Posts From March, 2011

19th Regiment Wins Marksmanship Competition, Included teams from the Texas Military Forces

19th Regiment Wins Marksmanship Competition, Included teams from the Texas Military Forces
MAJ Michael Quinn Sullivan, PAO, TXSG
AUSTIN, Texas – Taking top honors in the 30th Annual Texas National Guard Combat Pistol Match was the Texas State Guard’s 19th Regiment Marksmanship Team. This marks the second year in a row that the state guard’s Army component has won the competition.

The Texas National Guard’s Small Arms Readiness and Training Section, a division of Texas Military Forces, conducted the annual Pistol Sustainment Exercise and Competition at Camp Swift near Bastrop on March 19 and 20.

Col. David Erinakes, the 19th Regiment's commanding officer, said the marksmanship team reflects the high standards of the men and women in the Texas State Guard.

“I have great pride in the many members of my unit that understand that selfless service is a key to our success in protecting Texans, and this is a great example of that type of service.”

The winning team included Staff Sgt. Admir Pasalic of Arlington, Sgt. Richard Murphy of Mesquite, Sgt. Sean Mounger of McKinney, and Cpl. Scott Hunt of Dallas. They beat out teams representing various units through the Texas Military Forces. The TXMF includes the Army National Guard, Air National Guard and Texas State Guard.

Capt. Theodore Baroody is the Officer In Charge of the 19th Regiment’s Marksmanship Team. He said the team was selected based on their individual scores in prior competitions last year.

“Just like each guardsman provides his own uniform and transportation, but these four also provide their own weapons and ammunition without any taxpayer dollars involved,” Baroody said.

“They refine their marksmanship skills because of their dedication to their training and pride in representing the 19th and the State Guard. I’m proud of the dedication each man on the team has shown in preparing for this year’s pistol competition.”

Baroody noted that a similar rifle competition is scheduled to be held in May.

The mission of the Texas State Guard is to provide highly trained soldiers for Defense Support to Civil Authorities by providing ready military forces during State Emergences to assist State and local authorities in homeland security, community service and with medical services.

The Texas State Guard is one of three branches of the Texas Military Forces, reporting to The Texas Adjutant General, Major General John Nichols, The Commander-in-Chief of the Texas Military Forces is the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry. The other two branches are the Texas Army National Guard and the Texas Air National Guard.

Lufkin man to walk from Lufkin to Conroe to raise awareness for disease that claimed life of great-nephew

LARISSA GRAHAM/The Lufkin Daily News

Photo of Capt. Allen Rush walking next to the road
Capt. Allen Rush of Lufkin will walk 105 miles from Lufkin to Conroe to raise awareness for the disease that claimed the life of his great-nephew Jack Wolf.Photo by LARISSA GRAHAM/The Lufkin Daily News

LUFKIN, Texas - Starting Friday, a Lufkin man will walk from Lufkin to Conroe to raise awareness for the disease that claimed the life of his great-nephew.

Capt. Allen Rush of the Texas Medical Brigade branch of the Tyler Medical Response Group will walk the 105 miles to raise awareness and funds for the Jack Wolf Foundation, named after Rush’s great-nephew, Jack Wolf IV. Wolf passed away five weeks after his birth from osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease. Over the last five years, the Jack Wolf Foundation has raised about $40,000 for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital and the Empty Arms Ministry in Lufkin through an annual golf tournament at The Links of Westfork in Conroe.

Rush plans to walk the “Jack Jog” in 20-mile increments each day. He’ll be dressed in full gear, including a 20-pound pack that includes three liters of water, an MRE (meal, ready to eat), and other supplies that he might need along the way.

“The Army taught me to be over prepared,” Rush said with a grin. “Even though I’ll be following the road, I’ll have my compass in my pack.”

Rush, a Type I diabetic, will also have a supply of bananas and oranges, to keep his blood sugar under control, and an MP3 player with plenty of upbeat music to keep him going mile after mile.

“I have some classic rock from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, some Celtic bagpipe music, a little hip-hop, and some music from the Texas Aggie Band,” Rush said.

In addition to raising money for the Jack Wolf Foundation, Rush hopes his walk will bring attention to the Texas State Guard and encourage his fellow guard members to get fit.

