Posts From March, 2016

The long, proud history of the Texas State Guard

 we are “Texans serving Texas.”
Photo provided by Beaumont Enterprise

Commentary by: Staff Sgt. John Gately

From the volunteer units who fought for Texas Independence and the Travis Guards who provided home protection and campaigns against the Indians for the citizens of Texas in the newly formed Texas Republic, to the civil affairs work that we do today, the Texas State Guard has a long and proud history of serving the citizens of Texas; we are “Texans serving Texas.”

The Texas State Guard was founded in 1871. However, federal authorization for state guards did not come until World War II.  In October 1950, as the National Guard was mobilized to assist in the war effort, states were authorized to organize forces to work in the state while the National Guard was active with federal service.  In accordance with the “State Guard Amendment” of the National Defense Act authorized by Congress, Oct. 21,  1940, the Texas Legislature signed into law the Texas Defense Guard Act (H.B. #45),Feb. 10, 1941. The Texas Defense Guard was formed and had 17,497 members sign up, in contrast to the 11,633 who joined the National Guard around the same time period.

Like today, the volunteers had to provide their own uniforms. They were given rifles by the War Department, but those were returned less than a year later due to army shortages. They were also given a small amount of money for munitions and supplies and looked to civic clubs and sponsorships to provide financial support for other necessary items.

The Texas Defense Guard became the Texas State Guard, May 12, 1943, and the current shoulder patch was approved the following July..

The State Guard was activated only one month later, during the Beaumont Riot, June 1943. Following the rioting, assaults and property destruction, Beaumont Mayor George Gary mobilized the Texas State Guard’s 18th Battalion and acting Texas Governor A. M. Aiken, Jr, instituted martial law. State Police, Texas Rangers and 1,800 State guardsmen arrived in Beaumont to handle the situation.

Although interest decreased after the end of World War II, a disaster on April 16, 1947 created another tour of duty for the State Guard. Guardsman were called into action when martial law was declared due to a fire aboard a French freighter, Grandcamp, at port in Texas City.  Carrying ammonium nitrate and other explosive materials, the fire caused an explosion that destroyed much of the city, and as nearby chemical plants exploded, fire spread  throughout the area. The next day another freighter, High Flyer, also carrying nitrates, exploded causing new explosions and fires. In total more than 600 people were killed and another 3,000 were wounded. The State Guard stepped in and provided much needed support to local law enforcement and triage to the wounded

On Aug. 28, 1947, the Texas State Guard disbanded, colors cased, and its members were placed on an inactive list.  Even though the federal legislation authorizing the Texas State Guard had expired, the Texas State Legislature authorized the activation of the Texas State Guard Reserve Corps in January 1948. In 1955, federal legislators also reauthorized state guards, and in 1965, the Texas State Guard took the place of the Texas State Guard Reserve Corp. 

At one time, the State Guard included the First Naval Battalion with Sterling Hogan and his 60-foot yacht, the Sumoria, being the first vessel. That yacht and the retired U.S.S. Texas were used for training purposes.

In the early 1970s, the Texas State Guard were used as infantry and security units.  The State Guard had six Military Police Groups that followed closely with the boundaries of the Texas Department of Public Safety command districts, being located in Fort Worth, Houston, Rio Grande Valley, Midland, Lubbock and Austin.  In 1979, a 7th military police group was formed for east Texas, and in 1980, groups were formed in San Antonio and Dallas.

In 1993, the groups were changed into regiments located in San Antonio, Austin, Fort Worth, Houston, Dallas and Lubbock. These regiments had new colors and distinctive unit insignia.  In 1995, a 7th regiment was formed in El Paso from the 39th Unit in Lubbock. However, this unit was returned to the 39th in 1999.

On July 1, 1993, the Texas State Guard was designated into six regiments:

The 1st Regiment, the Alamo Guards, began their formation in 1885 as part of the Texas Volunteer Guard, and has the motto “Fidelis et constans” which means faithful and constant. 

The 2nd Regiment, the Austin Greys, started in 1860 as Co A of the 2nd Regiment, Infantry, Texas Volunteer Guard. Their motto is “Opus Perficere,” which means work to achieve.

The 4th Regiment, the Panther City Fencibles, began in 1883 as descendants of the Loyd Rifles and the Fort Worth Fencibles. Their motto is “Sempre Caveo,” or always be aware.

The 8th Cavalry Regiment, Terry’s Texas Rangers, began in 1861 as part of the Confederate States of America Army. Their motto is “In Ardius Fidelis,” meaning faithful in hardship.

