Posts From August, 2014

Gov. Perry Appoints Brigadier General Betty as Commander of Texas State Guard 

Posted: 20-AUG-14

Gov. Perry Appoints Brigadier General Betty as Commander of Texas State Guard

Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Brigadier General Gerald "Jake" Betty as Commander of the Texas State Guard effective Sept. 1, 2014 for a term to expire at the pleasure of the governor. The commander of the Texas State Guard is responsible for the organization, training and administration of the Texas State Guard, and reports to the Texas Adjutant General.

Betty is Brigadier General of the Texas State Guard Army Component Command. He is a member of the American Legion, Association of Former Students of Texas A&M, Corps of Cadets Association and the Association of Former Yell Leaders. He served in the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve.

Betty received a bachelor's degree and master's degree in education administration from Texas A&M University.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 11:42:00 AM Categories: Texas State Guard

2BN, 8th Regiment Changing of Command and Enlistment Promotions 

Posted: 19-AUG-2014

2BN, 8th Regiment Changing of Command and Enlistment Promotions

MAJ Britton presents LTC Krueger with the Cavalry Saber from the 2nd Bn. Photographed by SPC Hays, 2nd Bn., 8th Regt. 16 AUG 2014
MAJ Britton presents LTC Krueger with the Cavalry Saber from the 2nd Bn. Photographed by SPC Hays, 2nd Bn., 8th Regt. 16 AUG 2014

It was already turning out to be a warm and humid Saturday even in the early hour of only seven-thirty in the morning. After pulling into the parking lot at the Bryan Armory several soldiers from Second Battalion were greeting each-other with warm handshakes and friendly banter. A steady stream of soldiers continued to arrive and, now numbering in the dozens, file into the classrooms inside the armory for company time. Once there the battalion companies briefly split into separate groups to review the process for the Second Battalion change of command ceremony and the promotion of four of the battalions enlisted personnel. After briefing the personnel verbally the companies rehearsed the Drill and Ceremony movements and functions before the ceremony itself took place in the vehicle bay of the armory.

The first round of ceremonies consisted of the promotion of four enlisted personnel in the Second Battalion from within Company A, and in the Second Battalion staff. Sergeant Gore, the Second Battalion S3 NCO, was promoted to Staff Sergeant, and Specialist Zelaya of Company A was promoted to Sergeant, and Privates First Class Manning and Hall, also of Company A, were promoted to Corporal and Specialist respectively. These enlisted men of the Second Battalion have demonstrated the dedication and competency of leadership necessary to be entrusted with greater responsibility and recognition deserving of promotion within the ranks. We look forward to their promising careers within the Texas State Guard and the Second Battalion.

Alas, all good things must come to an end, and the ceremony of the change of command of the Second Battalion resulted in the prestigious promotion of responsibility for one Major (MAJ) Britton to the role of commanding officer of the battalion, and the bittersweet loss of the outgoing commander of Second Battalion: Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Krueger. LTC Krueger, having inherited the Second Battalion from LTC Manning upon his retirement, set about creating the framework for a more consistent and quality focused training scheme for the soldiers of the Second Battalion. After working tirelessly with the Second Battalion for several years LTC Krueger has helped bring about many changes and improvements to the organization, efficiency, and quality of the personnel and training drills conducted by the Second Battalion.

As testament to LTC Krueger’s humility and exemplary leadership while in command he stressed in his farewell speech that his successes are not his own, but a result of the collective effort of each and every soldier in the unit. Each drill that saw an increase in the number of attending soldiers, every successful training mission undertaken by the unit, and the exemplary professionalism displayed at every Annual Training exercise is as much a reflection of the discipline of the men and women of the rank-and-file of Second Battalion as it is the quality of leadership from Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers alike. With Colonel Grantham, the Commanding Officer of the Eighth Regiment, presiding over the change of command, and with General Jake Betty in attendance, the mantle of responsibility for Second Battalion was passed to MAJ Britton.

