Posts From March, 2014

4th Regiment - MAJOR Ted Prescott Takes Command of 1ST Battalion 

MAJOR TED PRESCOTT TAKES COMMAND OF 1ST BATTALION

Story and Photo by CW2 Janet Schmelzer, PAO, 4th Regiment

2014/03/31

WEATHERFORD, TX--On February 22, 2014, the 1st Battalion 4th Regiment welcomed a new Battalion Commander. Major Ted Prescott received the 1st Battalion Guidon during a Change of Command ceremony at the Weatherford National Guard Armory in Weatherford, Texas. 

Major Prescott joined the US Army after graduating from the University of Texas at Arlington as a Distinguished Military Graduate in 1979. He entered the US Army as a Armor officer. He served as a tank platoon leader with A Company, 2/5 Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division during the testing of the XM-1 tank at Fort Hood, Texas. He was the Company Executive Officer for B Company when his battalion was moved to 2nd Armored Division and re-designated as 2-67 Armor.

Following his graduation from Armor Officer Advanced Course in 1983, Prescott served as the S3-Air for 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment upon his deployment to Germany.  He then commanded E Troop and later served as the Squadron Adjutant and Border Officer. In 1987 he completed Combined Arms Services Staff School and served as an Operations Officer at First US Army, Fort Meade, Maryland. There he was involved in the plans and operations for infrastructure projects in Honduras, the Richard Nixon Funeral Plan, and the 1988 Inauguration of President George H. W. Bush. In 1990 MAJ Prescott as a Joint Operations Officer with Joint Task Force 6 at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where he coordinated military support for regional marijuana eradication operations and counter drug initiatives along the US-Mexico border. In 1992 he left the active service.

In 2012 he joined the Texas State Guard and has served as the Executive Officer for the 4th Regiment until his appointment as 1st Battalion commander.

Monday, March 31, 2014 1:49:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard

Texas National Guard and Chilean Armed Forces leaders meet to discuss future of partnership 

Chilean Air Force Capt. Javier Salinas, left, Commandos, 6th Squadron, 4th Aviation Brigade, Chilean Air Force, briefs U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Brian Newby, Chief of Staff and Vice Commander, Texas Air National Guard, and Command Chief Master Sgt. Oscar Tey, Senior Enlisted Leader, Texas Joint Domestic Operations Command, on the capabilities of his unit at the brigade's air base in southern Chile, March 27, 2014.
Chilean Air Force Capt. Javier Salinas, left, Commandos, 6th Squadron, 4th Aviation Brigade, Chilean Air Force, briefs U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Brian Newby, Chief of Staff and Vice Commander, Texas Air National Guard, and Command Chief Master Sgt. Oscar Tey, Senior Enlisted Leader, Texas Joint Domestic Operations Command, on the capabilities of his unit at the brigade's air base in southern Chile, March 27, 2014. The visit was part of the Annual State Partnership Program Planning Meeting, there the leaders discussed, planned and agreed on the security cooperation events that the two organizations will conduct in the next two years. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Malcolm McClendon).

Story by Sgt. 1st Class Malcolm McClendon

 

 SANTIAGO, Chile – Senior leaders of the Texas National Guard and the Chilean Armed Forces met for the Annual State  Partnership Program Planning Meeting in Santiago, Chile, March 26, 2014. There the leaders discussed, planned and  agreed on the security cooperation events that the two organizations will conduct in the next two years.

 The partnership between Texas and Chile is part of the State Partnership Program, or SPP, run by the National Guard  Bureau. It allows State National Guards to partner with nations around the world to strengthen relationships and i  interoperability, enhance military capabilities, and increase cultural awareness and professional skills among U.S. military  personnel and their counterparts.

 According to Brig. Gen. Patrick Hamilton, commander of the Joint Texas Domestic Operations Command, an informal  relationship with Chile started before the two were formally announced as partners, back when a former Texas Adjutant  General and the current Chilean President attended school together.

 “Maj. Gen. [Ret.] Charles Rodriguez went to the Inter-American Defense University with Michelle Bachelet,” Hamilton said.  “There they became friends; he became the Adjutant General of Texas and she became the President of Chile. So we  reached out to Chile to see if they’d be interested in forming State Partnership with us, they were very interested and so we  formally requested the partnership.”

