Posts in Category: Texas State Guard

Brownwood Regional Medical Center Hosts Disaster Drill

Photo of EventBrownwood Regional Medical Center hosted their semi-annual disaster drill Friday morning from 8 AM until noon.

The "mock" tornado drill included the Brown County Disaster Trailer and triage tent setup along with participation from the Texas State Guard to give readiness and training for the use of these assets in an emergency situation with possible mass casualties. The scenario of the drill included mass casualties as if the area suffered damage as a tornado made a path through the Brown County area at 9:00 AM.

The location of the drill was in the parking lot near the west entrance of the hospital, just off Streckert Drive. The drill helped illustrate the events that can and will occur during arrival of patients and casualties being triaged during such a disaster, along with handling of the families as they arrive needing to check on patients. This mock tornado drill also tested the coordination of services and involvement pushing the limits of the overall readiness of all hospital departments including nursing staff, physicians and support staff, according to Marketing Director Donna Hair who stated, “Planning and readiness of our team is essential in the event of a true emergency.”

In the case of a real disaster, it is important for the public not to respond to the hospital immediately to find loved ones. Hair explained that Brownwood Regional Medical Center would relocate patients and work with staff to accommodate the needs, triage and treatment, of patients with the assistance of the Texas State Guard and the Brown County Emergency Management team. Once communication is sustained in and out of the facility during the disaster, the public would be informed of how status updates on patients (loved ones and friends) may be received.

In this situation, a press release would be sent out from BRMC’s Chief Executive Officer, Chip Camp asking the public to assist with the above response in a real emergency scenario/disaster such as this. Hair provided the media with a sample of this release which included the above request for family to wait on information rather than inundating the hospital with even more people to identify and process rather when time is of the essence to triage and treat patients.

Brownwood Fire Department, Brown County CERT Team, Brown County Emergency Management officials, Guardian EMS/Allegiance Ambulance, Texas State Guard, Brownwood Regional Medical Center personnel and several volunteers took part in Friday’s drill.

Pictured are scenes from the disaster drill on Friday. 

Texas State Guard to hold mock disaster exercises

Story by: Masako Melissa Hirsch

The Dallas Morning News  

Posted June 4, 2014

The 19th Regiment of the Texas State Guard will conduct mock disaster exercises this weekend in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The volunteer regiment, which helps local and state authorities during emergencies, will use the exercises as training to help prepare for the hurricane season.

On Friday, the Guard will simulate search-and-rescue operations and wide-area damage assessment at the south wooded area at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and at 815 S. Main St, in Grapevine. The exercises will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

On Saturday, the Guard will hold a hurricane-evacuation shelter with the American Red Cross at the Civic Center in Balch Springs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The mock disasters will be part of a training event led by the Dallas County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, in conjunction with several local agencies.

4th Regiment Gonzales Cupteam is a Winner!

Story by: CW2 Janet Schmelzer, 4th Regiment PAO

Posted: 1-JUN-14

Team Wins First Place in Two of Five Challenges.

STEPHENVILLE, Texas--The 4th Regiment Gonzales Cup Team competed with 15 fellow soldiers from the 8th Regiment and the 19th Regiment at the Texas State Guard (TXSG) second annual team and individual competition held at different venues in Stephenville and Erath County, Texas, from April 11-12, 2014.  The National Guard Armory in Stephenville served as the base for the competition and as billeting for the soldiers.

The 4th Regiment team won two of the five team challenges--the ropes challenge course and the life-saving exercise.  Overall, the team had an outstanding performance and made the 4th Regiment proud.