“I’ve gotten healthier training for this,” Rush said. “And all I’ve been doing is walking.”

Rush called the Jack Jog a personal triumph, both for his health and his diabetes.

“It’s very rewarding to be able to do something for people who can’t do for themselves,” Rush said. “There are a lot of things we can do on a day-to-day basis to help our fellow citizens.”

More information on the Jack Wolf Foundation and the Jack Jog can be found on the foundation’s website at

Reprinted with permission, The Lufkin Daily News

National Guard Association of Texas Conference 2011

Soldiers and airmen visit over 80 different vendors of civilian and military products and services inside the American Bank Center exhibit hall during the 52nd annual National Guard Association of Texas Conference in Corpus Christi, Texas, March 26.
Soldiers and airmen visit over 80 different vendors of civilian and military products and services inside the American Bank Center exhibit hall during the 52nd annual National Guard Association of Texas Conference in Corpus Christi, Texas, March 26. The exhibit hall offered a one-stop shop for attendees to try out an array of new technologies and services geared toward military use. NGAT has traditionally worked diligently with our state and national legislature on several quality of life improvements for Texas Military Forces, along with being an opportunity for people to discuss new ideas and identify future goals.


 Story by Spc. Suzanne Carter

 CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - As the waves crashed against the harbor, hundreds of men and women dressed in army  combat uniforms and air battle uniforms converged on Corpus Christi, Texas, for the 52nd annual National Guard Association of Texas Conference.

 This conference brings together enlisted and officer personnel from the Texas Army, Air, and State Guard, providing a  forum for all service members to voice their issues and messages for the Texas Military Forces in a public domain. 

 Senior leadership accomplishes the mission of this conference through a series of break-out sessions and forums  where both the officers and enlisted personnel discuss new training programs, the current state of the Texas Military  Force as a whole, and new changes in doctrine like the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. 

 "Many times when you try to send emails back and forth, you don't always get your true point across to everyone," said  Maj. Ian Manire, executive officer for the Headquarters of the Texas Air Guard. 

 Whereas past conferences focused on assembling large numbers of Guardsmen to distribute the information at one  time, this year's conference embraced individual growth breakout sessions as noted by Air Force Maj. Gen. Nichols, the Texas adjutant general.

 "The new format should enable each of you to spend more time informing yourselves on those issues and opportunities  that exist in support of command and its mission, while allowing ample time to network with your fellow conferees." said  Nichols.

 NGAT also gave the newly appointed Texas Adjutant General the opportunity to convey his mission and strategic vision  to all of the state's military personnel at one time. 

For his first key point, Nichols stressed the importance of placing the solider, airmen, civilian, and family first in order to have a more efficient and effective force. Throughout the conference, speakers and guests echoed this message in public forums, breakout sessions and activities. 

To satisfy this strategic vision of placing the people first, Nichols announced his top priority of ensuring the soldiers and airmen of the Texas Military Forces have the finest resources, equipment and training available, both at their drilling stations and at the duty schools they attend throughout their service.

"We need to make sure that everyone we send to the various schools are actually able to go and finish them the first time," said Brig. Gen. Joyce Stevens, Army assistant adjutant and commander of the Texas Army National Guard. "This will help not only to save money that can be put to other goals, but help our soldiers stay at home as long as possibly with their friends and family." 

Most service member may have only expected to attend meetings, but the conference also featured an exhibit hall, hospitality rooms, an evening banquet and social mixers.

Vendors in the exhibit showed their support for the Guard by allowing the Guardsmen to see a wide range of products and services geared toward the military. The booths touched on different aspects of military life from food, hygiene, education, and equipment storage to training like the mobile range system and the interactive Laser Shot simulation.

"We want to introduce this product to the entire state of Texas, since it is one of the largest states and has one of the largest National Guard forces," said Gregory Turner, sales development and management for Strategic Systems Incorporated. We saw NGAT as the best place to demonstrate our product." 

The conference offered several sessions geared toward Guardsmen's families, educating them on the Family Readiness Group and their resources that many service members overlook or misunderstand, such as suicide and crisis preventions. 

In both the opening ceremony and the dinner held during the conference, senior officials presented awards to volunteers and family members of Guardsmen for their exemplary volunteer service to the units of the Texas Military Forces.