 The TXNG and Chile have been partnered since 2008 and have conducted close to 80 exchanges, some of which include  airborne operations, artillery fire, C-130 and F-16 maintenance and flight maneuvers, special forces exchanges, combat  casualty care practices, homeland response capabilities and even environmentally responsible practices. 

 According to Hamilton the partnership is a success due a similar partnership with another nation the TXNG has had since  the early ‘90s. 

 “The SPP was started at the end of the Cold War with the intent to bring former Warsaw Pact nations into NATO. Those  showing a desire reached out; and in our case Czech Republic did and Texas was assigned to it,” Hamilton said. “Texas was one of the first states to be part of the SPP and we have become very effective since; therefore there were no growing pains with the Chilean partnership.”

Hamilton is optimistic about where the partnership is going and how the TXNG and Chile can help each other grow and participate in larger exchanges. 

“Because our relationship is as mature as it is and the Chileans are as advanced as they are, U.S. Southern Command has asked us to begin helping Chile pursue leadership roles within the region and in exercises with U.S. Army South and other countries,” Hamilton said. “They’ve done that and we want to continue supporting them in those roles.”

Col. Tim Hodge, Chief of Security Cooperation Division at U.S. Army South attended the meeting as an observer to see how the relationship and future subject matter expert exchanges can help his command achieve similar goals with the South American nation. Hodge believes the TXNG is a key partner not only with Chile, but with U.S. Army South as well.

“U.S. Army South has worked with the TXNG ever since we moved to San Antonio, over eight years ago,” Hodge said. “Throughout the years, Texas has helped us not only with Chile, but with other partner nations throughout our area of responsibility. Texas is our partner-of-choice whenever it comes to fielding engagements like this.”

Hodges also believes these exchanges are key for the future of both countries’ militaries.

“When a young sergeant or young captain comes to these exchanges they not only meet their counterparts and exchange technical knowledge, they develop friendships as well,” Hodges added. “As they both rise through the ranks as senior enlisted and officers and they now have someone they can reach out to when needed and keep the relationships going.”

Chilean Navy Captain Francisco Abrego, North America and Asian Pacific Area Section Chief, International Operations Directorate for the Chilean Armed Forces Joint Staff and SPP coordinator for the Chileans, believes the face-to-face interaction the exchanges bring to the Texan/Chilean partnership is important.

“The network created by these exchanges is valuable, because now you know a face on the other side,” Abrego said. “It’s not just a phone number and a name, it’s a friend and that makes things go smoother and faster.”

This year’s meeting included a visit to Chilean Army, Navy and Air Force bases located in the southern part of the country. There, Chilean component commanders briefed the TXNG delegation on their respective capabilities and structure.

“We visited the different organizations and this gave us insight into how they work,” Hamilton said. “This helps us understand how we can better support each other in these exchanges.” 

According to the ASPPPM delegation new opportunities did come to mind.

“We noticed through these visits there were some exchanges we can absolutely do that we didn’t plan for; some dealing with flood response,” Hamilton added. “Chile has plans in place to deal with tsunamis. And even though we don’t deal with tsunami type floods, we still have flooding due to storm surges or hurricanes, so we’re going to plan exchanges to share our procedures and experiences, so that we can both be better prepared.”

This years’ meeting wrapped up with both countries signing an agreement with more than 40 exchanges planned for fiscal years 2014 and 2015.

“We have come away from this meeting with a robust plan in place for both countries.” Abrego said. “The Texan culture is just like the Chilean culture, which is why it’s so easy to work with them; and because of that, our partnership grows stronger every year. We look forward to continue working with Texas for many years to come.”

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 1:24:00 PM Categories: Texas Army National Guard

The Texas State Guard has partnered with the Professional Volunteer Service Award 

The Texas State Guard has partnered with the Professional Volunteer Service Award to provide Guardsman with recognition for their hours of volunteer service. All TXSG personnel are encouraged to sign up and track their hours on the PVSA website as their hours are incurred. Annually, hours will be reviewed and service acknowledgment will be received by qualified personnel.

Log on to the Personnel Area of the TXSG website for more specific instructions on how to get started today.

