Posts From May, 2014

Carry the Load: Bringing back the heart of Memorial Day 

By: Marcus Moore

WFAA - Posted: May 26, 2014

Carry the Load: Bringing back the heart of Memorial Day

Dr. Scott Nichol, with the Texas State Guard, talked to News 8 Monday morning to discuss how Carry the Load has brought back the true meaning of Memorial Day.

With over 2,000 miles of coverage from West Point, New York to Dallas, the Carry the Load national relay traveled through 11 states. Participants walked with flags and backpacks to honor service members.

"It's growing every year and bringing back what Memorial Day really means to people instead of just barbecue," he said.

(Watch the Video)

Monday, May 26, 2014 1:28:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard

Volunteers Place American Flags on Graves of Veterans 

Story By: Elissa Rivas

ABC13 - Posted: May 25, 2014

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- At Houston's National Cemetery, thousands of American flags were placed on the graves Sunday morning to note the sacrifice's of thousands of fallen troops.

"We are out here to put flags on the graves of veterans and to honor their memory," said volunteer Carlos Markham.

"This is very humbling, to be amongst our heros," said Lt. Commander Mike Connor of the Texas State Guard.

Each grave was marked with its own U.S. flag, a symbol of the country they served and in some cases, for which they died.

"Memorial Day is not just a party, it's to remember the sacrifice," Markham said.

The organization, Flags for Fallen Vets, assembled more than 2,000 volunteers to place more than 68,000 flags on the grave of every veteran at the Houston National Cemetery. Each volunteer was doing it for their own special reason.

"My father and his brother all served in World War II and afterwards," said Dale Zellmer. "I have a daughter whose in the Army Reserve as a lt. and a son in law whose in the Marines."

Other volunteers believe it teaches a priceless lesson to our next generation.

"Gratitude, sorrow, respect, determination, to continue to show it for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our great nation," said Shawn Corriston.

The motivation for coming here to do this work on a holiday weekend is powerful beyond measure.

"It reminds you of friends, colleagues, relatives and people that have served in the past, brings it home," Connor said.

Flags for Fallen Vets wants to expand it's efforts to other cemeteries around the nation next year.

(Watch the Video)

Sunday, May 25, 2014 1:29:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard

4th Regiment Pilots the Warrior Leadership Course 

First WLC Class Graduates Ten Soldiers

Story by: CW2 Janet Schmelzer, 4th Regiment PAO

Posted: 20-MAY-14

FORT WORTH, Texas—The 4th Regiment is the first unit in the Texas State Guard (TXSG) Army Component Command to offer the Warrior Leadership Course (WLC) which is a training program for junior NCOs to learn the fundamentals of leadership, what is expected from an NCO, and how to be a more productive leader. The course was held over two weekends in March and April, 2014.

CSM Albert Willars, Senior Enlisted Advisor, 4th Regiment, worked with teams of 4th Regiment NCO instructors to develop class materials. The Senior NCO Instructor was MSG William Seaman; the primary instructors for theory were SSG Dennis Burks and SSG Angie Ogle; for land navigation were SSG Stephen Wilson and SGT Anthony Miller; for physical fitness training was SGT Martin Joseph; for communications was SGT Michael Corso; and for drill and ceremony was SSG Stephen Wilson and SSG Dennis Burks; additional instructors included SFC Richard Schilling, SSG Laura Burks, and SGT Mary Wilson. Instructors were chosen based on the following criteria: RBOT instructor qualified, a 50-question exam on leadership, experience in technical training areas, and experience performing and teaching those training areas.

Warrior Leadership Course Graduates on April 27, 2014 (left to right) PFC Anthony Rose, PFC Lynda Briggs, CPL Bailey Phillips, CPL Hans Hansen, PFC Sylvia Maza, PFC Adrian Washburn (kneeling), SGT Gayle Linke, PFC Tessa Smith, PFC Erick Schluter, and SPC Colin O’Brien. Photo by CW2 Janet Schmelzer, 4th Regiment PAO.
Warrior Leadership Course Graduates on April 27, 2014 (left to right) PFC Anthony Rose, PFC Lynda Briggs, CPL Bailey Phillips, CPL Hans Hansen, PFC Sylvia Maza, PFC Adrian Washburn (kneeling), SGT Gayle Linke, PFC Tessa Smith, PFC Erick Schluter, and SPC Colin O’Brien. Photo by CW2 Janet Schmelzer, 4th Regiment PAO.

