Posts in Category: Texas State Guard

8th Regiment Honors The Fallen

Sgt. Eseil Hernandez, 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard, reads names of fallen Texas service members during the annual Watermelon Run for the Fallen remembrance ceremony held at the Staff Sgt. Jeffery Lee Hartley Memorial Park, in Hempstead, Texas, August 19, 2017. This event honors Texas service members who have died in the service of Texas and the country since September 11, 2001. (Texas State Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Gregory Illich)

Story by: Staff Sgt. Gregory Illich

Texas State Guard


HEMPSTEAD, Texas – The 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard, honored Texas service members at the 8th annual Watermelon Run for The Fallen, held in Hempstead, Texas, August 19, 2017.  The event recognizes those service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice serving their state and nation since September 11, 2001. 
    Guard members assisted the event organizers by placing photos of the 834 fallen service members along a 5K run from Hempstead High School to the Staff Sgt. Jeffery Lee Hartley Memorial park.  Hartley, a Hempstead native, was killed in Iraq in 2008.

    Sgt. Eseil Hernandez, 8th Regiment, was chosen to read names of the fallen service members. “It was heartbreaking to read the names of so many brave service members. I was proud to have the honor read the roll of those who have sacrificed so much for Texas and our country,” stated Hernandez.

    This is the third year the 8th Regiment has participated in this event.  “The assistance of the Texas State Guard makes the event go so smoothly and so seamlessly.  They have that mindset, that mentality: all right, we have a job to do, we are going to do it,” stated Scott Duncan, Vice President of the Watermelon Run.

    This annual event included Gold Star Families, who have lost a loved one in the service to the country, members of the Texas National Guard, U.S. Army and U.S. Marines, Hempstead residents and hundreds of visitors.

Col. Grantham Tapped as Army Component Chief of Staff

Texas State Guard Army Component Command welcomed a new chief of staff, Col. E. A. “Buddy” Grantham, at Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas, August 1, 2017

Story by: Chief Warrant Officer 2 Malana Nall

Texas State Guard


AUSTIN, Texas- The Texas State Guard Army Component Command welcomed a new chief of staff, Col. E. A. “Buddy” Grantham, at Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas, August 1, 2017.  As chief of staff, Grantham will be the principal military advisor to Brig. Gen. Howard N. Palmer, Jr, the Army Component commander.

“When I received a call from Brig. Gen. Palmer, who tells you that he wants you to be his chief of staff, I was truly honored,” Grantham said. “I have great examples of previous chiefs of staff to follow, Col. Paul Watkins, Col. Robert Hastings and Col. Robert Woodmansee.  I will follow in their footsteps to help build a stronger and well-trained Army Component.”  

Grantham’s military career began when he enlisted in the Texas National Guard in 1979 and then commissioned as a second lieutenant through the Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets in 1981. He entered active duty in the United States Army in 1985 and served as an Armor and Calvary Officer in Operation Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Desert Calm, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Joint Forge (Bosnia) and Noble Eagle I and II. He also served in West Germany, South Korea and Hungary.

Grantham retired from active duty in 2005 after 20 years of service.  He joined the Texas State Guard in 2007.  He served as the commander of the 8th Regiment from 2014-2017.  He also served previously as the 8th Regiment operations and training officer, regimental executive officer, and 1st Battalion commander.  He has deployed for Hurricanes Dean, Gustav, Dolly, Ike and Alex and Tropical Storm Edouard. 

“I chose Col. Grantham as my chief of staff because I value his opinions, and he asks the right questions to make the Texas State Guard Army Component ready to serve our fellow Texans, when called upon,” Palmer said.  “He brings a wealth of talent and knowledge to this position, and I am very happy to have him by my side.” 

Grantham recently received the Texas Outstanding Service Medal for his service to the State of Texas while serving as the commander of the 8th Regiment.  He has also received for his service in the United States Army the Bronze Star, Valorous Unit Award, Defense Meritorious Service Medal (5th Award), Army Commendation Award (6th Award), Army Achievement Medal (3rd Award), National Defense Medal (2nd Award) and in the Texas State Guard, the Texas Humanitarian Service Ribbon.