Photo of 4th Regiment Gonzales Cup Team with 4th Regiment Support Personnel (first row left to right) SSG Gary Harvel, CPL Justin Carter, SPC Stephen Walton, SSG Dennis Burks (in front), CPL Joe Ringnald, PFC David Anderson; (second row left to right) CSM Albert Willars, SFC Richard Shillling, WO Ray Spoth, COL Howard Palmer, Jr., and LTC Lloyd Lietz.
4th Regiment Gonzales Cup Team with 4th Regiment Support Personnel (first row left to right) SSG Gary Harvel, CPL Justin Carter, SPC Stephen Walton, SSG Dennis Burks (in front), CPL Joe Ringnald, PFC David Anderson; (second row left to right) CSM Albert Willars, SFC Richard Shillling, WO Ray Spoth, COL Howard Palmer, Jr., and LTC Lloyd Lietz.

The 4th Regiment team included team leader SSG Gary Harvel, CPL Joe Ringnald, and PFC David Anderson of the 1st Battalion, CPL Justin Carter and SPC Stephen Walton of the 2nd Battalion, and SSG Dennis Burks of the 3rd Battalion. Each member put forth 100% effort, demonstrated skill and endurance, and excelled at teamwork which resulted in a top-notch performance.

The Gonzales Cup team competition tested five skill sets. The first competition was physical fitness. At the Tarleton State University Track and Field Course, in Stephenville, Texas, the physical fitness test challenged each soldier to complete as many sit-ups and push-ups as possible in 2 minutes followed by a mile run. Ringnald considered the physical fitness challenge very important.  “Physical fitness never stops.  It is the way we should live every day."  Of all the competitors Ringnald came in 3rd and Anderson came in 6th.

The second competition was the 9mm pistol marksmanship held at the Tac Pro Shooting Range in Erath County. Ringnald earned the top score for the team and Anderson was second for the team. Of all of the competitors, Ringnald was 3rd and Anderson was 6th. Team members shot targets 75-feet away in the standing, kneeling, crouching and prone positions to achieve the highest total team score.  Anderson saw the marksmanship competition as a "test of concentration and skill which are important to our ability to take on our mission." Burks said the key to better scores is "practice, practice, practice."  Carter believed that the competition was a learning experience.  "It is good to train and learn from teammates."

The third competition was Land Navigation at the Tarleton State University Hunewell Ranch, in Erath County.  Each regiment was divided into two-man teams.  The teams of the 4th Regiment were Harvel and Carter; Burks and Ringnald, and Walton and Anderson.  The course had thirty-nine markers hidden in the wild brush and mesquite trees as possible using maps, protractors, and compasses within a 2 ½ hour time limit.  Each marker was worth from 5 to 15 points.  Each 4th Regiment team used strategy and superior execution of land navigation skills. 

The fourth competition was at the Tarleton State University Challenge Course which consisted of three challenges:  "Human Sensor Web," "Acid Crossing," and "Perimeter Breach."  The 4th Regiment won this competition.  The three challenges required teamwork, team strategy, and superior leadership reaction to succeed and to complete each challenge successfully without penalties and in the fastest time possible. The first challenge for the 4th Regiment team was the "Human Sensor Web," which looked like a spider web made of rope.  The team had to pass each team member through the web with as little movement as possible so as not to ring the bell suspended in the web.

At the Awards Ceremony, Army Component Commander BG Jake Betty congratulates the 4th Regiment Team. BG Betty is shaking the hand of SPC Stephen Walton.  (left to right) SSG Dennis Burks, CPL Justin Carter, CPL Joe Ringnald, BG Betty, SPC Walton, and PFC David Anderson.
At the Awards Ceremony, Army Component Commander BG Jake Betty congratulates the 4th Regiment Team. BG Betty is shaking the hand of SPC Stephen Walton.  (left to right) SSG Dennis Burks, CPL Justin Carter, CPL Joe Ringnald, BG Betty, SPC Walton, and PFC David Anderson.

Once  a part of the web had been used, that part of the web could not be used again. The 4th Regiment team successfully passed each member through as well as their equipment.  The team passed SPC Walton through the web head first as if he were on a stretcher.  The team made the bell ring only once while the other regiments made the bell ring several times.  David Meyers, the Outdoor Pursuit Coordinator in Recreational Sports at Tarleton State University, saw the team succeed as a unit.  "It is just that basic buddy system which helps the team to work together."

