Posts From March, 2008

Life Saving Actions by TXSG, TMB Officer, Meritorious Service Ribbon Awarded

Life Saving Actions by TXSG, TMB Officer, Meritorious Service Ribbon Awarded

Maj. Roger Vertrees of the TMB receiving Meritorious Service Ribbon from Capt. Alec Ross Photo by 2LT Tom Goff
Maj. Roger Vertrees of the TMB receiving Meritorious Service Ribbon from Capt. Alec Ross
Photo by 2LT Tom Goff

Maj. Roger Vertrees has been awarded the Meritorious Service Ribbon by the Texas State Guard in award ceremonies conducted recently. The award was presented to Maj. Vertrees for his display of professional and heroic behavior on April 1, 2007 in response to a frantic call for medical help from his neighbor. He clearly set himself above his peers by taking action over and above what would normally be expected in a medical emergency. The award was presented to him by Capt. Alec Ross, the executive officer of the Galveston Company of the Texas Medical Brigade. Vertee is also a University of Texas Medical Branch Faculty Member.

At the request of a neighbor, Maj. Vertrees arrived to help his neighbor place an adult daughter in bed after the daughter suffered an epileptic seizure. When Vertrees noted that the woman was not responding to her diabetic medication, he also called 911 for emergency services. While waiting for emergency services to arrive, the woman’s heart stopped. Vertrees then started performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but noticed that her airway was blocked. When no standard method of clearing the airway worked, he then sucked the contents blocking the airway and restored her breathing, thus saving the woman’s life. It was the act of risking his own health by aspirating the contents of the woman’s nasal passage that earned him the award.

Maj. Vertrees’ quick thinking and actions were well beyond what is normally expected of a medical responder. The woman’s mother, a registered nurse, was present during the event and credits Maj. Vertrees with saving her daughters life. The rescued woman is now doing well and is listed for a kidney transplant.

Texas State Guard Experiences Record Increase in Overall Strength

Texas State Guard Experiences Record Increase in Overall Strength
Capt. James M. Campbell, Texas Military Forces Public Affairs
TXSG PatchThe Texas State Guard proudly announced an overall increase in troop strength of almost 15 percent as of Jan. 1.

One of the three branches of the Texas Military Forces, the Texas State Guard concentrates its efforts in supporting state and local authorities in homeland security and community service.

“We finally have a budget and a meaningful mission” said Brig. Gen. Raymond Peters, deputy commanding general of the Texas State Guard. “Since the Texas State Guard is a non-deployable force, we help free up the Texas National Guard to accomplish other federal and state obligations.”

The recent increase in strength can be directly attributed to the efforts provided by the men and women of the Texas State Guard during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. During this emergency, the Texas Army, Air, and State Guard were mobilized to provide relief and assistance to the citizens of Texas and Louisiana. The Texas State Guard assisted in shelter management, provided much needed medical care, bridged communication barriers, and basically filled in wherever they were needed.

[Read more in the February 2008 issue of The Dispatch, page 14]

2008 Adjutant General’s Competition and Sustainment Training

2008 Adjutant General’s Competition and Sustainment Training
Texas Military Forces - Dispatch 2008

TXSG participated for the first year in the AG LMG Competition Photo by Texas Military Forces
TXSG participated for the first year in the AG LMG Competition
Photo by Texas Military Forces

The 2008 Adjutant General’s Light Machine Gun Competition and Sustainment Training took place at Camp Swift Feb. 2 and 3 with a record number of teams participating this year. Seventeen teams from the Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air National Guard, Texas A&M Corps of Cadets and the Texas State Guard fired over the two days in near ideal shooting conditions.

Gunners engaged targets from 10 meters to 700 meters, firing in limited time frames. Teams were also required to disassemble and assemble their weapons for score. In addition, gunners were required to utilize their tripods and T & E mechanisms as part of the competition/sustainment training. Each gunner fired over a 1,000 rounds of ammunition in two days.

For the Texas State Guard, this was the first competition/sustainment training in this event. The team provided its own equipment for the this event and did very well for their first time.

[Read more in the March 2008 issue of The Dispatch, page 17]

Texas Military Forces Boost annual Laredo Event

Texas Military Forces boost annual Laredo event
Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada, Texas Military Forces Public Affairs
Picture of two planesOne of the highlights of Washington’s Birthday Celebration kicked off in Laredo, Texas, with the customary Stars and Stripes Air Show Feb. 16, featuring Texas Air National Guard C-130s, Army Guard parachute jumpers and State Guard bicycle patrol and security.

The Washington’s Birthday Celebration, founded in 1898, rivals -- and some admittedly biased Texans might argue -- exceeds Mardi Gras merriment in New Orleans. The festivities last nearly a month and draw an average of 400,000 attendees each year. The Stars and Stripes Air Show, followed by the Society of Martha Washington Colonial Pageant and Ball and the International Bridge Ceremony the following weekend, are popularly considered to be the highlights of the celebration.

[Read more in the March 2008 issue of The Dispatch, page 6]

Postal Service Offers Discount for Military Care Packages

Postal Service Offers Discount For Military Care Packages
The U.S. Postal Service will begin offering a discount Priority Mail rate March 3 and a larger box for care packages sent to military members overseas. The new flat-rate box is 50 percent larger than the current Priority Mail package and it will be delivered for $10.95 to an APO/FPO address -- $2 less than for domestic destinations.

