Posts From May, 2011

Texas troops, civilians march in honor of fallen heroes

Texas Military Forces, service members, families and local civilians participate in the 5th Annual March For Fallen Heroes in Austin, Texas, May 28, 2011.
In this image released by the Texas Military Forces, service members, families and local civilians participate in the 5th Annual March For Fallen Heroes in Austin, Texas, May 28, 2011. The event, held each year on Memorial Day weekend, honors service members who have lost their lives in the global war on terror, as well as lost veterans of past wars. Participants marched a 7.6 mile route from Zilker Park to the state capitol and back in memory of their lost loved ones. Army Staff Sgt. David Mendiola has organized and executed the Austin event ever since first hearing about a similar march in an issue of GX Magazine.


 Story by Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Griego

 For some, Memorial Day means little more than a long weekend of barbequing that starts off the summer each year with  fun and activities. For a small band of patriotic service members and civilians, however, the somber day that recognizes  the countless lives lost in American conflicts overseas and stateside is not a celebration, but a solemn reminder of the  sacrifices necessary to ensure the freedom and safety of our nation.

 "Keep in mind who we're walking for," said Army Staff Sgt. David Mendiola at the start of the 2011 March for Fallen Heroes. "Let's make sure the community knows, and never forgets."

 The annual event, now in its fifth year, brings together veterans, family members, current service members and citizens of  all ages for a 7.2-mile foot march from Austin's Zilker Park to the state capitol and back. As a staple affair in the Texas  Military Forces, which includes both the Texas Army National Guard and the Texas State Guard, the march additionally  serves as a community outreach program, inviting Austinites to participate who might not even have family in the armed  forces.

 "Today is great," said Mendiola. "We had a lot of participants show up today. We have more civilians this time, so I'm  pleased about that."
 Mendiola, who started the Texas march four years ago, first got the idea for a memorial foot march after reading a story in  Guard Experience Magazine about a Tennessee guardsman who carried the U.S. flag around his town in honor of those  who died in the Global War on Terror.

 "I immediately went to my first line supervisor," said Mendiola, recounting the day he read the article. "Within three weeks,  me and three other members of my section met up at Zilker park, we loaded up and we started walking toward the  capitol."

 "I'm marching for my buddy Anthony Green," said Army Sgt. Donald Denson, "[killed in action] in Afghanistan two years  ago, and every other soldier that fought for the 36th ID from World War I until now."

 Denson, a soldier with Austin's 36th Combat Aviation Brigade Headquarters, brought with him to the march his son, who  recently enlisted in the Texas Army National Guard.

 "I feel like a soldier now," said Army Pvt. Michael Denson, Donald's son. "It's a real good feeling to be able to march with  everybody out here."

 Texas veterans from outside the Texas Army National Guard proudly joined the march thanks to Mendiola's networking  efforts.

 Preston Rogers, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam from 1968 to 1970, learned about the event after meeting Mendiola on-line.

"We're on a Facebook group together, Friends of Texas," said Rogers.

Rogers also brought his older brother, William Rogers, a veteran of the Navy who served from 1960 to 1965.

"I'm grateful to the people that are here," said William Rogers. "I'd like to see more people out here."

The increased turn-out for this year's march means more and more Texans each year are getting the word. The support for those involved has been resounding.

"When I was out there this morning," said Mendiola, "looking out at the crowd, it hit me hard."

For more information about this year's March for Fallen Heroes and how to join the memorial walk next year, please visit or e-mail the event coordinator, Staff Sgt. David Mendiola at


19th Regiment Wins Rifle Competition

19th Regiment Wins Rifle Competition
MAJ Michael Quinn Sullivan, PAO, TXSG
Photo of the team.AUSTIN, Texas – Winning their second competition of the year, the Texas State Guard’s 19th Regiment marksmanship team took top honors in this year’s 2011 Adjutant General’s Rifle Competition. Earlier this year the same team won the Combat Pistol Match.

And just two weeks ago, Texas State Guard soldiers won the Texas Military Forces Sniper Competition. The TXSG has now swept the state military forces competitions that include teams from the Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air National Guard and Texas State Guard.

The rifle competition included various stages, with participants firing M16/M4/AR-15-type rifles at targets from as far away as 400 yards. The competition took place last May 14 and 15 at Camp Swift, a training facility near Bastrop.

The team included CPT Theodore Baroody, SSGT Admir Pasalic, SGT Sean Mounger, and CPL Scott Hunt.