The 4th Regiment team then proceeded to the second ropes course challenge, the “Acid Crossing.” This challenge required the team to build a bridge, using only three 2”x8”x8’ boards to connect together five 12-inch poles buried in the ground. Again, the 4th Regiment team excelled at the challenge.  Harvel quickly figured out the solution to the challenge and was the first team member to begin the bridge building, followed by Anderson, Carter, Burks, Walton and Ringnald. As the bridge was built, each team member had to cross from pole to pole on the 2” side of the boards as if walking on a tightrope. 

The 4th Regiment team builds the bridge for the "Acid Crossing" challenge.  (left to right)CPL Joe Ringnald, SSG Dennis Burks, SPC Stephen Walton, PFC David Anderson, CPL Justin Carter, and SSG Gary Harvel.
The 4th Regiment team builds the bridge for the "Acid Crossing" challenge.  (left to right)CPL Joe Ringnald, SSG Dennis Burks, SPC Stephen Walton, PFC David Anderson, CPL Justin Carter, and SSG Gary Harvel.

The team did not have a single member fall off the bridge whereas other regiments were penalized for members falling off.  Walton deemed the team's success to "fluidly working together, trusting each other, and having SSG Harvel as our team leader.  This is a great team building experience."

The third ropes course challenge was the 15-foot high “Perimeter Breach” wall which required the 4th Regiment team to lift up the first member, Anderson, who then reached up to grab the top of wall and pull himself to the top of the wall. The second member to be hoisted up was  Harvel and Anderson had to pull him up without any assistance.  Then Anderson and Harvel pulled up Carter as he was lifted up from below by the remaining three team members. The next two were Burks and Walton. However, once a team member reached the top, he could not return to the front of the wall to help hoist remaining team members.  This test continued until only Ringnald was left at the bottom of the wall.  Burks and Walton used a rope, which could only be used once in this test, to pull Ringnald to the top without any team members left at the wall to hoist him up.  Harvel believed that the competition was “all about team building. The team did it.”  Burks stated that he "loved the competition.  I wanted to compete on even more obstacles!"

Observing the competition, BG Jake Betty, TXSG Army Component Commander, was pleased with the performance of the soldiers. “The events went very well. I was impressed with the level of enthusiasm of the individuals and teams in their dedication and performance. This event helped build unit esprit de corps, allowing individual soldiers skills and confidence to be tested to be state guard ready.”  

On Saturday, April 12, at the National Guard Armory in Stephenville, the final competition was Life Saving Skills. The 4th Regiment team won this competition.The Gulf Coast Medical Response Group, who designed the life saving competition, traveled to Stephenville to conduct the tests which would determine the proficiency of each soldier in three life saving skills. Of all competitors Ringnald tied for 1st, and Harvel, Carter and Burkes tied for 3rd.  Each 4th Regiment team member took a test, administered first aid to an unresponsive and unconscious mock victim using CPR and an Automated External Defibrillator, treated a broken arm using splints and bandages, and treated a mock victim for shock and a bleeding arm wound by applying a pressure bandage.  The final life-saving test was a wounded casualty extraction which required the team to carry a 200-pound dummy in a skid stretcher over a ½ mile course with trees and a shallow gulley as obstacles in the fastest time possible.  Walton viewed the challenge as “learning to trust your teammates to finish a task successfully. All of the life-saving tests were important because these injuries occur in the real world.” Anderson too called the tests "a great, real world hands-on experience as each station presented different life-saving methods." MAJ James Vretis, TXSG Army Component Staff Surgeon, commented that this challenge was “a clear way to evaluate the training for life saving intervention.”

The 4th Regiment team carries a 200-pound dummy during the wounded casualty extraction challenge.
The 4th Regiment team carries a 200-pound dummy during the wounded casualty extraction challenge.

