Posts in Category: Texas State Guard

TXSG Deputy Commanding General Retires

TXSG Deputy Commanding General Retires
MAJ Michael Quinn Sullivan, TXSG 
2010/11/01

Photo of Major General Raymond Peters presenting the Commander's Award for Public Service to retiring Brigadier General Robert Cheeseman.
Major General Raymond Peters (right), Commanding General, Texas State Guard, presents the Commander’s Award for Public Service to retiring Brigadier General Robert Cheeseman. The award was among many presented to Cheeseman during a retirement ceremony at Camp Mabry on October 30,2010.Photo by SGM Steve Gamboa

AUSTIN, Texas -- With more than 40 years of uniformed service to his nation and state, Brigadier General Robert Cheeseman’s distinguished career was recognized this weekend in a retirement ceremony at Camp Mabry.

“I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to wear the uniform and serve the citizens of Texas,” Cheeseman said in his remarks to family, colleagues and fellow guardsmen. “It’s been my honor to work among you and serve with you.”

Cheeseman has served in the Texas State Guard since 1996, the same year he retired from the United States Air Force. He had enlisted in the Air Force in 1966. As a staff sergeant, he was selected to attend Texas State University as a part of the Airman Education and Commissioning Program. He was commissioned in April 1972.

He is a graduate of the USAF Air War College, Air Command and Staff College, and Squadron Officers School. Cheeseman served in the Air Force as a Special Investigations and Counterintelligence Officer. His last assignment, with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, was as Deputy Director and Senior Special Agent, Contingency and Wartime Plans, at Headquarters in Washington, DC.

“We thank you for your service to Texas,” said Major General Raymond Peters, commanding general of the Texas State Guard in his remarks at the ceremony.

As a member of the Texas State Guard, Brigadier General Cheeseman's assignments have included Air Liaison Officer, Vice Commander and Commander of the 4th Air Wing, Inspector General, and Deputy Commanding General for Air.

Cheeseman and his wife, Lorraine, have two children and two grandchildren.

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

The Texas State Guard is one of three branches of the Texas Military Forces, reporting to The Texas Adjutant General, Major General Jose S. Mayorga, 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 and the Texas Air National Guard.

8th Regiment Provides 'Wings Over Houston' Support

8th Regiment Provides ‘Wings Over Houston’ Support
CPT Joseph Conte, PAO, 8th Civil Affairs Regt., TXSG 
2010/10/27

Photo of PFC Adam Dudley in front of a crowd.
PFC Adam Dudley (Foreground), 1st Bn., 8th Regt., provides flight line crowd control in front of a Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress “THUNDER BIRD”.

HOUSTON, Texas -- Over 100 Soldiers of the 8th Civil Affairs Regiment, Texas State Guard, helped make the 26th Annual Wings Over Houston Air Show a success on Saturday Oct. 23 and Sunday, Oct. 24 at Ellington Field in Houston.

The Wings Over Houston Air Show draws approximately 50,000 visitors annually. It is organized as a celebration of patriotism and an educational event providing community entertainment, aviation awareness and military recruiting opportunities.

The 8th Civil Affairs Regiment soldiers provided over 3,000 man-hours to its mission of gate access control, flight line crowd control, and crowd control during air show performances. This was the 24th time the 8th Regiment has participated in the Wings Over Houston Air Show.

Members of the Texas State Guard’s Medical Brigade, Houston Group, provided medical support to Wings Over Houston during air show operations.

The Highlights of the 26th Annual Wings Over Houston Air Show featured the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Flight Demonstration Team, U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet Tactical Demo Team, USAF Viper West Demo Team F-16 Fighting Falcon, USAF A/OA-10 Thunderbolt II, USAF C-17 Globemaster III Demo, C-47 and C-17 Transport Heritage Flight, Air Force Heritage Flight, U.S. Coast Guard HH-65C Dauphine Helicopter Demo, Commemorative Air Force “Tora! Tora! Tora!” WWII Airpower Demo, Navy Legacy Flight and many others.

The show’s security coordinator, Chris Hendon, said he was very impressed with the 8th Regiment’s handling of the visitors during the air show performances. The 8th Regiment’s assistance will be requested at next year’s show, Hendon noted.

The Mission of the Texas State Guard is to provide highly trained soldiers for Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA) by providing ready military forces during State Emergences 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 Jose S. Mayorga, 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).

