Posts From April, 2015

David Burger

TagTalks

David Burger, Director International Affairs, Texas Military Forces, talks about the Leadership Development Program in his TAG Talk at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, April 2, 2015

Produced by the Texas Military Forces Public Affairs Office

Texas Military Forces honorarily enlists young boy battling rare disorder

Story by: Sgt. 1st Class Malcolm McClendon

Posted: April 2, 2015

Honorary enlistee Rowan Windham poses for a picture at his honorary enlistment ceremony held at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, March 27, 2015. Windham is battling a rare disorder, Shwachmann-Diamond Syndrome, which affects the pancreas, gastro-intestinal tract, immune system, blood and bone marrow. During one of his stays at the Children's Hospital in San Antonio, Windham met Sgt. David Hixson, a medic with the Texas Army National Guard. There, Windham shared his dream of always wanting to be a Soldier and soon after, Hixson, with the help of fellow Texas National Guardsmen, made it all possible. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Malcolm McClendon).
Honorary enlistee Rowan Windham poses for a picture at his honorary enlistment ceremony held at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, March 27, 2015. Windham is battling a rare disorder, Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome, which affects the pancreas, gastrointestinal tract, immune system, blood and bone marrow. During one of his stays at the Children's Hospital in San Antonio, Windham met Sgt. David Hixson, a medic with the Texas Army National Guard. There, Windham shared his dream of always wanting to be a Soldier and soon after, Hixson, with the help of fellow Texas National Guardsmen, made it all possible. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Malcolm McClendon).

AUSTIN, Texas - With his right hand raised, eight-year-old Rowan Windham took the Oath of Enlistment to become the newest member of the Texas Army National Guard. 

Rowan had the unique opportunity to be given an honorary enlistment into the organization during a ceremony held at its headquarters at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, March 27, 2015.

After an emotional ceremony for friends and family, the young soldier looked out at the audience, cleared his throat and said, “Thank you. This is the best day of my whole entire life.”

Rowan is currently battling a rare disorder called Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome, which affects the pancreas, gastrointestinal tract, immune system, blood and bone marrow. Rowan has spent more than 900 days in the hospital, received dozens of blood transfusions and made 71 trips to the operating room.

During one of his stays at the Methodist Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, Rowan met nurse’s aide, David Hixson, who is also a combat medic in the Texas Army National Guard. There the two grew close.

“I met Rowan after my last deployment, and we immediately became friends,” Hixson said. “Even though it wasn't under the best circumstances, every time he came back it was like seeing an old buddy.” 

At a recent visit, Hixson informed Rowan that he would be deploying soon, and they would not be able to see each other for a while. This is where the eight-year-old expressed his life-long wish to his friend.

“When I told Rowan I was leaving, he told me he too wanted to be in the Army one day, Hixson said. “So after talking to his mom, I contacted a friend at Camp Mabry, who later contacted a lieutenant colonel in the public affairs office, and it kind of just snowballed from there. And here we are today.”

In front of family, friends and distinguished guests, Rowan swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution as many of his fellow guardsmen in attendance did before him. Rowan’s father, Brian Windham, described the event as overwhelming and shared his son’s interest in the military and strong will to survive.

“Rowan actually enlisted himself into the Army on a piece of paper a couple of years ago, so this is fantastic; he’s got to be way overwhelmed with joy,” Windham said. “He’s always looking to help other people. He has two feeding tubes, one goes to his heart the other to his stomach, and everyday he’ll tell you he has the best life ever.” 

Rowan’s resilient attitude earned him a spot in his new home unit as he was made an honorary member of the 124th Cavalry Regiment. 

“Because we know that you are such a trooper, we want to enlist you into the cavalry,” said Brig. Gen. Sean Ryan, commander of the 71st Troop Command and officiator at the enlistment. “A cavalry soldier always moves forward in battle, and we know that you, Rowan, are always moving forward in your own battles.”

Rowan will continue to combat his illness as he and his family travel to a specialized hospital in Seattle and look at a possible bone marrow transplant. As Ryan states, Rowan is on his way to his own deployment, but not alone, he now has more than 24,000 guardsmen by his side.............MORE PHOTOS

From the Top: The Transitional Leadership of General George C. Marshall

THE TRANSITIONAL LEADERSHIP OF GENERAL GEORGE C. MARSHALLCommentary by Col. Gregory P. Chaney
Chief of Staff, Office of the Adjutant General

As overseas contingencies and operations lessen for our current military forces, many service members returning home may not only question his/her own future career, but that of the profession. Common questions may include a desire for one to predict the types of future conflicts or focus on overall costs of maintaining the most expensive defensive strategy in the world. Regardless of the era or generation, post-war transitions result in leaders providing tough answers to difficult questions, while keeping the well-being of the country a top priority. During these times of uncertainty, the U.S. needs strong leaders across all levels who adhere to attributes necessary to navigate these transitions. Through monumental achievements, ethical qualities and an extraordinary philosophy and managerial style, Gen. George C. Marshall serves as a model of such a leader.

Before discussing the attributes and competencies contributing to revered success, it is important to provide some background and insight to the leader dubbed “a man for all seasons.” A shy and reserved youth and mediocre student at best, it was a love for history and a desire to seek advanced education at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) that launched his career. Fast forward to the day Marshall became the U.S. Army Chief of Staff, at which time, Germany invaded Poland and ushered in World War II.  Over a three-year period, Marshall transitioned the U.S. Army from 189,000 outmoded and ill-equipped soldiers into the 8,000,000-soldier force that won the war.

Following the war and its victories, he broke through parochial services plans and rebuilt the total force that included maintaining the National Guard as an integral force, part of America’s first line of defense. This decision is one we benefitted from during a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. As secretary of state and the orchestrator of the so-called Marshall Plan (European Recovery Plan), he helped rebuild European economies and stem the spread of communism.  In fact, Marshall is one of a few incredible leaders in our nation’s history whose attributes and competencies are worth emulating in today’s ever-changing environment.

Although it is difficult to encapsulate such a large body of leadership success into a form that is easy to imitate or reproduce, an article in the professional journal, “Public Integrity” attempted such a task in 2006. Built on a foundation of moral principles, the following attributes and competencies contributing to his leadership success are listed below.

•    Personal courage
•    Integrity and self-discipline
•    An organizational philosophy both task-centered and employee-centered
•    Ability to recognize talent in others
•    Exercising and demanding high ethical standards of organization members
•    Inclusiveness
•    Understanding of and sensitivity to the political/social/economic environment
•    Putting the public interest ahead of self-or narrow organizational interests

The first five attributes should resonate as they mirror the military services’ values and leadership doctrine with which we are familiar. However, it is the final two that are the salient points for leaders capable of influencing in transitional periods. First, Marshall had a clear understanding of the world’s strategic environment and more importantly, how his actions would affect it. No matter the time period,  it is imperative today’s military leaders must continue to educate themselves in order to fully understand the operational environment.  Secondly, leaders should work to translate their environmental understanding into an operational vision that keeps the overall interest of the nation superior to the parochial self, unit, or organizational interests. In any case, both of these competencies require deliberate development to integrate into the art of one’s leadership style.
Every member of the military is a leader and mentor to someone else. As a leader, you are responsible for developing the individual attributes and competencies necessary to keep our military strong, capable of responding when needed, and protecting our nations’ interests. As you seek to grow and advance, look to proven leaders like Marshall to guide your development. More importantly, strive to emulate Marshall by maintaining an understanding of the strategic environment, so that your vision and actions continue to contribute to the strong security of the United States. 

TXSG captures top honors in TXMF pistol competition

Story by: Capt. Esperanza Meza, 19th Regt. PAO

Posted: April 1, 2015

Soldiers TXSG Patch
Photo by: Tanya Lippincott

BASTROP, Texas – Texas State Guard Soldiers from 19th Regiment’s Pistol Team won top honors in the Texas Military Forces Adjutant General’s Combat Pistol competition, Jan. 23-25, 2015, at Camp Swift in Bastrop, Texas.

During the annual Adjutant General’s Pistol Competition, a total of 54 competitors from the Army, Air and State Guard competed for one of eight Governor’s Twenty tabs. Guardsmen competed in four individual matches and two team matches with individual scores configured into the team totals.

The 19th Regiment’s team placed first in the team completion. 2nd Lt. Scott Hunt, 2nd Lt. David Park, Sgt. Sean Mounger and Cpl. Jonathan Kelley made up team, with Mounger finishing first and Hunt finishing third overall during the individual competition. 

The Governor’s Twenty recognizes the top twenty marksmen in the TXMF, with eight tabs for pistol, eight for rifle, two for sniper and two for machine gun. 

Individual events included an anti-body armor match, a combat pistol barricade match and overall excellence in competition. The team competition included the “Patton” match, named after General George Patton, and a steel plate challenge utilizing all four team members, two on pistol and two on sub-machine gun. Shooters fired from 15-30 yards in the standing, kneeling, prone and barricade positions using both strong and weak hand.

Tabs from the pistol competition were awarded to Hunt, Mounger and Park.

“Keeping an open mind and your ego in check allows you to learn and improve from your teammates, that and the discipline to put the time in to practice your training,” said Mounger. “To sum it up, using my favorite quote from a past college professor of mine, ‘You cannot learn what you think you already know.’”

“As Sgt. Mounger suggested, it is important to approach training with an open mind and a willingness to receive coaching regardless of skill level,” said Hunt. “I can’t tell you how many times something doesn’t feel right and I ask another team member to watch me and provide feedback on form and technique.”

Hunt is only the 7th TXMF soldier to earn a Governor’s Twenty tab in all four combat disciplines, since the program began in 1980, earning a total of thirteen tabs since he began competing in 2011. Both Hunt and Mounger were on the winning pistol and rifle teams in 2012. Mounger, a founding member of the 19th Regiment, TXSG Marksmanship Team, has earned a total of twelve tabs. Park, who participated in 2011 and 2014, has earned two previous Governor’s Twenty tabs in pistol and one in rifle.

 “I think our success is the result of mutual respect, healthy competitiveness, confidence and trust,” said Hunt. “While winning is nice and clearly the end goal, the camaraderie developed through months of training and competing is arguably the most satisfying aspect of being on the marksmanship team.”

The 19th Regiment team is comprised of volunteers who pay for their own ammunition, weapons and range-time. 

The competition is organized by the State Competitive Marksmanship (SCM) Program in the Texas National Guard.