The new Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Box (12" x 12" x 5 inches or 800 cubic inches) will be available in Post Offices nationwide beginning March 3, but customers can begin ordering them Feb. 20 at or by calling 800-610-8734. Some of the new boxes are co-branded with the logo of America Supports You, which is a Department of Defense program that connects citizens offering support to the military and their families. The $2 discount is applied when the Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Boxes are shipped to an APO/FPO destination. The two existing flat-rate boxes (11 x 3 x 13 inches and 11 x 8 X 5 inches), which currently retail for $8.95 for U.S. addresses, are not available for the military discount, postal officials said. They said all flat-rate boxes can still be used for international shipping.

Texas Independence Day on March 2

Texas Independence Day on March 2
Joseph Milton Nance

REPUBLIC OF TEXAS. In the fall of 1835 many Texans, both Anglo-American colonists and Tejanos, concluded that liberalism and republicanism in Mexico, as reflected in its Constitution of 1824, were dead. The dictatorship of President Antonio López de Santa Anna, supported by rich landowners, had seized control of the governments and subverted the constitution. As dissension and discord mounted in Texas, both on the military front and at the seat of the provisional government of the Consultation at San Felipe, the colonists agreed that another popular assembly was needed to chart a course of action. On December 10, 1835, the General Council of the provisional government issued a call for an election on February 1, 1836, to choose forty-four delegates to assemble on March 1 at Washington-on-the-Brazos. These delegates represented the seventeen Texas municipalities and the small settlement at Pecan Point on the Red River. The idea of independence from Mexico was growing. The Consultation sent Branch T. Archer, William H. Wharton, and Stephen F. Austin to the United States to solicit men, money, supplies, and sympathy for the Texas cause. At New Orleans, in early January of 1836, the agents found enthusiastic support, but advised that aid would not be forthcoming so long as Texans squabbled over whether to sustain the Mexican constitution.

The convention held at Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 1, 1836, was quite different from the Consultation. Forty-one delegates were present at the opening session, and fifty-nine individuals attended the convention at some time. Two delegates (José Francisco Ruiz and José Antonio Navarro of Bexar) were native Texans, and one (Lorenzo de Zavala) had been born in Mexico. Only ten of the delegates had been in Texas by 1836. A majority were from other places-primarily from the United States, but also from Europe. Two-thirds of the delegates were not yet forty years old. Several had broad political experience. Samuel P. Carson of Pecan Point and Robert Potter of Nacogdoches had served, respectively, in the North Carolina legislature and in the United States House of Representatives. Richard Ellis, representing the Red River district and president of the convention, and Martin Parmer of San Augustine, had participated in constitutional conventions in Alabama (1819) and Missouri (1821), respectively. Sam Houston, a former United States congressman and governor of Tennessee, was a close friend of United States president Andrew Jackson. Houston was chosen commander in chief of the revolutionary army and left the convention early to take charge of the forces gathering at Gonzales. He had control of all troops in the field-militia, volunteers, and regular army enlistees. The convention delegates knew they must declare independence-or submit to Mexican authority. If they chose independence they had to draft a constitution for a new nation, establish a strong provisional government, and prepare to combat the Mexican armies invading Texas.

On March 1 George C. Childress, who had recently visited President Jackson in Tennessee, presented a resolution calling for independence. At its adoption, the chairman of the convention appointed Childress to head a committee of five to draft a declaration of independence. When the committee met that evening, Childress drew from his pocket a statement he had brought from Tennessee that followed the outline and main features of the United States Declaration of Independence. The next day, March 2, the delegates unanimously adopted Childress’s suggestion for independence. Ultimately fifty-eight members signed the document. Thus was born the Republic of Texas.

GOV Perry Press Release for Preparedness

GOV Perry Press Release for Preparedness
AUSTIN - Gov. Rick Perry today urged Texans to prepare for severe storms which historically impact our state in the Spring by designating Feb. 24- March 1, 2008 as Severe Weather Awareness Week.
“Severe Weather Awareness Week reminds Texans that dangerous climate conditions can develop quickly, so it’s vital that we plan ahead for such threatening situations,”" Perry said. “By building a culture of preparedness, we can take steps to reduce risk, ensure safety and ultimately save lives.”

During Severe Weather Awareness Week Texans are advised to assemble a “readiness kit” of important emergency supplies including a first aid kit, bottled water and non-perishable food; and are encouraged to keep a battery-operated radio or television set to receive important information during storms, designate a place to go in case of evacuation, and develop an emergency plan for communicating with relatives and friends.

While dangerous storms can strike at any time of year, March, April and May bring the greatest potential for violent weather events in Texas, including damaging thunderstorms, hail storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes and flooding. According to the National Weather Service, Texas leads the nation with an average of 139 tornado strikes per year and often suffers the highest resulting death toll of any other state. Additionally, Texas endures the second-highest level of lightning fatalities and often leads in the number of flash flood deaths per year. A majority of these victims suffer due to failure to take proper precautions in such emergencies.

For more information about Severe Weather Awareness Week, please visit the Governor’s Division of Emergency Management Web site: and the National Weather Service Southern Region Headquarters Web site: