Posts in Category: Texas State Guard

Texas State Guard Medical Brigade Assists Texans in Hour of Need

By: Brig. Gen. David Cohen

Sgt. William Alford, Tyler Medical Response Group, Texas State Guard assists with the flow of patients during Operation Lone Star 2013 in Brownsville, TX. Operation Lone Star serves as the only access to medical care that residents of the South Texas Border Region have to medical care or doctors. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spec. Aaron Moreno.)
Sgt. William Alford, Tyler Medical Response Group, Texas State Guard assists with the flow of patients during Operation Lone Star 2013 in Brownsville, TX. Operation Lone Star serves as the only access to medical care that residents of the South Texas Border Region have to medical care or doctors. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spec. Aaron Moreno.)

The Medical Brigade of the Texas State Guard is an important medical reserve that the Governor of Texas can draw upon in response to disasters in Texas. As part of the Texas Military Forces, the Medical Brigade, along with the rest of the Texas State Guard, and the Army and Air National Guards, is ready to respond when Texans are in need.

Brig. Gen. David J. Cohen, M.D., M.P.A. is the new commanding officer of the Texas Medical Brigade. He was appointed to the position and also promoted to brigadier general in the Texas State Guard recently.

Brig. Gen. Cohen is a cardiothoracic surgeon, Adjunct Professor of Surgery at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and a member of the Bexar County Medical Society.

“We train to respond, and we do respond quickly,” said Brig. Gen. Cohen. “We can put State Guardsmen in the field faster than the National Guard can move and thus help Texans more quickly.”

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.

In the last few years the Medical Brigade of the TXSG has provided clinics at disaster shelters during and after hurricanes. These included the devastating hurricanes of Katrina, Rita, and Ike, as well as others. “During these and other hurricanes, the Medical Brigade manned medical clinics at some of the evacuation sites, or provided shelter management or public health services,” said Brig. Gen. Cohen.

The Medical Brigade and the TXSG are not a part of the United States Armed Forces and cannot be activated by the President for federal duty or for duty outside of the United States. As part of the Texas Military Forces it serves only in Texas, or rarely in neighboring states. The Commander in Chief is Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas.

“The Medical Brigade is very active in the area of community service to Texans,” said Brig. Gen. Cohen. “Each summer the Medical Brigade is very active in Operation Lone Star in the Rio Grande Valley. We helped staff five free clinics this summer and in 2013 over a one week period provided over 42,000 services to over 9,000 people.” Services at Operation Lone Star included primary medical care, dental care, and even free eye examinations and glasses.
“The Medical Brigade of the Texas State Guard is very active in the community, even when there are not disasters,” said Brig. Gen. Cohen. “We think of ourselves as Texans Helping Texans.”

Other recent community service events have included staffing first aid sites for the 13,000 bicycle riders of the annual Multiple Sclerosis150 mile Houston to Austin bicycle ride, and supplementing University of Texas Medical Branch emergency providers at the Wings over Houston Air Show.

Texas State Guard personnel actively support the state in the event of catastrophic events, and ongoing state military missions. Members receive duty pay [currently $121 daily, regardless of rank] when activated by the Governor and placed on paid state active duty for a limited number of mandatory training days. Certain expenses may be paid in case the guardsman is called to state active duty for disaster response -- for example -- car mileage, housing, and meals costs.

The Texas State Guard consists of six Civil Affairs Regiments, two Air Wings, the Medical Brigade and a Maritime Regiment. Members' entry rank depends on prior

Getting shots is part of the care provided at Operation Lone Star, a joint civilian and military operation each summer in South Texas. Personnel of the Medical Brigade of the Texas State Guard contribute significantly to mission success. (Photo by Texas Air Guard Senior Master Sgt. Michael Arellano.)
Getting shots is part of the care provided at Operation Lone Star, a joint civilian and military operation each summer in South Texas. Personnel of the Medical Brigade of the Texas State Guard contribute significantly to mission success. (Photo by Texas Air Guard Senior Master Sgt. Michael Arellano.)

federal military service and/or civilian education. Individuals with no prior military service or ROTC training must attend the Basic Orientation Training (BOT) course. Currently, BOT lasts one or two weekends, depending upon how it is structured. Licensed medical personnel typically serve as officers, often entering with advanced rank. Personnel must be between ages 17 and 70 or when joining, but may continue to serve after age 70, depending upon health and needs of the Guard.

The organizational structure follows the federal military component structure, with comparable positions, ranks, protocols, and authorities. TXSG personnel are eligible for the same State issued military awards and decorations as members of the Texas Army and Air National Guard.

The Texas military uniform worn by most of the Texas State Guard is similar to US Army's Army Combat Uniform military uniform but with Texas markings; the Maritime Regiment's uniform is similar to the Marine's MARPAT Digital Desert uniform. Air units wear a Texas variation of the U.S. Air Force uniform.

The TXSG is headquartered at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas. It functions under the authority of Title 32 of the U.S. Code and Chapter 431 of the Texas Government Code.

The Chief Military Officer is Major General John F. Nichols, the Texas Adjutant General.

Personnel living in and near Bexar County who want more information about joining the Alamo Group of the Texas Medical Brigade can send an email to the commanding officer COL (TX) James Gardon, at email james.gardon@txsg.state.tx.us

Brigadier General Jake Betty, Colonel Paul Watkins and Lieutenant Colonel Pedro Barreda Coined by the 4th Regiment

By: Capt. Esperanza Meza
Texas State Guard Public Affairs
Phone: 817-733-6269
Email: esperanza.meza@txsg.state.tx.us

DATE: 2/19/14

TEXAS STATE GUARD ESTABLISHES NEW UNIT IN LONGVIEW, TEXAS

DALLAS – The Texas State Guard (TXSG) has established a new unit in Longview, Tx. The 3rd Battalion, 19th Civil Affairs Regiment will begin regular training at the Longview Fire Training Academy this summer and is currently recruiting to reach its strength of 60 personnel.

The 3rd Battalion is part of the 19th Civil Affairs Regiment, which includes additional units in Dallas and Greenville. The mission of the 19th Civil Affairs Regiment is to provide mission-ready military forces to assist state and local authorities in times of emergencies and disasters.

“Texas State Guard volunteers come from every walk of life, men and women, with and without prior military service,” said Col. Robert Hastings, commander of the 19th Regiment.

The Longview unit is recruiting for members in the counties of Panola, Rusk, Cherokee, Smith, Wood, Upshur, Gregg, Harrison, Marion, Cass, Morris, Camp, and Bowie. Membership is open to Texas residents, age 17 to 70, and in good health.

“The Texas State Guard is a great organization for people looking to combine a public service opportunity with adventure and military service,” said Col. Robert Hastings. “Whether you served in the military before and would like to rejoin a military organization, or you’ve never served but just thought about it, TXSG provides a unique opportunity for military service within the state.”

The TXSG is the state's volunteer military agency; trained, organized and ready to respond when a disaster strikes and Texans need help. The TXSG is comprised of more than 2000 volunteers organized into four components – Army, Air, Medical and Maritime – with individual units assigned throughout the state. The 19th Civil Affairs Regiment trains to execute the following missions:

  Mass care sheltering
  Emergency communications
  Special needs evacuation tracking
  Wide area damage assessment
  Urban search & rescue

In recent years, the TXSG has been called to active duty for hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, and wildfires. TXSG is the lead military component for Operation Lone Star in the Rio Grande Valley – the state’s annual humanitarian medical mission – and provides support to the state’s annual Oral Rabies Vaccination Program and the Joint Operations Intelligence Center.

TXSG personnel train one weekend per month and attend a four-day annual training exercise.

