Posts From April, 2014

Real World Training in Grapevine 

4th Regiment Soldiers Train in Disaster Rubble

Story by: CW2 Janet Schmelzer, 4th Regiment PAO

Posted: 26-APR-14

GRAPEVINE, TEXAS -- The 4th Regiment, Civil Affairs, Texas State Guard (TXSG) was in  Grapevine, Texas, Saturday, April 26, 2014 for life-saving skills training and a mock disaster exercise. Soldiers used life-saving skills to treat mock victims.

The exercise was designed to be as close to real world events as possible. There were four mock training areas: triage, first aid, search and assessment, and extraction. The soldiers had to triage mock victims.  Then they had to search and assess the disaster area, administer first aid, and extract victims from a mock collapsed building.  The soldiers had to prepare a victim for transport, and transport the patient from the danger zone to a safe zone.  Soldiers had to climb through collapsed walls, go through rubble (rocks, dirt, and boards), through narrow tunnels of rubble moving along on hands and knees, and work in small and confined spaces, all of which was designed to replicate a tornado strike. Soldiers had to remain aware of their surroundings and safely treat mock victims as they would in a real world emergency.

Working with the 4th Regiment were soldiers from the TXSG Dallas-Fort Worth Medical Response Group, Arlington firefighter and Texas Task Force One Team leader Billy Hirth, and  Grace Cares, a volunteer disaster relief organization.

Saturday, April 26, 2014 1:35:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard

American Heroes Open House and Air Show 

Commentary by: Michelle McBride

Open house and Air showThe Texas Military Forces would like to invite the community to enjoy a weekend of fun at Camp Mabry!

While Camp Mabry is always an open base, this weekend, April 26-27, we will host a free open house and air show that will demonstrate capabilities of the Texas Military Forces to include engineering, aviation, security, transportation, airfield operations, communications and logistics should the governor call on them for support.  Many of the agencies that the Texas Military Forces regularly partners with, like the Austin Police Department, will also be there to showcase some of their assets.The Texas Military Forces would like to invite the community to enjoy a weekend of fun at Camp Mabry!

Camp Mabry is proud to be a part of this community and would like to use this free event to thank Texans for their continued support as their loved ones, employees, friends, and residents have served at home and abroad.

The event will kick off on Saturday, April 26th at 8 a.m. and go through the weekend. Helicopters from both the military and civilian agencies will be showcased on both days, as well as, soldier training simulators.

Saturday will feature a Naturalization Ceremony for service members as they become American citizens; Jack Woodville London, nationally acclaimed author; the TXMF Parachute Demo team; the Austin Police Department K-9 Demo team; a World War II reenactment; and even  Texas Revolution and Civil War weapons demonstration.

Sunday will feature the Missing in America Project Memorial Service, a special tribute to service members who paid the ultimate sacrifice and whose remains were never claimed; the Cox Elementary Choir; Puerto Rican Folk Dancing; and another World War II reenactment.

Rain or shine, the 36th Infantry Division Band will be playing and there will be numerous activities for the kids along with many popular Austin food vendors.  It should be a great event!

We hope to see you there.

For more information and a detailed list of events please visit our webpage at www.txmf.us.

Friday, April 25, 2014 12:32:00 PM Categories: Blog

Texas 'Ready Brigade' to say farewell 

Mortarmen from the 36th Infantry Division fire a round during the Rapido River Crossing in the  Liri Valley of Italy during World War II, January 1944.
Mortarmen from the 36th Infantry Division fire a round during the Rapido River Crossing in the  Liri Valley of Italy during World War II, January 1944. The 36th lost 1,681 soldiers in combat during this crossing, with more than 1,200 others wounded. (Courtesy photo Texas Military Forces Museum)

  Story by Capt. Martha Nigrelle

 

 AUSTIN, Texas - They were in France during World War I, they were in Europe and in the Pacific during World War II, they  have been to Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan and they have served their fellow Texans during hurricanes, fires, and floods. They  are the 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team or “Ready Brigade,” and soon, they could be gone.

 The 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, part of the Texas Military Forces’ 36th Infantry Division, located in Houston, could  be deactivated as part of a National Guard Bureau reduction of force structure. 

