Posts in Category: Texas State Guard

500 Sheltered from Dolly in San Benito

500 sheltered from Dolly in San Benito
KRGV-TV, NEWSCHANNEL 5 - Welasco
2008/07/23
SAN BENITO - Some 500 South Texas residents fleeing Hurricane Dolly’s heavy rains and high winds are housed in this city’s hurricane shelter, with the number expected to climb throughout the morning.

“Once the winds and rain pick up as people awaken, we will see more people coming in,” said Emergency Management Coordinator Orlando Garcia. The National Weather Service is predicting continued heavy rains with accumulations ranging from six to 10 inches. At 5 a.m. maximum sustained winds were near 85 mph.

San Benito High School, at 450 South Oscar Williams Road, is the site for the shelter that is being staffed by the Texas State Guard, 1st Battalion, 1st Regiment. Personnel from the City Of San Benito, San Benito School District, both entities’ police and fire departments, and Pro-Medic EMS, along with the 12-member military contingent are serving as the shelter managing team. Capacity for the facility which includes the practice gymnasium and band hall, is about 900, Garcia said.

The Governor’s Division of Emergency Management sent the Texas State Guard to San Benito due to the high number of occupants seeking shelter from the hurricane.

“This is a state resource that was sent when they were notified of the high number of people housed in the shelter,” Garcia said.

The mayor opened the San Benito Emergency Operations Center at City Hall, 485 N. Sam Houston, on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Operations Center is staffed by city employees monitoring the storm. Among those onsite were Mayor Joe H. Hernandez, Commissioner Jack Garcia, City Manager Victor G. Trevino, as well as 15 city workers and Emergency Medical Technician Lorne Dilelio. San Benito residents may contact local Emergency Management officials at 956-361-EVAC or 956-361-3822.

Standing guard

Standing guard
Candace Cooksey Fulton - Brownwood Bulletin
2008/06/01

Guard members rehearse setting up a “shade structure.” The camo netting significantly cools an area even in the hottest sun allowing guard members to set up a command post or temporary office in even the most barren terrains.
Guard members rehearse setting up a “shade structure.” The camo netting significantly cools an area even in the hottest sun allowing guard members to set up a command post or temporary office in even the most barren terrains.

They are the Texas State Guard, a force bigger than just about anything else among Texas’ bragging rights.

Thirteen hundred strong, and working under the mantra of “Texans serving Texas,” the state guard is the go-to force for hurricanes or disasters. The guard’s abilities range from setting up and maintaining communications in a crisis center, to administering emergency medical care and treatment; to evacuation assistance and shelter set up. Whatever the nature of the disaster, be it flood, fire or tornado, plane crash or terrorist attack, the state guard’s purpose is to stabilize in the aftermath.

In a rotation of three four-day training sessions held recently, the majority of the force has been at Camp Bowie, which, by general agreement seems to be an ideal place for the troops to gather and train. “Brownwood has good weather, good terrain and good air space,” said Col. Paul Tressa, retired military, who joined the guard about two years ago. “Brownwood’s good to the guard. People here seem really supportive and we enjoy it. At the same time, we’re making a fairly significant impact in town.”.

The last of the three four-day training sessions, scheduled to end Monday, has been attended by about 260 men and women. Though recent legislation has allowed the State Guard members to be paid about $100 for their four days, the money won’t cover the gas for the round-trip travel for the majority. Besides the travel expense, members buy their own uniforms, and in the event they get a call, they’ll need to supply their own gear and provisions to go wherever, for however long.

The Texas State Guard is one of three branches of the military forces of the state of Texas, all of which report to the Texas Adjutant General. Army and Air Guard or the other two branches. Unlike the Texas Army National Guard, the state guard cannot be federalized.

“We are the governor’s force, that he knows he can call on,” explained Capt. J. Michael Spraggins.

Call on for . . . ?

The list is extensive. The state guard assists local authorities in state and local emergencies; shelter management; medical services; volunteer coordination; legal support; communications; and chaplain services. And Spraggins said, if the list is not growing, it is at least expanding.

Certain chores that might have once fallen under the Army National Guard’s umbrella are getting picked up by the state force.

“With National Guard people deployed, we’re asked to pick up some of the slack at home,” Spraggins said.

Or as another for instance, when a problem arose distributing rabies prevention pellets for foxes and wolves in the wild, the Texas State Guard was able to help facilitate the distribution.