For more information about the Texas State Guard, call 469-554-TXSG or go to: https://tmd.texas.gov/state-guard

LTC Grantham Takes Command of the 8th Regiment

By: SSG Malana Nall
HQ, 8th Civil Affairs Regt., TXSG
Email: malana.nall@txsg.state.tx.us

LTC E. A. "Buddy" Grantham Takes Command Of Texas State Guard's 8th Regiment

Photo: (Credit-SSG Malana Nall) LTC Buddy Grantham holds the regimental colors after accepting command of the 8th Regiment from Brigadier General Jake Betty
Photo: (Credit-SSG Malana Nall)
LTC Buddy Grantham holds the regimental colors after accepting command of the 8th Regiment from Brigadier General Jake Betty

HOUSTON, TX – Lieutenant Colonel E.A. "Buddy" Grantham assumed command of the Houston based 8th Regiment of the Texas State Guard from outgoing Colonel John Carpenter. The change of command ceremony took place at the National Guard Armory in Houston, Texas.

The 8th, the largest of the Army Component’s six regiments, encompasses 33 Counties along the Texas Gulf Coast. LTC Grantham, a resident of Houston and retired United States Army Officer, commands units based in Houston, Bryan, Huntsville, Nacogdoches and Beaumont. These units and their highly trained soldiers work with local emergency management personnel to protect citizens of the state of Texas during times of natural or manmade disasters.

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

The Texas State Guard (TXSG) is one of three branches of the Texas Military Forces (TXMF), reporting to the Texas Adjutant General, Major General John F. Nichols, located at Texas Military Forces HQ, Camp Mabry (Austin), Texas. 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 (TXARNG) and the Texas Air National Guard (TXANG).

4th Regiment - Texas Military Forces have two new soldiers

Story by: CW2 Janet Schmelzer, PAO, 4th Regiment

Posted: 07-FEB-2014

PFC Andy Ritter and PV2 Amanda Ritter Join at the Same Time

(Left to right) Chief Warrant Officer James Smith swears in PFC Andy Ritter into the Texas National Guard and PV2 Amanda Ritter into the Texas State Guard on January 5, 2014. Photo by CW2 Janet Schmelzer, PAO, 4th Regiment.
(Left to right) Chief Warrant Officer James Smith swears in PFC Andy Ritter into the Texas National Guard and PV2 Amanda Ritter into the Texas State Guard on January 5, 2014. Photo by CW2 Janet Schmelzer, PAO, 4th Regiment.

On January 5, 2014, husband PFC Andy Ritter and wife PV2 Amanda Ritter were sworn into two different components of the Texas Military Forces.  PFC Ritter joined the Texas Army National Guard and PV2 Amanda Ritter joined the Texas State Guard (TXSG), 2nd Battalion.  Chief Warrant Officer James Smith, 4th Regiment, TXSG, swore in the two soldiers.
PFC Ritter served for three and a half years in the U. S. Army in the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning, Georgia.  He was a Bradley driver and Cavalry Scout.  He is from El Campo, Texas.

PV2 Ritter decided that she wanted to “serve my state and be a part of a real life experience” as a soldier in the TXSG.  Ritter is from San Antonio, Texas.  She is presently attending the University of Texas at Arlington and plans on applying for the Tuition benefit offered by the Texas State Guard to complete her degree. The Ritters have been married for two and a half years and live in Arlington, Texas.

Texas Medical Brigade holds Change of Command

Posted on: 26 Jan 2014

Texas Medical Brigade holds Change of Command

Story by: SSG Timothy Pruitt, Texas State Guard PAO

Camp Mabry, Texas – On Sunday January 26, 2014, the Texas Medical Brigade held a change of command ceremony to honor the outgoing commander, BG Luis Fernandez, and the incoming commander, BG David Cohen.

Photo of Change of CommandPhoto of Change of Command 2

Two Del Rio JOIC Analyst Receive Texas Homeland Defense Service Medals

The Two with the awardsDel Rio, TX—During a staff assistance visit, Operation Border Star Officer In Charge Col. Thomas Hamilton presented two members of the Joint Operations Intelligence Center (JOIC) the Texas Homeland Defense Service Medal.