Jamey Guarascio-Cosper
1st LT, HQ PAO

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 1:49:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard

Camp Mabry teams up with Austin Police Department to train for active shooter events 

Camp Mabry security officer Gilbert Gonzalez, and members of the Austin Police Department's Counter Assualt Strike Team (CAST), secure work spaces during an active shooter training scenario at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, March 19, 2014.
Camp Mabry security officer Gilbert Gonzalez, and members of the Austin Police Department's Counter Assault Strike Team (CAST), secure work spaces during an active shooter training scenario at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, March 19, 2014. Base security officers and employees trained with the Austin Police Department to rehearse active shooter scenarios to better prepare for such an event. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Malcolm McClendon)

 Story by Sgt. 1st Class Malcolm McClendon

 
 

 CAMP MABRY, Texas – As the sound of blanks fired in the hallway, personnel ran out, jumped through windows or sought  cover from the active shooter coming through their workspace. Fortunately, this was only a training exercise held at Camp  Mabry in Austin, Texas, March 19, 2014.

 The training scenario was designed to help Camp Mabry’s security department better coordinate with the Austin Police  Department’s Counter Assault Strike Team (CAST), as well as prepare the base’s employees should anything like this ever  occur. 

 Sandi Valdespino, a civilian case manager with the Texas Medical Command, felt this was a great exercise not only to  prepare the personnel here, but also to make them aware of the realistic threat.

 “People always down play things like this, especially since we’re on a base working side by side with military members,”  Valdespino said. “It’s important for us to know what to do. The knowledge gained here will empower them greatly.”

 Valdespino also shared how a fellow employee took the training seriously and physically put planned escape measures to  the test.

 “When the exercise started, we all ran into my office and closed the door as previously planned,” Valdespino continued. “Right then, Sgt. Ahmad Ofogh began to actually drag a large filing cabinet to block the door. He said he wanted to see if he could actually physically do it if the time came.”

The exercise put Camp Mabry’s security officers to the test as well; they are the first response for any type of emergency on the installation. Officer Ian McPherson, day shift supervisor, knows training like this is crucial for his team.

“The realism of the training helped us identify our strengths and weaknesses,” McPherson said. “We know it’s just pretend, but it got our blood pumping and adrenaline up. Working with CAST added another level of reality, which also allowed us to have an outside organization critique our tactics so that we can either better them or reinforce what we were doing well.”

By days end, Austin Police Department’s CAST and Camp Mabry security officers and employees went through seven scenarios, each time discovering new ways to react to an active shooter event. Spc. Danielle Schrag, a case manager with Texas Medical Command, describes the value this has for everyone involved.

“To see the CAST and our security officers go through these scenarios together is comforting,” Schrag said. “It not only gives me confidence in their abilities to respond to an active shooter, but makes us, the employees, aware of something like this happening; and therefore better respond and help ourselves till they arrive.”

 
Thursday, March 20, 2014 1:26:00 PM Categories: Texas Army National Guard

Texas State Guard Medical Brigade Assists Texans in Hour of Need 

Texas State Guard Medical Brigade Assists Texans in Hour of Need

By Brig. Gen. David Cohen

Sgt. William Alford, Tyler Medical Response Group, Texas State Guard assists with the flow of patients during Operation Lone Star 2013 in Brownsville, TX. Operation Lone Star serves as the only access to medical care that residents of the South Texas Border Region have to medical care or doctors. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spec. Aaron Moreno.)
Sgt. William Alford, Tyler Medical Response Group, Texas State Guard assists with the flow of patients during Operation Lone Star 2013 in Brownsville, TX. Operation Lone Star serves as the only access to medical care that residents of the South Texas Border Region have to medical care or doctors. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spec. Aaron Moreno.)

The Medical Brigade of the Texas State Guard is an important medical reserve that the Governor of Texas can draw upon in response to disasters in Texas. As part of the Texas Military Forces, the Medical Brigade, along with the rest of the Texas State Guard, and the Army and Air National Guards, is ready to respond when Texans are in need.

Brig. Gen. David J. Cohen, M.D., M.P.A. is the new commanding officer of the Texas Medical Brigade. He was appointed to the position and also promoted to brigadier general in the Texas State Guard recently.