Grantham lives in Houston, Texas, with his wife of 36 years, Julie, and is a proud father of daughters Jennifer and Kathleen and her husband Sean, and his son Capt. William Grantham, U.S. Army Reserves, and his wife, Alicia. Grantham and his wife have six grandchildren. 

4th Regiment Command Welcomes New Leader

Texas State Guard welcomed its new commander, Col. Robert Hastings

Story by: Cpt. Esperanza Meza, Texas State Guard 


FORT WORTH, Texas – On April 22, 2017, the 4th Regiment, Texas State Guard welcomed its new commander, Col. Robert Hastings, during a change of command ceremony at the Texas National Guard Shoreview Armory in Fort Worth, Texas.

“I am both honored and humbled to have been selected to lead the 4th Regiment,” Hastings said.  “The citizens of Texas rely on great units like the 4th Regiment to respond when they are called upon. Our job ahead is to make sure we are, in fact, trained and ready." 

Hastings enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1978.  He was a distinguished graduate of the Warrant Officer Rotary Wing Aviator Course.  He piloted the AH-1 Attack Helicopter with the 7th Infantry Division, the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment and the Army Combat Developments Experimentation Command.  
After graduating from Officer Candidate School, he was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant.  He served as an attack helicopter platoon leader and forward support platoon leader with the 101st Airborne Division. He also served as a reserve component aviation advisor at the 5th U.S. Army headquarters. Hastings completed Armor Officer Advanced Course and returned to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment where he served as regimental operations officer, air cavalry troop commander and assault helicopter troop commander.  

He served as a public affairs officer and the public affairs detachment commander with V Corps and was a senior public affairs instructor at the Defense Information School before retiring from the U.S. Army. 

His combat and expeditionary deployments include tours in Iraq, Bosnia and Honduras.

Hastings joined the George W. Bush Administration as the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs. As the senior public affairs official and spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defense, he served as the principal staff advisor to the secretary of defense for strategic communication, public information, internal information and community relations, leading a worldwide public affairs community of some 4,000 military and civilian personnel.
His military education includes the Aviation Officer Basic Course, Scout Platoon Leaders Course, Armor Officer Advanced Course, Cavalry Leaders Course, Public Affairs Officer Qualification and Advanced Courses and Combined Armed and Services Staff School.

Hastings received the Master Army Aviator, Pathfinder and Air Assault badges.  His military awards and decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, NATO Medal and Secretary of Defense Staff Identification Badge. 

His civilian awards include the Secretary of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal and the Order of St. George Medallion from the Armor/Cavalry Association and the Order of St. Michael Medallion from the Army Aviation Association of America. In 2016, Hastings was inducted into the US Army Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame at Fort Benning, Georgia. 

In 2010 Hastings joined the Texas State Guard and has served as the chief public affairs officer, commander of the 19th Regiment and Army Component chief of staff.

“Col. Hastings is a leader who takes care of his soldiers and provides the kind of leadership that results in a well-trained force,” said Brig. Gen. Howard N. Palmer, Jr., Army Component commander, Texas State Guard. “He was selected to be the commander of the 4th Regiment for his proven capabilities to motivate and envision unique solutions to problems.  He was chosen for his ability to communicate a vision and supporting goals, and to build consensus toward achieving them,” 

Hastings will command 4th Regiment headquarters in Fort Worth and battalions in Weatherford, Decatur and Arlington, Texas.
Hastings resides in Keller, Texas.

State Guardsman Appointed to TABC Commission

Serving Texas in several ways, Kevin Lilly is sworn in as the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Chairman by State Senator Kelly Hancock, Senate District 9, at the State Capitol, Austin, Texas, May 15, 2017.  Lilly is also a lieutenant colonel in the Texas State Guard and commands the 8th Regiment.  (Courtesy Photo/The Texas Senate)

Story by: Chief Warrant Officer 2 Malana Nall


AUSTIN, Texas - Texas State Guard Lt. Col. Kevin Lilly has been appointed as the presiding officer of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission by Texas Governor Gregg Abbott.

Lilly, who is also the Commanding Officer of the Houston-based 8th Regiment, will serve an appointment to the TABC from May 2017 until Nov. 15th, 2021. 

