Posts in Category: Texas State Guard

Texas State Guard 8th Regiment Provides Support to Wings Over Houston

Date: November 1, 2014

By: SSG Malana Nall, PAO - 8th REGT

HOUSTON, TX – Soldiers from the Texas State Guard's 8th Regiment put its skills and training to the test at the 30th Annual Wings Over Houston Air Show. Wings Over Houston is one of the top air shows in the United States in its category and attracts festival goers from throughout Houston and around the globe. This year’s performers featured the US Navy’s Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Team which excited the crowd.

This was the 28th time support has been provided to the event and the soldiers were well versed in the needs and requirements of the Texans who attended.  Over 100 soldiers from the Regiment were on hand at Ellington Field to assist members of the Commemorative Air Force, and Houston Police Department with crowd safety and control. Troops manned the flight line in an effort to keep visitors out of the pathway of taxing aircraft, provided gate security, bag inspections and directional crowd control for record crowd of an estimated 95,000 visitors. 1LT Lance Herrington stated; “We were proud to be able to assist so many Texans in enjoying the show and many kids enjoyed our set up to try on military gear and get their picture taken.”  Additionally members of the TXSG Medical Brigade assisted in the treatment of staff and visitors to the air show with medical needs.   Overall over 3500 man hours were provided in what has become one of the biggest events of the year for the regiment.

Photo Credit to: SSG Malana Nall, PAO - 8th REGT   - SPC Mark Renfro receives a high five from a visitor to the 30th Annual Wings Over Houston Air Show.
Photo Credit to: SSG Malana Nall, PAO - 8th REGT   - SPC Mark Renfro receives a high five from a visitor to the 30th Annual Wings Over Houston Air Show. 
Photo Credit to: SSG Malana Nall, PAO - 8th REGT - PV2 Nicholas Ognanovich talks with visitors while keeping them safe from moving aircraft on the flight line of the 30th Annual Wings Over Houston Air Show.
Photo Credit to: SSG Malana Nall, PAO - 8th REGT - PV2 Nicholas Ognanovich talks with visitors while keeping them safe from moving aircraft on the flight line of the 30th Annual Wings Over Houston Air Show.

Texas State Guard Saves Lives During Search for Human Remains

September 26, 2014


AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) – A special state search team, trained in rescue and recovery operations and ordered by Gov. Rick Perry to assist Brooks County with locating human remains of suspected illegal immigrants, is also saving lives during its mission.

According to the Texas State Guard, during their first search mission of private ranch land on September 19, they found two people showing signs of heat distress and dehydration. They told team members about a woman who was on the property; reportedly near death. The Texas State Guard members immediately began a secondary search for the woman. Once located, the woman, identified later as a Honduran national, was administered lifesaving aid and evacuated by a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) helicopter for further care. All three, as well as two additional people located in the immediate area, were taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“This state-led effort is aimed at addressing yet another consequence of a border left unsecure by the federal government –fortunately this time it did not end in the loss of life,” Gov. Perry said. “But as long as the federal government refuses to secure our border and end policies that encourage people to risk their lives in an attempt to enter our country illegally, we will continue to see the death toll rise in places like Brooks County.”

Since 2011, at least 332 sets of human remains were recovered in Brooks County alone. While this effort is not part of Operation Strong Safety, the majority of the remains  recovered are suspected to be those of illegal immigrants who died attempting to avoid detection while entering the U.S., or are suspected victims of human smuggling or trafficking by Mexican cartels or their operatives.

“Whether these people are found alive or dead, this is a human tragedy Brooks County has no choice but to address,” Brooks County Sheriff Rey Rodriguez said. “In its very first mission, this state search team has already shown its value in helping our county deal with the issue, and I expect they will discover many more victims during subsequent searches, either deceased or clinging to life.”

“Our priority is meeting our mission, and that is finding victims who did not survive their trek through this hazardous landscape,” Brig. Gen. Patrick Hamilton, Commander-Domestic Operations Task Force, Texas Military Forces. “But any time our service members can use their training to save a life – that is a rewarding outcome.”

“Mexican cartels and transnational gangs continue to exploit private property for drug and human smuggling, and too often, victims are left dead or dying in the elements with little to no hope of survival,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “While DPS continues working to secure the border and combat criminal activity, we will also continue to support Brooks County and our state and federal partners on the border.”