Texas State Guard Trains in oil spill response - hundreds more to be trained by end of year

Texas State Guard Trains In Oil Spill Response - Hundreds More To Be Trained By End Of Year
Maj. Michael Sullivan, TXSG Public Affairs
2010/09/17
AUSTIN, Texas – With the effects of the Deep Horizon disaster still lingering, 30 members of the Texas State Guard recently received specialized instructor training in oil spill response strategies from the Texas Engineering Extension Service. By the end of 2010, a significant portion of the TXSG will be trained in oil spill response.

The course, funded by the Texas Division of Emergency Management, provided participants with the fundamental knowledge and skills needed to effectively manage an oil spill response operation.

With 691 drilling platforms on the Texas coast and 9 million acres leased offshore for exploration, the risk for a major spill is real, said Brigadier General Robert Bodisch, commander of the Texas State Guard Maritime Regiment.

“The Texas Maritime Regiment (TMAR) of the Texas State Guard is honored to participate in oil spill response training with the Texas Engineering Extension Service,” said Bodisch. “Following the recent BP incident in the Gulf of Mexico, it is important that we are properly trained and prepared to assist when called upon. This training exercise advanced our skills and knowledge for such an occasion.”

The hands-on training was conducted at Lake Bastrop in Texas, which is operated by the Lower Colorado River Authority. The classroom portion of the course was held at Camp Swift, a Bastrop training site for the Texas Army National Guard.

State Guard officers and enlisted men learned response strategies and techniques. They also participated in a simulated spill situation, assuming leadership and operational roles. Specific course topics included containment, clean-up and recovery of oil, sorbents, boom deployment, skimmer operations, and oil sampling and documentation techniques, as well as shoreline protection, clean-up and restoration.

The Texas Engineering Extension Service, operating under the authority of the Texas A&M University System, has delivered oil spill prevention and incident management training for the U.S. Coast Guard and the petrochemical industry since 1975. They are experts in oil spill control and response recently developed the curriculum and delivered instructor training for workers, contractors and volunteers involved in the Gulf cleanup operation following the BP Deepwater Horizon incident in April.

Texas State Guard Appoints two new leaders Olson, Hasting bring extensive military, professional experience to assignments

Maj. Michael Sullivan, TXSG Public Affairs
2010/08/17
AUSTIN, TEXAS - The Commander of the Texas State Guard (TXSG) has announced the assignment of two senior officers to the TXSG Headquarters Staff. Col. Robert Hastings is assigned as Chief of Public Affairs and Col. Kimberly Olson is assigned as Director of Command, Control & Communications Systems (J-6).

“We’re pleased to have military professionals of Col. Hastings’ and Col. Olson’s caliber and experience join our ranks,” said Maj. Gen. Raymond Peters, TXSG commanding general. “Their leadership experience, professional qualifications and extensive military backgrounds make them valuable additions to the command.”

As Director of the J-6 section, Col. Olson and her team are responsible for providing joint emergency communications and information technology supporting the TXSG, as well as working with Texas Military Forces’ J-6 in providing communications in support of the “Defense Support to Civil Authorities” mission.

Col. Olson is a retired U.S. Air Force officer with 25 years of service and was part of the first generation of female military pilots. A command pilot, with nearly 4,000 hours of flying time, she was one of the first females to command an air refueling squadron. She served in the Pentagon on the Joint Staff, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Air Staff. Col. Olson was deployed into several combat zones. In her professional life, Olson is the executive director of Grace After Fire, a Texas based non-profit organization dedicated to providing outreach to all women veterans and their families, offering confidential peer support and increased access to appropriate trauma, mental health, addiction and community services. She also serves as a trustee on the Weatherford Independent School District Board, recently recognized as the Texas Outstanding Board of the Year, 2009.

As the TXSG’s senior public affairs officer, Col. Hastings will serve as a member of the Commander’s special staff overseeing all aspects of the command’s public affairs program, including command information, public information, media relations and electronic media, as well as providing public affairs support to recruiting activities.

Col. Hastings joins the TXSG from the Maryland Defense Force where he served for five years as the Director of Public Affairs. He is a retired U.S. Army officer with more than 20 years active duty service as a Master Army Aviator and Public Affairs Officer. His assignments include command of an Apache-equipped Air Cavalry Troop and a Blackhawk-equipped Air Assault Company, as well as Public Affairs duties in Germany, Eastern Europe, Iraq and Bosnia. Hastings also served as acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs during the Bush Administration. As the senior public affairs official and principle spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defense, he served as staff advisor and assistant to the Secretary of Defense and Administration officials for strategic communication, public information, internal information, and community relations, leading a worldwide public affairs community of some 3,800 military and civilian personnel. In his professional life, Hastings is an aerospace executive who lives and works in Fort Worth, Texas.

