Posts in Category: Texas State Guard

Texas Independence Day Message

MG M. A. Rodriguez
Fellow Guardsmen,

On March 2, 1836, Texas’ founding fathers gathered at Washington-on-the-Brazos under less than ideal circumstances. The Alamo was under siege and just days later would fall. The Texas forces were, by all reasonable measures, no match for Santa Anna’s army. What the Texians did have was the desire to live free, and protect their families and neighbors.

Like the American counterpart written sixty years earlier, the Texas Declaration of Independence carefully outlined the Texian desire for liberty and served as the legal justification of their cause.

It’s important for us each to remember that they acted not because they knew they could win, but because they knew their cause was just.

Who we are today as Texans stands as legacy to the righteousness of their action. Their love of Texas, and their fellow Texans, inspired them to work for a future they knew they may not live to see. The Lone Star State shines brightly today because those brave men put their principles ahead of their convenience, the needs of others ahead of themselves.

Your service in the Texas State Guard is no different.

Your love of Texas, and concern for your fellow Texians, has compelled you to take time each month from your families to attend drill -- sometimes traveling far and always on your own dime. You take off from work each summer to attend annual training. Most of all, you keep a go-bag packed, ready to roll when called to aid our neighbors.

Militarily, many of our Texas State Guard units can trace their history to those early days in the fight for independence. Our mission is different from theirs, but not what is important. Our love for Texas, and our abiding concern for our fellow Texans, is exactly the same.

As we celebrate Texas’ birthday this weekend, I know we both count it an honor to wear the Lone Star flag on our shoulders. Even more so, it’s an honor for me to serve alongside you as together we serve Texans.

Equal to the Task!

M. A. Rodriguez

MG, Texas State Guard


4th and 19th Regiments Sharpen Skills in Major Training Exercise

Story by: CPT Esperanza Meza, PAO, 19th Regiment and CW2 Janet Schmelzer, PAO, 4th Regiment


“Training side-by-side with the 19th, our sister regiment in Dallas, and the DFW Medical Group is something we've needed to do for quite a while,” COL Howard N. Palmer, Jr., commander of the 4th Regiment, observed. “It gives us the opportunity to trade best practices, standardize our operations, and to develop professional relationships with the soldiers with whom we may serve in the future. When we are called to state active duty, the training partnership we have now will translate into better service to the citizens of Texas. That's what we're all about.”PFC Rachel Carmickle, 4th Civil Affairs Regiment, rappels from a climbing tower at the Tarleton Challenge Course during the joint exercise of the 4th and 19th Civil Affairs Regiments at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, on January 11-13, 2013.Photo by PFC Ryan Stephens, TXSG STEPHENVILLE, Texas-- A total of 175 soldiers from the Texas State Guard (TXSG) 4th and 19th Civil Affairs Regiments participated in a joint exercise and training at Tarleton State University (TSU) and Stephenville, Texas, on January 11-13, 2013, as if they were being deployed for a tornado. As part of the joint exercise, the DFW Medical Response Group, TXSG Medical Brigade, provided medical support.

PFC Rachel Carmickle, 4th Civil Affairs Regiment, rappels from a climbing tower at the Tarleton Challenge Course during the joint exercise of the 4th and 19th Civil Affairs Regiments at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, on January 11-13, 2013.Photo by PFC Ryan Stephens, TXSG
PFC Rachel Carmickle, 4th Civil Affairs Regiment, rappels from a climbing tower at the Tarleton Challenge Course during the joint exercise of the 4th and 19th Civil Affairs Regiments at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, on January 11-13, 2013.Photo by PFC Ryan Stephens, TXSG

COL Robert Hastings, commander of 19th Regiment, viewed the weekend as “a multi-faceted exercise that accomplished a number of goals, all directly supporting our mission and Mission Essential Tasks (METL). The ropes and water safety training was intended to build self-confidence and camaraderie. When people accomplish things that they think are impossible, they grow the self-confidence to take on even more difficult tasks.”

The first training mission was to conduct Wide Area Damage Assessment on the TSU campus and in areas of Stephenville including downtown, two city parks, and the local high school. Twenty-five TXSG teams were sent out into target areas to find articles which represented people, clothing, downed electrical lines, and other hazards caused by the tornado. When hazards and persons were located, each team called in the GPS coordinates to the Tactical Operation Center (TOC).

The next day with gusting winds, 26-degree wind chill, and cloudy skies, soldiers braved winter weather to conduct a Search and Rescue mission near Stephenville at the Hunewell Ranch, a 1200-acre area covered with wooded thickets, scrub brush and bottom land. The mission was to find Boy Scouts who had gotten lost during the tornado.