Brig. Gen. Cohen is a cardiothoracic surgeon, Adjunct Professor of Surgery at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and a member of the Bexar County Medical Society.

“We train to respond, and we do respond quickly,” said Brig. Gen. Cohen. “We can put State Guardsmen in the field faster than the National Guard can move and thus help Texans more quickly.”

The mission of the Texas State Guard (TXSG) is to provide mission-ready military forces to assist state and local authorities in times of state emergencies; to conduct homeland security and community service activities under the umbrella of Defense Support to Civil Authorities; and to augment the Texas Army National Guard and Texas Air National Guard as required.

In the last few years the Medical Brigade of the TXSG has provided clinics at disaster shelters during and after hurricanes. These included the devastating hurricanes of Katrina, Rita, and Ike, as well as others. “During these and other hurricanes, the Medical Brigade manned medical clinics at some of the evacuation sites, or provided shelter management or public health services,” said Brig. Gen. Cohen.

The Medical Brigade and the TXSG are not a part of the United States Armed Forces and cannot be activated by the President for federal duty or for duty outside of the United States. As part of the Texas Military Forces it serves only in Texas, or rarely in neighboring states. The Commander in Chief is Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas.

“The Medical Brigade is very active in the area of community service to Texans,” said Brig. Gen. Cohen. “Each summer the Medical Brigade is very active in Operation Lone Star in the Rio Grande Valley. We helped staff five free clinics this summer and in 2013 over a one week period provided over 42,000 services to over 9,000 people.” Services at Operation Lone Star included primary medical care, dental care, and even free eye examinations and glasses.
“The Medical Brigade of the Texas State Guard is very active in the community, even when there are not disasters,” said Brig. Gen. Cohen. “We think of ourselves as Texans Helping Texans.”

Other recent community service events have included staffing first aid sites for the 13,000 bicycle riders of the annual Multiple Sclerosis150 mile Houston to Austin bicycle ride, and supplementing University of Texas Medical Branch emergency providers at the Wings over Houston Air Show.

Texas State Guard personnel actively support the state in the event of catastrophic events, and ongoing state military missions. Members receive duty pay [currently $121 daily, regardless of rank] when activated by the Governor and placed on paid state active duty for a limited number of mandatory training days. Certain expenses may be paid in case the guardsman is called to state active duty for disaster response -- for example -- car mileage, housing, and meals costs.

The Texas State Guard consists of six Civil Affairs Regiments, two Air Wings, the Medical Brigade and a Maritime Regiment. Members' entry rank depends on prior

Getting shots is part of the care provided at Operation Lone Star, a joint civilian and military operation each summer in South Texas. Personnel of the Medical Brigade of the Texas State Guard contribute significantly to mission success. (Photo by Texas Air Guard Senior Master Sgt. Michael Arellano.)
Getting shots is part of the care provided at Operation Lone Star, a joint civilian and military operation each summer in South Texas. Personnel of the Medical Brigade of the Texas State Guard contribute significantly to mission success. (Photo by Texas Air Guard Senior Master Sgt. Michael Arellano.)

federal military service and/or civilian education. Individuals with no prior military service or ROTC training must attend the Basic Orientation Training (BOT) course. Currently, BOT lasts one or two weekends, depending upon how it is structured. Licensed medical personnel typically serve as officers, often entering with advanced rank. Personnel must be between ages 17 and 70 or when joining, but may continue to serve after age 70, depending upon health and needs of the Guard.

The organizational structure follows the federal military component structure, with comparable positions, ranks, protocols, and authorities. TXSG personnel are eligible for the same State issued military awards and decorations as members of the Texas Army and Air National Guard.

The Texas military uniform worn by most of the Texas State Guard is similar to US Army's Army Combat Uniform military uniform but with Texas markings; the Maritime Regiment's uniform is similar to the Marine's MARPAT Digital Desert uniform. Air units wear a Texas variation of the U.S. Air Force uniform.

The TXSG is headquartered at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas. It functions under the authority of Title 32 of the U.S. Code and Chapter 431 of the Texas Government Code.

The Chief Military Officer is Major General John F. Nichols, the Texas Adjutant General.