 The brigade was first organized as part of the 36th Infantry Division upon America’s entry into World War I. After arriving in  France July of 1918, the brigade fought on the front lines during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive where they saw continuous  combat for 23 days straight, said Jeff Hunt, director of the Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas. 

 Many historians believe this victory led to the German defeat. German defeat, or not, the soldiers were commended for  bravery during the decisive battle.

“No braver men ever fought for liberty and right than those who so gloriously upheld the traditions of Texas and Oklahoma,” said, in 1918, Maj. Gen. William R. Smith, the then 36th Infantry Division commander, speaking of the men from both Texas and Oklahoma who fought with the 36th.

Although the headquarters was disbanded during World War II, the infantry regiments that fell under the 72nd Brigade were not, and deployed soldiers to both the Europe and Pacific theaters of operation. Again the soldiers from the brigade’s infantry regiments were recognized for bravery and valor – three of the unit’s soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor and 38 received the Distinguished Service Cross for their actions in combat, said Hunt.

The Brigade has been reorganized and re-designated several times in order to meet the needs of the state and nation. Yet over the years, the soldiers of the brigade have continued to respond to both federal and state calls to service. 

In recent years, the 72nd deployed overseas in support of both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. During their 2009 deployment to Iraq, the brigade’s approximately 2,800 troops were spread across the country in 11 different locations performing various force protection missions and working one-on-one with Iraqi troops to facilitate the transition of security to the Iraqi government. The unit was recognized for its work in Iraq with the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the only ribbon award granted by the Department of Defense, said Hunt.

At home the 72nd Brigade has also stayed active.

“We’re nicknamed ‘The Hurricane Brigade,’” said Col. Gregory Barrow, Commander, 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. “The brigade responds, on average, to a major tropical storm every other year.”

Being located in Houston makes the brigade the de facto headquarters for any Gulf Coast response missions that the Texas Army National Guard is asked to perform, explained Barrow.

In the last 10 years, the brigade mobilized more than 3,800 troops in response to every major hurricane in the southwestern region of the U.S. In 2005, the brigade sent more than 400 soldiers to support recovery operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and in 2008, they sent more than 1,000 in response to Hurricane Ike, said Barrow.

Besides hurricanes, the brigade has assisted civilian authorities during flood season, wildfires and recovery operations.

“We routinely provide high water mobility assets to the Trinity River Basin during the fall and winter rain season,” said Barrow. 

In 2003 the brigade mobilized approximately 800 soldiers to assist with Space Shuttle Columbia search and rescue operations, a recovery operation that covered more than 2,000 square miles after the space shuttle broke apart over Texas during its final descent to Earth.

Now the brigade’s service could be over. 

Due to the force structure drawdown proposed by the Department of the Army, the National Guard Bureau was directed to reduce their soldier strength by two brigade combat teams. Only two states in the nation have more than one brigade combat team – Pennsylvania and Texas. The proposal is to defund the brigade headquarters, explained a Texas Army National Guard representative. 

This would also impact all the subordinate units located throughout south Texas that fall under the 72nd Brigade headquarters. Based on further cuts, which have already been communicated to the states’ adjutant generals, this move could affect 2,400 Texas guardsmen over the next two years, said Lt. Col. Joanne MacGregor, the Texas Military Forces State public affairs officer.

Should the proposed force structure reduction be approved, the brigade would become a non-deployable unit without a federal mission and its subordinate units would no longer have a wartime higher headquarters. 

The proposed reductions also affect facilities funding said MacGregor. The proposal calls for a $1 billion cut to facilities funding across the country which will result in the closure of several National Guard facilities in southeast Texas. The equipment and service members currently located at these facilities would no longer be available to react to natural disasters, making a National Guard response to support this area much more difficult.

Some people believe these cuts are too hasty.

“Currently there is a bill in the House of Representatives, HR 3930, which calls for a commission to study the structure of the Army,” said MacGregor. “It would halt these changes until an independent commission can provide recommendation on the most cost effective way to restructure the Army and Air National Guard.”

This bill has a significant and bi-partisan following with more than 167 signatures on it so far, including more than half of the Texas delegation, according to Govtrack.us, a website that tracks congressional activity. Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee and Pete Olsen out of Houston are two of the many congressmen to sign this bill so far.

The important thing for the Texas Military Forces is ensuring they are able to continue defending the state and nation.

“We’ve got to find the best way to defend America,” said Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, the Texas adjutant general.