Although the 19th Regiment had the highest total score and won the Gonzales Cup, the 4th Regiment turned in a performance other regiments should envy and most certainly the 4th Regiment team represented the 4th Regiment to the highest TXSG standards. COL Howard Palmer, Jr., 4th Regiment Commander, stated that he was “very proud of the 4th Regiment team. They demonstrated great esprit d’corps and teamwork.” “The spirit, resilience, and competitiveness of each soldier” he continued, “speaks to the energy and determination of the team to put forth their very best effort to win.”   CSM Albert Willars agreed. "This competition demonstrates outstanding training and is a morale builder.  It shows exceptional unity and esprit d'corps."  Ringnald commented that "it was a great time.  I am proud to have worked with my fellow soldiers." Harvel summed up the team's performance.  "I am proud of the team.  They did a great job.  They stepped up to work as a team."  Burks looked forward to next year.  "We will take it!"

The success of the 4th Regiment team depended on many individuals in the regiment, including each member of the 4th Regiment team, 4th Regiment Commander COL Howard Palmer, Jr., 4th Regiment Executive Officer and Operations and Training Officer LTC Lloyd Lietz, Battalion commanders MAJ Ted Prescott (1st), MAJ Tommy Thompson (2nd), and MAJ Michael Potts (3rd), Assistant Operations and Training Officer WO Ray Spoth, 4th Regiment Senior Enlisted Advisor CSM Albert Willars, Battalion Senior Enlisted Advisors CSM Hayward Bellah (1st), CSM Phillip Holland (2nd), and MSG Freddrik Taylor (3rd), 4th Regiment Operations and Training NCO SFC Richard Schilling, and every member of the regiment who supported the 4th Regiment Team.

The Gonzales Cup represents the courage, strength, and skill that the defenders of Gonzales, Texas, demonstrated while resisting the attack of the Mexican Army during the Texas Revolution in 1835.  The Gonzales Cup is engraved with the words "Come and Take It" found on the flag made by the people of Gonzales during the fight.

Carry the Load: Bringing back the heart of Memorial Day

By: Marcus Moore

WFAA - Posted: May 26, 2014

Carry the Load: Bringing back the heart of Memorial Day

Dr. Scott Nichol, with the Texas State Guard, talked to News 8 Monday morning to discuss how Carry the Load has brought back the true meaning of Memorial Day.

With over 2,000 miles of coverage from West Point, New York to Dallas, the Carry the Load national relay traveled through 11 states. Participants walked with flags and backpacks to honor service members.

"It's growing every year and bringing back what Memorial Day really means to people instead of just barbecue," he said.

Volunteers Place American Flags on Graves of Veterans

Story By: Elissa Rivas

ABC13 - Posted: May 25, 2014

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- At Houston's National Cemetery, thousands of American flags were placed on the graves Sunday morning to note the sacrifice's of thousands of fallen troops.

"We are out here to put flags on the graves of veterans and to honor their memory," said volunteer Carlos Markham.

"This is very humbling, to be amongst our heros," said Lt. Commander Mike Connor of the Texas State Guard.

Each grave was marked with its own U.S. flag, a symbol of the country they served and in some cases, for which they died.

"Memorial Day is not just a party, it's to remember the sacrifice," Markham said.

The organization, Flags for Fallen Vets, assembled more than 2,000 volunteers to place more than 68,000 flags on the grave of every veteran at the Houston National Cemetery. Each volunteer was doing it for their own special reason.

"My father and his brother all served in World War II and afterwards," said Dale Zellmer. "I have a daughter whose in the Army Reserve as a lt. and a son in law whose in the Marines."

Other volunteers believe it teaches a priceless lesson to our next generation.

"Gratitude, sorrow, respect, determination, to continue to show it for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our great nation," said Shawn Corriston.

The motivation for coming here to do this work on a holiday weekend is powerful beyond measure.

"It reminds you of friends, colleagues, relatives and people that have served in the past, brings it home," Connor said.

Flags for Fallen Vets wants to expand it's efforts to other cemeteries around the nation next year.