When requested by the Brooks County Sheriff’s Office, these specially-trained teams of approximately 20 to 25 personnel will search for human remains in the area. The Texas State Guardsmen conducting the searches are trained in search and rescue/recovery operations, and will utilize a variety of resources, including all-terrain vehicles, cadaver dogs, grid searches and medical support personnel. Security support during these searches will be provided by DPS Troopers or U.S. Border Patrol agents, who will also provide specialized resources for these recovery missions. The Texas Rangers may also provide investigative support for these cases when requested.

During these missions, if the search teams encounter criminal actors or individuals who are suspected to be or admittedly in the country illegally, those individuals will be referred to the appropriate law enforcement officials.

The Governor’s Division of Criminal Justice has previously awarded Brooks County $151,150 in state grant funds to assist with the costs of autopsies and transporting remains to the medical examiner in Laredo. Grant funds have also helped purchase a four-wheel drive SUV for use in accessing remote areas where remains are located, in-car video cameras and computers. Brooks County is in the process of applying for a second grant to help with ongoing costs for remains recovery and autopsies.

Texas State Guard Soldier to Miss Texas USA

Photo of Miss Texas USA

Story by Capt. Esperanza Meza
19th Regt. Public Affairs Office
LAREDO, Texas (September 1, 2014) – As members of the Texas State Guard, soldiers take an oath to serve Texas and often sacrifice a great deal to do so, for TXSG Sgt. Lauren Guzman, she wears two hats for Texas – her ACU patterned patrol cap and a crown.

Guzman was crowned Miss Texas USA 2014 on Sept. 1, 2013, representing the Lone Star State and serving the citizens of Texas as both Sgt. Guzman and as Miss Texas all year. 

"In the community, being a role model with high standards is expected when being in and out of uniform," Guzman said, speaking of the TXSG contributing to her success in the pageants.  "The TXSG taught me to be on time for events, meetings, and how to network, but it also takes a lot of discipline, commitment and self-motivation when there is no monetary compensation involved."

Guzman is currently assigned to 1st Regiment, TXSG, in the operations section in San Antonio and served with the regiment's Quick Reaction Team before it disbanded.  

“We've given her the latitude to attend required Miss Texas USA functions without penalty or adverse perception for not being able to attend scheduled Unit Training Assemblies,” stated State Guard Col. Vincent Carag, 1st Regiment commander. "We, the Soldiers of the 1st Regiment, stand behind her efforts 100 percent."  Guzman agreed, stating the troops and command, her “extended second family,” has been very supportive.

Guzman joined the TXSG in 2007 and holds a bachelor’s degree in forensic science from St. Mary’s University, which she earned while serving in the guard and is looking to the future. 

As her reign comes to an end, she is considering several career options and looking to attend Officer Candidate School.

"She was a soldier before she became Miss Texas USA and I could tell she was a ‘squared away soldier' when I first came on board," said 1st Regiment, Command Sgt. Maj., Mario Zuniga, giving accolades to Guzman.

 "As a leader, she is a coach and mentor and is not afraid to get dirty or ask questions," he said, "and when she won Miss Texas USA, both the colonel and I thought she'd be a great spokesperson and recruiter for the TXSG." 

A pageant veteran, Guzman started in 2005, where she won the Miss Laredo Top Model Pageant. In 2006, she was first runner-up in the Miss Laredo Teen USA but claimed the title in 2008.  Persevering, she competed for Miss Texas USA, being third runner-up in 2011, first runner-up in 2012 and fourth runner-up in 2013 before winning the title in 2014.  
Guzman followed her father’s and grandfather's footsteps into the TXSG.  Both served several years with 1st Regiment; her father, a major in the medical corps, and her grandfather, an education professor posthumously promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Guzman looks to her family for inspiration to do well and set an example for others. 

“My mom has always been there and pushed me to do well while I also try to do right to be a role model for my sister,” she said.

As Miss Texas USA, Guzman traveled throughout the state and nation addressing issues such as breast and ovarian cancer awareness, attended charity events, parades and visited hospitals and schools to help educate children regarding the dangers of drugs and the importance of education. She also volunteers with numerous non-profit organizations on top of her work with the Guard.