HR 3930 states that the purpose of establishing a national commission to study the structure of the Army is to do just that.

The bill and the proposed soldier strength reductions are both realities for the Texas Military Forces. Either solution will be a solution that the organization will have to adjust to and work with in order to continue doing their job.

“As the Texas Military Forces continue to work through this process, every member of the Texas National Guard will continue to do the outstanding work that has become the hallmark of our organization,” said Maj. Gen. Nichols, speaking about the impending changes to the 72nd. “Our citizen-soldiers remain committed to supporting the state of Texas any time they are called into service by Gov. Perry.”

Thursday, April 24, 2014 11:21:00 AM Categories: Texas Army National Guard

San Jacinto – Texans Defending Texas 

Commentary by: Michelle McBride

Texans Defending TexasFrom the official report of the April 21, 1836 Battle of San Jacinto, by General Sam Houston to D. G. Burnet, Provisional President of the Republic of Texas,  “The conflict lasted about eighteen minutes from the time of close action until we were in possession of the enemy’s encampment … In the battle, our loss was two killed and twenty-three wounded, six of them mortally.  The enemy’s loss was 630 killed, among whom was 1 general officer, 4 colonels, 2 lieutenant colonels, 5 captains, 12 lieutenants; wounded 208, of which were 5 colonels, 3 lieutenant-colonels, 2 second lieutenant-colonels, 7 captains, I cadet; prisoners 730-President General Santa Anna, Gen. Cos, 4 colonels, aides to Gen. Santa Anna, and the Colonel of the Guerrero Battalion, are included in the number … About 600 muskets, 300 sabres, and 200 pistols, have been collected since the action; several hundred mules and horses were taken, and near twelve thousand dollars in specie.” 

Texan soldiers fought side by side for their independence, outnumbered by their enemy, in the Battle of San Jacinto.  This battle was the final battle in the Texas Revolution, paving the way for Texas independence - it has been recorded as one of the most decisive battles in military history.

The soldiers that fought for Texas independence were not career soldiers, but rather citizen soldiers, who risked everything in service to Texas and their fellow Texans. Today our citizen soldiers of the Texas Military Forces continue to serve Texas and their fellow Texans, working hard to maintain the legacy that was started so many years ago.

“This battle shows that there is a long tradition of serving Texas in a military capacity,” said SSG Jennifer Atkinson, Texas Army National Guard, “and I am proud to continue that tradition.”

In celebration of the day, an annual re-enactment of The Battle of San Jacinto will take place Saturday, April 26, 2014 on the ground surrounding the San Jacinto Monument.  For more information on the event as well as the history behind it please visit

http://www.sanjacinto-museum.org/The_Battle/Our_Annual_Reenactment/.

Monday, April 21, 2014 12:34:00 PM Categories: Blog

The Gonzales Cup Competition Tests Soldiers 

19th Regiment Wins Cup Second Year In A Row

Story by: CPT Esperanza Meza, 19th Regiment PAO, and CW2 Janet Schmelzer, 4th Regiment PAO

19th Regiment Winning Team.  Photo taken by CPT Esperanza Meza.  Gonzalez Cup members and staff, 19th Regiment: (L-R) COL Robert Hastings, MSG Mark Sligar (coach), OC David Park, CPL Nick Sanders, 1SG Admir Pasalic (coach), SPC Christopher Parrish, CPL Brian Nail, (kneeling L-R), CPL Jonathan Kelley, PFC Jonathan Turner, SGT Sean Mounger, SGT Kenneth Clayton and not shown, communications NCO, SSG Donald Sheffield.
19th Regiment Winning Team. 
Photo taken by CPT Esperanza Meza.
Gonzalez Cup members and staff, 19th Regiment: (L-R) COL Robert Hastings, MSG Mark Sligar (coach), OC David Park, CPL Nick Sanders, 1SG Admir Pasalic (coach), SPC Christopher Parrish, CPL Brian Nail, (kneeling L-R), CPL Jonathan Kelley, PFC Jonathan Turner, SGT Sean Mounger, SGT Kenneth Clayton and not shown, communications NCO, SSG Donald Sheffield.