Texas Support the Valley with Humanitarian Mission

Texans Support the Valley With Humanitarian Mission
Staff Sgt. Daniel Griego, 100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
2010/07/29
Photo of Operation Lone Star in action"Operation Lone Star is a humanitarian effort here in the valley," said State Guard Lt. Col. Jann Melton-Kissel, a registered nurse with the Texas State Guard's Medical Brigade. "It's a partnership between the Department of State Health Services, the Texas Military Forces and the community to provide needed health services."

These services, which include immunizations, physicals, diabetes screenings and check-ups, come to Texas' Rio Grande Valley residents each year courtesy of the collaborative efforts of state civil and military assets. Together, these disparate agencies provide low-income families with necessary and sometimes life-saving medical care through the annual Operation Lone Star (OLS).

"It's been a real privilege to work with our colleagues in the Texas Military Forces," said Dr. Brian R. Smith, lead for the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and regional medical director for Health Service Region 11.

Smith began OLS in 1999 as a joint venture expanding on his efforts with free clinics in the valley.

"I started off in South Texas doing free clinics," he said, "and this is a larger scale extension of what I started off doing about 20 years ago, which was providing free medical care in the [valley]. So the first places we started [OLS] were the same places that we were doing our the free clinics."

To augment the medical specialties of the DSHS, several other civilian agencies also contributed personnel, including the Texas Medical Assistance Team (TexMAT-1), the Department of Family Protective Services, the Human Health Services Committee and even local nursing students from Valley Grande Community College.

"It's a great opportunity to get people of all different types of disciplines in the medical field to get together and work," said Charles Neely, an EMT paramedic with TexMAT-1.

The military side of OLS, the Texas Military Forces, includes the Texas State Guard, Army National Guard, and Air Guard. These uniformed personnel function as both duty and medical support, performing roles ranging from security and administration to nurses and doctors. In recent years, the State Guard has taken the lead in executing OLS, providing the greatest number of personnel and assuming command responsibilities of the operation.

"We're working together as a team," said State Guard 1st Lt. Steven Trevino, a registered nurse with the Texas Medical Brigade. "We're just Texans helping Texans."

As a regularly scheduled exercise, OLS finds many of the same residents returning time and again for annual shots and physicals for school sports.

"I would just like to thank the Lone Star for coming in and doing the medical check-up for free," said Brenda Garcia, a Palmview resident and mother of a 2-year-old.

"This'll be my seventh year here," said Melton-Kissel. "I've seen the same people come back year after year."

OLS provides a unique opportunity for local residents to see their community support agencies face to face and meet the people behind the uniforms.

"I feel like I'm actually making a difference," said Trevino.

Texas State Guard Capt. James R. Owens, a registered nurse with the DFW Medical Group, says that the most rewarding aspect of working in OLS is "being able to serve the valley and the people of the valley, and also help our state out."

"We've got compassionate doctors who do a really good job with the health care," said Smith. "Then we're able to expand it with the pharmacy, the immunizations and provide a range of services."

To combat the occasional language barrier found in southern towns, OLS staffs each location with sufficient bi-lingual personnel to ensure the most accurate and complete medical coverage.

"As translators, we make sure we get the right words [patients] are looking for," said State Guard Sgt. Erasmo Chapa, translator and security service member for the Palmview High School location. "This is my first year and I'm glad to help out my community."

From the inter-agency cooperation to building strong bonds in the community, OLS stands apart as a joint mission that excels at bringing people together.

"It has been a real blessing," said Smith, "to be able to work with communities this closely."

Texas Train for Disaster with Humanitarian Mission

Texans Train for Disaster With Humanitarian Mission
Staff Sgt. Daniel Griego, 100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
2010/07/28
Photo of people around a desk during trainingWESLACO, Texas - "What we do and what we're training for is a mass casualty," said Texas State Guard Capt. James R. Owens, a registered nurse with the DFW Medical Group. "It's about taking care of the population."

For the joint members of the Texas Military Forces, the Department of State Health Services and local civil agencies, preparedness means more than a ready standing force. With the persistent threat of hurricanes, flooding and seasonal pandemics, preparedness requires a fully trained, joint force capable of engaging a large-scale incident anywhere in the state.

This year, these state assets used the annual humanitarian event Operation Lone Star to conduct a complete exercise simulating a mass casualty incident. Providing the Rio Grande Valley with immunizations, physicals and various other medical services, the mission sought to stress and challenge the capabilities of state military and civilian departments, as well as reinforce their cooperation and inter-agency communication.

"At one level, we provide free care," said Dr. Brian R. Smith, lead for the public health agency sponsoring OLS and the regional medical director for Health Service Region 11. "At the same time, it provides a preparedness exercise for those of us in public health and the Texas Military forces to work together and to practice together in a major event."

