Posts From July, 2014

Governor Perry tasked us to increase our support 

Photo of MG John F. NicholsJuly 21,2014 - Today, Governor Perry tasked us to increase our support to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Operation Strong Safety. The Texas National Guard will work in full support of this state-led border security surge operation to deter criminal activity along the Texas-Mexico border.  Within the next 30 days we will send additional forces to the border who will act as force multipliers for the state.  

We are not strangers to this mission.  Our forces will enhance security efforts by amplifying the visible presence on the ground and along the river; working alongside commissioned law enforcement officers to detect and prevent criminals from infiltrating through the international border, and helping to ensure the safety of our fellow Texans.  We have performed similar roles in support of various state and federal operations along the border since 2006.  To our Texas Guardsmen already engaged in border support missions, thank you for your selfless service and dedication to this important effort.

To those whom we will send, the state and nation once again need you.  In times of crisis, our civilian leaders call upon us without hesitation.  For many, I know this is not the first call; you’ve been called in the past to serve our state and nation.  Now the Governor of Texas is calling you to help secure our homeland.  Times of great need are why we wear the uniform and serve.  Times like these are why the Texas Guard exists.   

The citizens of Texas continue to honor us with their absolute trust and confidence.  They do so because they understand what I see every day:  you stand ready and willing to serve, whatever the call may be.  And I couldn’t be more proud of you.

This is a critical moment in our state and nation.  I’m thankful that at moments like this, Texas can rely on you for its safety and security.  Texas Strong!    

 

//Signed//

John F. Nichols
MAJOR General, TXANG
Adjutant General

 

 

 Letter from the Adjutant General

Monday, July 21, 2014 10:40:00 AM Categories: Texas Army National Guard

Texas State Guardsmen jumps into action! 

Photo of the burning motorcycle.

By: LTC Cendy Antley, 2nd Regiment

Posted: 18-JUL-14

We all know Texas State Guard members are people who give of themselves selflessly to the citizens of the state of Texas.  Saturday, July 16, 2014 was no different.  On Interstate 35 South at Waco, CPL Michael Dunlap witnessed what few would ever want to see in their lifetime.

At approximately 5:45 p.m. CPL Dunlap was driving home to Austin when he witnessed a motorcycle in the right hand lane, on its side, on fire, with the driver lying in the lane not moving.  Fuel was running down the overpass on fire.  Without hesitation, CPL Dunlap stopped his car, checked to make sure the scene was safe, and pulled the driver of the motorcycle to safety with the assistance of a truck driver.

The motorcycle driver was conscious and answer pertinent questions posed by the CPL.  While no one Texas State Guard member expects to put their life on the line to save a stranger, we are very proud of CPL Michael Dunlap as he exemplifies what a State Guardsman is made of. CPL Michael Dunlap is the true grit of a Texas State Guard.  Bravo Zulu.

Friday, July 18, 2014 11:45:00 AM Categories: Texas State Guard

Chief Petty Officer Nathan Gilbert Promoted to Senior Chief Petty Officer 

By: CMSgt Paul Lankford, 5th AW Public Affairs Officer

Posted: 17-JUL-14

Members of the Del Rio JOIC stood in formation as Col Hamilton and Maj Kali Pinckney, Commander of the 449th ASG, pinned on his new rank.   Col Hamilton explained, “I’m pleased to promote CPO Gilbert to SCPO.  Chief Gilbert began his TXSG career with the Army side, later when TMAR stood up, he transferred to that component.”
Members of the Del Rio JOIC stood in formation as Col Hamilton and Maj Kali Pinckney, Commander of the 449th ASG, pinned on his new rank.   Col Hamilton explained, “I’m pleased to promote CPO Gilbert to SCPO.  Chief Gilbert began his TXSG career with the Army side, later when TMAR stood up, he transferred to that component.” 

Del Rio—During a July 15th Staff Assistance Visit, Operation Border Star OIC Col Thomas Hamilton, promoted Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Nathan Gilbert to Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO). SCPO Gilbert is the Training Officer for the Del Rio Joint Operations Intelligence Center (JOIC).

SCPO Gilbert’s home unit is TMAR 1st BN located at the Rosenberg, TX Armory. SCPO is the N-1 Personnel Actions Officer for TMAR 1st BN.

“The ‘Top Three,’ within the enlisted naval ranks of TMAR are the Chief Petty Officer, the Senior Chief Petty Officer, and the Master Chief Petty Officer,” said Col Hamilton. On April 1, 1893, the grade of Chief Petty Officer was established, and effective June 1, 1958 the grade of Senior Chief and Master Chief were created. The Chief Petty Officers (CPO) serve a dual role as both technical experts and as leaders, with the emphasis being more on leadership; including the recognized collateral duty of training newly commissioned Junior Officers. CPO’s are, in essence, the middle managers of the Navy, the Chief is in charge of getting the work done through the junior enlisted.

Arthur J. Miller, Border Liaison Officer Del Rio for Operation Border Star (OBS) said, “SCPO Gilbert is very deserving of this promotion. He is the JOIC Training Officer, who is responsible of not only new-hire training, but refresher training on OBS JOIC procedures.”