The course was developed using established leadership doctrine from ADRP 6-22 Leadership Fundamentals and the FM7-22.7 U. S. Army NCO Guide, and the U. S. Army Sergeant Major Academy for Army War Leadership. These manuals and curriculum were used to identify the key topics that were necessary for the WLC. TXSG ACC Commander BG Jake Betty and ACC Senior Enlisted Advisor Lloyd Schook approved the training plan of the 4th Regiment WLC.

This new WLC will replace the Primary Leadership Development Course (online) and will provide hands-on leadership training experience. “The more leadership training that we can give to our junior enlisted,” CSM Willars commented, “the more they will learn what leadership is about, how to treat their soldiers, and how to approach their soldiers.”

The need for a new approach for NCO leadership training concluded that the online PLDC provided theory but not hands-on training. Other factors also played a role in revising the leadership training, including travel time and the costs associated with attending a course away from a home station. Instead every regiment has experienced NCO leaders who are readily available and reach regiment can tap into that pool of experience. PFC Tessa Smith, 3rd Battalion, stated that she learned from WLC “to take responsibility as a leader.” She feels very “fortunate to be learning from strong NCOs as to how to develop my own leadership skills.”

The objective of the new training was to develop junior NCOs into leaders through hands-on experience. SFC Richard Shilling, 4th Regiment Training and Operations NCO, stated that “there is a big difference between knowing the leadership commands in theory and getting up in front of your soldiers and giving the correct commands.”

According to PFC Adrian Washburn, 3rd Battalion,“the WLC course allows me to learn leadership techniques and to experience firsthand how to command a squad.” 

The first weekend from March 22-23, 2014, focused on the theory and practice of leadership. Subjects covered included history of the NCO, Army Leadership, Army values, the Warrior Ethos, what is expected of a leader, and how to set the example for the troops. This training also focused on functional topics not strategic topics. Small team leadership of was emphasized. “I am beginning to understand what it takes to be a leader. This is a great class,” commented SPC Colin O’Brien, 3rd Battalion.

The second weekend of April 26-27, 2014, was the hands-on training. Soldiers in the WLC were put into leadership positions with the cadre working with them to execute the leadership role. The soldiers exercised giving commands, moving formations around, leading teams during land navigation, manage members of their teams, and how to use team members to the best advantage of the mission. The motto for the WTC was "NO MISSION TOO GREAT.”

At the end of the course ten junior NCOs graduated from the WLC course on April 27, 2014.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 1:30:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard

Prayer Breakfast 2014 

Posted: 19-MAY-14

Photo of General Rodriguez and Colonel at event.Chaplain and troops from different TXSG components along with family members, dined in grand style a breakfast buffet, gathered for the 5th Annual Military Prayer Breakfast held on the beautiful campus of Dallas Baptist University, May 17th, sponsored by the 4th and 19th Civil Affair Regiments, 4th Air Wing, DFW Medical Reserve Group-Texas Medical Brigade and 3rd Battalion Texas Maritime. As noted by TXSG Army Component Command Lead Chaplain COL Doug Sewell, "The Chaplains of the Texas State Guard vision statement for this prayer breakfast: 1) to foster unity within the Texas State Guard by praying for our nation and its leaders, 2) to protect America's constitutional Freedoms to gather, worship, pray and speak freely, 3) to publicize and preserve America's religious heritage, 4) to encourage and emphasize prayer, regardless of current issues and positions, 5) to be wise stewards of God's resources and provisions, and 6) to glorify the Lord in word and deed."

Welcoming remarks from DBU was given by Mr. Dennis Linam, Vice-President for External Affairs with a Presentation of the Colors by the 4th AW Honor Guard with the singing of the National Anthem. Choir and band members were lead by Reverend (LTC) Jerald Garner throughout the program as patriotic and inspirational songs such as "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "Texas our Texas" were sung as the guests were invited to participate as the words were noted on screen. A musical tribute was also given to commemorate each of the federal military services performed as part of a Service song medley, to those who have served or serve in the TXSG, as individuals were asked to stand up and represent by singing their military service song. Numerous faith-based readings and quotes from our founding fathers and from past presidents were also presented by each of the Chaplains such as "It is the Soldier" and the Prayers of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Guest speaker, presented by COL Bruce Postma, Command Chaplain, was MG Darren G. Owens (USA ret.). As Sewell stated, "MG Owens is unashamedly a man of faith. He spoke to most of our TXSG chaplains in January at Camp Mabry, and he was extremely well-received by all that heard him." Owens stated, "The service to our communities is what sets us apart from other nations, freedoms that other nations can't comprehend. It's the character of the people and communities with shared values combined with diversity of religious backgrounds and the individual gifts that make America a special and blessed nation." “Like raindrops falling," stated Owens, "look through the clutter and see what's important and take care of it first for the future of our community."
Of the event, 1LT Peggy Gutierrez, from 4th Regt., noted of the event, "I think it's wonderful how each Chaplains' different personality brings depth to the event that has a way of touching our hearts in different ways. How resonant is Chaplain Reagan's voice! How fun Chaplain Howe's address. How convicting the prayer of Anne Graham Lotz. & it's always good to be reminded of our founding fathers' mindset. And the music - so moving!"