As Guzman relinquishes her crown to the next Miss Texas USA, she leaves us with this advice.

"If you have a goal, push for it and ask yourself why you want it,” said Guzman. 

“Keep your head up till you achieve what you want and accomplish it. I kept competing until I won Miss Texas USA.”

Gov. Perry Appoints Brigadier General Betty as Commander of Texas State Guard

Posted: 20-AUG-14

Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Brigadier General Gerald "Jake" Betty as Commander of the Texas State Guard effective Sept. 1, 2014 for a term to expire at the pleasure of the governor. The commander of the Texas State Guard is responsible for the organization, training and administration of the Texas State Guard, and reports to the Texas Adjutant General.

Betty is Brigadier General of the Texas State Guard Army Component Command. He is a member of the American Legion, Association of Former Students of Texas A&M, Corps of Cadets Association and the Association of Former Yell Leaders. He served in the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve.

Betty received a bachelor's degree and master's degree in education administration from Texas A&M University.

2BN, 8th Regiment Changing of Command and Enlistment Promotions

Posted: 19-AUG-2014

MAJ Britton presents LTC Krueger with the Cavalry Saber from the 2nd Bn. Photographed by SPC Hays, 2nd Bn., 8th Regt. 16 AUG 2014
MAJ Britton presents LTC Krueger with the Cavalry Saber from the 2nd Bn. Photographed by SPC Hays, 2nd Bn., 8th Regt. 16 AUG 2014

It was already turning out to be a warm and humid Saturday even in the early hour of only seven-thirty in the morning. After pulling into the parking lot at the Bryan Armory several soldiers from Second Battalion were greeting each-other with warm handshakes and friendly banter. A steady stream of soldiers continued to arrive and, now numbering in the dozens, file into the classrooms inside the armory for company time. Once there the battalion companies briefly split into separate groups to review the process for the Second Battalion change of command ceremony and the promotion of four of the battalions enlisted personnel. After briefing the personnel verbally the companies rehearsed the Drill and Ceremony movements and functions before the ceremony itself took place in the vehicle bay of the armory.

The first round of ceremonies consisted of the promotion of four enlisted personnel in the Second Battalion from within Company A, and in the Second Battalion staff. Sergeant Gore, the Second Battalion S3 NCO, was promoted to Staff Sergeant, and Specialist Zelaya of Company A was promoted to Sergeant, and Privates First Class Manning and Hall, also of Company A, were promoted to Corporal and Specialist respectively. These enlisted men of the Second Battalion have demonstrated the dedication and competency of leadership necessary to be entrusted with greater responsibility and recognition deserving of promotion within the ranks. We look forward to their promising careers within the Texas State Guard and the Second Battalion.

Alas, all good things must come to an end, and the ceremony of the change of command of the Second Battalion resulted in the prestigious promotion of responsibility for one Major (MAJ) Britton to the role of commanding officer of the battalion, and the bittersweet loss of the outgoing commander of Second Battalion: Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Krueger. LTC Krueger, having inherited the Second Battalion from LTC Manning upon his retirement, set about creating the framework for a more consistent and quality focused training scheme for the soldiers of the Second Battalion. After working tirelessly with the Second Battalion for several years LTC Krueger has helped bring about many changes and improvements to the organization, efficiency, and quality of the personnel and training drills conducted by the Second Battalion.

As testament to LTC Krueger’s humility and exemplary leadership while in command he stressed in his farewell speech that his successes are not his own, but a result of the collective effort of each and every soldier in the unit. Each drill that saw an increase in the number of attending soldiers, every successful training mission undertaken by the unit, and the exemplary professionalism displayed at every Annual Training exercise is as much a reflection of the discipline of the men and women of the rank-and-file of Second Battalion as it is the quality of leadership from Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers alike. With Colonel Grantham, the Commanding Officer of the Eighth Regiment, presiding over the change of command, and with General Jake Betty in attendance, the mantle of responsibility for Second Battalion was passed to MAJ Britton.