"This is a great way to show our appreciation and support we have for the men and women in the National Guard for the services that they provide for us each and everyday," said Rose Montao, a member of a Family Readiness Group out of San Antonio, Texas. 

At the conclusion of the conference, Guardsmen returned home to rejoin their units and share the lessons they garnered during the weekend of networking and collaborating with their peers and comrades.

"This is one of the few opportunities where you can get everyone together," said Manire, "looking at each other eye to eye and talk about those issues that we don't always get a chance to do."

TAG recognizes excellence in unit performance, family volunteers

Texas Adjutant General Air Force Maj. Gen. John Nichols addresses attendees at the National Guard Association of Texas Conference in Corpus Christi, March 25.
Texas Adjutant General Air Force Maj. Gen. John Nichols addresses attendees at the National Guard Association of Texas Conference in Corpus Christi, March 25. The TAG discussed his vision to put soldiers, airmen, families and civilians first in his remarks.


 Story by Spc. Suzanne Carter

 CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Plaques and engraved, Texas-shaped crystal awards neatly lined the table. Each one  represented the sacrifice, dedication, and hard work of service members and their families over the past year or longer.  They convey gratitude and respect from senior leadership, who are proud of the personnel without whom the military could never succeed.

 U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. John Nichols, the Texas adjutant general, presented the awards to Family Readiness  volunteers and the winners of the TAG Performance Excellence Competition, March 25, at the opening ceremony of the  52nd National Guard Association of Texas Conference in Corpus Christi. 

 Company through brigade-level commanders from across the state participated in the TAGPEC. Captains, majors,  lieutenant colonels and colonels wrote self-assessments that examined seven areas of their organizations such as  leadership and social responsibility; strategic planning; customer knowledge; measurement, analysis and  improvement; motivation and safety; emergency preparedness and results. 

 U.S. Army Maj. Tyra Swanson from the Office of Performance Optimization at Joint Forces Headquarters said the self-  assessments help commanders establish a baseline for their unit performance and point toward improvements they can make. 

"In an era like this with constrained resources," Swanson said, "using those resources and moneys effectively is really important. If we can get rid of mission creepers, then we can focus our efforts on what's important: defining our mission and getting the organization to accomplish that mission."

The TAGPEC highlights two categories of command level for award, from captain and major to lieutenant colonel and colonel.

At the captain and major level, Army Capt. Gregory Brown and Delta Forward Support Company earned 1st place. The TAG awarded Army Capt. Terrance Tysall and the 672 Engineer Detachment 2nd place. 

At the lieutenant colonel and colonel level, Army Lt. Col. Michelle Bryant and the 536 Brigade Support Battalion earned 1st place, Air Force Lt. Col Leslie Kurt and the 147th Maintenance Group earned 2nd and Air Force Col. Kevin Turnbo and the 254th Combat Communications Group earned 3rd.

Nichols also presented State Family Program Volunteer Awards for a variety of achievements. The awards recognized volunteers for five or ten years of volunteer service with Family Readiness Groups, outstanding FRG leadership and the consistent support they provide for troops at home and while deployed. 

Tammorrow Constantine, who received the Silver Service Award for ten years of volunteering, said she got her whole family involved in supporting the Texas Military Forces. 

"I found that it's easier to get through deployments if you stay involved," she said, "instead of sitting at home feeling sorry for yourself."

Nichols also recognized Katherine Boynton, Jason Cowan and Matthew Constantine as exemplary young volunteers for their service in support of Texas Military Forces Youth during the past year.

The recognition and prestige of these awards, from both the TAGPEC and the State Family Program, deliver a sense of appreciation and acknowledgement to the recipients. Though, even without the accolades, their work would continue as each contributor works toward a purpose greater than themselves. They work with and for an organization esteemed in history and accomplishment. 

"It feels good to support the troops," said Jason Cowan, Friendship Award recipient. "I don't really deserve an award for it because I'm just doing what I feel I should do."

Ceremony welcomes 51st Adjutant General in Texas

Story by Sgt. Josiah Pugh

CAMP MABRY, Texas – The Texas Military Forces welcomed its incoming commander Saturday during a change-of-command ceremony held at Camp Mabry in Austin.