The 19th Cavalry Regiment, Parson’s Brigade, also began as part of the Confederate States of America, in 1862, and was formed by Col. Nathanial M. Burford from Dallas. During the reorganization in 1993, parts of the 7th & 9th Military Police Groups formed the 19th Regiment. Their motto is “Parson’s Brigade” in memory of former units

The 39Th Regiment, the Roughnecks, was composed of members of the former 9th regiment (the Buffalo Soldiers which began in 1871) and the 5th Military Police group, Texas State Guard. Their motto is “Semper Defenders” meaning always to defend

The State Guard started to grow and it became clear there should be other types of services.  As a result, in 1996, the 4th Air Wing was created, and in November 2003, the Medical Brigade formed.  The Air Division and 5th Air Wings were established in October 2006, along with the Maritime Regiment in November of that same year.

The Texas State Guard continues to provide Texas with support in state missions, from hurricanes to border security. No matter what the needs of Texas are, the Texas State Guard continues to stand ready to serve; they are “Texans Serving Texas.”

Candidates learn to take charge of their future

Candidates learn to take charge of their future

Story by: Pvt. Kourtney Grimes

Posted On: March 8, 2016

Members of Warrant Officer Candidate School Course 16-01 host a car wash at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, March 5, 2016, to raise funds for their graduation ceremony. The candidates are in Phase II of the three-part course that will turn them into technical experts in their fields within the United States Army. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Pvt. Kourtney Grimes/Released)
Members of Warrant Officer Candidate School Course 16-01 host a car wash at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, March 5, 2016, to raise funds for their graduation ceremony. The candidates are in Phase II of the three-part course that will turn them into technical experts in their fields within the United States Army. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Pvt. Kourtney Grimes/Released)

Candidates of the Texas Army National Guard’s Warrant Officer Candidate School organized a car wash to raise funds for their graduation ceremony at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, March 5, 2016. This event is one of several tasks that the candidates will execute without guidance or direction throughout their course.

“This project is entirely led by candidates,” said Warrant Officer Candidate Travis Chappell, a unit supply specialist in the Army Reserves. “We write the operational order, figure out what supplies we need, figure out the route, locate the facility we are going to use, and we do all of it to bring this big project together with a group of individuals that were strangers four or five months ago.”

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Patricia Crawson, a WOCS instructor, provides the candidates with the mission goal and they tackle the objective as a team.

“We provide [candidates] with the training schedule,” said Crawson, “but they get themselves up in the morning, clean the barracks, and conduct physical readiness training. They are ultimately responsible for being in the right place at the right time. That’s how we evaluate the various leadership positions.”

The WOCS program is broken up into three phases: online training courses, the classroom warrant officer candidate course, and a two-week resident phase in Alabama.

“In the first phase, candidates complete two online classes,” said Candidate Erikia Dunn. “In the second phase, they attend five multiple unit training weekend assemblies and get a feel for what the school is actually like. Phase three is a two-week course at Fort McClellan that includes an academic exam, land navigation, and a week in the field doing situational training exercise lanes.”

With only mission requirements provided, the candidates must reevaluate their accustomed leadership roles as they improvise solutions and demonstrate their creativity.

“You have to transition from an NCO mindset to an officer mindset,” said Dunn. “As an NCO we are the ‘do-ers’ of the task, but as an officer we are the planner of the task.”

In addition to the physical and logistical training, candidates must reconcile the crucial differences between the mentality of a non-commissioned officer and a warrant officer.

Chief Warrant Officer 5 Ernest Metcalf, Command Chief Warrant Officer for the Texas Army National Guard, maintains regular contact with both his instructors and the students, ensuring their development is in keeping with the standards of the Warrant Officer Corps.

“It takes some perseverance to complete any officer candidate school,” said Metcalf. “On a monthly basis I meet with all of the candidates to motivate them to persevere through all of the mental and physical challenges they may face within the warrant officer candidate school.”

After months of intensive training, physical rigors, and intellectual challenges, successful candidates graduate and become the technical and tactical experts of the United States Army.

“You have to be serious about being a warrant officer because this class is not a walk in the park,” said Dunn. “It will challenge you as a person, it will challenge you as a leader and it will challenge you in every aspect of your life.”