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission regulates all phases of the alcoholic beverage indus-try in Texas.  The duties of the commission include regulating sales, taxation, importation, manu-facturing, transporting and advertising of alcoholic beverages. It also has the third largest police force in the state behind the Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas Parks and Wildlife. 

Lilly said he looks forward to the challenge and using the skills he’s learned in both federal and state military service. 

“The TABC has two major functions: the enforcement of the state’s laws and regulation of the alcohol industry,” Lilly said. “The Governor wanted a chairman who understood building a cul-ture of excellence among men and women. Exacting and demanding the highest standard of ac-countability, transparency and duty in the TABC are similar to the responsibilities required of a military leader. Specifically, my service in the State Guard has exposed me to a number of law enforcement officers, from state troopers to deputy sheriffs and local police. It has also given me an understanding of state agencies.” 

Lilly also said while his mission at the two organizations is different, how he executes will look very much the same.

“My goals are similar: to continue my public service to the citizens of Texas, to contribute to the perpetuation of two great organizations and to help lead and motivate its soldiers, agents, admin-istrators and staff,” Lilly said. “Most importantly, to do so with gratitude and humility.”

This is the second gubernatorial appointment for Lilly. Gov. Rick Perry named him to the Board of Regents of the Texas State University System. He has also served as a trustee of the National World War II Museum, the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Houston Symphony Orchestra, and he currently serves as a trustee of Strake Jesuit College Preparatory in Houston. 

Texas State Guard Serves Fellow Texans Following Hurricane Harvey

Texas State Guard member entertains the kids at an evacuee shelter in San Antonio

Story by: Chief Warrant Officer 3 Schmelzer
Texas State Guard Public Affairs    

Hurricane Harvey was a mammoth Category 4 hurricane and the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 2005. When it hit the Texas Gulf Coast, August 25, 2017, wind speeds reached 130 mph.  

Harvey spawned historic levels of rainfall, with some areas of Texas receiving as much as 50-60 inches. Winds and flooding devastated entire neighborhoods, leaving thousands of Texans homeless and causing once-in-a-generation levels of destruction.  The situation was dire and required a significant emergency response.

More than 1,000 Texas State Guardsmen from the Army, Air, Medical and Maritime components, as well as chaplains, judge advocates and engineers, responded quickly to assist storm victims.

State Guardsmen receive extensive training in emergency and natural disaster response and brought this training to bear during Hurricane Harvey response efforts, by conducting search and rescue missions, coordinating shelter operations and delivering critical supplies to impacted residents.

“Helping fellow Texans at shelters means thousands of displaced families and individuals will find some comfort in the aftermath of this traumatic event.  I am humbled by their resiliency and courage,” said Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Adamowicz, 4th Regiment, Texas State Guard.

Emergency evacuation teams deployed to assist with the statewide Emergency Tracking Network, a process which helps to maintain accountability of evacuees who travel to shelters in designated mass transit vehicles.  Using the ETN system, State Guardsmen processed thousands of evacuees, allowing families to travel together to the same shelters, locate relatives and eventually return to their city or town on busses.  State Guardsmen also registered family pets, giving many pet owners the peace of mind they would not have to leave their pets behind.  

Texas State Guard search and rescue teams, working jointly with local emergency management officials, the Texas National Guard and local fire, rescue and law enforcement agencies, went into flooded neighborhoods to evacuate residents trapped by rising water.  Using rescue boats, or in many cases just wading through the floodwaters, State Guardsmen rescued more than 1,300 stranded people and pets, saving countless lives.

As thousands of evacuees went to American Red Cross designated shelters, Texas State Guard members were there to help evacuees find comfort and keep their families together.  Guardsmen set up shelters with cots and blankets, dining areas, medical rooms play areas for children and pet kennels. 

The Texas State Guard “made me feel relieved about being here amongst the other 3,000 people in this convention center],” wrote an evacuee.  “Just because of the Soldiers’ presence, we could sleep and eat so well.”

With the loss of power and water systems, many Texas residents in the hurricane strike zone also needed basic essentials.  

The Texas State Guard Engineer Direct Report Unit received a list of water and sewer systems that required daily inspections to determine the quality of the water and the operational status of the sewers.  