STEPHENVILLE, Texas--The Texas State Guard (TXSG) held the second annual team and individual competition which tested the skills and endurance of twenty-one of the finest TXSG soldiers. The competition was held at different venues in Stephenville and Erath County, Texas, from April 11-12, 2014. The National Guard Armory in Stephenville served as the base for the competition and as billeting for the soldiers.

Teams from the 4th Regiment, 8th Regiment, and 19th Regiment took up the challenge. The team from the 4th Regiment included SSG Gary Harvel, SSG Dennis Burks, CPL Joe Ringnald, CPL Justin Carter, SPC Stephen Walton and PFC David Anderson. The team from the 8th Regiment included SSG William Clark, SGT Johnathan Jones, SGT Robert Wilson, PFC Robert Davis, PFC Thomas Hall, PFC Nicholas Lawrence, and PFC Shane Haygood. The team from the 19th Regiment included OC David Park, SGT Kenneth Clayton, SGT Sean Mounger, CPL Brian Nail, CPL Jonathan Kelley, PFC Jonathan Turner, and two alternates, CPL Nick Sanders and SPC Christopher Parrish who competed for individual honors.

The competition tested six skill sets. Four events were held on Friday, April 11, 2014. At the Tarleton State University Track and Field Course, in Stephenville, Texas, the physical fitness test challenged each soldier to complete as many sit-ups and push-ups as possible in 2 minutes followed by a mile run. CPL Joe Ringnald, 4th Regiment, considered the physical fitness challenge very important. “Physical fitness never stops. It is the way we should live every day.”

The second competition was the 9mm pistol marksmanship held at the Tac Pro Shooting Range in Erath County. Team members shot targets 75-feet away in the standing, kneeling, crouching and prone positions to achieve the highest total team score.

The third competition was Land Navigation at the Tarleton State University Hunewell Ranch, in Erath County. In teams of two, soldiers had to locate as many of the thirty-nine markers hidden in the wild brush and mesquite trees as possible using maps, protractors, and compasses within a 2 ½ hour time limit. Each marker was worth from 5 to 15 points. SSG William Clark, team leader of the 8th Regiment team, stated that the competition “was excellent and challenging. The competition is of value to the NCOs for team cohesion and to help the next crop of junior enlisted to be trained and efficient leaders.” SGT Sean Mounger, 19th Regiment, agreed. “It was well organized and quite challenging and relevant to the training.”

The fourth competition was at the Tarleton State University Challenge Course. The three challenges required teamwork and team strategy to succeed and to complete each challenge successfully without penalties in the fastest time possible. The ropes challenge required each team to pass each soldier through the “Human Sensor Web, which looked like a spider web made of rope. Another course challenge was the “Acid Crossing” which required each team to build a bridge, using only three 2”x8”x8’ boards to connect together five 12-inch poles buried in the ground. As the bridge was built, each team had to cross from pole to pole on the 2” side of the board. If a soldier fell off, he had to start at the beginning of the bridge and the team received a penalty. The final challenge was the 15-foot high “Perimeter Breach” wall which required each team to lift up the first soldier who then reached up to grab the top of wall and pull himself to the top of the wall. While the remaining team members hoisted the second soldier, he then pulled the next soldier to the top. When the third soldier got to the top, the first soldier left the top of the wall and was not allowed to help hoist others. This test continued until only one soldier was to be pulled up by a rope without any other soldiers to hoist him up. 4th Regiment team leader SSG Gary Harvel believed that the competition was “all about team building.” SGT Robert Wilson, 8th Regiment, thought the challenge course was “awesome.”

Observing the competition, BG Jake Betty, TXSG Army Component Commander, was pleased with the performance of the soldiers. “The events went very well. I was impressed with the level of enthusiasm of the individuals and teams in their dedication and performance. This event helped build unit esprit de corps, allowing individual soldiers skills and confidence to be tested to be state guard ready.”

On Saturday, April 12, at the National Guard Armory in Stephenville, the final competition was Life Saving Skills. The Gulf Coast Medical Response Group, who designed the life saving competition, traveled to Stephenville to conduct the tests which would determine the proficiency of each soldier in three life saving skills. Each soldier administered first aid to an unresponsive and unconscious mock victim using CPR and an Automated External Defibrillator, treated a broken arm using splints and bandages, and treated a mock victim for shock and a bleeding arm wound by applying a pressure bandage. The members of the Gulf Coast Medical Response Group were 1LT Colin Adams, SGT Michael Poland, and PFC Wesley Willoughby. MAJ James Vretis, TXSG Army Component Staff Surgeon, commented that this challenge was “a clear way to evaluate the training for life saving intervention.”