After the promotion ceremony, members of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Del Rio Border Intelligence Center (BIC) and TXSG members of the JOIC congratulated SCPO Gilbert during a promotion reception in the JOIC.

Thursday, July 17, 2014 11:46:00 AM Categories: Texas State Guard

Memoirs from a Deployment 

Memoirs from a Deployment

27 March

There's nothing like deployment preparation to make you go crazy. For example, prior to coming here we were told that we were getting issued cold weather gear and that we could only bring one duffle bag, so none of us packed any cold weather gear. However, after arriving, we were told that no, we are not getting cold weather gear issued anymore. And of course, when we were told to only bring one duffle, makeup and cute civilian outfits took precedence over my fleece. 

Yesterday, we got issued our multi cam uniforms, complete with a new pair of boots. A least, everyone else got a new pair of boots. I unfortunately wear a size 2.5 extra wide, and those never seem to be in supply (or anywhere else for that matter). So it's no surprise.  A friend of mine who deployed with me was slightly upset. It sucks but I really try not to let it bring me down too much. There are worse things to be upset over, like standing outside in sub freezing temperatures with no cold weather gear. 

The other girls here seem ok; I am slowly starting to warm up to them. I never get too close to anyone right away. I like to step back and observe everyone's personalities before I say much to anyone. Hopefully there won't be too much drama.  This is one of the reasons why I've made it in the military for so long. It's important to keep an equal mix in gender around to keep everyone in check. I'm glad my friend is here with me though; she gets me, understands my need for quiet time and shares an appreciation for makeup, which we have decided we won't be giving up for this deployment.

Part 1 of a 13 part miniseries following the personal memoirs of a TXMF soldier.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 9:51:00 AM Categories: Blog

447th Air Support Group Change of Command 

By: CMSgt Paul Lankford, 5th Air Wing Public Affairs Officer

Posted: 15-JUL-14

Col Thomas (Pre) Ball (left) presents the 447th ASG Guidon to Lt Col Barry Dolgow, new Commander 447th ASG (right), while Lt Col Patrick Cassidy, former commander looks on (center). (Photos by Capt Shawn James)
Col Thomas (Pre) Ball (left) presents the 447th ASG Guidon to Lt Col Barry Dolgow, new Commander 447th ASG (right), while Lt Col Patrick Cassidy, former commander looks on (center). (Photos by Capt Shawn James)

Houston, TX—Col Thomas Ball, 5th Air Wing Commander, conducted a promotion and change of command ceremony at the 447th Air Support Group located at the Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Houston, TX on Saturday July 12th. Col Ball promoted Maj Barry Dolgow to Lieutenant Colonel and then transferred command of the 447th Air Support Group from Lt Col Patrick Cassidy to Lt Col Dolgow. Lt Col Cassidy will be joining the 5th Air Wing staff as the Logistics officer.

Mrs. Dolgow assisted Col Ball in pinning on the new rank on Lt Col Dolgow. Col Ball said, “I’m pleased to promote Maj Dolgow to Lieutenant Colonel. He has had an incredible military career with the Navy as a Navy Flight Officer; he conducted two combat tours in Viet Nam as a F-4 Phantom Radar Intercept Officer, logged over 2,000 flight hours, 400 carrier landings, and completed 99 combat missions. Lt Col Dolgow will be a credit to the Texas State guard and the 447th Air Support Group.

Lt Col Dolgow joined the Texas State Guard over a year ago, and will begin the Command and General Staff College course July 25th at Camp Mabry in Austin, TX.

Lt Col Doglow assumes command of the 447th Air Support Group from Lt Col Patrick M. Cassidy, who served 9 years in the Naval Submarine service. Col Ball explained, “Lt Col Cassidy was assigned as a Missile Technician aboard the USS Michigan and later was an instructor at the Trident Training Facility, Naval Submarine Base, Silverdale, Washington.” Lt Col Cassidy has been a member of the Texas State Guard since June 2000, and supported relief efforts after hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Humberto , Alex, Dean and Gustav.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 11:48:00 AM Categories: Texas State Guard

A House for the Military 

Theresa Johnson, Fort Hood Fisher House volunteer, spoke with soldiers assigned to the Joint Force Headquarters, Texas National Guard about the services Fisher Houses around the world offer, in a presentation July 12, 2014 at Camp Mabry in Austin.

Commentary by: Capt. Martha Nigrelle

AUSTIN, Texas – A serious injury or illness often means an extended stay in a hospital with numerous follow up appointments during the recovery period. For many service members this means a lengthy visit in or near a military hospital to receive care from military providers. During this time, loved ones might spend a large sum of money to be there for their service member, or in the worst case scenario, because the cost of hotels and plane fare is too expensive, that service member won’t have a loved one by his or her side.

The Fisher House Foundation was created to help military families during these times. 