Maj. Gen. Jose S. Mayorga relinquished command after nearly two years of dutiful service. Nichols assumed duties as the new adjutant general of Texas, following two years as the assistant adjutant general (Air) and commander, Texas Air Guard.

“I’m humbled by being able to serve people every day,” said Nichols, “and be able to devote my career to your careers, your lives and your families.”

U.S. Senator for Texas John Cornyn took part in the ceremony, passing the flag for the Texas Military Forces from the outgoing to the incoming commander. 

“You have my commitment to fight for whatever you need, and our men and women in uniform need, as well as their families,” said Cornyn, “so that you can continue to remain a great credit to our state and contributor to our nation’s security.”

Mayorga expressed his gratitude toward his troops, saying, “Thank you for your service to our state of Texas and to our United Sates. You represent a very small segment of our society and are truly a remarkable group of individuals. You are the very best our state and our nation have to offer.”

Mayorga leaves command after leading Texas service members in more than 160,000 man-days of defense and support through hurricane relief, flood response and emergency disaster missions.

“Without your dedication and devotion,” said Mayorga to his formation, “we could not be successful in providing ready-trained forces for homeland support of civil authorities, homeland security missions or overseas contingency operations to both of our commanders in chief, the governor of Texas and the president of the United States.”

As commander of the Texas Air National Guard, Nichols was responsible for almost 3,500 Air National Guardsmen through out the state of Texas. He served his country loyally as a pilot with the U.S. Air Force and continues to serve his community as a member of the Air Force Association, National Guard Association of the United States, National Guard Association of Texas and the Association of Graduates of the U.S. Air Force Academy. 

Nichols earned a bachelor's degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo,, where he graduated from Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College, Air War College, and U.S. Air Force Fighter Weapons Instructor School at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

As a command pilot with more than 3,000 hours in a fighter aircraft, he held a series of distinguished assignments. While on active duty, Nichols joined the Wisconsin Air National Guard in 1992. At Madison, he was the chief of Wing Weapons, the 176 FS Operations officer and the 115 FW Operations Group commander. Nichols joined the Texas Air National Guard in April of 2000. He served as the vice commander of the 149th Fighter Wing from April 2000 to March 2002.

Nichols was promoted to Maj. Gen. on Jan. 19, coinciding with his selection as successor to Mayorga.

Nichols highlighted his priority in taking care of his troops, saying, “our first task in the Texas Military Forces is going to be our soldiers, our airmen, our civilians and our families.”

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Military Appreciation Day

In this image released by the Texas Military Forces, service-members and their families attend Armed Forces Appreciation Day at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in Houston, Texas, Tuesday, March 2. Events inside the main arena included mutton-busting for the children of service members, a demonstration by the U. S. Air Force Combat rappel team and a concert by Trace Adkins. Volunteers and AFAD committee members worked tirelessly months, pulling together the people and resources to provide a proper thank you to all the sacrifices made by the men and women in uniform.


 Story by Sgt. Melissa Bright 

 HOUSTON, Texas-- More than 3,000 service members and their families attended Armed Forces Appreciation Day at the  Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, March 2.

 In addition to the Houston-area service members with the Marines, Coast Guard, Air and Army National Guard and  Reserve, more than 1,100 Army III Corp troops and their families were bussed in from Fort Hood, Texas; accompanied by  Brig. Gen. Peter Atkinson, Deputy Commanding General (Canada) for III Armored Corps and Fort Hood.

 The events were open to veterans and current service-members.
 Individuals in their military uniform or carrying their military ID card were given free entry into the carnival. Once inside the  gates, several events were scheduled to honor their service, starting with a catered barbeque luncheon.

During the luncheon, attendees were treated to guest appearances from two Texans cheerleaders; Miss Houston 2011, Annie Flores; and Miss Rodeo Texas Princess 2011, Liz Hughes.

Afterwards, the crowd made their way to the west side of the Reliant Center for a welcome ceremony where U.S. Army Field Band Staff Sgt. Tracy Labrecque sang the national anthem for the second year in a row following a multi-service color guard presentation.

Shortly following the ceremony, troops and their families made their way into the Reliant Stadium to watch several rodeo events including a Mutton-bustin’ competition restricted to children of military members, a demonstration by the U.S. Air Force rappel team and concert by country music artist Trace Adkins.