“The need for clean water in flooded areas, such as Houston, was a dire emergency,” said Capt. Ian Taylor, Engineer Direct Report Unit, Texas State Guard.  “

To ease the plight of residents caused by these conditions, State Guardsmen moved pallets of water and packed cleaning kits in American Red Cross warehouses.  Manning multiple points of distribution, they handed out food, cases of clean drinking water and bags of ice to hundreds of local residents.

“The Texas State Guard trains extensively for these types of emergencies, which often require a wide array of services, said Capt. Esperanza Meza, 19th Regiment, Texas State Guard. “From search and rescue, to helping our fellow Texans rebuild their lives, the services we provided during Hurricane Harvey meant the communities impacted by this disaster could count on us to be there when they needed us the most.” 

Heroes of Harvey



Story by Staff Sgt. Bethany Anderson

100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment


HOUSTON -- Hurricane Harvey carved a path of destruction through countless communities in southeastern Texas for days, after making landfall with an estimated 130 mile per hour winds near Rockport, Texas, August 25, 2017. While storm winds, rain and flood waters brought chaos and tragedy to the area, Texas Guardsmen partnered with local, state and federal first responders, bringing life-saving support and supplies to Texans in need.

Months before Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas coast, the Texas Military Department worked with state and federal partners to plan a concept operation to rehearse inter-agency coordination and joint training. All of the training for Texas National Guard units would be put to the test before, during and after Harvey left its mark on Texas.

“While we don’t want to have to put our training to the test during a tragedy, our citizen-guardsmen remain prepared to help save lives and property, when called,” said Texas Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Patrick M. Hamilton, Dual Status Commander for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts.

The Texas Military Department began strategically mobilizing Texas Army, Air and State Guardsmen as Harvey entered the Gulf of Mexico and approached the Texas coast. While the storm raged on, they worked with state and federal agencies through a phased approach to put the appropriate military resources in the right place at the right time.

“We are here to help our communities,” said Hamilton. “Working alongside our partner agencies and local first responders, we focused on deploying Guardsmen and resources where they were needed to save lives.”

Within three days of Harvey’s landfall, 12,000 Texas Guardsmen were working around the clock to support Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. It was the first time in since World War I that the entire force was mobilized at once.

The first priority was search and rescue. Zodiac boats, high-profile vehicles, helicopters and fixed wing aircraft from Texas and across the country were deployed in response to emergency conditions in affected areas.

Guardsmen from across the United States, partner first responders and service members from both active and reserve components waded through waters with boats and high profile vehicles. Overhead helicopter crews worked to airlift Texans stranded on rooftops, while Airmen in C-130s evacuated numerous people to safety.

Texas State Guardsmen were waiting with dry blankets and a smile, for displaced Texans at shelters across the state where evacuees would be identified and reunited with loved ones. Integrating seamlessly into Harvey relief operations, Texas Guardsmen helped with everything from search and rescue to critical life support, logistics support and safety operations.

Texas Guardsmen conducted hundreds of air and ground missions, performing more than 16,000 rescues and evacuating more than 18,000 people and 1,200 animals. As part of the complex inter-agency and joint operation, state and federal partners performed thousands of additional evacuations and rescue operations.

“This is what we train for,” said Hamilton. “And we’re proud to stand by our civilian partners, first responders and volunteers to serve the citizens of Texas.”

The Texas State Guard, an all-volunteer force, supported Harvey relief efforts with 17 boat teams for search and rescue operations and eight Electronic Tracking Network teams to help evacuees locate loved ones checked into shelters. In addition, the 41 Texas State Guard shelter teams sheltered more than 26,000 evacuees and more than 700 animals in 15 shelters across the state.

On Sept. 1, The sun broke through clouds, stopping what seemed like Harvey’s never-ending stream of rain a, causing flood waters to recede. As the threat from severe flooding began to dissipate, Texas Guardsmen switched their focus to supporting recovery and stability operations.

Texas Army and Air National Guardsmen immediately began constructing temporary hospitals and emergency clinics to aid medical first responders until hospitals regained power. Inside Texas Military Department medics worked side-by-side with civilian doctors to assess and treat those injured in the storm.

“There’s been some pretty serious injuries,” said Texas National Guard Spc. Sergio Villarreal, 1-143rd Infantry Regiment, “It’s great to see civilians and military working hand in hand.”