(Watch the Video)

4th Regiment Pilots the Warrior Leadership Course

First WLC Class Graduates Ten Soldiers

Story by: CW2 Janet Schmelzer, 4th Regiment PAO

Posted: 20-MAY-14

FORT WORTH, Texas—The 4th Regiment is the first unit in the Texas State Guard (TXSG) Army Component Command to offer the Warrior Leadership Course (WLC) which is a training program for junior NCOs to learn the fundamentals of leadership, what is expected from an NCO, and how to be a more productive leader. The course was held over two weekends in March and April, 2014.

CSM Albert Willars, Senior Enlisted Advisor, 4th Regiment, worked with teams of 4th Regiment NCO instructors to develop class materials. The Senior NCO Instructor was MSG William Seaman; the primary instructors for theory were SSG Dennis Burks and SSG Angie Ogle; for land navigation were SSG Stephen Wilson and SGT Anthony Miller; for physical fitness training was SGT Martin Joseph; for communications was SGT Michael Corso; and for drill and ceremony was SSG Stephen Wilson and SSG Dennis Burks; additional instructors included SFC Richard Schilling, SSG Laura Burks, and SGT Mary Wilson. Instructors were chosen based on the following criteria: RBOT instructor qualified, a 50-question exam on leadership, experience in technical training areas, and experience performing and teaching those training areas.

Warrior Leadership Course Graduates on April 27, 2014 (left to right) PFC Anthony Rose, PFC Lynda Briggs, CPL Bailey Phillips, CPL Hans Hansen, PFC Sylvia Maza, PFC Adrian Washburn (kneeling), SGT Gayle Linke, PFC Tessa Smith, PFC Erick Schluter, and SPC Colin O’Brien. Photo by CW2 Janet Schmelzer, 4th Regiment PAO.
Warrior Leadership Course Graduates on April 27, 2014 (left to right) PFC Anthony Rose, PFC Lynda Briggs, CPL Bailey Phillips, CPL Hans Hansen, PFC Sylvia Maza, PFC Adrian Washburn (kneeling), SGT Gayle Linke, PFC Tessa Smith, PFC Erick Schluter, and SPC Colin O’Brien. Photo by CW2 Janet Schmelzer, 4th Regiment PAO.

The course was developed using established leadership doctrine from ADRP 6-22 Leadership Fundamentals and the FM7-22.7 U. S. Army NCO Guide, and the U. S. Army Sergeant Major Academy for Army War Leadership. These manuals and curriculum were used to identify the key topics that were necessary for the WLC. TXSG ACC Commander BG Jake Betty and ACC Senior Enlisted Advisor Lloyd Schook approved the training plan of the 4th Regiment WLC.

This new WLC will replace the Primary Leadership Development Course (online) and will provide hands-on leadership training experience. “The more leadership training that we can give to our junior enlisted,” CSM Willars commented, “the more they will learn what leadership is about, how to treat their soldiers, and how to approach their soldiers.”

The need for a new approach for NCO leadership training concluded that the online PLDC provided theory but not hands-on training. Other factors also played a role in revising the leadership training, including travel time and the costs associated with attending a course away from a home station. Instead every regiment has experienced NCO leaders who are readily available and reach regiment can tap into that pool of experience. PFC Tessa Smith, 3rd Battalion, stated that she learned from WLC “to take responsibility as a leader.” She feels very “fortunate to be learning from strong NCOs as to how to develop my own leadership skills.”

The objective of the new training was to develop junior NCOs into leaders through hands-on experience. SFC Richard Shilling, 4th Regiment Training and Operations NCO, stated that “there is a big difference between knowing the leadership commands in theory and getting up in front of your soldiers and giving the correct commands.”

According to PFC Adrian Washburn, 3rd Battalion,“the WLC course allows me to learn leadership techniques and to experience firsthand how to command a squad.” 

The first weekend from March 22-23, 2014, focused on the theory and practice of leadership. Subjects covered included history of the NCO, Army Leadership, Army values, the Warrior Ethos, what is expected of a leader, and how to set the example for the troops. This training also focused on functional topics not strategic topics. Small team leadership of was emphasized. “I am beginning to understand what it takes to be a leader. This is a great class,” commented SPC Colin O’Brien, 3rd Battalion.