MAJ Wendell Sadler, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 4th Regiment, planned the entire weekend of training. SSG Richard Schilling, Assistant S3, 4th Regiment, along with QRT soldiers from both regiments, set up the high value items, such as rocks, ribbons, campfires, clothing, trash bags, and water bottles, so that the soldiers could track the boys. Both regiments set up separate, fully-operational TOCs on the ranch under very sparse conditions, with the 4th Regiment in an old metal barn with a tractor and the 19th Regiment in an empty storage POD.

During the weekend, soldiers also participated in Water Survival training at the TSU pool. With the TSU ROTC assessing each survival technique, TXSG troops trained to tread water for 5 minutes, remove Load Bearing Equipment before surfacing, and utilize their ACU trousers as flotation devices. On the TSU Challenge Course, soldiers practiced problem solving, team building, and communication skills on both high and low ropes activities.

Several dignitaries participated with the regiments during the weekend. In attendance were TXSG Chief of Staff BG Charles Miller, Stephenville Mayor Kenny Weldon (U.S. Air Force Colonel, retired), Stephenville Fire Chief Jimmy Chew, Tarleton State University President Dr. F. Dominic Dottavio, Robert Comacho (Ombudsman for Congressman Roger Williams, Texas 25th Congressional District), and Donnie Bryant, embedded reporter for the Stephenville Empire-Tribune.

2012 Holiday Message from the Commanding General

2012 Holiday Message From The Commanding General
M. A. Rodriguez, MG, Texas State Guard, Commanding
Fellow Guardsmen,

As we enter this most joyful time of year, I offer you my deepest thanks for your dedication to the people of Texas and your fellows in the Texas State Guard.

This time of year, the short days, long nights and cool weather seemed designed for reflection and I cannot help but think how blessed I have been by my family. As guardsmen, we are each blessed by a much larger family - those we drill and deploy with. During the holiday season, I think of those other young men and women with whom I entered the Army, and served on posts across the world, and I think of the friends I have made in the Texas State Guard.

A while back, I was talking with one of the Soldiers in the 2nd Regiment. He summed things up better than I ever could have; 'Colonel, even if I just clean up the Armory, that's one less thing those boys downrange have to worry about. I can't carry a rucksack anymore, but I can try to make theirs lighter, and that's what I am here for.

I hope you will join me in thinking of those brave men and women serving far from home this season, trusting that their Creator will extend his protecting hand over them and return them home to their loved ones. Our freedom is purchased and retained by their selfless devotion to duty. They will always have a place at our table and we never forget them - because they are part of our family too.

If your holiday plans include travel, please be safe! If you need help call your chain of command, we are here for you.

I am confident that we will each return to duty following the new year Equal to the Tasks that are set before us. Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah and best wishes for a wonderful new year!

M. A. Rodriguez

MG, Texas State Guard


Addicted to Giving

Addicted To Giving
MAJ Michael Quinn Sullivan, PAO, TXSG

(L to R) MAJ Christopher Sauceda, SGT Johnny Gately, and SrA Rheuben Towne present some 1,300 toys to the Dell Children’s Hospital on behalf of the soliders of the TXSG.
(L to R) MAJ Christopher Sauceda, SGT Johnny Gately, and SrA Rheuben Towne present some 1,300 toys to the Dell Children’s Hospital on behalf of the soldiers of the TXSG.

As addictions go, Johnny Gately has a good one: organizing Christmas toy drives.

“The more toys I get, the more toys I want,” said Gately, a sergeant assigned to the Texas State Guard headquarters in Austin. “It’s an addiction, I admit it.”

On Sunday morning, Gately delivered more than 1,300 toys - stuffed animals, board games, videos and more - to Dell Children’s Hospital on behalf of the soldiers of the TXSG.

The toys came from a variety of sources: employees at Securus Technologies, cash donations through the Texas State Guard Association from the Frisco-based Roughriders minor league baseball team, and Gately’s own business, the Drop N Aces poker league.

The toys were delivered unwrapped to Dell Children’s, giving the hospital’s staff greater latitude in how to use and distribute them now and in the months ahead.

Loxy Passmore, a Child Life assistant, said some toys will be used in the hospital’s play rooms, but many more will be given as gifts to the young patients.

Looking over the mounds of stuffed bears, she was clearly looking for - or hoping to see - something in particular.