Thousands of families and individuals were stranded and without clean drinking water for days after Harvey passed over their cities. To provide Texas families in need of basic necessities, the Texas Military Department managed approximately 30 points of distribution in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. Guardsmen, working with volunteers from all over the country, distributed food, clean water, hygiene, baby and pet products to more than 100,000 Texan families in cities from Corpus Christi to Beaumont as part of the relief operations.

Texas Military Department chaplains provided emotional and spiritual support to service members and first responders, while simultaneously coordinating with local churches to get much needed supplies to affected Texans. Soldiers from Texas and Ohio worked together to deliver and feed hay to stranded livestock, helping to preserve the local agriculture and economy.

“This is the way I serve my country. I’m here helping people out,” said Texas National Guard Pfc. Jonathan Galindo, 3-133rd Field Artillery, who worked as a member of a POD team in Orange. “You know, the water is high, they’re not able to get out of their homes. It’s great we’re able to provide for them here.”

The mission of the Texas Military Department is to provide the Governor and the President with ready forces in support of state and federal authorities at home and abroad. When they were called upon, the men and women from the Texas Guard were ready and answered that call with a passion to help people.

“Hurricane Harvey left great destruction in its path, and the recovery process will take many years,” said Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, The Adjutant General of Texas. “However, the Texas Military Department’s response to Hurricane Harvey, alongside our partners, saved lives and helped many Texans take the first step towards rebuilding.”

Local Community’s Generosity and Compassion for our deployed Guardsmen

Texas National Guard and Texas State Guard Service Members pick up shampoo, soap, and other sundries donated to them by the people of Katy, Texas.  Residents of Katy wanted to show their appreciation to the guardsmen who were being deployed to assist the thousands of Texans impacted by Hurricane Harvey.  (Texas State Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Greg Illich)

Commentary by: Staff Sgt. Gregory Illich, Texas State Guard Public Affairs


KATY, Texas - When townspeople learned that thousands of service men and women were passing through Katy and using Katy High School as a staging area before deploying to areas flooded by Hurricane Harvey, local people began showing up to help any way they could.

Individuals drove up with hastily collected supplies of water, Gatorade, toiletries, snacks and other sundries.  Local restaurants brought hot food to serve to the troops, including breakfast kolaches, barbecue, gumbo, shrimp Alfredo, chicken breasts and hamburgers. It was amazing!

Texas National Guard and Texas State Guard Service Members pick up shampoo, soap, and other sundries donated to them by the people of Katy, Texas.  Residents of Katy wanted to show their appreciation to the guardsmen who were being deployed to assist the thousands of Texans impacted by Hurricane Harvey.  (Texas State Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Greg Illich)

Within days, a constant stream of cars pulling up to the school entry had delivered a significant amount of supplies into the school lobby. Like so many other Texans, everyone was pulling together to help their families, friends and complete strangers. Some of these generous people were helping others even though they too had property flooded and destroyed by the storm. Their charity and generosity was truly humbling. Word quickly spread that some Soldiers were sleeping on the floors in the hallways of the school. Scores of pillows, blankets, air mattresses and air pumps appeared in a few hours. The extra comfort for the service members was much appreciated.

Dozens of volunteers even arrived to help distribute and organize the donation efforts.  They also compiled lists of the specific needs of the service members staged there.  Many deployed units were at the high school only for a short time before moving out to their next assignment. As troops cycled through, these strangers replenished their supplies from the donations that kept coming in.

During a break, two Texas State Guardsmen went to a barbershop to get a trim as their hair had grown out during deployment.  While they waited, another customer paid for both of them to have haircuts without them knowing.  She approached the two Service Members, shook their hands and thanked them for the work we were doing.  

Later, some other Texas State Guardsmen joined a Texas National Guardsman for dinner at one of the nearby restaurants that had recently re-opened.  A grateful customer paid for our meal.  He introduced himself and shared that his house had flooded with three or four inches of water.  Despite his loss, he extended his generosity to them in appreciation of their efforts and those of other guardsmen who were helping his flood-stricken neighborhood.

I was one of those Texas State Guardsman working in the field. To say the least, I was humbled by the compassion and generosity that strangers extended to us while many of them, themselves, and their neighbors were in such need. This is the spirit of Texas and Texans helping Texans indeed and for this I am proud.

