Posts From November, 2013

Gifts for the Troops 

Posted: 30 Nov 13

Military troops overseas are going to receive some very special Christmas gifts thanks to service groups from Grapevine.

This is the 4th annual care package drive and it was created by specialist Colin O'Brien from the Texas state guard. The group had 1 box the first year, 74 last year and this year it's more than doubled to 188 packages full of snacks, chocolates, pencils, Christmas cards, hygiene products and much more.

"We're not forgetting about the troops overseas sacrificing what they're doing for us so this is our little way of giving them a little piece of home saying you're not forgotten and Merry Christmas," said Spc O'Brien

This year the Grapevine Elks, The Senior Citizens Center, The Odd Fellows and the Masonic Lodge all donated items and money to cover shipping costs

Read more: gifts for the troops

Saturday, November 30, 2013 2:37:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard

Before there were wind talkers, Texas had the Choctaw code talkers 

Commentary by: Capt. Martha C. Nigrelle

Choctaw Code TalkerThroughout our Texas Military Forces (TXMF) history, Native American Soldiers have made numerous unique and significant contributions to our force. 

During World War I, members of the Choctaw tribe fought with the 36th Infantry Division, many serving as “code talkers.” According to the TXMF Museum, the German Army was often successful in tapping the American Army’s phone lines during the war, enabling the Germans to know the locations of both troops and supplies.

The tides changed for the German Army when the 36th Infantry Division introduced their Choctaw code talkers.  The TXMF Museum’s records show a Ms. Mozelle Dawson of Coalinga, Calif., memoirs of her father, Albert Billy, a Choctaw warrior, and Soldier of the Texas Army National Guard,

“According to Mozelle Dawson of Coalinga, California, her father, Albert Billy, suggested to his commanding officer that the Choctaw language be used to confuse the enemy. She said Billy had the idea that Indians be used on the phone lines talking in their native dialect. This would confuse anyone tapping into the lines. As it turned out, the Germans were more than just a little confused, and after the Choctaw Code Talkers were put on the phones, the Germans immediately began losing.

“Ms. Dawson said her father told her that during the night, some Germans were captured, and a General of the German Army said that he would like to ask just one question: ‘What nationality was on the phones that night?’ The only reply that this German officer received was that it was only Americans that had been on the phones.”

Billy served in the 142nd Infantry, a regiment of the 36th Infantry Division.

For more information on the Choctaw code talkers, visit the TXMF Museum website:http://www.texasmilitaryforcesmuseum.org/choctaw/codetalkers.htm

Thursday, November 21, 2013 2:48:00 PM Categories: Blog

Thanksgiving Day 2013 

Thanksgiving Day is a truly unique American holiday that brings all of us together, regardless of our many faiths and cultural backgrounds. Traditionally, we gather with family and friends to reflect on the year past, and give thanks for the blessings and freedoms we enjoy as Americans. It is a time when we stop for a moment from our busy schedules and share food, family, and fellowship.

I am very thankful for each of you--Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and family members.

I am also thankful to our friends and partners in the Texas Military Department, Texas Army and Air National Guard, Texas Department of Emergency Management, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas Department of State Health Services and the Texas Department of Public Safety among our other friends and partners for the hospitality and warm reception they have provided the State Guard as an organization.

I also encourage you to take the time today to reflect on those things that you and your families are thankful for. Take care and all the best. Happy Thanksgiving!


M.A. Rodriguez
Major General (TX)
Commanding

Thursday, November 21, 2013 2:39:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard

The Month of the Military Family - Strong Families, Strong Servicemembers 

Commentary by: Staff Sgt. Jennifer Atkinson

Military families monthThere is no doubting the fact that military life can be hard on families, especially children.  Field problems, long hours, and deployments can take a heavy toll on both the service member and their family.

To help lessen the effects of stress on families, the Texas Army National Guard’s Child & Youth Program offers programs to help develop teambuilding, communication and life skills, and to encourage children to pursue higher education.

“Everything we do is fun,” said Brandon J. Savoy, the program’s child and youth coordinator.

Yellow Ribbon events are available - they are family-oriented workshops provided before, during and after deployments.

From fishing camps in March, to Camp Young Heroes in June, the Child & Youth Program offers opportunities throughout the year.

“These things help build family resiliency,” said Savoy.  “Knowing what’s going on and what’s going to happen helps the kids.”