Texas airmen and soldiers train together in a simulated deployed environment

Texas airmen and soldiers train together in a simulated deployed environment

Posted On: March 8, 2016

Tactical air control party airmen assigned to the 147th Air Support Operations Squadron, 147th Reconnaissance Wing based at Ellington Field in Houston, work closely with soldiers from the Texas Army National Guard's 197th Special Troops Support Company March 5, 2016 at Camp Swift near Bastrop, Texas. The Air Guardsmen performed close air support and an assault with the soldiers and Army aviators to locate a high value target in a simulated combat environment. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Chasity Lollis/Released)
Photo by Senior Airman Chasity Lollis
Tactical air control party airmen assigned to the 147th Air Support Operations Squadron, 147th Reconnaissance Wing based at Ellington Field in Houston, work closely with soldiers from the Texas Army National Guard's 197th Special Troops Support Company March 5, 2016 at Camp Swift near Bastrop, Texas. The Air Guardsmen performed close air support and an assault with the soldiers and Army aviators to locate a high value target in a simulated combat environment. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Chasity Lollis/Released)

 

Multi-state Air National Guardsmen attend Contemporary Base Issue course in Oregon

Multi-state Air National Guardsmen attend Contemporary Base Issue course in Oregon

Story by: 1st Lt. Chelsi Spence

Posted on: March 8 2016

Master Sgt. Shelly Davison Major Gen. Brian C. Newby, Air National Guard assistant to the Judge Advocate General, addresses members of the Air National Guard during a two-day Contemporary Base Issues (CBI) course held at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas, Ore., Feb. 19-20, 2016. The CBI course is taught by Air National Guard Judge Advocate Generals and the primary goal is to allow commanders and supervisors to work together as a team to identify, analyze and resolve contemporary problems leaders face. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Shelly Davison, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)
Master Sgt. Shelly Davison
Major Gen. Brian C. Newby, Air National Guard assistant to the Judge Advocate General, addresses members of the Air National Guard during a two-day Contemporary Base Issues (CBI) course held at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas, Ore., Feb. 19-20, 2016. The CBI course is taught by Air National Guard Judge Advocate Generals and the primary goal is to allow commanders and supervisors to work together as a team to identify, analyze and resolve contemporary problems leaders face. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Shelly Davison, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

CLACKAMAS, Ore. - The 142nd Fighter Wing hosted over 200 Air National Guardsmen from around the country in a two-day Contemporary Base Issues course held at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas, Oregon, Feb. 19-20, 2016.

The Contemporary Base Issues (CBI) course is put on by Air National Guard Judge Advocate Generals (JAG). The primary goal of the CBI course is to allow commanders and supervisors to work together as a team to identify, analyze and resolve contemporary problems leaders face.

“The most important aspect of the course is that it allows commanders and supervisors an opportunity to spot legal issues and recognizing the steps to resolve it,” said Maj. Gen. Brian C. Newby, Air National Guard assistant to the Judge Advocate General.

The course covered an array of topics discussed via lecture and student interaction, to include standards on- and off-duty, progressive discipline and administrative discharges, unprofessional relationships, and ethics in the military.

The course kicked off with an hour-long presentation about understanding that duty status matters. The National Guard is the only United States military force that operates across both State and Federal responses, leveraging State Active Duty under state law, inactive duty training or full-time National Guard duty under Title 32 U.S.C and active federal service under Title 10 U.S.C

According to the Air National Guard Commander’s Legal Deskbook, one of the most important issues in determining the power of the Commander to command the members of a National Guard Unit is a determination of the status of its members. 

The status of National Guard members determines jurisdiction for administrative and criminal matters as well as medical benefits in the event of injury or liability in the event of the loss of government property.

“What’s unique in the Air National Guard is its members are always in different statuses, like civilian, part-time, and full-time,” said Col. Jim Demarest, staff judge advocate, Florida Air National Guard. “Commanders and supervisors need to understand how the status directly affects the rights and obligations of our citizen-Airmen.”

On the final day, the course focused on a larger Air Force topic, sexual assault. Since fiscal year 2010, the Air Force has experienced a steady increase in the number of reports, both restricted and unrestricted according to the United States Air Force Report on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response to the President of the United States.

During the briefing, Lt. Col. Beverly G. Schneider, administrative law attorney with the National Guard, focused on the several ways commanders and supervisors can approach sexual assault within their unit and provided information on how to assist the victims of sexual assault.

According to the National Guard Bureau Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Progress Report to the President, the National Guard currently has 383 Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) personnel and 3,439 victim advocates fully certified and trained to assist victims and ensure victims of sexual assault receive appropriate and responsive care. 

“The most important thing you can take away from this is to use your roundtable of the JAG, SARC and psychological health for assistance with this issue,” said Schneider.

In his opening remarks, Newby stated that incidents of sexual assault are a real and recognized problem in the military. Sexual assault is detrimental to morale, destroy unit cohesion and damage the military as a whole.