Personnel living in and near Bexar County who want more information about joining the Alamo Group of the Texas Medical Brigade can send an email to the commanding officer COL (TX) James Gardon, at email james.gardon@txsg.state.tx.us

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 1:50:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard

Responding to the need for blood donations 

By LTC Cendy Antley

Photo of blood donation by SGT Angela SargentROUND ROCK, Texas – Responding to the need for blood donations for the victims of the recent SXSW tragedy, members of the Texas State Guard, 2nd Regiment answered the call.  On Friday, March 14, 2014 three members including SGT Angela Sargent (shown) and SSG Kevin Faure donated blood prior to their monthly drill.

The lobby in the Blood Center of Central Texas was filled when the soldiers arrived which staff stated was unusual except when events like this occur.  When asked why she felt compelled to donate, SGT Sargent responded, “The events that happened downtown caused a depletion in blood supply.  When I saw the request for more donations, I knew I had to help.”  This is just one example of the overwhelming spirit of State Guardsmen who are always willing to help a fellow Texan….or someone just visiting.

Friday, March 14, 2014 1:52:00 PM

Texas Homeland Response Force welcomes visitors to certification training exercise 

Soldiers from the Texas Military Forces' Homeland Response Force (HRF) treat a "casualty" during the HRF certification exercise at Camp Gruber, near Muskogee, Okla., March 5, 2014.
Soldiers from the Texas Military Forces' Homeland Response Force (HRF) treat a "casualty" during the HRF certification exercise at Camp Gruber, near Muskogee, Okla., March 5, 2014. More than 800 service members came together to train on disaster preparedness and emergency management during the exercise. Emergency management leadership from nine different states attended the exercise to observe the training. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Capt. Martha Nigrelle)

Texas Homeland Response Force welcomes visitors to certification training exercise

Story by Capt. Martha Nigrelle
 

 CAMP GRUBER, Okla. - Emergency management leadership from nine different states attended the Texas Military Forces  Homeland Response Force training exercise to observe disaster preparedness certification training at Camp Gruber, near  Muskogee, Okla., March 5, 2014.

 Civilian and military visitors ranged from various fire departments and the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality, or  TCEQ, critical infrastructure director to Maj. Gen. Myles Deering, the adjutant general – Oklahoma.

 Joint Task Force 136 Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Texas Military Forces' Homeland Response Force, or HRF, is  conducting a weeklong exercise involving approximately 800 service members rehearsing their response to large-scale  disasters.

 “This is the reason the National Guard is such a great tool,” said Col. Patrick Hamilton, Domestic Operations Commander,  Texas Military Forces. He explained that the HRF often conducts training with other civilian agency first responders.  Hamilton further described how the National Guard provides first responders with additional resources to assist with crisis  management.

 As guests were led through the training area they witnessed soldiers and airmen dressed in chemical suits “responding” to  a large-scale chemical attack. “Casualties,” in the exercise, were evacuated with precaution as service members ensured  the chemical threat was contained.

The scenario involved two large chemical attacks and a broken water main, said Col. Lee Schnell, Joint Task Force 136 Maneuver Enhancement Brigade commander, Texas Military Forces. Service members trained to assist first responders in casualty evacuation, triage, and search and rescue in a contaminated environment.

Even with snow covering the ground, and temperatures hovering around freezing, the service men and women seemed to maneuver easily through the makeshift village in their chemical suits to render aid. 

TCEQ, imbedded several hazardous material specialists into the training to work along side the HRF said TCEQ’s Critical Infrastructure Director Kelly Cook. 

“The HRF is a force multiplier,” said Cook. “We do a lot of the same things, but Texas is a big state and they provide much needed support for large disasters.”

There are 10 HRFs in the U.S. and each one has to certify every 24 months, said Schnell. Leadership from six different states came out to observe this exercise in order to assist with their own unit operations.

The training is a certification exercise for the HRF, but it is also preparation for the next time Texas, or any other state’s emergency response force may need their help.

“I came here today to check on the Texas Military Forces and show my support for the HRF concept,” said Cook, also explaining that this HRF falls under Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, Region 6. “The great Region 6 HRF, we love working with these guys.”

FEMA Region 6 states include Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.

Friday, March 7, 2014 1:30:00 PM Categories: Texas Air National Guard