Among the state agencies supporting the operation is the Texas Medical Assistance Team (TexMAT-1), populated by paramedics and medical practitioners from through the state.

"It's an opportunity under a training scenario to see a lot of people at one time," said Charles A. Neely, an EMT paramedic with TexMAT-1. "It just improves our capabilities in the long run."

The two-week operation, running from July 26 through August 6, featured sites in Brownsville, Palmview, Raymondville and San Juan during the first week and will include Laredo, Rio Grande City and Zapata during the second week. Many OLS locations rotate from year to year, but tend to stay centralized in local high schools or elementary schools.

Further bridging the spirit of cooperation, even service members from the Czech Republic and Chilean armies supported OLS this year.

"We need to practice for any kind of mass casualty occasion, too," said Capt. Petra Matulkova, an epidemiologist with the Czech Army. "We need to know these things, being military doctors."

With so many organizations working together, key leaders placed a premium on clear and effective communication throughout the operation.

"A lot of the training that we're doing is being able to communicate," said Owens. "At any level, at any issue, we will have to be able to communicate."

This finely tuned coordination allowed OLS to process 12,645 area residents in 2009, a number that event organizers expect will only grow in 2010 and future years.

Spanning six counties in Texas, Operation Lone Star functions as an ideal execution of a real-time public health crisis, uniting disparate agencies for a common and worthy goal.

"We set it up just as if we may have a thousand people or one person that needs the services," said Owens. "It may be small at one area or larger at another, but in the grand scheme of things, it provides a very good and very applicable training exercise for our units."

Texas State Guard - Texans helping Texans

Texas State Guard – Texans helping Texans
1LT Joy Schoffler, HQ, TXSG
2010/07/07
Lower Rio Grande Valley (1 July 2010) - With the skills they learned during annual training still fresh in their minds, an estimated 755 Soldiers of the Texas State Guard mobilized from all areas of the state Monday to prepare for hurricane Alex duty.

The mission started Monday morning and for many of these Soldiers that meant driving as far as 12 hours to open shelters and assist the Red Cross. Excited and ready to begin their mission. The 3rd Battalion, 4th Regiment even conducted shelter drills while waiting in the assembly area.

“It has been a wonderful experience working with the Texas State Guard. They were ready to meet the needs of evacuees, offer comfort, ease fears and present a source of information for those in need,” said Director of the Red Cross TX, Charles Blake Jr.

Once the 17 shelters were opened and the estimated 850 evacuated guests began arriving, Soldiers set out performing their missions of in-processing, serving meals and providing care for their guests. In addition to completing their assigned 13-14 hour shifts many Soldiers went above and beyond.

Pvt. Coffee became a sports director setting up games and a play area for children so parents could have a much needed moment of quite time while they knew that their children were safe and secure. As one of only two spanish speakers, Pfc. Arrieta became the on-site translator serving double duty checking in evacuees and making sure communication needs of evacuees were meet.

“The soldiers really care. I didn’t have to ask a soldier to do anything. If they saw a guest in need they went out of their way to ensure their needs were met,” said Lt. Col. Peters, Shelter Manager in Alton and added: “These soldiers really went above and beyond.

While there have been countless stories of personal sacrifice and self-less service, the one that stands out is that the Texas State Guard was ready when they were called.

“The soldiers in the Texas State Guard acted in a professional military manner during hurricane Alex. Members of the community and their commanders are very proud of them,” said Incident Commander Brigadier General Ortiz.

The Texas State Guard’s mission is to provide mission-ready Soldiers and Airmen to assist state and local authorities in times of state emergencies; homeland security and community service organized under the umbrella of Defense Support to Civil Authorities.

Authorities brace for threat of renewed flooding as Hurricane Alex moves inland, Texas State Guard wraps up hurricane shelter duties

Authorities brace for threat of renewed flooding as Hurricane Alex moves inland, Texas State Guard wraps up hurricane shelter duties
CPT Morgan Montalvo, HQ, TXSG
2010/07/01
Map showing possible flood locationsLOWER RIO GRAND VALLEY - As floodwaters receded and power was restored, a small number of South Texas residents displaced by Hurricane Alex left the safety of shelters to find their homes damaged by rain, wind and debris. Of an estimated 850 evacuees who sought refuge inland, those unfortunate few resigned themselves to another night as guests of emergency management and social service agencies.

The prospect of residual rainfall from a weakening now-Tropical Storm Alex, or the possible release of water from Mexican reservoirs, had authorities bracing for other evacuees to return.

