Posts From March, 2013

An Army Guard aviation pioneer looks back 

Col. Deanne E. "Dea" Lins, a member of the T xas Army National Guard, stands with her family at Camp Mabry, in Austin, Texas, Jan. 12, 2013. Lins received the Meritorious Service Medal and retired after more than 30 years of service to the state and nation
Col. Deanne E. "Dea" Lins, a member of the Texas Army National Guard, stands with her family at Camp Mabry, in Austin, Texas, Jan. 12, 2013. Lins received the Meritorious Service Medal and retired after more than 30 years of service to the state and nation. (Image courtesy of retired Col. Deanne E. Lins)

 

Story by Staff Sgt. Phil Fountain 
 
 CAMP MABRY, Texas - The Texas Army National Guard's first female aviator recently retired after more than thirty years  of service in the National Guard, achieving the rank of colonel.

 Deanne E. "Dea" Lins of Austin was the Army National Guard's first female aviator in three different states - Connecticut,  Massachusetts and Texas. During her career, she flew UH-1 Iroquois, also known as Huey, and UH-60 Black Hawk  helicopters, from the mid-1980s into the late '90s.

 During the second half of her career, she held various positions, including service as an airspace management officer  on deployments to the South Korea and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Later she served in logistics, personnel and human  resources specialties, and deployed to Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn. She concluded her career at the Texas  Military Forces' Joint Force Headquarters here.

 Lins began her military career through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of Bridgeport, in  Bridgeport, Conn., where she was a distinguished graduate in 1983. After serving in Connecticut, then Massachusetts,  Lins joined the Texas Army National Guard in 1986.

She moved to Texas with her husband, Tony, a fellow aviator that was serving in the active-duty Army, she said. At the time, he was stationed at Fort Hood, near Killeen, and then later joined the Texas National Guard.

At one point, they served together in the 49th Aviation Brigade, which later became the 36th Combat Aviation Brigade, headquartered in Austin. Tony, a retired major, concluded his military service as the resource manager for the Texas Army National Guard's 36th Infantry Division, headquartered here.

Lins described her transition to Texas from the Northeast.

"Coming into Texas wasn't hard for me," Lins said. "But I do know it was difficult for some of the men."

There were cultural adjustments that had to be worked through, she said, but added that her fellow pilots were generally welcoming.

"Some of the men were Vietnam era pilots," Lins said. "They were wonderful, [and I] had some wonderful mentors. They took everyone - all the new people - and really tried making them the best they could be."

While proud, Lins downplayed the perception of her being a pioneer.

"I was the first female aviator (in Texas)," she said, but noted that there were two other females working their way into Army aviation at the time, including now Cols. Jeanne (Buschow) Arnold, director of the Texas Military Forces Red Team Support Group here, and Lisa Hines, director of support for the Joint Force here.

She said they all flew during the same period.

From her experience, Lins said some of the greatest hurdles she faced being an early female aviator involved living in field conditions, a challenge she later tackled as a company commander, then as a battalion commander.

"It doesn't really matter which sex you are, both sides have their own issues," Lins said. "How do you balance being close enough to hear and know what's going on in the unit, in an informal chain-of-command way, without having to break modesty?"

Lins found it to be important for all Soldiers to be in close proximity in field conditions, because important discussions can take place and decisions can be made impacting the unit.

"The next day, you might miss a meeting because you didn't know," she said. "You didn't know what was going on."

As a commander, she worked through these complexities with her noncommissioned officers, some of whom said their spouses had concerns with mixed gender cohabitation. But they found a way to address the issue.

"We set up bivouac when we got home for the Family Day activities," Lins said. "We set it all up as if we were in the field, with all of the curtains and all the different things that we do. I think that really helped."

Further, she said she enjoyed building close-knit relationships in the National Guard. Many she has had for decades.

One such relationship is with Col. Patrick M. Hamilton, the adjutant general's chief of staff, who said he met Lins and her husband two decades ago, when he was an armored cavalry officer assigned to the aviation brigade.

"In the early '90s we got to know each other," Hamilton said. "Dea was a well respected pilot, and she was competent - and everybody liked her."

Hamilton discussed another barrier Lins broke during her career, when they deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina with the 49th Armored Division in support of Operation Joint Forge.

"In 1999, we prepared for and deployed together," he said. "Dea was on the division staff with me, she was our G3-Air (air battlefield manager), a first (for a female Army Guard officer) that I know of. We were the first Guard division to go and command active duty troops in Bosnia."

"Everything was on the other foot with them," Hamilton said of the deployment. "He (Tony) had the kids at home, and Dea and I were deployed together."

Beyond the challenges, Lins said there were many benefits to serving in the National Guard.

Lins said her military service proved to be a stabilizing force in her life, particularly when balancing her life commitments.

"I don't know if it's a lot different from anyone else," Lins said. "Being a mom and having a career in the National Guard, I think is a huge benefit."

"I didn't have to suffer much in that career. I could continue that career, in my case almost 32 years," she said. "I was able to continue a National Guard career all this time."

"If you're in the Guard, you're family," she said. "Through the years, you're going to go in-and-out of each other's career. You'll know these same people for many, many years. You might not see somebody for ten years, (and) then you're working with them again."

She looked back on an exceptional career with pride.

"I wouldn't trade a thing," Lins said. "I wouldn't trade any of it."

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 2:31:00 PM Categories: Texas Army National Guard

East Texas Medical Outreach Program 

East Texas – This past week marked the start of the first East Texas Medical Outreach event offering free preventative and primary care to uninsured East Texans. Supported by the Texas State Guard and running 12 hours a day, licensed physicians and nurses were on site to administer multiple screenings, perform physicals and advise on healthy lifestyle choices such as healthy eating and not smoking.