The final life-saving competition was a wounded casualty extraction which required each team to carry a 200-pound dummy in a skid stretcher over a ½ mile course with trees and a shallow gulley as obstacles in the fastest time possible. SPC Stephen Walton, 4th Regiment, viewed the challenge as “learning to trust your teammates to finish a task successfully.”

Once the points were totaled for individuals and teams, BG Betty announced the winners. The top three individual soldiers were 1st place winner OC David Park, 2nd place winner CPL Jonathan Kelly, and 3rd place winner SGT Kenneth Clayton, all from the 19th Regiment. The 19th Regiment won the team competition and was awarded the coveted Gonzales Cup for the second time. “It was a great event as it brings out the best in people and makes them stronger, win or lose. Morale was great and it was competitive,” stated COL Robert Hastings, 19th Regiment commander. “The event’s values to the TXSG were composed of two things, morale and communication and skills testing that improve training.” COL Howard Palmer, Jr., 4th Regiment Commander, stated that he was “very proud of all the soldiers in the competition. They demonstrated great esprit d’corps and teamwork.” “The spirit, resilience, and competitiveness of each soldier” he continued, “speaks to the energy and determination of each team to put forth their very best effort to win the Gonzales Cup.” 19th Regiment OC Park, who will be graduating in May from the TXSG Officer Candidate School at Camp Mabry, commented that “this would be the last time for me to be one of the guys and I found every event a challenge.” "In experiencing missions from hurricanes Katrina, Rita and other deployments," SGT Mounger, 19th Regiment, who has over 11 years of service with the TXSG, stated "this training is valuable and relevant to what we do.” CPL Brian Nail, 19th Regiment, "this event was very well organized and time efficient.”

General Betty thanked the troops and commands for their dedication and service. LTC Pedro Barreda commented that the "most important thing about the Gonzales Cup is that it give soldiers a chance to win."

The success of the Gonzales Cup competition depended on many individuals, including Army Component Command (ACC) Chief of Staff COL Paul Watkins, ACC Operations and Training Officer LTC Pedro Barreda, ACC Assistant Operations Officer CPT Jan Petreczko, 19th Regiment Operations and Training Officer MAJ Wendell Sadler, 4th Regiment Executive Officer and Operations and Training Officer LTC Lloyd Lietz, 4th Regiment Operations and Training NCO SFC Richard Schilling, 19th Regiment Logistics and training coach NCO SFC Admir Pasalic, 19th Regiment Communications NCO SSG Donald Sheffield, and 19th Regiment training coach MSG Mark Sligar.

The Gonzales Cup represents the courage, strength, and skill that the defenders of Gonzales, Texas, demonstrated while resisting the attack of the Mexican Army during the Texas Revolution in 1835. The Gonzales Cup is engraved with the words "Come and Take It" found on the flag made by the people of Gonzales during the fight.

Sunday, April 20, 2014 1:40:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard

40 people representing at least 14 churches and the Texas State Guard 

April 17, 2014
MISSION MW!

Mineral Wells Index

Mineral Wells — Henry Ford is quoted as saying that, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” Last Saturday, more than 40 people representing at least 14 churches, the Texas State Guard (1st Battalion, 4th Regiment, Civil Affairs of Weatherford), the Mineral Wells Police Department and Progressive Waste Solutions worked together to clean a portion of the area the police department has designated as the Project 365 zone.

Saturday’s effort was the third of four Saturdays that churches worked together to share the love of Christ with the families of the Project 365 area.

“This past Saturday was unique because we had not only the churches, but also a nearby Texas Guard unit join MISSION Mineral Wells and the Mineral Wells Police Department with the cleanup efforts,” said Rose Jordan.

After only two hours of picking up garbage and debris, the difference in the area was clearly visible and volunteers knew they had made a difference.

“We have multiple denominations coming together to make a better community for our families and for our children,” said David Chavira of Iglesia Templo Bautista.

MISSION Mineral Wells, a partnership of PULSE Ministries Inc and several local churches, also has plans for an Easter celebration for the neighborhood this Saturday.