Planners included Chaplains, COL Lyle Metzler and LTC Billy Corn from DFWMRG-TMB, 19th Regt., MAJ Dale Vick and 2LT Adam Mosser, TMB, COL Lyle Metzler, 4th Regt,. LTC Jerald Garner, CPT David Fish, 1LT David Isbell, and 1LT Brian Reagan, and 4th AW 1LT Don Howe. Planners expressed their deepest appreciation to the choir and band members from South Garland Baptist Church, headed by Reverend Jerald Garner, Minister of Music at First United Methodist Church, from Rowlett, Mr. Don Shelley, Director of Worship Ministries and First Baptist Church and Mr. John Whitlow, Ministry of Music for volunteering their time to prepare for this event.

Monday, May 19, 2014 1:31:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard

Former Texas ARNG Division Commander inducted into TXMF Hall of Honor 

Maj. Gen. Robert L. Halverson

AUSTIN, Texas (May 17, 2014) - Retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert L. Halverson, a former commander of the 49th Armored Division, Texas Army National Guard, was inducted into the Texas Military Forces’ Hall of Honor during a ceremony held at Camp Mabry, in Austin, May 17, 2014.

Located inside the TXMF Museum, at Camp Mabry, the Hall of Honor was created as a permanent tribute to recognize TXMF members who have made lasting contributions of an outstanding nature to the organization. Induction into the Hall of Honor is the highest form of recognition that may be bestowed upon an individual and is widely recognized as a crowning achievement of a distinguished career.

Halverson, who served in the military with honor and distinction for more than 38 years, beginning in 1963, was one of four honored during the induction ceremony.

He made an extraordinary and positive difference in the continual transformation of the TXMF by instituting divisional staff training and implementing active duty military doctrine in preparation for the 49th Division's deployment as the first integrated active and reserve component headquarters in Bosnia. 

Halverson changed the outlook and focus of the organization by thoroughly integrating the Guard into the active Army, interfacing with Headquarters, U.S. Army Europe and subordinate commands and accomplishing numerous civic projects that set the standard for future Guard deployments to Bosnia.  

He also shaped the organizational environment for the future, by training Guard divisions for future deployments to Bosnia and Kosovo, which set the stage for other Army National Guard Divisions to be mobilized and deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan.  

Additionally, as a result of the successful mission to Bosnia, Army Training schools began to accept more National Guard Soldiers into the military occupational skills producing courses, allowing a more trained and ready Guard force nationwide. 

“This is a great day for the Texas National Guard,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. John F.  Nichols, the Adjutant General of Texas, recognizing the honorees. “You give service the definition of what it means to be free.”

Saturday, May 17, 2014 8:09:00 AM Categories: Blog

Former Texas ANG Commander inducted into TXMF Hall of Honor 

Commentary courtesy of the Texas Military Forces

Air Force Maj. Gen Charles "Rex" DriggersAUSTIN, Texas (May 17, 2014) - Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles “Rex” Driggers of Mount Pleasant, Texas, a former commander of the Texas Air National Guard, was inducted into the Texas Military Forces’ Hall of Honor during a ceremony held at Camp Mabry, in Austin, May 17, 2014.

Located inside the TXMF Museum, at Camp Mabry, the Hall of Honor was created as a permanent tribute to recognize TXMF members who have made lasting contributions of an outstanding nature to the organization. Induction into the Hall of Honor is the highest form of recognition that may be bestowed upon an individual and is widely recognized as a crowning achievement of a distinguished career.