Incoming commander of the Second Battalion, MAJ Britton, gave a short speech emphasizing that he will continue to build on the success of those before him, and presented the outgoing commander with a parting gift from the soldiers of the unit: A Cavalry Saber etched with the insignia of the Eighth Regiment shield, and the words “Texas State Guard” with a wooden display stand and an attached plaque inscribed with the name of LTC Krueger, the date and the purpose of the occasion for which it was presented. In the closing statements of the ceremony MAJ Britton wished LTC Krueger the best in his endeavors as he transfers to Texas State Guard Command Headquarters to continue doing greater and better things for the TXSG. LTC Krueger, we soldiers of the Second Battalion thank you for your dedication to us and for your service rendered thus far to our great State of Texas. You shall be sorely missed.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 11:43:00 AM Categories: Texas State Guard

Memoirs from a Deployment 

Memoirs from a Deployment

3/29

I never meant to join the Army. 

I was nineteen and stuck in a volatile marriage to my high school sweetheart who had just finished the Special Forces Qualification Course the year before. By our one year anniversary our fights were getting worse every day and I knew something had to change. So I enlisted and two weeks later I shipped off to basic training, followed by language school at the Defense Language Institute. I didn't tell my husband what I had done until the contract was signed.

I graduated from the Basic Korean course in July of 2002. By January of 2003 I was arriving to my duty station at Fort Campbell. During the two years of language school my husband and I fought constantly, but decided to give our marriage one more chance.  Then war was declared on Iraq. So my husband left for Kuwait a mere three weeks after I arrived at Ft Campbell. Six weeks later, I would follow him.

Preparing for the Iraq deployment was difficult. I was essentially a brand new soldier who had been issued mounds of equipment that I had no idea what to do with. I was also extremely broke, and had developed some questionable means to make it to the next payday. I was the queen of floating checks and lived on peanut butter and jelly. I didn't get to buy any of the "cool guy" Army gear but made do with what I was issued. The day before we left, I patched up a busted out window in our rented house with newspaper and duct tape.

A few months into my deployment I received a message that my husband was sick and was sent back to the states on emergency leave. His prognosis was extremely poor. His family took over his care, and persuaded me to sign over legal guardianship since I was so young, only twenty two. I never returned to Iraq, which was always an internal struggle for me; I hated leaving my team who had become my family in a short time but my husband had only been given six months to live.

His parents kept him alive in a persistent vegetative state for five years, with the help of feeding tubes, supplemental oxygen, and other great advances in modern medicine. During this time I decided that the enlisted life wasn't for me. I got selected for a Green to Gold scholarship and went to college, where I got a BSN. I had become pretty good at providing care, so why not get a degree in that? 

My husband passed away during my senior year of college. Shortly after, I graduated and commissioned as a 2nd Lt.  in the Army Nurse Corps. I changed my name back to my maiden name and moved. I thought that if I changed everything about myself, I could erase the past from my memory. It doesn't really work that way, especially since I became a nurse.

I've been a nurse at a military medical center since the fall of 2009. I initially worked caring for the wounded warriors. It was incredibly rewarding and emotionally taxing at the same time, and after a couple of years, I was ready for a change. 

Preparing for this deployment has been a complete 180 from the Iraq deployment ten years ago. I was able to afford cooler gear such as new Oakleys, as well as a spa day the week before I left. The girl who wrote hot checks to pay the light bill is a distant figure in the past.

The week before I left, I was invited to a function at the White House as a guest of a good friend, for Women's History Month. It was a cold, wet Monday afternoon in March. All of my nice clothing had been packed away in storage with the rest of my apartment, to include my umbrella. I was wearing the best outfit I could scrounge up and looked like a drowned rat next to all of the other women in their beautiful dresses and elegant coats. I almost turned around to leave, not wanting to embarrass anyone when it finally dawned on me. I am a female soldier going to Afghanistan to serve my country. I may not look my best, but that's OK.

Part 2 of a 13 part miniseries following the personal memoirs of a TXMF soldier

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 2:05:00 PM Categories: Blog