“We have one little boy here right now who just loves panda bears. I hope there’s a panda in there somewhere.” Moments later, a stuffed panda emerged from the pile. Passmore’s eyes lit up. “This will mean so much,” she said. “All of this.”

Gately was pleased to see the number of toys collected nearly double from last year. In 2011, the TXSG delivered 755 pieces to the hospital. This year’s 1,334 sets an impressive goal for Gately to reach in ’13.

The drive started in earnest in October, but planning begins much sooner. In fact, Gately has already started thinking about next year. Employees at Securus Technologies - a Metroplex-based business - have already volunteered to participate in 2013.

SGT Gately said one selling point for both individuals and business contributors was that the toys were “staying in Texas, for Texas kids.”

Aircraft Accident Exercise Test TXSG

Aircraft Accident Exercise Tests TXSG
CW2 Janet Schmelzer, PAO, TXSG
DFW Airport, Texas – A commercial aircraft accident simulation was conducted Saturday, September 29, by a component of the Texas State Guard, with soldiers working alongside the Search One K-9 Unit. The exercise was intended to prepare TXSG soldiers for working with local authorities during a natural or manmade emergency anywhere in Texas.

The TXSG’s 3rd Battalion 4th Regiment’s executive officer, CPT Gary Sherman, said the exercise was a great opportunity for his solders.

“It’s a real privilege to work with the premier K-9 Search team,” said Sherman. “We were training on 350 acres of one of the largest airports in the United States.”

The scenario was that a commercial aircraft had crashed with passengers aboard. The first phase of the exercise included a "Search and Rescue" exercise with the Texas State Guard and Search One K-9 Unit. The second phase of the exercise was a Wide Area Disaster Assessment, relaying the GPS coordinates of critical areas to a Tactical Operations Center.

“Creative training exercises like this keep the Texas State Guard at the forefront of disaster preparedness for the State of Texas,” COL Howard Palmer, commander of the 4th Regiment, commented. “Time in the field is time well spent. We greatly appreciate the good relationship with DFW Airport and Search One K-9. These are great partners serving Texas.”

Texas State Guard Changes Command, Rodriguez assumes command from Peters

Texas State Guard Changes Command, Rodriguez assumes command from Peters
MAJ Michael Quinn Sullivan, PAO, TXSG

Photo of Changing of Command
On Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012, Maj. Gen. Manuel “Tony” Rodriguez assumes command of the Texas State Guard from Maj. Gen. Raymond Peters at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas. More than 2,200 men and women actively serve in the Texas State Guard, which is comprised of the Army, Air, Maritime and Medical components.Photo by CW2 Janet Schmelzer-TXSG

CAMP MABRY, Texas - In a change of command ceremony at Camp Mabry on Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012, Maj. Gen. Manuel “Tony” Rodriguez assumed command of the Texas State Guard (TXSG) from Maj. Gen. Raymond Peters.

The ceremony is a landmark event in the history of the Texas Military Forces and the Texas State Guard to bid farewell to one commander and welcome another. The Texas State Guard, along with the Texas Army National Guard and Texas Air Guard, is a major component of Texas Military Forces under the command of the governor.

The Texas Military Forces are commanded by the state’s adjutant general, Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols.

Peters was commissioned in July 1965, as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. In July 2009, he was promoted to Major General and appointed commander of the Texas State Guard.

Reflecting on his 49 years of uniformed service, Peters said he was honored to see the organization grow and evolve into its present role as a major component of the Texas Military Forces.

“I’m fortunate that I got to serve in the Texas State Guard. I never dreamed I’d go this far,” he said. “To the men and women of the state guard I say, ’thank you.’”

He is succeeded by Rodriguez, who was commissioned in 1983, as a second lieutenant in the United States Army. During his career, Rodriguez served in Honduras, Germany, Desert Storm, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Afghanistan and Iraq.

As part of the change of command ceremony, Rodriguez was promoted to major general.

Rodriguez said he was honored by the appointment and looked forward to serving the people of Texas in this new role.

Paraphrasing WWII era Gen. Haywood Hansell, Rodriguez concluded his brief remarks by saying, “When I’ve done some more work, I’ll do some more talking.”

Nichols said the state guard has become a key component of the Texas Military Forces over the last two decades, with the defining moment occurring during the activations in response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

“I’ve asked Gen. Rodriguez to take the baton from Gen. Peters and make the organization even better,” said Nichols. “I told him, get ready. Now he’s going to get to work helping Texas.”