“We want the focus of the Air National Guard and the military to be a positive one,” said Newby. “We need to change our focus, change our training, and change the lens we look through to succeed.”

The CBI course is one way that commanders and supervisors can start to change their focus, change their training, and change their lens. 

The course wrapped up with a CBI Jeopardy game, where all participants got to apply the knowledge they learned throughout the course. Following the course, Air National Guard leaders will return back to their unit with more knowledge to ensure good order and discipline. 

“The CBI course continues to receive outstanding support from high-level Air National Guard leadership and because of this support, we can bring this course to thousands of Guardsmen,” said Newby.

Training to Serve Texans on the Homefront

Training to Serve Texans on the Homefront

Story by:  Chief Warrant Officer 2 Janet Schmelzer, ACC, PAO

Posted:  March 8, 2016

ground search
19th Regiment soldiers work alongside Lone Star Search and Rescue during ground search and rescue training at Hunewell Ranch, just north of Stephenville, Texas, January 23, 2016.  (Photo by Capt. Esperanza Meza, PAO, 19th Regiment/Released)

STEPHENVILLE, Texas - Over 300 Texas State Guard soldiers from 3 regiments conducted a combined joint task force training in the largest disaster exercise of the Army Component Command in Stephenville and Erath County, Texas, January 21-24, 2016.

The 2nd, 4th, and 19th regiments, Army Component Command, 3rd Battalion Texas Medical Brigade, and 3rd Battalion Texas Maritime Regiment, Texas State Guard (TXSG) partnered with Tarleton State University, the Erath County Emergency Management and the American Red Cross to train for any natural or man-made disaster that might occur in Erath County, Texas.

At this annual training the mock disaster event was a hurricane that spawned deadly tornadoes and caused widespread residential damage in Erath County.  Every

part of the training exercise mimicked, as realistically as possible, the movement, tasks, and duties of guardsmen that could occur during a real world disaster in Texas. 

“This mission rehearsal demonstrates our soldiers' abilities to support local emergency operations, run by local officials, during a natural or manmade disaster,” said Brig. Gen. Howard N. Palmer, Jr., Commander of the Army Component Command, TXSG.  “We are trained to provide skills such as mass care sheltering, emergency communications, ground search and recovery, distribution of food and water and staffing support to disaster district committees.” 

Following standard procedure, the soldiers began annual training by reporting to their battalions' home armories in North and Central Texas.  When the Army Component Command received the mission to deploy to Stephenville and Erath County, regiments moved to the check-in location at the National Guard Armory in Stephenville, January 22, 2016.

Each regiment used the check in as a training opportunity on how to use the Emergency Tracking Network (ETN) by checking in a fellow regiment.  In addition, soldiers also trained on ETN evacuation bus training.  These skills are important during an emergency to keep track of evacuees who travel on evacuation buses or check into a shelter. 

Mass care shelter management is another

important skill that the Texas State Guard can provide during an emergency or disaster.  Each regiment set up shelters in local schools and churches in Erath county as part of annual training.  Shelters offer residents a safe location where families can sleep, eat, and receive medical attention. 

Col. Kris Krueger, Operations Officer, Army Component Command, TXSG, sees shelter management as an essential skill for the TXSG.  "The TXSG can help residents and families during an emergency by providing shelters where basic needs can be met.  Our shelters will also help families to stay together in one location which is very comforting to Texans displaced from their homes during an emergency."

Soldiers also trained on the proper procedures to distribute food, water and other necessities during the mock disaster.  They set up points of distribution, or drive-through locations, where residents can receive with such items as food and water.  

The TXSG also trained on ground search and rescue. At Hunewell Ranch, just north of Stephenville, six-person teams, one from each regiment, learned how to find missing persons using line searches and search dogs from Lone Star Search and Rescue from Wylie, Texas, in heavily wooded areas of mesquite and fields of tall grass, weeds, and cacti.   

"Training in multiple skills assures that the TXSG is ready to deploy anywhere in the state when called upon during an emergency or disaster.  We are 'Texans Serving Texas,'" commented Command Sgt. Maj. Lloyd Schook, Senior Enlisted Advisor, Army Component Command, TXSG.