Driggers, who served his state and nation with honor and distinction for 37 years, beginning in 1955, was one of four honored during the induction ceremony.
He made an extraordinary contribution to the transformation of the TXMF by initiating and commanding the introduction of the C-130 Hercules tactical aircraft at the 136th Airlift Wing, Texas Air National Guard, in Fort Worth.

Driggers changed the outlook and focus of the Texas Air National Guard when he instituted combat training and encouraged closer cooperation with the active duty Air Force. He led Texas ANG aircrews and support personnel from the 136th to participate in Red Flag combat training exercises.

This training outlook improved coordination between the active duty and guard air forces, and was a foundation that was built upon during aerial operations during the Gulf War. This was instrumental in achieving mission success.  

During his time as Texas ANG Commander, Driggers elevated the role and contributions of the Air Guard into TXMF statewide operations. He oversaw the development and construction of Air Guard’s state headquarters building, at Camp Mabry. This led to greater cooperation and missions involving Texas ANG units and the TXMF leadership team.

 “This is a great day for the Texas National Guard,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. John F.  Nichols, the Adjutant General of Texas, recognizing the honorees. “You give service the definition of what it means to be free.”

 

Saturday, May 17, 2014 7:54:00 AM Categories: Blog

Former Texas National Guard State Chief Master Sgt. Harold L. Higgins Jr. inducted into TXMF Hall of Honor 

Commentary courtesy of the Texas Military Forces

Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Harold L. Higgings Jr.AUSTIN, Texas (May 17, 2014) - Retired Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Harold L. Higgins Jr., the former State Chief Master Sgt., Texas Air National Guard, was inducted into the Texas Military Forces’ Hall of Honor during a ceremony held at Camp Mabry, in Austin, May 17, 2014.

Located inside the TXMF Museum, at Camp Mabry, the Hall of Honor was created as a permanent tribute to recognize TXMF members who have made lasting contributions of an outstanding nature to the organization. Induction into the Hall of Honor is the highest form of recognition that may be bestowed upon an individual and is widely recognized as a crowning achievement of a distinguished career.

Higgins, who served his state and nation with honor and distinction for more than 30 years, beginning in 1965, was one of four honored during the induction ceremony.

He had a profound impact on the TXMF by promoting the Professional Development of all Airmen.  Serving as First Sgt., Wing Command Chief and ultimately the Texas State Command Chief, his focus was to provide senior leadership with a professional and capable enlisted force to meet the ever increasing demands, both domestic and deployed. 

Higgins promoted a joint environment at every opportunity, working closely with the State Senior Enlisted Advisor, while also working nationally with the Air National Guard Command Chief Master Sgt.  

During his tenure, the first Command Chief/Command Sgt. Maj. Conference was established to understand the unique, as well as, common issues and seek opportunities for benchmarking successful resolutions. 

Higgins was also appointed as a Region coordinator on the ANG Enlisted Field Advisory Council representing eight states.  As such, his actions touched all ranks from Airman to Chief Master Sgt. by instituting programs such as a the Enlisted Performance Feedback, the National Command Chiefs Orientation Course and a distance learning program. 

His objective to serve Texas and the men and women of the TXMF was accomplished flawlessly and today his legacy lives on in the pride and professionalism of all that wear the uniform and their call to duty.

“This is a great day for the Texas National Guard,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. John F.  Nichols, the Adjutant General of Texas, recognizing the honorees. “You give service the definition of what it means to be free.”

Saturday, May 17, 2014 7:43:00 AM Categories: Blog

Former Texas National Guard State Command Sgt. Maj. Clyde Worrell inducted into TXMF Hall of Honor 

Commentary courtesy of the Texas Military Forces

Sgt. Maj. Clyde WorrellAUSTIN, Texas (May 17, 2014) - Retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Clyde Worrell, the former State Command Sgt. Maj., Texas Army National Guard, was inducted into the Texas Military Forces’ Hall of Honor during a ceremony held at Camp Mabry, in Austin, May 17, 2014.

Located inside the TXMF Museum, at Camp Mabry, the Hall of Honor was created as a permanent tribute to recognize TXMF members who have made lasting contributions of an outstanding nature to the organization. Induction into the Hall of Honor is the highest form of recognition that may be bestowed upon an individual and is widely recognized as a crowning achievement of a distinguished career.

Worrell, who served his state and nation with honor and distinction for more than 40 years, beginning in 1965, was one of four honored during the induction ceremony.

