Swift, near Bastrop, Texas, Jan. 15, 2013. ELDP provides Department of Defense (DOD) and interagency personnel the opportunity to participate in an exceptional joint and enterprise-wide Civilian leadership training and development experience. (Video produced by the Texas Military Forces Public Affairs Office)

Executive Leadership development programParticipants in the Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP) practice convoy maneuvers in a virtual convoy operations trainer at Camp Swift, near Bastrop, Texas, Jan. 15, 2013. ELDP provides Department of Defense (DOD) and interagency personnel the opportunity to participate in an exceptional joint and enterprise-wide Civilian leadership training and development experience. (National Guard photo by Army Staff Sgt. Malcolm McClendon) 130115-Z-FG822-002

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 5:24:00 PM Categories: Blog

Compilation of events from the TXMF 2012 

A compilation of events that took place during 2012 throughout the Texas Military Forces. (Video produced by the Texas Military Forces Public Affairs Office)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 5:21:00 PM Categories: Blog