Emergency Tracking
Pfc. Caroline Bento places a wristband on Pfc. Matthew Bach, 3rd Battalion, 4th Regiment, as part of the Emergency Tracking Network training in Erath County, Texas, January 22, 2016.  (Photo by Sgt. Larry Smith, 4th Regiment/Released)
Shelter Management
Soldiers from the 2nd Regiment review shelter management operations during annual training in Erath County, Texas, January 23, 2016.  (Photo by Spc. Stefan Wray, 2nd Regiment/Released)

Texas State Guard 8th Regiment Partners with Local Emergency Agencies During 2016 Annual Training

Texas State Guard 8th Regiment Partners with Local Emergency Agencies During 2016 Annual Training

Story by: Warrant Officer Malana Nall, PAO, 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard

Posted:  March 3, 2016

HOUSTON - The 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard, partnered with the 447th Air Support Group, 5th Air Wing, Texas State Guard, the Galveston County (Tex.) Office of Emergency Management, the American Red Cross, and Texas Search and Rescue (TEXSAR) during annual training in Galveston, Texas, and at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Houston, Texas, February 25-28, 2016.  The Texas State Guard conducts annual training to provide soldiers with the skills necessary to assist Texans during an emergency or disaster.

ground search
Spcs. Craig Mathison and Justin Herder, 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard, use pen and paper to communicate with a mock injured and hearing impaired passenger of a simulated helicopter crash during a ground search and rescue exercise on Pelican Island, Texas, February 26, 2016.  The Texas State Guard trains to provide skills, such as ground search and rescue, to Texans during an emergency or disaster anywhere in the state.  (Photo by Warrant Officer Malana Nall, Texas State Guard/Released) 

The first exercise was a search and rescue after simulated helicopter crash with three people on board.  In coordination with Galveston County emergency management and TEXSAR, approximately 150 troops assembled on Pelican Island (Galveston County) to traverse 300 acres of chal-lenging terrain that included water, deep mud, and thickets as well as snakes and feral hogs.  

“This training is very important during an emergency or disaster when searching for and rescuing victims needs to be accomplished quickly, thoroughly, and efficiently,” stated Lt. Col. Gerry Levesque, Operations Officer, 8th Regiment.   

The troops conducted a grid search to locate the downed aircraft and passengers. Upon finding the crash site and rescuing the injured, they carried out a line search to find any debris from the crash.

“The members of the 8th Regiment demonstrated their versatility and competency as they worked through the different layers of the exercise,” observed Laura Norman, TEXSAR Gulf Coast Team Leader.  “The Texas State Guard is an incredible resource to the State of Texas and TEXSAR is honored to serve alongside these dedicated individuals.” 

The Texas State Guard is also trained to provide water, food, and other necessities to communities when a disaster, such as a hurricane, has occurred. 

water distribution
During a food and water distribution exercise, soldiers from the 1st and 3rd Battalions, 8th Regi-ment, Texas State Guard, hand out water to local residents of Galveston County during a mock disaster exercise at Spillway Park, Baycliff, Texas, February 27, 2017. The Texas State Guard is ready to provide skills such managing food and water distribution to Texans during an emergen-cy or disaster anywhere in the state.  (Photo by Warrant Officer Malana Nall, Texas State Guard/Released) 

On Galveston Island, 8th Regiment soldiers practiced this service by setting up two water distribution points.  They handed out bottles of water, donated by the local HEB food store, to Galveston residents, who volunteered to assist with the exercise. 

At Ellington Field soldiers trained on mass care shelter management, another important service

setting up cots
Staff Sgt. Gregory Burris, 447th Air Support Group, 5th Air Wing, Texas State Guard, trains 8th Regiment soldiers on how to set up and arrange cots during a mass care shelter management ex-ercise at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Houston, Texas, February 27, 2016.   The Texas State Guard is ready to provide assistance, such as shelter management, to Texans during an emergency or disaster anywhere in the state.  (Photo by Warrant Officer Malana Nall, Texas State Guard/Released) 

that the Texas State Guard provides during an emergency or disaster. Airmen from the 447th Air Support Group instructed the 8th Regiment on how to set up a shelter.  Simulating a shelter operation, soldiers set up an in processing section where guests register and receive information about the shelter, a dining section, guest sleeping quarters with cots, and a medical unit with an isolation area. 

Donald Sanford, American Red Cross representative, observed the shelter operations.  “I knew coming in that the Texas State Guard was well trained in the area of shelter management, and we at the Red Cross are extremely proud to work alongside with the Texas State Guard.  I know that no matter what the situation might be, the soldiers of the Texas State Guard have the training and talent to get the job done.” 

Col. Edwin A. “Buddy” Grantham, Commander, 8th Regiment, was pleased with the annual training.  “I am proud of the soldiers in my command. They each have individual skills and working together as a team with the skills practiced during the past few days will allow them to take care of each other and the people of Texas during an emergency or disaster. This training exemplifies our motto of ‘Texans Serving Texas.’”