Guard members range in age from 18 to 70, and in fact among the group training this weekend, there’s a grandfather/granddaughter combination. Most members have day jobs. Spraggins is a banker, but there are CPAs, doctors, lawyers, police officers, nurses and business people in the fold.

“Some have been in the military, and they’re just not ready to give up the uniform,” said Stressa. “They like it, they like the social atmosphere and the military way of life.”

“Some are looking for some excitement, a not-necessarily ordinary experience and can’t or don’t feel like they can commit to the military armed forces because of family,” added Spraggins.

“And there are those, who know they can do something, who want to do something, who aren’t ready to retire, but possibly could retire. There are those, Texans, who want to serve, and see the state guard as a way to serve Texas.”

Members of the Texas State Guard Arrive at Camp Bowie for training

Members of Texas State Guard arrive at Camp Bowie for training
Gene Deason - Brownwood Bulletin 
2008/05/24

Brownwood Mayor Bert Massey, right, welcomes Maj. Gen. Christopher J. Powers, commanding general of the Texas State Guard, to Brownwood Friday during a reception at Adams Street Community Center. More than 200 members of the Texas State Guard will be training at Camp Bowie over the next two weeks. Photo by Gene Deason
Brownwood Mayor Bert Massey, right, welcomes Maj. Gen. Christopher J. Powers, commanding general of the Texas State Guard, to Brownwood Friday during a reception at Adams Street Community Center. More than 200 members of the Texas State Guard will be training at Camp Bowie over the next two weeks.
Photo by Gene Deason

Business and civic leaders from Brownwood and Early welcomed approximately 20 command staff from the Texas State Guard at a reception Friday afternoon as preparations were made for two weeks of drills at the Camp Bowie Training Facility.

“We in Brownwood do realize that we enjoy the freedoms we enjoy in this country because of those who are willing to serve in the armed forces,” Brownwood Mayor Bert Massey said during remarks offered at the casual gathering. “It’s especially significant that you’re in the place where the 36th Infantry Division mobilized at the start of World War II, and it’s a great facility where you’re training in order to be ready to answer the call when emergencies strike.”

Massey said the complex is here because of the efforts of the late Groner Pitts, a businessman who served in the National Guard and became what Massey described as the greatest civic booster any community could ever have. “Groner did love Camp Bowie and the military and the Guard,” Massey said.

Maj. Gen. Christopher J. Powers, commanding general of the Texas State Guard, said Guard members will be rotating in and out of Camp Bowie in coming days, and invited community leaders to visit.

“We thank you for your wonderful welcome,” Powers said.

Powers received his commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 1969 after graduating from St. Mary’s University. He left active duty and joined the Texas National Guard in 1973, where he remained until retirement in 2000. During those 27 years he served as commander of two field artillery battalions, director of logistics 111th Area Support Group, and division artillery commander 49th Armored Division Task Force Texas. He joined the Texas State Guard in 2000 and served as commander of the 1st Brigade in the Texas State Guard from 2002 to 2003, when he was assigned as deputy commander.

The Texas State Guard is one of three branches of the military forces of the State of Texas, reporting to The Texas adjutant general. The other two branches are the Texas Army National Guard, and Texas Air National Guard. The Texas State Guard is a state military force that assists Texas civil authorities in times of Texas state emergencies and in ongoing support of local communities.

TXSG GIS/GPS Training

TXSG GIS/GPS Training
Various
2008/05/15

TXSG soldiers participate in GIS/GPS training Photo by KCDB, NewsChannel 11, Lubbock, Texas
TXSG soldiers participate in GIS/GPS training
Photo by KCDB, NewsChannel 11, Lubbock, Texas

The TXSG in conjunction with the Columbia Regional Geospatial Service Center (CRGSC) is conducting Geospatial (GIS) / Global Positing System GPS training at four colleges around the state.

COL Charles Miller Plans and Operations for the TXSG stated the intended goal was for the TXSG to provide military support to civilian authorities in times of State Emergencies, with 50 Damage Assessment Teams.

The three – soldier Teams will be proficient in the use of GIS/GPS systems to assist local officials in determining the precise location of damage structures to assist local responders and local authorities.

Dr. McDonald of the GRGSC said think of it as training in the use of Smart Maps (GIS), for planning of evacuation before an event and the location of damaged bridges and structures after the event.

For more information click on the following links for several television reports and stories.