Chief Master Sergeant Paul Lankford, Operations Manager of the Del Rio JOIC, and Staff Sergeant Jane Stahl, senior mission support specialist, were presented the medals on January 2, 2014 during a Texas State Guard staff assistance visit. The medals were awarded for, “Satisfactory service in defense support to the State of Texas under civilian authority.”

The JOIC, managed by Border Liaison Officer (BLO) Arthur J. Miller, provides border intelligence report products to local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to aid in combating border related crime. Miller, a retired Texas Ranger, said, “We daily receive law enforcement reports from law enforcement agencies in our eight county area of operation (AOR), process them, add them to our data bases, then send out daily, weekly, and monthly intelligence reports.” He said the JOIC gets requests for special project-intelligence-reports, and is able to customize its data-base-stored information into the report format that is most useable for that agency.

Miller said his team works hand-in-hand with the Del Rio Sector Border Intelligence Center (BIC) daily, and each shares information with the other. “In fact, when Border Patrol needs air support, members of the JOIC dispatch the Department of Public Safety (DPS) helicopter to help out. It could be to locate illegal aliens in the brush, lost parties, rescue missions, or other humanitarian efforts.”

Additionally, the JOIC sends out BOLOs, Officer Safety and Awareness Bulletins, Training Bulletins, and Concealment Bulletins.

The Del Rio JOIC’s AOR consists of the following counties: Val Verde, Zavala, Dimmit, Uvalde, Real, Edwards, Maverick, and Kinney. The JOIC is funded by Operation Border Star funds, which also helps provide grant money for enhanced operations in its AOR to combat drug smuggling, alien smuggling, weapon and ammunition smuggling, and cash smuggling.

TXSG Trains for Emergency Response

Posted on: 14-JAN-14

Story by: Capt. Esperanza Meza

PFC Bannister and PFC Becker evacuate role player, SGT Cherie Southard from 4th Regiment, away from the mocked gas leak area.
PFC Bannister and PFC Becker evacuate role player, SGT Cherie Southard from 4th Regiment, away from the mocked gas leak area.

STEPHENVILLE, Texas – Tarleton State University and other local Stephenville landmarks served as training sites for a hurricane spawned tornado that caused wide spread damage as part of the scenario this past weekend. Wide Area Damage Assessment (WADA) and shelter management training were part of the tasks conducted by the volunteer citizen soldiers as observers, from TSU Emergency Management and TXSG HQ staff monitored the exercise to ensure effective communications with other key military and civilian personnel.

TXSG Major Wendell Sadler, Tarleton professor and key member in planning the event stated, “The goal of the exercise was to impress upon the TXSG, local authorities and private agencies, that disasters are going to happen and that we need to have a structure to implement,” he said. “Whether it’s setting up a shelter, a point of distribution (POD) for supplies or providing a meal, each agency must be in place to be fit into that structure in a support role.”

Local areas utilized for shelters were the Paradigm building of First Baptist Church, the National Guard Amory, Stephenville Parks and Recreation gym, the former firehouse on Harbin and Tarleton State University. The Texan Stars dance team and Rock House Residents from TSU also participated in a significant manner as role players.

Training provided Saturday morning and afternoon were necessary to keep the troop’s skills sharpened and ready for any emergency they may encounter. Two regiments, 19th and 4th along with members from 4th Air Wing, plus personnel from the Tyler Medical Unit and Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) were deployed by short briefs sent out at different times by the main operations center as to where to travel to and given instructions of their tasks for the mission, then report back to their perspective units.

TXSG representatives, Brigadier General Jake Betty, the Deputy Commanding General of the Texas State Guard, Colonel Paul Watkins, Chief of Staff, Army and

19th Regiment 1st Battalion troops, (L) PFC Joshua Smith and (R) PFC Hunter Becker, carry one of the Texan Star dance team members, Nichole Fort, playing as the injured victim, for medical attention during the WADA exercise while Callie Childers, Texan Star, PFC John Rizo (L) and PFC Ronny Bannister(R) look on.
19th Regiment 1st Battalion troops, (L) PFC Joshua Smith and (R) PFC Hunter Becker, carry one of the Texan Star dance team members, Nichole Fort, playing as the injured victim, for medical attention during the WADA exercise while Callie Childers, Texan Star, PFC John Rizo (L) and PFC Ronny Bannister(R) look on.