Incoming commander of the Second Battalion, MAJ Britton, gave a short speech emphasizing that he will continue to build on the success of those before him, and presented the outgoing commander with a parting gift from the soldiers of the unit: A Cavalry Saber etched with the insignia of the Eighth Regiment shield, and the words “Texas State Guard” with a wooden display stand and an attached plaque inscribed with the name of LTC Krueger, the date and the purpose of the occasion for which it was presented. In the closing statements of the ceremony MAJ Britton wished LTC Krueger the best in his endeavors as he transfers to Texas State Guard Command Headquarters to continue doing greater and better things for the TXSG. LTC Krueger, we soldiers of the Second Battalion thank you for your dedication to us and for your service rendered thus far to our great State of Texas. You shall be sorely missed.

Texas State Guardsmen jumps into action!

Photo of the burning motorcycle.

By: LTC Cendy Antley, 2nd Regiment

Posted: 18-JUL-14

We all know Texas State Guard members are people who give of themselves selflessly to the citizens of the state of Texas.  Saturday, July 16, 2014 was no different.  On Interstate 35 South at Waco, CPL Michael Dunlap witnessed what few would ever want to see in their lifetime.

At approximately 5:45 p.m. CPL Dunlap was driving home to Austin when he witnessed a motorcycle in the right hand lane, on its side, on fire, with the driver lying in the lane not moving.  Fuel was running down the overpass on fire.  Without hesitation, CPL Dunlap stopped his car, checked to make sure the scene was safe, and pulled the driver of the motorcycle to safety with the assistance of a truck driver.

The motorcycle driver was conscious and answer pertinent questions posed by the CPL.  While no one Texas State Guard member expects to put their life on the line to save a stranger, we are very proud of CPL Michael Dunlap as he exemplifies what a State Guardsman is made of. CPL Michael Dunlap is the true grit of a Texas State Guard.  Bravo Zulu.

Chief Petty Officer Nathan Gilbert Promoted to Senior Chief Petty Officer

By: CMSgt Paul Lankford, 5th AW Public Affairs Officer

Posted: 17-JUL-14

Members of the Del Rio JOIC stood in formation as Col Hamilton and Maj Kali Pinckney, Commander of the 449th ASG, pinned on his new rank.   Col Hamilton explained, “I’m pleased to promote CPO Gilbert to SCPO.  Chief Gilbert began his TXSG career with the Army side, later when TMAR stood up, he transferred to that component.”
Members of the Del Rio JOIC stood in formation as Col Hamilton and Maj Kali Pinckney, Commander of the 449th ASG, pinned on his new rank.   Col Hamilton explained, “I’m pleased to promote CPO Gilbert to SCPO.  Chief Gilbert began his TXSG career with the Army side, later when TMAR stood up, he transferred to that component.” 

Del Rio—During a July 15th Staff Assistance Visit, Operation Border Star OIC Col Thomas Hamilton, promoted Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Nathan Gilbert to Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO). SCPO Gilbert is the Training Officer for the Del Rio Joint Operations Intelligence Center (JOIC).

SCPO Gilbert’s home unit is TMAR 1st BN located at the Rosenberg, TX Armory. SCPO is the N-1 Personnel Actions Officer for TMAR 1st BN.

“The ‘Top Three,’ within the enlisted naval ranks of TMAR are the Chief Petty Officer, the Senior Chief Petty Officer, and the Master Chief Petty Officer,” said Col Hamilton. On April 1, 1893, the grade of Chief Petty Officer was established, and effective June 1, 1958 the grade of Senior Chief and Master Chief were created. The Chief Petty Officers (CPO) serve a dual role as both technical experts and as leaders, with the emphasis being more on leadership; including the recognized collateral duty of training newly commissioned Junior Officers. CPO’s are, in essence, the middle managers of the Navy, the Chief is in charge of getting the work done through the junior enlisted.

Arthur J. Miller, Border Liaison Officer Del Rio for Operation Border Star (OBS) said, “SCPO Gilbert is very deserving of this promotion. He is the JOIC Training Officer, who is responsible of not only new-hire training, but refresher training on OBS JOIC procedures.”

After the promotion ceremony, members of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Del Rio Border Intelligence Center (BIC) and TXSG members of the JOIC congratulated SCPO Gilbert during a promotion reception in the JOIC.