For more information, contact the TXARNG Child & Youth Program on Facebook at faceook.com/#!/TXMFChildAndYouthProgram or Brandon J. Savoy directly at brandon.j.savoy.ctr@mail.mil or 512-782-1245.

 

Monday, November 18, 2013 2:56:00 PM Categories: Blog

November is Warrior Care Month 

Texas Medical Command makes transition easier for Wounded Warriors

By Capt. Martha C. Nigrelle

Warrior care monthThe Medical Evaluation Board, or MEB, is known for being a long and arduous process.  For traditional guardsmen, this process if often even longer and more difficult, but for wounded warriors in the Texas Military Forces (TXMF), in the last year the MEB process became much easier.

According to Army Sgt. Gabriel Martinez, the Noncommissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of behavioral health and assistant NCOIC of case management for Medical Command, in just one year, Medical Command, or Med Command, increased the number of packets submitted to the Medical Board by 200%.

After assuming command of Med Command in 2012, Army Col. John P. Drobnica, a licensed physician assistant, and Col. Robert Ferry, the Texas State Army Surgeon, spent their 2012 annual training period evaluating the Med Command system for submitting MEB packets.  Their goal was to figure out a way to make the transition process easier for Texas Army National Guard wounded warriors.  Ferry is the former Deputy Commander for Med Command, as well as, a licensed pediatric-endocrinologist. They are both traditional guardsmen who live and work in their communities as medical professionals.

“I really appreciate Col. Drobnica because he listened to us,” said Martinez.

Martinez went on to discuss how both Drobnica and Ferry took time to ask the Soldiers in Med Command what issues they saw and how they thought things could be improved.  “[Drobnica and Ferry] went down into the weeds and said ‘how can we change the weeds?’”

“The biggest challenge, once [the service member] is injured, is getting them through the process,” said Lt. Col. Brian Weber, the Division Surgeon for 36th Infantry Division, Texas Army National Guard, also a licensed Physician Assistant. 

Compounding an already long MEB process, before the packet is submitted, numerous doctor appointments and paperwork have to be completed. Additionally, according to Weber, this can become a confusing process.

“It’s all of the little steps – that is the biggest challenge,” said Weber.

Changes in Med Command’s process started with a trip to Florida, and continued with improvement in training, as well as the effective utilization of the medical readiness NCOIC.

“[Drobnica] took us to Pinella’s Park, Fla., where the National Guard MEB convenes to meet the providers who conduct the [initial review of the] MEB. We went three times. This helped us, in case management, leaps and bounds,” said Martinez.

Martinez went on to discuss the next step implemented – a mock MEB. Each month during Med Command drill, a panel of National Guard providers, with an array of medical background and expertise, review the packets assembled by case management as if it were the MEB.

“It’s where our full time support meets our M-Day support,” said Martinez, adding that the process has helped case management improve the quality of each MEB packet before it is submitted to Pinella’s Park.

Additional training was the next step taken to improve this process. Ferry oversaw the creation of the Texas Military Forces (TXMF) Provider Battle Book and User’s Guide. The book is tailored to the guardsman medical officer with little experience on TXMF systems and the MEB.

In addition to the battle book, training for the readiness NCO was added. Martinez said that this training has been instrumental in making the MEB process faster and smoother for the service member or wounded warrior. “Increasing the knowledge pool means there are more people that can help facilitate the process.”

The last change was fully integrating the medical readiness NCO with the MEB process. The medical readiness NCO is a full-time position at the battalion and/or brigade level and is focused to work one-on-one with the wounded warrior on their medical readiness to ensure that the MEB packet is initiated and completed as quickly and as accurately as possible.

Martinez credited Drobnica and Ferry for their leadership in implementing and enforcing all of these much needed changes.

For both Drobnica and Ferry, it is all about the mission – improving that transition process.

"We help people transition forward. Life moves forward, not backward,” said Ferry.