“Right now it’s a handful, but it’s hard to track,” said Jim Todd, an American Red Cross disaster supervisor.

Meanwhile,” Mr. Todd says, “the Red Cross is taking over responsibility for shelters from the Texas State Guard, which was mobilized earlier this week to assist with hurricane response.”

State Guard and Red Cross personnel were working to consolidate shelters and evacuees while preparing for more, should weekend rainfall again leave parts of South Texas underwater.

Emergency service agencies had one eye on the skies and the other on the release gates of several Mexican border reservoirs that retain water for agricultural use.

The National Hurricane Center said an additional six inches of rain could fall on the South Texas-Northeast Mexico region through the weekend, prompting flash-flooding; other meteorological models place the heaviest post-Alex rainfall between Houston and Corpus Christi.

More than 750 members of the Texas State Guard were called to duty beginning June 28 to staff shelters in support of state and local authorities as a strengthening Tropical Storm Alex meandered toward South Texas and northeast Mexico.

Alex was upgraded to hurricane status Wednesday.

State Guard personnel remain on duty at most of the 17 shelters ordered to open by state and local governments between Raymondville and Brownsville 2 July.

Many evacuees traveled nearly 100 miles to seek safety, while others “came from blocks away,” said COL Ray Peters, commander of the Denton-based 3rd Bn, 4th Regt. COL Peters’ unit staffed a shelter in Alton, about 80 miles from the coast.

“They came from an economically depressed neighborhood,” Peters said of the 104 people who fled to his shelter at Alton Memorial Middle School. Unlike their neighbors to the southeast, “They weren’t worried about the hurricane; they were worried about the rain.”

COL Peters said that an estimated 6-8 inches of rain fell on the Alton area beginning Wednesday. His unit spent Friday preparing their shelter for handoff to the Red Cross. Alton Memorial Middle School was the northeastern-most facility managed by the State Guard.

Most State Guard units were expected to be released from shelter duty before week’s end, unless renewed flooding leads to their extended deployment.

Hurricane Alex made landfall Wednesday along a lightly populated portion of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, about 110 miles south of Brownsville. The Category 2 storm generated peak winds of 110 mph and spawned at least two tornadoes but, apart from dumping from 6-12 inches of rain over parts of South Texas, spared the U.S. side of the border from serious damage.

TXSG Sergeant plays an important role in assisting the FAA & NTSB

TXSG Sergeant plays an important role in assisting the FAA & NTSB
MAJ Michael Spraggins, TXSG
2010/06/10

SGT Timothy Pruitt, a photojournalist, assisted the FAA & NTSB with the investigation of a Careflight helicopter crash.
SGT Timothy Pruitt, a photojournalist, assisted the FAA & NTSB with the investigation of a Careflight helicopter crash.

GRAND PRAIRIE, TEXAS

SGT Timothy Pruitt, a photojournalist, assisted the FAA & NTSB with the investigation of a Careflight helicopter crash. SGT Pruitt a professional photographer specializing in helicopter imaging, provided photos of the doomed aircraft, which were made 11 minutes before the fatal crash.

SGT Pruitt is a recognized expert in vertical lift photography, who has been widely published worldwide. Pruitt is assigned to J6 HQ TXSG TXMF as a photojournalist at Camp Mabry and is currently on SAD, supporting the Communications Coordination Group, and imbedded with Rapid Reaction Task Force Dallas in Beaumont for Exercise “HURRICANE SPIKE”

Texas State Guard prayer breakfast

Texas State Guard Prayer Breakfast
MAJ Michael Spraggins, TXSG
2010/05/15
Photo of sign that says "Welcome Texas Military Prayer Breakfast"DALLAS BAPTIST UNIVERSITY, DFW

The soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines of the Texas State Guard (TXSG), along with family and friends met on the beautiful campus of the Dallas Baptist University today for a Military Prayer Breakfast.

The soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines of the Texas State Guard (TXSG), along with family and friends met on the beautiful campus of the Dallas Baptist University today for a Military Prayer Breakfast.
The soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines of the Texas State Guard (TXSG), along with family and friends met on the beautiful campus of the Dallas Baptist University today for a Military Prayer Breakfast.

The 4th and 19th Civil Affairs Regiments, 4th Air Wing and 3rd Battalion, Maritime Regiment Chaplains hosted the event.

Keynote speaker was Chaplin (Brigadier General) James Spivey U.S. Army ((retired), other honored guests were Major General Raymond C. Peters Commanding TXSG, Brigadier General Charles A. Miller Chief of Staff and Colonel Walter C. Prentice Judge Advocate from Headquarters, Camp Mabry.