Texas’ Best Kept Secret - The Texas State Guard (KCDB, NewsChannel 11, Lubbock, Texas)

Texas State Guard dominates Combat Pistol Competition

Texas State Guard dominates Combat Pistol Competition
LTC Donald Tryce, NGTX
2008/04/01

2008 Adjutant General’s Combat Pistol Competition. Top Gun - SSG Daniel Ernest, Texas State Guard, 1st Place Overall Photo by COL Bob Kissel TXSG
2008 Adjutant General’s Combat Pistol Competition. Top Gun - SSG Daniel Ernest, Texas State Guard, 1st Place Overall
Photo by COL Bob Kissel TXSG

When the 2008 Adjutant General’s Combat Pistol Competition took place at Camp Swift, Texas, March 1 and 2, a record-breaking number of 85 competitors fought for the title of "top gun" for pistol. This was also the first year that the Texas State Guard (TXSG) participated in this competition. Also, Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at San Antonio ROTC participated in this competition.

After the smoke cleared, Staff Sgt. Daniel Ernest, 1st Regiment, TXSG, claimed not only high new shooter but also high over all. Second place was won by 1st Sgt. Shawn Clary, CST BN. while third place went to COL David Patten TX Med Cmd. In team competition, the TXSG QRT#1 took first place while second place went to 136th Airlift Wing and third was earned by 19th Regiment Team B, TXSG.

Eight Governor’s Twenty Tabs were awarded to the top eight pistol competitors. This award is presented to the top eight rifle, top eight pistol, top two light machine gun and top two snipers annually. Awardees this year were Sergeant Earnest, Sergeant Clary, Col. David Patten of the Texas Medical Command, 2nd Lt. Douglas George of the TXSG, Capt. Joe Lewis of the 39th Regiment, TXSG, Cpl. Sean Mounger of the 19th Regiment, TXSG, Master Sgt. Archie Darr, 136th Regiment, TXSG, and Maj. John Conley of the 71st Information Operations Group.

1st Place Team (9mm Pistol) 1st Quick Reaction Team, 1st Civil Affairs Regiment Adjutant General’s 27th Annual Combat Pistol Match (1QRT Members, Second from Left: 2LT Bendele, CPL Davila and SSG Earnest) Photo by COL Bob Kissel TXSG
1st Place Team (9mm Pistol) 1st Quick Reaction Team, 1st Civil Affairs Regiment Adjutant General’s 27th Annual Combat Pistol Match (1QRT Members, Second from Left: 2LT Bendele, CPL Davila and SSG Earnest)
Photo by COL Bob Kissel TXSG

Combat pistol competitors engage targets from 15 to 25 meters utilizing both supported and unsupported firing positions. Competitors are also required to perform rapid reloading from all positions. Additional information regarding the Texas Military Forces marksmanship program is available at www.txmarks.org.

Life Saving Actions by TXSG, TMB Officer, Meritorious Service Ribbon Awarded

Life Saving Actions by TXSG, TMB Officer, Meritorious Service Ribbon Awarded
2LT Tom Goff, TMB, TXSG, TXMF
2008/03/26

Maj. Roger Vertrees of the TMB receiving Meritorious Service Ribbon from Capt. Alec Ross Photo by 2LT Tom Goff
Maj. Roger Vertrees of the TMB receiving Meritorious Service Ribbon from Capt. Alec Ross
Photo by 2LT Tom Goff

Maj. Roger Vertrees has been awarded the Meritorious Service Ribbon by the Texas State Guard in award ceremonies conducted recently. The award was presented to Maj. Vertrees for his display of professional and heroic behavior on April 1, 2007 in response to a frantic call for medical help from his neighbor. He clearly set himself above his peers by taking action over and above what would normally be expected in a medical emergency. The award was presented to him by Capt. Alec Ross, the executive officer of the Galveston Company of the Texas Medical Brigade. Vertee is also a University of Texas Medical Branch Faculty Member.

At the request of a neighbor, Maj. Vertrees arrived to help his neighbor place an adult daughter in bed after the daughter suffered an epileptic seizure. When Vertrees noted that the woman was not responding to her diabetic medication, he also called 911 for emergency services. While waiting for emergency services to arrive, the woman’s heart stopped. Vertrees then started performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but noticed that her airway was blocked. When no standard method of clearing the airway worked, he then sucked the contents blocking the airway and restored her breathing, thus saving the woman’s life. It was the act of risking his own health by aspirating the contents of the woman’s nasal passage that earned him the award.