The second weekend of April 26-27, 2014, was the hands-on training. Soldiers in the WLC were put into leadership positions with the cadre working with them to execute the leadership role. The soldiers exercised giving commands, moving formations around, leading teams during land navigation, manage members of their teams, and how to use team members to the best advantage of the mission. The motto for the WTC was "NO MISSION TOO GREAT.”

At the end of the course ten junior NCOs graduated from the WLC course on April 27, 2014.

Prayer Breakfast 2014

Posted: 19-MAY-14

Photo of General Rodriguez and Colonel at event.Chaplain and troops from different TXSG components along with family members, dined in grand style a breakfast buffet, gathered for the 5th Annual Military Prayer Breakfast held on the beautiful campus of Dallas Baptist University, May 17th, sponsored by the 4th and 19th Civil Affair Regiments, 4th Air Wing, DFW Medical Reserve Group-Texas Medical Brigade and 3rd Battalion Texas Maritime. As noted by TXSG Army Component Command Lead Chaplain COL Doug Sewell, "The Chaplains of the Texas State Guard vision statement for this prayer breakfast: 1) to foster unity within the Texas State Guard by praying for our nation and its leaders, 2) to protect America's constitutional Freedoms to gather, worship, pray and speak freely, 3) to publicize and preserve America's religious heritage, 4) to encourage and emphasize prayer, regardless of current issues and positions, 5) to be wise stewards of God's resources and provisions, and 6) to glorify the Lord in word and deed."

Welcoming remarks from DBU was given by Mr. Dennis Linam, Vice-President for External Affairs with a Presentation of the Colors by the 4th AW Honor Guard with the singing of the National Anthem. Choir and band members were lead by Reverend (LTC) Jerald Garner throughout the program as patriotic and inspirational songs such as "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "Texas our Texas" were sung as the guests were invited to participate as the words were noted on screen. A musical tribute was also given to commemorate each of the federal military services performed as part of a Service song medley, to those who have served or serve in the TXSG, as individuals were asked to stand up and represent by singing their military service song. Numerous faith-based readings and quotes from our founding fathers and from past presidents were also presented by each of the Chaplains such as "It is the Soldier" and the Prayers of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Guest speaker, presented by COL Bruce Postma, Command Chaplain, was MG Darren G. Owens (USA ret.). As Sewell stated, "MG Owens is unashamedly a man of faith. He spoke to most of our TXSG chaplains in January at Camp Mabry, and he was extremely well-received by all that heard him." Owens stated, "The service to our communities is what sets us apart from other nations, freedoms that other nations can't comprehend. It's the character of the people and communities with shared values combined with diversity of religious backgrounds and the individual gifts that make America a special and blessed nation." “Like raindrops falling," stated Owens, "look through the clutter and see what's important and take care of it first for the future of our community."
Of the event, 1LT Peggy Gutierrez, from 4th Regt., noted of the event, "I think it's wonderful how each Chaplains' different personality brings depth to the event that has a way of touching our hearts in different ways. How resonant is Chaplain Reagan's voice! How fun Chaplain Howe's address. How convicting the prayer of Anne Graham Lotz. & it's always good to be reminded of our founding fathers' mindset. And the music - so moving!"

Planners included Chaplains, COL Lyle Metzler and LTC Billy Corn from DFWMRG-TMB, 19th Regt., MAJ Dale Vick and 2LT Adam Mosser, TMB, COL Lyle Metzler, 4th Regt,. LTC Jerald Garner, CPT David Fish, 1LT David Isbell, and 1LT Brian Reagan, and 4th AW 1LT Don Howe. Planners expressed their deepest appreciation to the choir and band members from South Garland Baptist Church, headed by Reverend Jerald Garner, Minister of Music at First United Methodist Church, from Rowlett, Mr. Don Shelley, Director of Worship Ministries and First Baptist Church and Mr. John Whitlow, Ministry of Music for volunteering their time to prepare for this event.