For questions regarding the MEB process in the Texas Army National Guard, call the unit Medical Readiness NCO or Case Management at 512-782-4206/5892.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 2:58:00 PM Categories: Blog

Texas Medical Command makes transition easier for Wounded Warriors 

Texas Army National Guard Capt. Kimberly Spires, Medical Hold officer in charge, Texas Medical Command and Texas Army National Guard Cpl. Derrick Guy, state health systems specialist, conduct a mock medical evaluation board (MEB) for a wounded Texas Army National guardsman.
Texas Army National Guard Capt. Kimberly Spires, Medical Hold officer in charge, Texas Medical Command and Texas Army National Guard Cpl. Derrick Guy, state health systems specialist, conduct a mock medical evaluation board (MEB) for a wounded Texas Army National guardsman. Medical Command conducts mock medical evaluation boards to improve the quality and accuracy of MEB packets prior to submission. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Capt. Martha Nigrelle/Released)

 

 Story by: Capt. Martha Nigrelle
 

 CAMP MABRY, Texas – The Medical Evaluation Board, or MEB, is known for being a long and arduous process. For  traditional guardsmen, this process if often even longer and more difficult, but for wounded warriors in the Texas Military  Forces (TXMF), in the last year the MEB process became much easier.

 According to Army Sgt. Gabriel Martinez, the Noncommissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of behavioral health and  assistant NCOIC of case management for Medical Command, in just one year, Medical Command, or Med Command,  increased the number of packets submitted to the Medical Board by 200%.

 After assuming command of Med Command in 2012, Army Col. John P. Drobnica, a licensed physician assistant, and Lt.  Col. Robert Ferry, the Texas State Army Surgeon, spent their 2012 annual training period evaluating the Med Command  system for submitting MEB packets. Their goal was to figure out a way to make the transition process easier for Texas  Army National Guard wounded warriors. Ferry is the former Deputy Commander for Med Command, as well as, a licensed  pediatric-endocrinologist. They are both traditional guardsmen who live and work in their communities as medical  professionals.

 “I really appreciate Col. Drobnica because he listened to us,” said Martinez.

 Martinez went on to discuss how both Drobnica and Ferry took time to ask the soldiers in Med Command what issues  they saw and how they thought things could be improved. “[Drobnica and Ferry] went down into the weeds and said  ‘how can we change the weeds?’”

 “The biggest challenge, once [the service member] is injured, is getting them through the process,” said Lt. Col. Brian  Weber, the Division Surgeon for 36th Infantry Division, Texas Army National Guard, also a licensed Physician Assistant. 

 Compounding an already long MEB process, before the packet is submitted, numerous doctor appointments and  paperwork have to be completed. Additionally, according to Weber, this can become a confusing process. 

 “It’s all of the little steps – that is the biggest challenge,” said Weber.

 Changes in Med Command’s process started with a trip to Florida, and continued with improvement in training, as well as the effective utilization of the medical readiness NCOIC.

“[Drobnica] took us to Pinellas Park, Fla., where the National Guard MEB convenes to meet the providers who conduct the [initial review of the] MEB. We went three times. This helped us, in case management, leaps and bounds,” said Martinez.

Martinez went on to discuss the next step implemented – a mock MEB. Each month during Med Command drill, a panel of National Guard providers, with an array of medical background and expertise, review the packets assembled by case management as if it were the MEB. 

“It’s where our full time support meets our M-Day support,” said Martinez, adding that the process has helped case management improve the quality of each MEB packet before it is submitted to Pinella’s Park.

Additional training was the next step taken to improve this process. Ferry oversaw the creation of the Texas Military Forces (TXMF) Provider Battle Book and User’s Guide. The book is tailored to the guardsman medical officer with little experience on TXMF systems and the MEB. 

“This book helps [the new officer] manage and find some bearing. Most books out there are written for the active component,” said Ferry.

In addition to the battle book, training for the readiness NCO was added. Martinez said that this training has been instrumental in making the MEB process faster and smoother for the service member or wounded warrior. “Increasing the knowledge pool means there are more people that can help facilitate the process.”

The last change was fully integrating the medical readiness NCO with the MEB process. The medical readiness NCO is a full-time position at the battalion and/or brigade level and is focused to work one-on-one with the wounded warrior on their medical readiness to ensure that the MEB packet is initiated and completed as quickly and as accurately as possible. 

Martinez credited Drobnica and Ferry for their leadership in implementing and enforcing all of these much needed changes.
For both Drobnica and Ferry, it is all about the mission – improving that transition process.

“We help people transition forward. Life moves forward, not backward,” said Ferry.

For questions regarding the MEB process in the Texas Army National Guard, call the unit Medical Readiness NCO or Case Management at 512-782-4206/5892.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 2:00:00 PM Categories: Texas Army National Guard