Theresa Johnson, Fort Hood Fisher House volunteer, spoke with soldiers assigned to the Joint Force Headquarters, Texas National Guard about the services Fisher Houses around the world offer, in a presentation July 12, 2014 at Camp Mabry in Austin. 

“This training is very important,” said Maj. David Tyler, commander, Joint Force Headquarters, Texas Military Forces. “This is a benefit that a lot of Texas National Guard soldiers don’t know about.”

Johnson told soldiers how she started volunteering at the Fisher House at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, and has since volunteered with a Fisher House in Hawaii and Fort Hood in Texas. 

“It’s like a hotel with no maids,” said Johnson, explaining that the Fisher House is a home available to the loved ones of any military patient being seen at nearby military medical facilities. 

The only requirement for staying at a Fisher House is that the service member being seen must have a military identification card. For the loved ones, Fisher House will never ask to see military orders or a military identification card, making it possible for parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, significant others and friends to stay at the Fisher House.

“I’m glad we had this training,” said Sgt. 1st Class Pablo Martinez, Joint Force Headquarters, Texas Military Forces. “I knew injured people went to Fisher Houses. I didn’t know families could go, too. I think this should be mandatory training for everyone in the military.”

The Fisher House also helps family members purchase plane tickets and pay for hotel rooms, if a Fisher House is unavailable, Johnson said. 
Anyone can donate frequent flyer miles and hotel points to the Fisher House Foundation, and the Foundation then uses those miles and hotel points to pay for family members who need help getting to their loved one. 

“My son got into a car accident that almost took his life,” said Johnson. Following this, the Fisher House Foundation paid for her plane ticket and put her up in a Fisher Home while her son was recovering. "If you have ever donated your frequent flyer miles to Fisher House, I want to thank you. That paid for my plane ticket to see my son when he needed me,” she said.

This year, the Fort Hood Fisher House is organizing a “Fallen Hero Remembrance Run, Walk or Roll 8K” to honor service members who made the ultimate sacrifice. Johnson said her goal is to collect 7,000 combat boots, one for every service member who lost their life since 9/11. Each boot will have a picture attached to it for the service member it represents. These boots will be displayed in a field on Fort Hood during the event Nov. 1, 2014, there. 
“There is no cost. They’ve already paid the price,” said Johnson.

Anyone can participate in the event. The unit that has the most service members participate will receive a bronzed set of combat boots. Johnson is still looking to collect old combat boots. With only about 1,000 collected so far, she has a long way to go.

For members of the Texas Military Forces wishing to donate, Sgt. Brandon Ancar, with Joint Force Headquarters, will be collecting boots for Johnson in the Joint Force Headquarters orderly room in Building 8 on Camp Mabry.

There are 45 Fisher Houses in the United States, seven located right inside of Texas in Dallas, El Paso, Fort Hood, San Antonio and Houston, there are even two Fisher Houses located overseas in Germany and the United Kingdom. According to foundation records, upon completion of each home, the Fisher House Foundation donates the home to the U.S. government as a gift and each home is run as a non-profit organization primarily on donations.

Fisher House is for all service members, National Guard, Reserve or Active, Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine or Coast Guard.

“Fisher House is about being a family,” said Johnson. “I want you to know we are just down the street. We’re there for you.”

For more information on the Fisher House Foundation visit the website at www.fisherhouse.org. For more information on the Fort Hood Fisher House visit the website www.crdamc.amedd.army.mil/fisher/ or www.facebook.com/fthood.fisherhouse

 

Monday, July 14, 2014 1:50:00 PM Categories: Blog

Texas State Guard Keeps Citizens Safe During Celebrations 

Posted: Friday, July 04, 2014

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Whether you choose to celebrate with a picnic in unfamiliar territory like several UT Austin fans – or take a tour of Independence Hall – there is no shortage of activities for today's Independence Day celebration.
But, for the men and women of the Texas State Guard – they enjoyed celebrating America's birthday all suited up and eager to keep you safe.

“The sense of pride of just being here and being able to serve other fellow Texans within the guard and outside the guard has always been a great thing for me,” said Texas State Guard soldier, Thomas Coleman.

"The Texas State Guard is about Texans serving Texans. We are here to volunteer our time to be able to perform a defense support and civil authorities mission at this commission,” said Texas State Guard soldier, Sgt. Jeff Gore.

Back at the command center – they prepare for today's patriotic mission at Washington on the Brazos Park by first briefing the soldiers before sending them to their assignments.

And it's safe to say – Park Director, Catherine Nolte appreciates their hard work.

"Those folks are absolutely crucial to the success and the pleasure that our visitors can have here,” Nolte said.

While their main mission is to assist during a state emergency, one of their duties this afternoon is just to make sure everyone gets in and out safely and enjoy the holiday without any issues.

As visitors listen in on the tour and others carve wood for the first time, guard members grab their gear and stand their post – all while remembering their own favorite holiday moments.

“I guess it's always been the fireworks – coming out and seeing them and participating in the fireworks,” Coleman added.

If you're in the Washington County area – festivities will last until 9 p.m.

Friday, July 4, 2014 11:50:00 AM Categories: Texas State Guard