447th Air Support Group Change of Command

By: CMSgt Paul Lankford, 5th Air Wing Public Affairs Officer

Posted: 15-JUL-14

Col Thomas (Pre) Ball (left) presents the 447th ASG Guidon to Lt Col Barry Dolgow, new Commander 447th ASG (right), while Lt Col Patrick Cassidy, former commander looks on (center). (Photos by Capt Shawn James)
Col Thomas (Pre) Ball (left) presents the 447th ASG Guidon to Lt Col Barry Dolgow, new Commander 447th ASG (right), while Lt Col Patrick Cassidy, former commander looks on (center). (Photos by Capt Shawn James)

Houston, TX—Col Thomas Ball, 5th Air Wing Commander, conducted a promotion and change of command ceremony at the 447th Air Support Group located at the Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Houston, TX on Saturday July 12th. Col Ball promoted Maj Barry Dolgow to Lieutenant Colonel and then transferred command of the 447th Air Support Group from Lt Col Patrick Cassidy to Lt Col Dolgow. Lt Col Cassidy will be joining the 5th Air Wing staff as the Logistics officer.

Mrs. Dolgow assisted Col Ball in pinning on the new rank on Lt Col Dolgow. Col Ball said, “I’m pleased to promote Maj Dolgow to Lieutenant Colonel. He has had an incredible military career with the Navy as a Navy Flight Officer; he conducted two combat tours in Viet Nam as a F-4 Phantom Radar Intercept Officer, logged over 2,000 flight hours, 400 carrier landings, and completed 99 combat missions. Lt Col Dolgow will be a credit to the Texas State guard and the 447th Air Support Group.

Lt Col Dolgow joined the Texas State Guard over a year ago, and will begin the Command and General Staff College course July 25th at Camp Mabry in Austin, TX.

Lt Col Doglow assumes command of the 447th Air Support Group from Lt Col Patrick M. Cassidy, who served 9 years in the Naval Submarine service. Col Ball explained, “Lt Col Cassidy was assigned as a Missile Technician aboard the USS Michigan and later was an instructor at the Trident Training Facility, Naval Submarine Base, Silverdale, Washington.” Lt Col Cassidy has been a member of the Texas State Guard since June 2000, and supported relief efforts after hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Humberto , Alex, Dean and Gustav.

Texas State Guard Keeps Citizens Safe During Celebrations

Posted: Friday, July 04, 2014

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Whether you choose to celebrate with a picnic in unfamiliar territory like several UT Austin fans – or take a tour of Independence Hall – there is no shortage of activities for today's Independence Day celebration.
But, for the men and women of the Texas State Guard – they enjoyed celebrating America's birthday all suited up and eager to keep you safe.

“The sense of pride of just being here and being able to serve other fellow Texans within the guard and outside the guard has always been a great thing for me,” said Texas State Guard soldier, Thomas Coleman.

"The Texas State Guard is about Texans serving Texans. We are here to volunteer our time to be able to perform a defense support and civil authorities mission at this commission,” said Texas State Guard soldier, Sgt. Jeff Gore.

Back at the command center – they prepare for today's patriotic mission at Washington on the Brazos Park by first briefing the soldiers before sending them to their assignments.

And it's safe to say – Park Director, Catherine Nolte appreciates their hard work.

"Those folks are absolutely crucial to the success and the pleasure that our visitors can have here,” Nolte said.

While their main mission is to assist during a state emergency, one of their duties this afternoon is just to make sure everyone gets in and out safely and enjoy the holiday without any issues.

As visitors listen in on the tour and others carve wood for the first time, guard members grab their gear and stand their post – all while remembering their own favorite holiday moments.

“I guess it's always been the fireworks – coming out and seeing them and participating in the fireworks,” Coleman added.

If you're in the Washington County area – festivities will last until 9 p.m.