The East Texas Medical Outreach event is a collaborative medical services project that unites state and county health and human service agencies, Texas Military Forces, local service groups and volunteers in the largest public health humanitarian effort in the country. The East Texas Medical Outreach event is a real-time, large-scale emergency preparedness exercise that provides medical service and disaster recovery training to state agencies and personnel while addressing the medical needs of thousands of underserved Texas residents.

"The East Texas Medical Outreach event provides support to our fellow Texans in an underserved area that needs our help. The efforts of all agencies involved are tremendous and this event has a very positive impact on the communities they touch in East Texas.” said Major General Tony Rodriquez, Commanding General, Texas State Guard. The medical services provided during the East Texas Medical Event include immunizations, blood pressure checks, cholesterol screening, diabetes screening, mammograms, women's health care, social service's support, hearing and vision exams, physicals for students, limited dental services and limited pharmacy product.

Thursday, March 14, 2013 8:27:00 AM Categories: Texas State Guard

19th Regiment Captures Inaugural Gonzales Cup 

19th Regiment Captures Inaugural Gonzales Cup
Texas State Guard Public Affairs

AUSTIN, Texas - Six members of the Texas State Guard’s 19th Regiment, headquartered in Dallas, took top honors in the inaugural Commander’s Small Unit Excellence Challenge, winning the “Gonzales Cup.” The two-day event held in early June at Camp Bowie, TX tested the Guardsmen in a number of individual and team skills. “The Commanders Challenge was designed to provide a competitive training exercise for our soldiers, incorporating our Mission Essential Tasks into a series of field training scenarios,” said Maj. Kevin Lilly, officer-in-charge of the event. “Additionally, we wanted to promote esprit de corps, unit cohesion and the type of bonding formed in team endeavors.” The intent according to Lilly was to create a physically and mentally demanding exercise. All tasks were graded to U.S. Army standards. The four tasks evaluated were: 

 

  1. Combat Lifesaver/First Aid. The Guardsmen were scored on individual skills and placed in timed team exercises, such as stabilizing spinal injuries, arterial bleeding, transporting an injured individual over rough terrain, and using a field improvised litter; 
  2. Physical Fitness. Guardsmen were graded on push-ups, sit-ups and a timed run based upon the Army Physical Fitness Test; 
  3. Small Arms Marksmanship. Competitors fired 9mm pistols from the standing, kneeling, squatting and prone position; and
  4. Radio Telephone Operator procedures testing.

“I am very proud of this team of highly skilled and motivated Guardsmen,” said Col. Robert Hastings, commanding officer of the 19th Regiment. “They went after this challenge with vigor. They studied, they trained, they rehearsed, and they won.” The 19th Regiment’s wining team, led by Master Sgt. Mark Sligar, squared off against competitors representing four other TXSG Regiments from across the state. 

The winning team members are:

 

  • Master Sgt. Mark Sligar
  • Sgt. Ken Clayton
  • Sgt. Ronnie Littles
  • Cpl. Brian Nail
  • Pfc. Samuel Lopez
  • Pfc. Robert Marlin

Sgt. Ken Clayton was also recognized for achieving the highest individual score in the competition. The “Gonzales Cup” is named for the Battle of Gonzales, the first military engagement of the Texas Revolution. It was fought near Gonzales, Texas, on October 2, 1835, between rebellious Texian settlers and a detachment of Mexican army troops. The cup is inscribed with the slogan “Come and Take It” which was printed on the flag flown by the Gonzales settlers during the battle. The 19th Regiment has a record of excellence in competition. The Regiment’s competitive marksmanship team won the Texas Adjutant General’s Combat Rifle Competition Match twice, and the unit’s Quick Reaction Team won the QRT Challenge three times.

Thursday, March 14, 2013 8:24:00 AM Categories: Texas State Guard

Texas Independence Day Message 

Texas Independence Day Message
MG M. A. Rodriguez
2013/03/01
Fellow Guardsmen,

On March 2, 1836, Texas’ founding fathers gathered at Washington-on-the-Brazos under less than ideal circumstances. The Alamo was under siege and just days later would fall. The Texas forces were, by all reasonable measures, no match for Santa Anna’s army. What the Texians did have was the desire to live free, and protect their families and neighbors.

Like the American counterpart written sixty years earlier, the Texas Declaration of Independence carefully outlined the Texian desire for liberty and served as the legal justification of their cause.

It’s important for us each to remember that they acted not because they knew they could win, but because they knew their cause was just.

Who we are today as Texans stands as legacy to the righteousness of their action. Their love of Texas, and their fellow Texans, inspired them to work for a future they knew they may not live to see. The Lone Star State shines brightly today because those brave men put their principles ahead of their convenience, the needs of others ahead of themselves.

Your service in the Texas State Guard is no different.

Your love of Texas, and concern for your fellow Texans, has compelled you to take time each month from your families to attend drill -- sometimes traveling far and always on your own dime. You take off from work each summer to attend annual training. Most of all, you keep a go-bag packed, ready to roll when called to aid our neighbors.

Militarily, many of our Texas State Guard units can trace their history to those early days in the fight for independence. Our mission is different from theirs, but not what is important. Our love for Texas, and our abiding concern for our fellow Texans, is exactly the same.

As we celebrate Texas’ birthday this weekend, I know we both count it an honor to wear the Lone Star flag on our shoulders. Even more so, it’s an honor for me to serve alongside you as together we serve Texans.

Equal to the Task!

M. A. Rodriguez

MG, Texas State Guard

Commanding

Friday, March 1, 2013 8:36:00 AM Categories: Texas State Guard