Lieutentant Colonel Pedro Barreda, G3 Operations, were on site in the operations center to evaluate the event and provide feedback. Chief Warrant Officer 2, Janet Schmelzer, also a Tarleton professor, served as liaison between the member agencies and TXSG. Tarleton student and TXSG member, Private First Class (PFC) James Ford, from 4th Regiment, served as part of the exercise.

New 19th Regiment TXSG member, Private First Class (PFC) Zaw Muang, participating in his first exercise stated, “I have never been a victim of a natural disaster and stayed in a shelter. The exercise gave me a different perspective and related me back to Katrina in being more sympathetic to the needs of the victims.”

One new addition in the scenario involved ATMOS Energy in creating a mock gas leak while the troops were conducting WADA. As explained by Jimmy Little, an ATMOS employee and observer, “When you have a natural disaster, like a tornado, you are going to have gas meters blown away and exposed broken lines and this is to teach them to recognize the hazards and block the area off till the gas company comes around.”

“The gas leak exercise is to identify and create a safe zone which is upwind from the leak to where you do not smell it,” added Renea Price, another ATMOS employee. “Once you smell it, you are not supposed to stand in front of it and make a phone call or use your radio and stay in the safe zone and block the perimeter.”

4th Regiment member and role player, Sergeant Cherie Southard, stated, “As a role player in the WADA mission for the 19th Regiment I was a victim of a gas leak. It was definitely a great learning experience and valuable training event for the role players as it was for the troops of the 19th Regiment as the role players were able to evaluate the soldiers’ actions. I feel certain we will use what they learned in the event if we are put in a similar situation,” she said. “The motto of the Texas State Guard, Texans helping Texas, is similar to Regimental joint training, Regiments helping Regiments.”

“We cannot thank enough TSU President, Dr. F. Dominic Dottavio. Also, TSU Emergency Control Center, Chief Alvin Allcon and the university police department in supporting this event the past 4 years,” said Major Sadler. Thanks also goes to Risk Management Director Kent Styron, Jamie Trusner, and the IT Services Network and Communications department.”

During this joyous time of the year

During this joyous time of the year, I would like to wish a Merry Christmas to each of you, your families and friends. 
Over the past year each of you has stood ready to serve fellow Texans at a moment's notice. 
Thank you for your service to Texas. I am looking forward to a great 2014 and hope you are too!

Tony Rodriguez
MG, TXSG
Commanding

Soldiers from the 19th Regiment delivered toys

Group Photo with two large containers full of toysSoldiers from 19th Regiment delivered toys raised during ‘Young Heroes of the Guard’ toy drive this past weekend to two children’s hospitals, Medical City Children’s and Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. Genesis shelter was also provided toys for children from homes of domestic abuse. TXSG troops were able to deliver some toys and a smile to others during their visit. The toy drive was headed by Chaplain Vick and 2LT Adam Mosser.

Rhueben Towne of the Texas State Guards 5th Air Wing

Group Photo with a large amount of toys in boxes“We just wanted to make Christmas a little brighter for the children who have to be in the hospital” said Staff Sargent Rhueben Towne of the Texas State Guards 5th Air Wing. Several other cities throughout Texas have done the toy drive for the Young Heroes of the Guard in the past few years and we thought it was time to add Houston. We put out boxes around the city and Houstonians donated as they usually do. We chose Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital as the recipient. The hospital provides toys at Christmas, birthdays, after difficult procedures and several other parties, so they have a year round need. Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital also has several playrooms which are stocked with games and toys.

Thursday December 19th members of the 5th Air wing and the Houston MRG delivered over 730 toys to the hospital. They were greeted by Richard Weir the Director, Facility Operations of Child Life Department. Staff members also said it was the largest single donation Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital has received to date. The TX State Guard toy program has expanded statewide and has brought comfort to the smallest Texans at this important time of year.