Pulling together to lend a helping hand

Spc. Dwayne Holt, 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard, waded through deep flood waters to rescue the mother of fellow Texas State Guard member, Sfc. Cheryl Lemmings, Texas Medical Brigade, during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey near League City, Texas, August 27, 2017.  SFC Lemmings’ mother, Nina, and her dogs were taken to a family member’s home.  Holt continued to rescue at least 15 families stranded in flood waters that day. (Texas State Guard photo by Spc. Dwayne Holt)

Story by Spc. Dwayne Holt, Texas State Guard

League City, Texas - When Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast and dumped historic amounts of rain, the Texas State Guard members responded to assist Texans who needed help.  Those members, who lived in the hurricane strike zone and could not deploy, became civilian rescuers of neighbors and friends in the flooded areas around Houston.  

Texas State Guard Spc. Dwayne Holt, 8th Regiment, was one of those courageous rescuers.   

Spc. Dwayne Holt, 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard, waded through deep flood waters to rescue the mother of fellow Texas State Guard member, Sfc. Cheryl Lemmings, Texas Medical Brigade, during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey near League City, Texas, August 27, 2017.  SFC Lemmings’ mother, Nina, and her dogs were taken to a family member’s home.  Holt continued to rescue at least 15 families stranded in flood waters that day. (Texas State Guard photo by Spc. Dwayne Holt)

On the morning of August 27, 2017, Holt received a phone call from fellow Texas State Guard member, Sgt. 1st Class Cheryl Lemmings, Texas Medical Brigade, who was desperately trying to find a way to rescue her mother, Nina, from her flooded home.  Owning a big pickup truck, Holt responded that he would try to get as close to the neighborhood as he could.  The flood waters were deep and even his big truck was no match.  

“I had to wade through flood waters for about four blocks to meet Lemming’s brother-in-law, Joe Green.  Then wading in chest high water, we finally reached Lemming’s mother,” stated Holt.  

A neighbor gave them a canoe to assist in the rescue.  Holt and Green packed up medicines and clothes and loaded Lemming’s mother and her dogs into the canoe.  Back at his truck, Holt drove Nina to a family member’s home.

“My training in the Texas State Guard was very important in my assisting with rescues.  I had learned to think quickly and figure out the best solution to get these rescues done successfully with the assets available and save lives,” commented Holt. 

Holt returned to the same neighborhood to continue to assist Green and a high-water rescue EMT team with evacuating residents.  “In one rescue after another we pushed boats through the flood waters, taking at least fifteen families, their pets, and a few possessions to high ground.”  In his truck, Holt drove family after family to a local HEB store, which had become a staging area for the evacuation to a shelter.  At the end of the rescue efforts, Holt made sure that Green and his son got home safely.

“Texans are amazing.  Families reached out to help other families in need.  I was very proud of how people came together, unselfishly, to assist neighbors and strangers.  The Texas State Guard is like that, too.  Texans serving Texans,” remarked Holt.

Texas State Guard Troops Hone Search and Recovery Skills

SFC Thomas Adamowicz and SGT Mark Lydahl conduct a leader’s reconnaissance prior to deployment of the GSAR team into the search area.

By 4th Civil Affairs Regiment Public Affairs

Texas State Guard


MINERAL WELLS, Texas- “Team leader, look what the terrain is doing to your formation,” said Staff Sgt. Joe Ringnald, platoon sergeant and certified Ground Search and Recovery (GSAR) trainer as he coached a team leader maneuvering a 12-member team through heavy terrain. “Look how that thick foliage to your right is driving your entire team to the left.” 

The GSAR drill was an element of a 4th Civil Affairs Regiment, Texas State Guard field training exercise at Fort Wolters Training Center, in Mineral Wells, in July. The TXSG contains a total of six GSAR Mission Ready Packages (MRP) for deployment across the state.  


To kick off the exercise, Regimental Operations alerted the GSAR team to assemble and move to a nearby remote community where recent storms and flooding had resulted in several missing persons.  