TXSG Changes Command - Tony Rodriguez will take command from Raymond Peters

TXSG Changes Command - Tony Rodriguez will take command from Raymond Peters
MAJ Michael Quinn Sullivan, PAO, TXSG
AUSTIN, Texas – A new commanding general for the Texas State Guard was announced today by the Adjutant General of Texas Military Forces. The official change of command ceremony is slated for August 18, 2012.

Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols announced today that Brig. Gen. Manuel "Tony" Rodriguez will take command upon the retirement of Maj. Gen. Raymond Peters, who has commanded the TXSG since July 2009.

More than 2,200 men and women actively service in the Texas State Guard, divided into four operational components: Army, Air, Maritime and Medical. The TXSG is organized under the authority of the Texas Military Forces, which includes the Army National Guard and Air National Guard.

"After 40 years serving our nation and state -- in the regular Army, the National Guard and the Texas State Guard -- Raymond Peters has distinguished himself in war and peace," said Nichols. "Under his leadership, the Texas State Guard has become an intregal part of the Texas Military Forces mission and critical to the safety of the people of the Lone Star State."

Peters was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the US Army in 1965. Upon retirement from the Texas National Guard in 1997, he became chief of staff and director of the Texas State Guard.

Also retired from the United States Army, Rodriguez was introduced to the Texas State Guard by a friend as a way to give back to his adopted home state.

“I couldn’t believe what I saw,” said Rodriguez of his first visit to a training weekend. “The men and women serving in the state guard ask for nothing, but give a whole lot to Texas, and want to do the right thing. I had to be a part of that.”

Rodriguez joined the TXSG in March 2006, serving first as commander of the 2nd Civil Affairs Regiment, and later as the headquarters personnel officer. He is currently the TXSG Deputy Commander in charge of the Army Component.

Rodriguez was commissioned in 1983 upon graduation from the University of Southern Mississippi, and first posted at Fort Hood. During his career, Rodriguez served in Germany, Kuwait, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq, among other assignments. Ending his career as an Army Strategist, he retired from active duty in 2005. He and his wife own a ranch outside Fort Hood. He has three children and a granddaughter.

Rodriguez said he was honored to take command from Peters, and humbled by the trust placed in him by Gen. Nichols and the civilian leadership of Texas.

“Gen. Peters is a model of selfless service, both to the people of Texas and the soldiers under his command,” said Rodriguez. “Every soldier in the state guard, including me, looks forward to building on his work.”

Gen. Peters, whose retirement was announced in the spring, said he could not be more pleased by the selection of Rodriguez as his successor.

“Tony Rodriguez’s emphasis on strategic planning and substantive training will ensure the state guard continues to mature in its mission. He is committed to seeing an even stronger, more robust state guard," said Peters. "The best days of the Texas State Guard are ahead. I can honestly say that of all the postings I've had, wearing the Texas State Guard is the one of which I am most proud because of the caliber of people I have been fortunate to wear it alongside."

Five 449th Air Support Group members earn Security Forces beret

Five 449th Air Support Group members earn Security Forces beret
SMSgt Dan Hawkins, PAO, TXSG
CAMP BOWIE, Texas – Five members of the Texas State Guard’s 449TH Air Support Group (ASG) at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, were awarded Security Forces berets in a ceremony held here in conjunction with the TXSG’s annual training Jun. 28.

The beret ceremony culminated an extensive combined training effort between the 449 ASG, the Texas Air National Guard’s 149th Tactical Fighter Group and the 902nd Security Forces Squadron at Randolph Air Force Base.

Col. Thomas Ball, 5th Air Wing commander, presided over the ceremony and led the new Security Forces members in reciting the security forces general orders and the career field creed before the berets were presented.

Members awarded the beret include Maj. Ferdinand Girard, 1st Lt. Bruce Minor, Senior Master Sgt. Ron Olivarri, Tech. Sgt. Mike Hodges and Airman 1st Class Joshua Roberts.

In attendance at the ceremony were members of the 5th Air Wing’s 449th, 417th and 447th ASG’s, along with the 4th Air Wing’s 454th ASG. Presentations on the history and prayer of the security forces career field were also conducted.

Ball stressed the importance of security forces in completing the overall mission of the Texas State Guard.

“Force protection doesn’t happen without you (Security Forces),” Ball said. “The Texas State Guard and your community are depending on you to keep our assets secure.”

Dallas-based Texas State Guard Regiment Changes Command

Dallas-based Texas State Guard Regiment Changes Command
MAJ Kenneth Feagins, PAO, 19th REGT, TXSG
DALLAS, Texas – In a change of command ceremony held at Camp Bowie, Texas on June 23, command of the Dallas-headquartered 19th Civil Affairs Regiment passed from Col. David Erinakes to Col. Robert Hastings.