Maj. Vertrees’ quick thinking and actions were well beyond what is normally expected of a medical responder. The woman’s mother, a registered nurse, was present during the event and credits Maj. Vertrees with saving her daughters life. The rescued woman is now doing well and is listed for a kidney transplant.

Texas State Guard Experiences Record Increase in Overall Strength

Texas State Guard Experiences Record Increase in Overall Strength
Capt. James M. Campbell, Texas Military Forces Public Affairs
2008/03/08
TXSG PatchThe Texas State Guard proudly announced an overall increase in troop strength of almost 15 percent as of Jan. 1.

One of the three branches of the Texas Military Forces, the Texas State Guard concentrates its efforts in supporting state and local authorities in homeland security and community service.

“We finally have a budget and a meaningful mission” said Brig. Gen. Raymond Peters, deputy commanding general of the Texas State Guard. “Since the Texas State Guard is a non-deployable force, we help free up the Texas National Guard to accomplish other federal and state obligations.”

The recent increase in strength can be directly attributed to the efforts provided by the men and women of the Texas State Guard during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. During this emergency, the Texas Army, Air, and State Guard were mobilized to provide relief and assistance to the citizens of Texas and Louisiana. The Texas State Guard assisted in shelter management, provided much needed medical care, bridged communication barriers, and basically filled in wherever they were needed.

[Read more in the February 2008 issue of The Dispatch, page 14]

2008 Adjutant General’s Competition and Sustainment Training

2008 Adjutant General’s Competition and Sustainment Training
Texas Military Forces - Dispatch 2008
2008/03/05

TXSG participated for the first year in the AG LMG Competition Photo by Texas Military Forces
TXSG participated for the first year in the AG LMG Competition
Photo by Texas Military Forces

The 2008 Adjutant General’s Light Machine Gun Competition and Sustainment Training took place at Camp Swift Feb. 2 and 3 with a record number of teams participating this year. Seventeen teams from the Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air National Guard, Texas A&M Corps of Cadets and the Texas State Guard fired over the two days in near ideal shooting conditions.

Gunners engaged targets from 10 meters to 700 meters, firing in limited time frames. Teams were also required to disassemble and assemble their weapons for score. In addition, gunners were required to utilize their tripods and T & E mechanisms as part of the competition/sustainment training. Each gunner fired over a 1,000 rounds of ammunition in two days.

For the Texas State Guard, this was the first competition/sustainment training in this event. The team provided its own equipment for the this event and did very well for their first time.

[Read more in the March 2008 issue of The Dispatch, page 17]

Texas Military Forces Boost annual Laredo Event

Texas Military Forces boost annual Laredo event
Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada, Texas Military Forces Public Affairs
2008/03/05
Picture of two planesOne of the highlights of Washington’s Birthday Celebration kicked off in Laredo, Texas, with the customary Stars and Stripes Air Show Feb. 16, featuring Texas Air National Guard C-130s, Army Guard parachute jumpers and State Guard bicycle patrol and security.

The Washington’s Birthday Celebration, founded in 1898, rivals -- and some admittedly biased Texans might argue -- exceeds Mardi Gras merriment in New Orleans. The festivities last nearly a month and draw an average of 400,000 attendees each year. The Stars and Stripes Air Show, followed by the Society of Martha Washington Colonial Pageant and Ball and the International Bridge Ceremony the following weekend, are popularly considered to be the highlights of the celebration.

[Read more in the March 2008 issue of The Dispatch, page 6]

Postal Service Offers Discount for Military Care Packages

Postal Service Offers Discount For Military Care Packages
NGAT
2008/03/03
The U.S. Postal Service will begin offering a discount Priority Mail rate March 3 and a larger box for care packages sent to military members overseas. The new flat-rate box is 50 percent larger than the current Priority Mail package and it will be delivered for $10.95 to an APO/FPO address -- $2 less than for domestic destinations.

The new Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Box (12" x 12" x 5 inches or 800 cubic inches) will be available in Post Offices nationwide beginning March 3, but customers can begin ordering them Feb. 20 at usps.com/supplies or by calling 800-610-8734. Some of the new boxes are co-branded with the logo of America Supports You, which is a Department of Defense program that connects citizens offering support to the military and their families. The $2 discount is applied when the Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Boxes are shipped to an APO/FPO destination. The two existing flat-rate boxes (11 x 3 x 13 inches and 11 x 8 X 5 inches), which currently retail for $8.95 for U.S. addresses, are not available for the military discount, postal officials said. They said all flat-rate boxes can still be used for international shipping.