City of Sugar Land and State Guard conducting hurricane exercise

Posted: 15-MAY-14

The City of Sugar Land and the Texas State Guard will hold a full-scale hurricane exercise May 30 through June 1.

Areas of focus will include mass sheltering, evacuation and hazmat response. Exercise participants will work through scenarios that focus on the following objectives:

Resource Coordination: determine strengths and weaknesses in the current plan governing on-scene command and control, emergency operations center operations and coordination of response resources.

Access Control: review plans for area perimeter control, staging and incident command post security.

Sheltering and Housing of Pets: ensure the safety of people and animals.

Hazmat Response: Identify and contain chemical release and ensure the safety of surrounding communities.

The Texas State Guard will provide the necessary manpower to create a realistic shelter operation at Wheeler Fieldhouse in Mercer Stadium, 16403 Lexington Blvd. Partners supporting the exercise include Fort Bend ISD, City of Stafford Emergency Management, Fort Bend County Red Cross and Brazos River Authority.

The exercise will result in a large presence of military personnel and equipment, as well as radio traffic simulating a disaster response.

The purpose of the exercise is to provide participants with an opportunity to evaluate current response concepts, plans and capabilities. The exercise will focus on local emergency responder command and control coordination, critical decisions, notifications and integration of state and federal assets necessary to save lives and protect public health and safety.

2LT Arto Lehtonen Graduates from OCS

4th Regiment Welcomes Home New Officer

Story by: CW2 Janet Schmelzer, PAO, 4th Regiment
Posted: 10-MAY-14

FORT WORTH, TEXAS--On May 10, 2014, 2LT Arto Lehtonen, 4th Regiment, Texas State Guard (TXSG) received his commission following his graduation from the recent Class 13 of the Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas. He returns to the 3rd Battalion, 4th Regiment to assume his new responsibilities as an officer.

Born in Halikko, Finland, Lehtonen grew up on a small dairy farm with his eight siblings. His parents encouraged their children to work hard, study their school lessons, and be responsible individuals.  He joined the local 4H club and served as club president.  He liked to read history books and tinkered with an old tube radio.  "I guess I can say that my dream jobs were either," he remembered, "an engineer or a soldier."  After high school he joined the Finnish Army (military service is mandatory for all males in Finland).  After his service in the army, he then went on to attend the Technical Institute of Turku, graduating with a BS in Telecommunications. 

In 2005 his employer, Nokia, relocated him to Texas and both he and his wife Lilli became naturalized citizens in 2012.  He now is employed by BenefitMall, Inc. as a software developer. 
In 2011 Lehtonen joined the TXSG because "I wanted to give back to this society and the TXSG mission sounded like something that I wanted to be involved with."  He has served as a squad leader and platoon sergeant. In deciding to apply for OCS, "I wanted to grow as a leader and OCS is the best leadership training you can get in the TXSG." From OCS he learned both theoretical and practical leadership skills, "some of which I have even been able to use in my civilian job." The most challenging part of OCS, according to Lehtonen, was Military Decision Making Process and Troop Leading Process.  This four-month project required writing WARNOs and OPORDs and the presentation of a briefing on how the processes were used to produce those orders.

Gov. Perry inducts 9 into Texas Women’s Hall of Fame

Gov. Perry inducts 9 into Texas Women’s Hall of Fame
Posted on: May 6, 2014 | By Lauren McGaughy

First Lady Anita Perry, Secretary of State Nandita Berry and Houston-area state Rep. Senfronia Thompson were just three of the honorees Gov. Rick Perry inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame on Tuesday.

The biennial awards were handed out to nine women in a ceremony held in Texas State Senate Chambers. The inductees, chosen for the leadership they exhibited in everything from business and health advocacy to community and public service, will be featured in the state’s Hall of Fame permanent exhibit at Texas Woman’s University in Denton. The names of more than 100 notable women have been added to the list since it was established in 1984 under then-Gov. Mark White.