Col. Erinakes has commanded the 19th Regiment since Oct. 2009 improving morale and recruiting. During his seven years in the Regiment as Operations Officer, Executive Officer and Commander, he led the 19th Regiment through every major deployment since 2005 including Katrina, Rita, Ike and Operation Wrangler.

“Under Col. Erinakes’ leadership, the 19th Regiment has proven itself time and again,” said Maj. Gen. Raymond Peters, commanding general of the Texas State Guard. “Erinakes has made a significant and lasting impact during his tenure with the 19th. We look forward to his continued contributions as the Joint Staff Public Affairs Officer for the Texas State Guard.”

Col. Hastings, a resident of Keller, TX, joins the regiment after serving as Chief of Public Affairs for the Texas State Guard since 2010, bringing more than 30 years of federal and state military experience to his new role.

“Col. Hastings is a highly capable leader with a long and successful track record of mission execution in demanding situations,” said Maj. Gen. Peters. “Hastings is the right leader at the right time. I have the highest confidence that the men and women of the 19th Regiment will perform exceptionally well under his leadership.”

The official change of command took place with the traditional passing of the colors from outgoing to the incoming commander symbolically passing responsibility for, and authority over, the unit to the new commander.

Since the earliest chronicles of military history, military leaders have used flags as a visible symbol to identify themselves and serve as a rallying point. In the past, the colors were traditionally at the side of the unit commander. The very soul of the military unit is symbolized in the colors under which it operates, for they record the glories of the past, stand guardian over its present destiny, and ensure

inspiration for its future. Tradition dictates that the colors led the unit into battle and that the color bearer was instructed, “when in action, resolve not to part with the colors, but with your life.” Today, the colors serve as a binding symbol of continuity and point of inspiration for the future. Commanders come and go, but the unit continues on.

The mission of the 19th Civil Affairs Regiment is to provide mission-ready military forces to assist state and local authorities in times of state emergencies and to conduct homeland security activities under the umbrella of Defense Support to Civil Authorities. The Regiment is headquartered in Dallas with an area of responsibility that extends from Dallas east and north to the Arkansas and Oklahoma state lines.

TXSG Team Takes Top Sniper Honors

TXSG Team Takes Top Sniper Honors
MAJ Michael Quinn Sullivan, PAO, TXSG
DALLAS, Texas - A school teacher and a truck driver were on the team taking first place at a recent sniper competition. Their team, comprised of members of the Texas State Guard's 19th Civil Affairs Regiment, were competing with other Texas Military Forces teams in the Texas Adjutant General’s Combat Sniper Competition held at Camp Swift this month.

Other competitors included a 36th Division sniper team trained at the US Army Sniper School at Fort Benning, Georgia, and a Texas-based Air Force team. Unlike those teams, the TXSG team is comprised of volunteers who pay for their own ammunition, weapons and range-time.

“I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to compete," said Sgt. Scott Hunt, who also took the "Top Individual Shooter" award, obtaining the Sniper Governor's Twenty tab. "The commitment, countless hours of practice and the personal funds that we’ve had to expend has been well worth the sacrifice.

The 19th Regiment is based in Dallas. Another team from the 19th included Sgt. Donald Sheffield and Sgt. Sean Mounger. Capt. Thomas Baroody is the Officer in Charge of the 19th's weapons teams, as well as commander of the regiment’s Quick Reaction Team (QRT).

The TXSG is an all-volunteer force with full-time civilian jobs. For example, the 19th Regiment's sniper team includes Sgt. Hunt, who is a photography teacher at St Mark’s School of Texas, and Sgt. Lay, who is a truck driver with UPS Freight of Irving, Texas.

The commander of the 19th Regiment, Col.David Erinakes, said the success of the sniper team reflects the quality of soldiers volunteering in the unit and throughout the TXSG.

“We’ve placed top in Pistol, Rifle and now Sniper in the statewide matches becoming, I believe, the first unit to do so in the history of Texas Military Forces," said Erinakes. "The 19th Regiment has the best trained, most highly motivated folks in the state and now we’ve also proved that we have the best shooters in the state. This accomplishment brings immense credit and credibility to the 19th Regiment, the Texas State Guard and the Texas Military Forces as a whole in that it shows the level of dedication, motivation and skills of our volunteer soldiers. I am proud of their efforts and the dedicated competitive team that we have built in the 19th.”