MISSION Mineral Wells is a ministry of PULSE Ministries Inc. desiring to unite local churches in showing the love of Christ to the residents of Mineral Wells. For information contact Rose Jordan 682-225-3315 or visit Facebook: MISSION Mineral Wells.

Thursday, April 17, 2014 1:42:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard

Command and General Staff College 

Command and General Staff College, Texas State Guard (TXSG), a component of the Texas Military Forces, hosted an impressive panel of real world “subject matter experts” in dealing with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS), during disasters.

Left to right, COL Robert A. Miller, Commander J 9 Strategic Planning TXSG, and former City Manager of Smithville, Texas during the devastating flooding of 1998, Brigadier General Gerald R. (Jake) Betty, Commander of Army Component Command TXSG, Ronnie C. McDonald, County Judge of Bastrop County during the Bastrop wildfires, John Gaete, Austin ISD Emergency Management Coordinator overseeing the district’s emergency management process, Rene D. Blaschke,  served as Mayor of Smithville, TX  during the flood, Scott Hawkins, Chief Plans Officer, Austin Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and in rear background 1LT Mike von Wupperfeld, TXSG, Mass Care Liaison Officer and long time Emergency Management professional.
Left to right, COL Robert A. Miller, Commander J 9 Strategic Planning TXSG, and former City Manager of Smithville, Texas during the devastating flooding of 1998, Brigadier General Gerald R. (Jake) Betty, Commander of Army Component Command TXSG, Ronnie C. McDonald, County Judge of Bastrop County during the Bastrop wildfires, John Gaete, Austin ISD Emergency Management Coordinator overseeing the district’s emergency management process, Rene D. Blaschke,  served as Mayor of Smithville, TX  during the flood, Scott Hawkins, Chief Plans Officer, Austin Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and in rear background 1LT Mike von Wupperfeld, TXSG, Mass Care Liaison Officer and long time Emergency Management professional.
Judge Ronnie McDonald (ct) former Bastrop County Judge (youngest Bastrop County Judge, ever), discussing with LCDR Robert Finley (lf) and MAJ Benedict Boerner (rt) students in the Texas State Guard, Command General Staff College, how the National Incident Management System worked allowing a structured command system to bring together a diverse group of agencies and facilitate working together efficiently during the Bastrop wildfires which destroyed over 1,000 homes.
Judge Ronnie McDonald (ct) former Bastrop County Judge (youngest Bastrop County Judge, ever), discussing with LCDR Robert Finley (lf) and MAJ Benedict Boerner (rt) students in the Texas State Guard, Command General Staff College, how the National Incident Management System worked allowing a structured command system to bring together a diverse group of agencies and facilitate working together efficiently during the Bastrop wildfires which destroyed over 1,000 homes.
Scott Hawkins (lf), Austin Department of Homeland Security, and LTC COL Edwin Grantham, student in Texas State Guard Command General Staff College, discussing the Capital Area Shelter Hub Plan (CASH-P) for Mass Care in the Austin and surrounding areas.
Scott Hawkins (lf), Austin Department of Homeland Security, and LTC COL Edwin Grantham, student in Texas State Guard Command General Staff College, discussing the Capital Area Shelter Hub Plan (CASH-P) for Mass Care in the Austin and surrounding areas.

 

Thursday, April 17, 2014 1:42:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard

TXMF sign Sexual Assault Awareness 

Story by: Capt. Martha Nigrelle and Michelle McBride

Photos by: TSgt Phillip Fountain

Sign Sexual Assault Awareness(AUSTIN, Texas) April 4, 2014 – Maj. Gen. John Nichols, the Texas Adjutant General and Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Milford, Senior Enlisted Advisor Texas Army National Guard, signed a proclamation declaring April Sexual Assault Awareness Month within the Texas Military Forces during a ceremony at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, April 4, 2014.

The ceremony focused on spreading awareness in order to increase prevention of sexual assaults.    

“One is too many,” said Amy Allen, the guest speaker for the event  and community organizer for Safe Place, a nonprofit organization that works with victims of sexual and domestic violence. “Sexual violence is preventable. It takes everyone to get involved.”

Nichols encouraged service members to take action against sexual assault.

“Sexual assault is worse than bad,” Nichols said. “It has no place in our community, on our Texas Military Forces team.”