He made an extraordinary and positive difference in the continual transformation of the TXMF by instituting a promotion process in Texas establishing noncommissioned officer promotion boards at the battalion, brigade, division and state level for different ranks, producing a more professional NCO corps promoted on the basis of stringent qualifications and performance.  

Worrell changed the outlook and focus of the organization by instituting a requirement for NCO education to be tied to rank progression, and lobbied successfully at the national level for the creation of Guard/Reserve-friendly course offerings to be completed locally and during drill periods.  

He also shaped the organizational environment for the future by implementing a National Guard Bureau requirement to select, train, promote and assign enlisted personnel through  statewide implementation of meetings and processes designed to make the requirement Texas-specific and soldier-friendly, producing a generation of trained and ready NCO leadership. 

 His contributions created the framework of a professional NCO corps in Texas that has excelled in garrison and in combat.

“This is a great day for the Texas National Guard,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. John F.  Nichols, the Adjutant General of Texas, recognizing the honorees. “You give service the definition of what it means to be free.”

Saturday, May 17, 2014 7:40:00 AM Categories: Blog

City of Sugar Land and State Guard conducting hurricane exercise 

Posted: 15-MAY-14

The City of Sugar Land and the Texas State Guard will hold a full-scale hurricane exercise May 30 through June 1.

Areas of focus will include mass sheltering, evacuation and hazmat response. Exercise participants will work through scenarios that focus on the following objectives:

Resource Coordination: determine strengths and weaknesses in the current plan governing on-scene command and control, emergency operations center operations and coordination of response resources.

Access Control: review plans for area perimeter control, staging and incident command post security.

Sheltering and Housing of Pets: ensure the safety of people and animals.

Hazmat Response: Identify and contain chemical release and ensure the safety of surrounding communities.

The Texas State Guard will provide the necessary manpower to create a realistic shelter operation at Wheeler Fieldhouse in Mercer Stadium, 16403 Lexington Blvd. Partners supporting the exercise include Fort Bend ISD, City of Stafford Emergency Management, Fort Bend County Red Cross and Brazos River Authority.

The exercise will result in a large presence of military personnel and equipment, as well as radio traffic simulating a disaster response.

The purpose of the exercise is to provide participants with an opportunity to evaluate current response concepts, plans and capabilities. The exercise will focus on local emergency responder command and control coordination, critical decisions, notifications and integration of state and federal assets necessary to save lives and protect public health and safety.

http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/fort_bend/news/city-of-sugar-land-and-state-guard-conducting-hurricane-exercise/article_5bcfbd88-e460-538d-a0f7-9e6c26586a13.html

Thursday, May 15, 2014 1:33:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard

2LT Arto Lehtonen Graduates from OCS 

4th Regiment Welcomes Home New Officer

Story by: CW2 Janet Schmelzer, PAO, 4th Regiment
 
Posted: 10-MAY-14

FORT WORTH, TEXAS--On May 10, 2014, 2LT Arto Lehtonen, 4th Regiment, Texas State Guard (TXSG) received his commission following his graduation from the recent Class 13 of the Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas. He returns to the 3rd Battalion, 4th Regiment to assume his new responsibilities as an officer.

Born in Halikko, Finland, Lehtonen grew up on a small dairy farm with his eight siblings. His parents encouraged their children to work hard, study their school lessons, and be responsible individuals.  He joined the local 4H club and served as club president.  He liked to read history books and tinkered with an old tube radio.  "I guess I can say that my dream jobs were either," he remembered, "an engineer or a soldier."  After high school he joined the Finnish Army (military service is mandatory for all males in Finland).  After his service in the army, he then went on to attend the Technical Institute of Turku, graduating with a BS in Telecommunications. 

In 2005 his employer, Nokia, relocated him to Texas and both he and his wife Lilli became naturalized citizens in 2012.  He now is employed by BenefitMall, Inc. as a software developer. 
 
In 2011 Lehtonen joined the TXSG because "I wanted to give back to this society and the TXSG mission sounded like something that I wanted to be involved with."  He has served as a squad leader and platoon sergeant. In deciding to apply for OCS, "I wanted to grow as a leader and OCS is the best leadership training you can get in the TXSG." From OCS he learned both theoretical and practical leadership skills, "some of which I have even been able to use in my civilian job." The most challenging part of OCS, according to Lehtonen, was Military Decision Making Process and Troop Leading Process.  This four-month project required writing WARNOs and OPORDs and the presentation of a briefing on how the processes were used to produce those orders.

Saturday, May 10, 2014 1:33:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard