Story by Master Sgt. John Gately, Texas State Guard
The military is no stranger to having many generations of family members serving, from great-grandparents to current service members. The Texas State Guard is also part of this time-honored tradition. However, due to the nature of the State Guard, it is more common to see families serving together at the same time than with other military organizations.
Although family members serving together is happening across the State Guard, today’s focus is the T6-Shop. Currently, the T6-shop has four families serving together to support a common goal for the Guard and for the State of Texas.
The Hopper family has three members currently serving in different roles within T6. Warrant Officer Andy Hopper joined the State Guard on Oct 25, 2014, and is the father of two current troops, Cpl. Grant Hopper who serves on the Radio Operations, and Pvt. Samuel Hopper serves on the Software Testing team for the Readiness Management System (RMS).
When asked what it means to him to serve alongside his two sons, Warrant Officer Hopper stated, “Having the opportunity to serve with my boys in the greatest and most robust state military force in the country is a unique privilege and a pleasure. Throughout Texas history, the backbone of our state military has been families standing together for their rights and their homes. I am so proud to say that the Hoppers stand to serve Texas.”
Always looking for new members to serve in our ranks, one of our newest has hit the ground running with recruitment. Cpl. Tatiana Spence joined the State Guard a little over a month ago, and she has talked her brother, Orrin Spence, into joining the T6 shop as well. Orrin just left the Texas Army National Guard as a Staff Sergeant after serving 12 years and is one of the Texas Military Department’s webmasters. He will be swearing-in next month. Once Orrin swears in, he will be joining Programming Operations alongside his sister. She’s not stopping there; Cpl. Spence is now setting her focus on getting her husband to join our ranks.
Did you know that you could join the Texas State Guard at the age of 17? Warrant Officer John Turner did and is swearing in his son on his 17th
birthday. This is not the only child that Warrant Officer Turner has serving in uniform. His second-oldest son was planning to join the State Guard until the United State Army made a better offer. When asked what it is like serving with his son, he replied, “It’s an honor to serve my state and help people when needs arise. It makes you feel good about what you do. As a father it makes me shine with gratitude that my children have that same desire to help others. I’m proud of my young men. It is even more special when we get to serve and build this legacy together.” Warrant Officer John Turner serves in Programming Operations.
Another example from the T6-Shop is Master Sgt. John Gately, who joined the State Guard on July 1, 2010. His son Warrant Officer Jacob Gately followed in his footsteps just a few years later, joining on January 26, 2013. Warrant Officer Gately currently serves in Programming Operations and Master Sgt. Gately is the NCOIC for T6 and the Product Manager of RMS.
These four families have a combined service of well over 50 years in uniform.