Nichols advised service members not to be naïve in thinking that sexual predators aren’t in their midst. He encouraged service members to watch out for themselves as well as their battle buddies and wingmen, and to stop behavior that could lead to sexual assault immediately.

To better support its members, the Texas Military Forces created the Sexual Assault Prevention and Report Program which focuses on education in order to spread awareness.

Lt. Col. James Castleman, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, 136th Airlift Wing, Texas Air National Guard, said that the program provides resources to victims of sexual assault including access to follow on care for both counseling and medical support and assisting commanders in working with victims to ensure they are treated fairly and not discriminated against.

The program is scheduled to host several events this month aimed at spreading awareness amongst the force. Among those is a Sexual Assault Prevention 5K hosted by the 136th at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, April 18, 2014 at 1100.

Another event, Denim Day, is aimed at debunking many of the myths surrounding sexual assaults. It is scheduled for April 23, 2014 on Camp Mabry.

“Today’s ceremony is very important,” Castleman said, “because it shows that the Adjutant General is committing to reducing the number of sexual assaults in the Texas Military Forces as well as increasing awareness of the issues faced by Texas Military Forces members.”

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 12:37:00 PM Categories: Blog

2014-2015 Texas Armed Services Scholarship Program (TASSP) 

Posted: April 14, 2014

Nominations for the 2014-2015 Texas Armed Services Scholarship Program (TASSP) will officially open on April 15, 2014 for next year’s class (fall 2014/spring 2015 academic year). Students are encouraged to become members of the Texas Army National Guard, the Texas Air National Guard, the Texas State Guard, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Merchant Marine, or commissioned officers in any branch of the armed services of the United States. These annual awards of up to $10,000 each may make a difference in the life of high achieving students.

In order to be considered for the TASSP, a student enrolling in college straight from high school must meet two of the following four academic criteria at the time of application:

Be on track to graduate, or has graduated high school with the Distinguished Achievement Program (DAP) or the International Baccalaureate Program (IB);
Have a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale;
Achieve a college readiness score on the SAT (1590) or ACT (23);
Be ranked in the top one-third of the prospective high school graduating class.
Additionally, students must be enrolled in a college or university in the fall 2014/spring 2015 academic year in order to be nominated for the TASSP during the current nomination cycle. For more information on specific requirements, please visit http://hhloans.com and click on the “Texas Armed Services Scholarship Program (TASSP)” link.

"The TASSP is a unique opportunity for students build their leadership skills while earning college credit," Rep. Thompson stated. "I'm looking forward to reviewing the qualified applicants that District 29 has to offer."
If you would like to be considered for nomination by Rep. Thompson for the TASSP, please email your resume to district29.thompson@house.state.tx.us no later than June 1, 2014

PLEASE NOTE:  Each State Rep. can award one scholarship.

Monday, April 14, 2014 1:45:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard

Texas State Guard’s maritime regiment scour the water 

Posted: April 11, 2014

BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) — As the world continues to watch the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, search and rescue crews closer to home are preparing for a similar scenario.

But large jets crashing into the ocean are fairly rare. Much more likely are small planes crash-landing in fields, creeks or lakes. First responders spent Friday simulating that scenario at Lake Bastrop.

“What we’ve learned is that we need to do it more often, because…everything doesn’t always go right,” said Cmdr. Brian Smallwood with the Texas Maritime Unit. “Sometimes we think if we put it on paper it’s going to go just as it was written, but that doesn’t always happen.”

Using information from witnesses, three divers from the Texas State Guard’s maritime regiment scour the water using sonar equipment. The lake runs just 13 feet deep, a far cry from the depths crews are encountering in their search for the Malaysian Airlines plane.

But the key to the this round of training involving more than 100 rescue workers is to make sure everyone meshes well, and knows each other’s strengths.

“We exercise together, we train together, so that when an incident occurs, we’re not all meeting each other for the first time,” said Greg Pyles with Texas Search and Rescue.

But making sure the search effort is successful requires the right people.

“It takes a person with a lot of commitment to achieve the skill level,” Pyles said, “(and to) commit to the training and the time away from family, and their paying jobs.”

That rescue training involves several agencies and will continue through Sunday.

http://kxan.com/2014/04/11/crews-scour-lake-bed-for-missing-plane-during-exercise/

Friday, April 11, 2014 1:46:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard