Posts in Category: Texas State Guard

Operation Alamo Shield

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

Picture of People next to mapsPORT ARANSAS, TX—On Wednesday morning June 6th the weather in Port Aransas, TX was deceptively calm, with no heavy rains or gusty winds. Preliminary weather reports indicated the approach of a relatively mild storm, which had first formed as a tropical depression two days before in the Gulf of Mexico. The storm was being monitored by Air Force Hurricane Hunters from the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, Keesler AFB, MS.

By nightfall the weather had quickly changed drastically, and the National Weather Service was now issuing warnings for a full-fledged hurricane with its eye on Port Aransas, Ingleside, Aransas Pass and Corpus Christi. Winds at landfall were now being predicted to exceed 160 miles per hour.

The suddenness of this storm had happened once before on August 3, 1970 with Hurricane Celia, which approached as a mild storm, but left 18 dead, 9,000 injured or sick, over 3,000 homes destroyed or damaged with estimated property losses exceeding $100 million. Celia also accounted for over $50 million in crop loss. This storm, as islanders later put it, “Surely was Celia’s sister.”

COL Vincent Carag, Texas State Guard Commander of the 1st Regiment (REGT) in San Antonio, had been monitoring the progress of the storm, and wisely conducted a practice “recall” on Tuesday night. COL Carag’s gut feeling later proved to be a “game changer.”

The hurricane hit Port Aransas on its march across the island to Corpus Christi, where it hit with devastating consequences. With so little warning, very few people were able to evacuate the area north up I-37 to San Antonio. Port Aransas normally has a year round population of 4,000, but during the summer months it swells to from 40,000 to 70,000. Corpus Christi is a moderate sized Gulf Coast city with a population of about 312,000.

COL Carag initiated a real-world “recall” on Thursday morning assembling a Task Force made up of 150 soldiers and airmen, who would provide evacuee tracking, shelter management, points of distribution, area reconnaissance, wide area assessment, limited search and rescue, area security, and other emergency management missions to protect lives and property in the storm-ravaged area.

Task Force 1st REGT is made up of San Antonio-area TXSG forces, soldiers and airmen who train annually for just such a disaster response. TF 1 REGT commander COL Carag said, “San Antonio is geographically closest to the summer island playgrounds of Padre Island, Port Aransas, Aransas Pass and the city of Corpus Christi, thus we would be the first get the call for hurricane disaster contingency operations.” He emphasized, “That’s what we train for—that’s who we are.”

The scenario described above was the basis for the Annual Training (AT) for TF 1 REGT, which also included the 449th Air Support Group, the Alamo Medical Response Group, and the Engineering Detachment. The 1st BN and 3rd BN of the 1st RGT were the Army components to the Task Force.

“After Hurricane Celia hit the area 43 years ago, much has changed in how we track, prepare and train for hurricane relief,“ explained Rick Adams, Emergency Management Coordinator (EMC) for the city of Port Aransas. EMC Adams, working with Brandi Ashby-Fisher, District Coordinator for Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), COL (USA Ret) Rob Maxham, volunteer Assistant EMC Port Aransas, asked the TXSG executive counsel if they would be willing to conduct disaster training in conjunction with Port Aransas and Nueces County for their Annual Training this year. “We thought this training would benefit both the city of Port Aransas and the TXSG greatly,” COL Carag said.Pictures of 3 troops

“Ancillary emergency responders, who aided in the AT hurricane relief scenario were the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and the Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) ‘green egg’,” COL Carag stressed. He explained that the Red Cross aided in shelter management, while the Salvation Army provided meals for the Task Force.

Others involved included the Port Aransas Independent School District (ISD). COL James J. Gardon, Medical Response Group oversaw efforts to house TXSG personnel in the Burnett Middle School gymnasium, and set up the inflatable shelter on ISD grounds.

EMC Rick Adams said virtually every municipal employee was involved in the scenario, “Our Fire and EMS, our Police, our Water Plant personnel, our Waste Water personnel, and our facilities personnel all pitched in to make this a real success.”

Maj Ferdinand Girard, Commander of the 449th ASG, Lackland AFB said it best, “This is as close as you can come to the real thing (a hurricane)—this is exactly the type joint-training we should be doing.”

“Much of the success of this year’s Annual Training scenario belongs to the Operations Officer for 1st REGT, MAJ Don T. Shirley, who coordinated the planning,” said Col Thomas Ball, 5th Air Wing (5th AW) Commander.  Members of the 5Th AW were utilized to be “Evaluators” during the exercise.  Col Ball provided boat and water safety training in Port Aransas to Army and Air Component personnel.  “After  hurricane landfall, our troops may be asked to conduct operations around high-water areas, and we want to ensure they can perform those duties safely and effectively,” Col Ball explained.

Overall, COL Carag was pleased with the performance of the task force over the four-day training period. “We ran round-the-clock scenarios, and stressed our people with events much like they would encounter during a real hurricane,” COL Carag said. “Are we better prepared for a hurricane?, you bet we are,” he answered.

Medical Outreach Provides Care in East Texas

Photo of Dr. Jonathan MacClements and Nurse Practitioner Thoone
Dr. Jonathan MacClements and Nurse Practitioner Thoone

VAN, TX – The Texas State Guard in cooperation with a number of medical agencies, colleges, and other community organizations has returned for the second year to provide preventative and primary care to uninsured East Texans.  Licensed physicians and nurses are performing physicals, administering hearing tests, mammograms, and other health screenings, providing immunizations, dental care, and mental health services, and advising on healthy lifestyle choices.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Department of State Health Service and the Texas State Guard to deliver to those most in need in East Texas.  Lives are being changed,” stated George T. Roberts, Jr., Chief Executive Officer Northeast Texas public health district.

More than 500 individuals had arrived by Wednesday morning with two days of service still to go -- far exceeding the 300 visits last year. Many use this opportunity to receive the only health care and dental care they receive all year long and are very appreciative of the State’s efforts.

“We appreciate the support of the Texas State Guard who provided support of traffic flow, security, and filling in the hot spots each day.  We could not have made it without them.” said Dr. Paul McGaha, Regional Medical Director of the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Partnering agencies include Van ISD, University of Texas at Tyler School of Nursing, UT Health Northeast Family Medicine Residency Program, NET Health, Texas Department of State Health Services, Piney Woods Regional Advisory Council Trauma Service Area-G, Texas A&M University, Baylor College of Dentistry, Andrews Center, Tyler Junior College and many other community organizations.

Texas State Guard Holds Disaster Drill in DFW

Story by: NBCDFW.com - Posted on June 6, 2014

The Texas State Guard is holding disaster drills in parts of North Texas Friday and Saturday.

The guard will simulate search and rescue operations and wide area damage assessment in both an outdoor wooded area near Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and an indoor collapsed building setting in Grapevine on Friday.

On Saturday, they'll partner with the American Red Cross to practice emergency shelter operations and management scenarios at the civic center, replicating an actual emergency.

The exercises will be full-scale operational events that will provide hands-on training to ensure the organization is ready to respond and provide the necessary relief now that hurricane season has begun.

"Dallas County is mobilizing state organizations, law agencies and nonprofits to conduct disaster scenarios — such as hurricanes — and initiate relief support. The process is vital to prevent costly indecisions during a real crisis. The Texas State Guard is asking for volunteers from the DFW areas to participate in the mock scenarios as "victims" or to join the unit as volunteer relief supporter," the group said in a news release.

The Texas State Guard is a voluntary regiment deployed by the governor to assist state and local authorities in emergency situations.

(click here to read more)

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.