During his keynote address, Perry said the successes of these women are all the greater for having been made in the face of often overwhelming societal barriers. He said the Hall of Fame is a place for the state’s greatest, many of whom were “non-conformists.” “Yes Senfronia, I’m looking at you,” Perry joked, referring to Thompson, the longest-serving woman and African-American in the Texas Legislature.

After the ceremony, Thompson said her greatest achievement has been standing up for Texas citizens who can’t afford lobbyists, whom she calls the “little dogs.” When asked about her long career – she was first voted in in 1972 and has been re-elected 21 times – she said serving in the state Legislature is more than just a job to her. “It’s not work to me. It’s something I fell in love with.” Thompson arguably received the loudest standing ovation of the inductees Tuesday, the video presentation of her life and leadership ending with her proclaiming indigent and uneducated Texans are “not asking for a handout. They’re asking to be lifted up.”

Newly-minted Secretary of State Nandita Berry also was honored for her accomplishments in the business and legal fields. During his speech, Perry specifically touched on Berry and her path – from her arrival in the U.S. 25 years ago with less than $200 in her pocket, to her naturalization, thriving legal career working for Fortune 500 companies and international law firms and, finally, her appointment as Texas’ first Secretary of State of Indian descent in January.

Perry also honored his wife, Anita, with a leadership award. During her video presentation, Anita Perry noted her long career as a nurse and her efforts to promote economic development, child immunization and anti-domestic violence programs during her years as First Lady of Texas. Gov. Perry also thanked his wife for saying yes to his marriage proposal, more than 16 years after they first started dating.

The recipients are chosen from nominations submitted and reviewed by a panel of judges. Past honorees include former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, basketball star Sheryl Swoops, astronaut Sally Ride, George W. Bush counselor and ex-U.S. State Department Undersecretary Karen Hughes and Ann Richards, Texas’ most recent female governor.

Below is a full list of the 2014 inductees to the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame:

- Nandita Berry (Business Award): Texas Secretary of State, the first of Indian descent, appointed Jan. 7, 2014; former counsel at Locke Lorde LLP in Houston. – Lillie Biggins (Health Award): President of the non-profit medical center Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, Chair of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Board of Directors.

- Joanne Herring (Community Service Award): Houston-area socialite, businesswoman, philanthropist and cultural ambassador; active in Afghanistan and Pakistan and a key driver in U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson’s efforts to convince Congress to support Afghan fighters against the Soviet incursion.

- Ret. Col. Kim Olson (Military Award): President and CEO of Grace Under Fire, a nonprofit serving female veterans; retired Air Force colonel and one of the first female military pilots to command an operational flying squadron; after serving on the Joint Staff and under the Secretary of Defense, she became the Director of Human Resources for the Dallas Independent School District. Also served in Texas State Guard as IT and personnel systems head.

- Anita Perry (Leadership Award): longest-serving First Lady of Texas; former nurse and current advocate for Texas economic development, childhood immunizations, breast cancer awareness, and anti-domestic violence and sexual assault programs; founded the Texas Conference of Women in 2000.

- Dr. Ann Stuart (Education Award): Chancellor and President of Texas Woman’s University; has grown university enrollment 85 percent under her tenure, which began in 1999; supporter of programs benefiting animals and natural spaces, like the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden and Dallas Zoo.

- State Rep. Senfronia Thompson (Public Service Award): longest-serving woman and African-American in the state Legislature; Houston attorney; author of anti-hate crime and human trafficking legislation and laws creating a minimum wage and state drug courts; former public school teacher.

- Deborah Tucker (Community Service Award): Founder of the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence; former school teacher and founder of the Austin Center for Battered Women, the nation’s first shelter for abused women and their children.

- Carolyn Wright (Public Service Award): Chief Justice for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals; first African-American head of a Texas intermediate court of appeal and first black woman to win a multi-county election in the Lone Star State; civil, family and criminal judge with 30 years experience; Houston-born recipient of the Yellow Rose of Texas award for community service.