“In this scenario, we knew based on the operations briefing we were looking for remains.  The Soldiers conducted a deliberate search pattern focused on terrain where experience has taught us remains were likely to be found,” said Warrant Officer Jack Snow, GSAR operations officer.   


In the Fort Wolters mission, the GSAR team conducted two training iterations.  In a daylight scenario, the team conducted a wide-area search resulting in the location of simulated human remains.  The team then reset and conducted a night operation, successfully locating a simulated lost child.  The night search was the most advanced and challenging mission the unit has undertaken to date. 

“Guardsmen from this team have deployed on a number of real-world GSAR missions,” said Snow.  “Our goal here is to share their knowledge and experience and to make the training more challenging and under more difficult conditions to ensure we can successfully execute out in those real-world scenarios.” 

“Demanding training like this is all about confidence.  When lives are on the line we don’t want soldiers doubting themselves, their leaders or their teams,” he added.

To maximize the training value, the team rotated several Soldiers through the planning and leading roles.  

“The mission of the 4th Regiment is to provide task-organized mission ready teams to support civil emergency management authorities principally in the disaster response domain,” said Col. Robert Hastings, 4th Regiment commander, Texas State Guard. “We train to conduct mass shelter operations, emergency tracking network operations, search and recovery and to augment civil emergency operations centers. The mission ready MRP is the end-state. There are a number of enabling skills that are important – such as land navigation, first aid and radio operations, but the ‘magic sauce’ that brings it all together is teamwork and leadership, and that’s really the focus of our annual training plan and field exercises like this one.”   

Texas State Guard GSAR teams are validated and certified by other state agencies.


Texas State Guardsmen Render Aid at Motorcycle Accident

Warrant Officer Jack Snow and Sgt. Earl Woolbright, 2nd Battalion, 4th Regiment, Texas State Guard receive the Texas State Guard Texas Meritorious Service Ribbon from Brig. Gen. Howard N. Palmer, Jr., at a ceremony held at Camp Maxey, Paris, Texas, May 6, 2017.  They received this award for their emergency assistance at a motorcycle accident near Hillsboro, Texas.  (Texas State Guard photo by Capt. Esperanza Meza)

Story by: Chief Warrant Officer 2 Malana Nall, Texas State Guard


Warrant Officer Jack Snow and Sgt. Earl Woolbright, 2nd Battalion, 4th Regiment, Texas State Guard, were deep in a conversation about their recent ground search and recovery training and the importance of being prepared for an emergency or disaster as they headed home from drill on Interstate 35 south of Hillsboro, Texas, April 17, 2017.  

Then they saw the motorcycle accident.  Emergency personnel had not yet arrived, so Snow and Woolbright pulled over and got to work rendering medical aid and support to the two injured riders.  

“Those who were at the accident scene saw two Texas State Guardsmen rendering aid which is what they are trained to do in an emergency or disaster.  Snow and Woolbright represent the best of the Guard,” stated Maj. Ted Prescott, Commander, 2nd Battalion, 4th Regiment.  

Woolbright, who is the Assistant Fire Chief for Dallas County Fire/Rescue and an emergency medical technician, took charge of the scene.  He began assessing one victim, who was having difficulty breathing, seemed confused, had broken legs. Snow, who is a twenty-five year law enforcement veteran and deputy of Johnson County, attended to the other victim who showed signs of trauma to the head and hand. They attended to the victims until Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and emergency personnel arrived.

“Sgt. Woolbright was instrumental in providing emergency assistance at the scene.  He performed his duties professionally and calmly.  He provided important patient information to the emergency responders,” stated Snow.

Both credit the emergency training that they have received from the Texas State Guard and their law enforcement professions.  

“I have been an EMT/Firefighter for 27 years. My training and service in the Texas State Guard keeps my skills sharp and provides me with another opportunity to serve others.  I am honored to be a member of the Texas State Guard,” stated Woolbright.

Snow agreed.  “My training in the Texas State Guard for emergency situations and my law enforcement background give me the skills and knowledge that allowed me to assist the victims of this accident just as I would do in any other emergency or disaster,” commented Snow.

Woolbright and Snow received the Texas State Guard Meritorious Service Ribbon from Brig. Gen. Howard Palmer, Commander, Army Component, during a ceremony held at Camp Maxey, Paris, Texas, May 6, 2017.