In the individual competition, Mounger took First Place while Hunt placed Second.

Baroody, the Office-in-Charge of the team, said he was pleased by the hard work and dedication his men exhibited in preparing for the competition.

“The personal sacrifices in terms of having to buy their own rifle and ammo, and training on their personal time away from family, should also be recognized – along with some very supportive spouses,” he said. “It’s our honor and privilege to be ready to serve the citizens of Texas.”

The commanding officer of the 19th Regiment, COL David Erinakes, said the discipline and commitment needed in the competition reflects the broader training of all guardsmen in preparing for the missions and work of the Texas State Guard.

“Once again the soldiers of the regiment, lead by CPT Baroody, showed that grit, determination and a deep desire to serve are the hallmarks of Texas guardsmen,” he said. “I am very proud of their efforts.”

The mission of the Texas State Guard is to provide highly trained soldiers for Defense Support to Civil Authorities by providing ready military forces during State Emergences to assist State and local authorities in homeland security, community service and with medical services.

The Texas State Guard is one of three branches of the Texas Military Forces, reporting to The Texas Adjutant General, Major General John Nichols, The Commander-in-Chief of the Texas Military Forces is the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry. The other two branches are the Texas Army National Guard and the Texas Air National Guard.

Texas State Guard Marksmen take top honors in Texas Military Forces Sniper Competition

Texas State Guard Marksmen Take Top Honors in Texas Military Forces Sniper Competition
COL Robert Hastings, PAO, TXSG
CAMP MABRY, AUSTIN, TEXAS – For the second time this year, marksmen from the Texas State Guard (TXSG) have taken top honors in a Texas Military Forces (TXMF) small arms marksmanship competition.

For 1st Lt. Douglas George and Lt. Col. Troy Smith, teamwork, training and communication are the keys to being recognized as the best long-range riflemen in the Texas Military Forces.

1st Lt. George, a staff officer with the J3 Directorate of Training, is the overall individual winner of the 2011 TXMF Sniper Training Competition, earning the Governor's Twenty Tab for marksmanship excellence. 1st Lt. George has now earned the Governor's Twenty Tab in all four small arms competitions; rifle, pistol, light machine gun and sniper. 1st Lt. George is only the sixth marksman in the Texas Military Forces history to achieve this milestone and is the first member of the TXSG to do so. The Governor's Twenty Tab recognizes the top twenty marksmen in the Texas Military Forces distributed as follows; eight for rifle, eight for pistol, two for light machine gun and two for snipers.

“I’m pleased to be able to represent the Texas State Guard in these competitions,” said 1st Lt. George. “Competing side-by-side with our colleagues in the Army and Air National Guard is not only personally rewarding but validates the role of the TXSG as an important part of the Texas Military Forces.”

Additionally, 1st Lt. George and Lt. Col. Smith, a company commander in the Texas Medical Brigade, were recognized as the 2011 top sniper team. Sniper competition is a team event in which both members contribute to the success of each other's performance. Lt. Col. Smith has now earned three Governor’s Twenty Tabs, two for rifle and one for pistol.

“We’re all incredibly proud of these two officers for their performance in this competition,” said Maj. Gen. Ray Peters, Commanding General of the TXSG. “The professionalism and drive for excellence that they have demonstrated reflects the best of what it means to be a TXSG volunteer.”

“I attribute the victory to an expectation of success that my sniper partner Lt. George and I have in common and our ability to effectively communicate with each other during the stress of competition,” said Lt. Col. Smith.

The 2011 TXMF Sniper Training Event was held April 30th thru May 1st at Camp Swift, Texas. Five teams representing all components of the TXMF participated in this challenging competition that tested the skills of soldiers in long range rifle engagement. Teams were required to engage targets at unknown distance that ranged from 200 meters to 700 meters in very windy conditions (10-30 MPH). They were also required to demonstrate marksmanship skills with the M-9 pistol and the M-16 rifle.

This is the second marksmanship championship that the TXSG has won this year. Earlier, the TXSG’s 19th Civil Affairs Regiment took top honors in the 30th Annual Texas National Guard Combat Pistol Match.

The Texas State Guard is one of three branches of the Texas Military Forces (TXMF), operating under the command of the Adjutant General of Texas and the Governor as Commander-in-Chief of all state military forces. The TXMF includes the Texas Army National Guard and the Texas Air National Guard.

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.

Headquartered at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, the TXSG functions as an organized state militia under the authority of Title 32 of the U.S. Code and Chapter 431 of the Texas Government Code.