19th Regiment Combines Annual Training with North Texas Mass Casualty Exercise

Story by: CPT Esperanza Meza

Posted: 16-JUN-14

Spc John Turner with 19th Regiment, 1st Battalion, scans a Texas Emergency Tracking Network (TETN) band to provide to shelter evacuees at Balch Springs Recreation Center, during a mock hurricane exercise, June 7, 2014
Spc John Turner with 19th Regiment, 1st Battalion, scans a Texas Emergency Tracking Network (TETN) band to provide to shelter evacuees at Balch Springs Recreation Center, during a mock hurricane exercise, June 7, 2014

The Troopers of the Dallas-based 19th Civil Affairs Regiment, Texas State Guard, joined more than a dozen North Texas emergency management agencies in a mass casualty exercise that tested the full-range of the Regiment’s mission set. Operation Thunderbolt, led by the Dallas County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, tested the Regiment’s leaders and staffs at every level and provided Troopers unique and challenging training in readiness for this year’s hurricane season. The exercise took place in several communities across North Texas requiring the Regiment to operate simultaneously from numerous locations at the maximum range of its communications capabilities and to move every day.

“We set out from the beginning to exercise each of our METL tasks in an interagency agency environment on the turf where we’re likely to be employed”, said Col. Robert Hastings, commander of the 19th Regiment. “Every year, our annual training cycle culminates in a hurricane readiness exercise at the beginning of hurricane season.”

The training scenario revolved around a category 4 hurricane bearing down on the gulf coast triggering evacuations of Texas and Louisiana coastal communities and activation of the Dallas mass sheltering plan. It was further complicated by severe weather in North Texas with multiple tornadoes and severe flooding. In addition to thousands of evacuees, the scenario included mass casualties from an airplane crash and a hazardous chemical accident. The scenario enabled the Regiment to exercise its emergency response capabilities in communications, mass care, shelter management, evacuee tracking, wide area damage assessment, and search and rescue.

The exercise also contained a number leadership reaction scenarios designed to build teamwork and communication. In one scenario, teams conducting wide area damage assessment in the city, Grapevine, following a simulated tornado strike, discovered civilians and another TXSG team trapped in a “collapsed” warehouse – in reality a Grapevine Fire Department rescue training facility. The teams had to rapidly assess the situation, determine a course of action, and evacuate and treat the victims as the building “collapsed” around them. In another scenario, the Regiment responded to a request for assistance from the DFW Airport to help search for missing passengers from a plane crash in a heavily wooded area on the airport.

PFC Hunter Becker, assigned to 19th Regiment, 1st Battalion, attaches a Texas Emergency Tracking Network (TETN) band to one of the victims, acting as a role player, as her mother looks on  during a hurricane shelter management exercise, June 7, 2014
PFC Hunter Becker, assigned to 19th Regiment, 1st Battalion, attaches a Texas Emergency Tracking Network (TETN) band to one of the victims, acting as a role player, as her mother looks on  during a hurricane shelter management exercise, June 7, 2014

SGT Samantha Shipman, a Civil Affairs team leader, stated, “This AT tested both our basic and advanced skills in dealing with different real world scenarios and issues. It built our teamwork and communications to a new level and gave us an opportunity to find things to improve on that we may have overlooked in previous AT experiences.”

As thousands of displaced citizens began flooding into Dallas, the Regiment was redirected to the area of Balch Springs, Kaufman and Terrell to establish shelters and process evacuees. As evacuee “role players” streamed in by bus and carload, Troopers quickly established shelters, emergency tracking network stations and medical treatment stations for special needs patients. Each of the dozens of role players presented a unique and challenging problem for the shelter teams to deal with. Realism was further driven by injects provided by observer-controllers and civilian emergency management subject matter experts.

“I enjoyed getting the chance to set up and work with the emergency tracking network equipment and though there were some issues, it gave me the chance to practice coming up with a viable solution in real time with people actually waiting,” explained Spc. John Hurst.

The sentiment was echoed by Pvt. Jonathan Miller, a new member of the 19th Regiment, who added that the exercise put all his previous training in context. “Having just completed my FEMA and Red Cross training, it allowed me to gain real world perspective and partake in multiple disaster scenarios.”

The Regiment’s three battalions were augmented by a detachment from the TXSG Medical Brigade, a signals team from Texas Army MARS, and personnel from the TXSG Maritime Regiment.

"When the citizens of the Texas need assistance, exercises like this ensure we'll be ready. It was an opportunity to prove to ourselves and our emergency management partners that we are in fact prepared to respond," said Hastings.