Posts From December, 2016

T-Patch Division promotes new brigadier general

Story by: Spc. Christina Clardy

Posted: December 4, 2016

Maj. Gen. James K. "Red" Brown, U.S. Forces Command Deputy Commanding General - Reserve Component and former 36th Infantry Division Commanding General, and Amy Aris promote Charles "Chuck" Aris to Brig. Gen. on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, at Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas. He is joined by family, friends and colleagues to celebrate his promotion at a ceremony and following reception at the Texas Military Forces Museum. Aris has been selected to deploy to Afghanistan as the Commander of the Train, Advise, Assist Command -- South during the 36th Infantry Division's second command rotation in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel.
Maj. Gen. James K. "Red" Brown, U.S. Forces Command Deputy Commanding General - Reserve Component and former 36th Infantry Division Commanding General, and Amy Aris promote Charles "Chuck" Aris to Brig. Gen. on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, at Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas. He is joined by family, friends and colleagues to celebrate his promotion at a ceremony and following reception at the Texas Military Forces Museum. Aris has been selected to deploy to Afghanistan as the Commander of the Train, Advise, Assist Command -- South during the 36th Infantry Division's second command rotation in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Michael Leslie)

AUSTIN, Texas — Colonel Charles "Chuck" Aris, the Assistant Division Commander of Support, was promoted to the rank of brigadier general in a ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 4, at Camp Mabry.

Maj. Gen. James K. "Red" Brown, the Deputy Commanding General — Reserve Component, United States Forces, promoted Aris to his one-star rank with his friends, family members and colleagues present.

During the ceremony, Brown, a former commanding general of the 36th Inf. Div., and Aris' wife of 26 years, Amy, pinned the new general's rank to the shoulders of his uniform. His son Matthew and daughter Kate presented him with a one-star general's flag, a traditional general officer's belt, and a desk placard. As per Texas tradition, Aris then gave bouquets of yellow roses to both his wife and his mother, Janice. 

"Aris is one of those officers that we always knew was going to rise to the top," said Brown. "He and his family are the ultimate traditional National Guard family. As a civilian, Chuck is a very distinguished and a very successful attorney, who doesn't have to do this; but he chooses to do so as a service to this great state and this great nation."  

Because of his dual military and civilian careers, several military dignitaries and civilian colleagues attended the ceremony, including Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, the Adjutant General of the Texas Military Department, Maj. Gen. Lester Simpson, Commanding General of the 36th Infantry Division Commander, and fellow attorneys from his law firm. Aris, a resident of Waxahachie, Texas, is also a partner with the Dallas-based Byrne, Cardenas and Aris Law Firm, where he handles civil litigation.

"I want to say thank you to every senior leader, every mentor and every person in my life who has supported, trained, and guided me," said Aris. "But I need to say 'thank you' to my family, because without them, their love and their support, I would not be standing where I am today."

Aris will deploy to southern Afghanistan next year as the Commander of the Train, Advise and Assist Command -- South in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel. 

"Its an honor to be selected for this [promotion and deployment]," said Aris. "I pledge to do my very best to make sure that we excel in this mission and continue the great heritage of the Texas Army National Guard."

His most recent assignments include serving as the acting Assistant Division Commander of Maneuver, division Chief of Staff, and Commander of both the 56th and 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Teams. He served as a task force commander during a 2005 rotation to Kosovo, and deployed to Iraq in 2009 as an assistant chief of staff in operations.

In 1998, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree and commission from the Texas A&M University and was awarded as a Distinguished Military Graduate in the ROTC program.  After serving on Active Duty in the Army, in 1993 he joined the Texas Army National Guard. Aris also holds a Master of Science from the Army War College and a Juris Doctorate from South Texas College of Law. 

Aris’ awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (with two Oak Leaf Clusters), Kosovo Campaign Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal  (with two service stars), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Humanitarian Service Medal.

The mission of the 36th Infantry Division is to provide ready and responsive forces that can deploy to conduct unified land operations in joint and coalition environments, in support of a geographical combatant commander. On order, the division provides defense support to civil authorities within the United States in support of state and federal agencies.

Texas airborne infantry unit conducts night airborne exercise

Story by: Sgt. Elizabeth Pena

Posted: Dec. 2, 2016

https://tmd.texas.gov/texas-airborne-infantry-unit-conducts-night-airborne-exercise
Texas Guardsmen from the 1st Battalion (Airborne) 143rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, conducted a simulated airfield seizure during Operation Aztec, Nov. 17-19, 2016, near San Antonio, Texas. Operation Aztec is one of the first major collective training events under the 173rd Airborne Brigade. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Elizabeth Pena)

HONDO, Texas – Texas Army National Guardsmen from the 1st Battalion (Airborne) 143rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, conducted a simulated airfield seizure during a major collective training from 17-19 November 2016, near San Antonio, TX.

The two units are partnered through the Associated Unit Pilots Program, which pairs Active-Duty units with those in the Army Reserve and Army National Guard for a multi-year period to meet increasing demands of the Total Army.  

“Our battalion is now a part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, which is forward based in Europe,” said Texas Army National Guardsman Lt. Col. Kurt J. Cyr, commander of the 143rd Airborne. “Our brigade has the responsibility to be the contingency response force for U.S. Army Europe. It’s important for us to do collective training exercises such as this to maintain our proficiency in joint forcible entry operations.”

The training exercise, known as Operation Aztec, highlights the programs’ intent to increase the readiness and responsiveness of the Army as a total force. This was one of the first major collective training events for the battalion as an Associated Unit of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. 
 
“This weekend took about two months of drill time and preparations,” said Texas Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Johnson. “We are bringing a lot of guys that have never deployed before to see what it will look like, or similar to, and the types of engagements we would see.”

During Operation Aztec, Texas Guardsmen jumped onto South Texas Regional Airfield in Hondo to secure and control the airfield, worked through the night against opposing forces to seize key terrain from the enemy. 

“Our battalion only jumps at night,” said Cyr. “We always try to maximize surprise, security and protection of the force by jumping at night. The airborne relies on the element of surprise, and the cover of darkness gives that surprise. Hours of limited visibility allow us to utilize security to gain a tactical advantage over the enemy by parachuting under the cover of darkness.”

The partnership enables integration of formations from units prior to mobilization through collective training exercises such as Operation Aztec.

“Our airborne infantry battalion is no different than any other you’d find in the Active Component,” said Cyr. “We train to the same standards, and are required to be compatible with our Active Duty counterparts across all warfighting functions.”

“I have full confidence in our Paratroopers, their training, our unit’s leadership and the leadership of our brigade in Europe. If there is ever a call for us to mobilize and fight alongside of the Active Component, we will be ready” said Cyr.

Under the new program, units will see an increase in training.

“The training days are getting longer,” said Texas Army National Guard Private 1st Class Jeremy May, a Paratrooper with the 143rd Airborne. “But this is something bigger than ourselves so we are willing to make that sacrifice. My main motivation is protecting the people that I love. That is the whole reason that I joined.”

A total of 27 units have been selected to undergo the pilot; four of those units come from the Texas Army National Guard. These units will train, build readiness and ultimately fight as one Army. 

“There are three different Army components, but when you deploy, everyone wears U.S. Army,” said Capt. Aaron M. Lee, a Ranger Training Assessment Company Commander at Fort Benning, Georgia. “We have to work together and be on the same level as far as individual collective tasks.”

The 143rd Airborne is scheduled train with the Active Component during a major joint forcible entry exercise in Europe during the summer of 2017.