Posts in Category: Blog

Tips for a safe summer

Commentary by: Michelle McBride

Memorial Day weekend has come and gone and with it began the “101 critical days of summer,” which spans from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  This is a time of year that our Texas Military Forces leadership wants to highlight safety on and off the job. 

With barbecue, long travel days and fireworks in the mix, it’s easy to lose sight of important safety precautions and become a little careless. For example, did you know that even the “safe” fireworks, such as sparklers can reach temperatures above 1000 degrees Fahrenheit? According to the National Safety Council (NSC), “in 2010, fireworks caused an estimated 15,500 reported fires, including 1,100 structure fires. These fires resulted in an estimated 8,600 people treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries, 39 percent of whom were under 15 years of age.”

Increased travel also seems to decrease safety in personal vehicles. Some important things to remember are don’t drink and drive, don’t drive while tired and take plenty of rest breaks along the way-- your destination will still be there even if you stop to use the restroom. Also, if riding a motorcycle remember to wear a helmet, as well as highly visible protective clothing and gear. 

When you arrive at your beach vacation of choice remember to always apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours. This is especially important if you have children with you as the NSC indicates, two sunburns before the age of 18 can double the risk of melanoma. 
When in the water, try to avoid drinking and swimming so you can stay cognizant of your surroundings as well as the people around you who may not be strong swimmers. 

Again, as you embark on the ‘dog days’ of summer, remember these are just a few tips to help you make the most of your summer and help keep you and your family safe. For more tips, visit the National Safety Council website at: 

http://www.nsc.org/learn/Pages/safety-events-summer-safety.aspx

 

Former Texas ARNG Division Commander inducted into TXMF Hall of Honor

Maj. Gen. Robert L. Halverson

AUSTIN, Texas (May 17, 2014) - Retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert L. Halverson, a former commander of the 49th Armored Division, Texas Army National Guard, was inducted into the Texas Military Forces’ Hall of Honor during a ceremony held at Camp Mabry, in Austin, May 17, 2014.

Located inside the TXMF Museum, at Camp Mabry, the Hall of Honor was created as a permanent tribute to recognize TXMF members who have made lasting contributions of an outstanding nature to the organization. Induction into the Hall of Honor is the highest form of recognition that may be bestowed upon an individual and is widely recognized as a crowning achievement of a distinguished career.

Halverson, who served in the military with honor and distinction for more than 38 years, beginning in 1963, was one of four honored during the induction ceremony.

He made an extraordinary and positive difference in the continual transformation of the TXMF by instituting divisional staff training and implementing active duty military doctrine in preparation for the 49th Division's deployment as the first integrated active and reserve component headquarters in Bosnia. 

Halverson changed the outlook and focus of the organization by thoroughly integrating the Guard into the active Army, interfacing with Headquarters, U.S. Army Europe and subordinate commands and accomplishing numerous civic projects that set the standard for future Guard deployments to Bosnia.  

He also shaped the organizational environment for the future, by training Guard divisions for future deployments to Bosnia and Kosovo, which set the stage for other Army National Guard Divisions to be mobilized and deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan.  

Additionally, as a result of the successful mission to Bosnia, Army Training schools began to accept more National Guard Soldiers into the military occupational skills producing courses, allowing a more trained and ready Guard force nationwide. 

“This is a great day for the Texas National Guard,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. John F.  Nichols, the Adjutant General of Texas, recognizing the honorees. “You give service the definition of what it means to be free.”

Former Texas ANG Commander inducted into TXMF Hall of Honor

Commentary courtesy of the Texas Military Forces

Air Force Maj. Gen Charles "Rex" DriggersAUSTIN, Texas (May 17, 2014) - Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles “Rex” Driggers of Mount Pleasant, Texas, a former commander of the Texas Air National Guard, was inducted into the Texas Military Forces’ Hall of Honor during a ceremony held at Camp Mabry, in Austin, May 17, 2014.

Located inside the TXMF Museum, at Camp Mabry, the Hall of Honor was created as a permanent tribute to recognize TXMF members who have made lasting contributions of an outstanding nature to the organization. Induction into the Hall of Honor is the highest form of recognition that may be bestowed upon an individual and is widely recognized as a crowning achievement of a distinguished career.

Driggers, who served his state and nation with honor and distinction for 37 years, beginning in 1955, was one of four honored during the induction ceremony.
He made an extraordinary contribution to the transformation of the TXMF by initiating and commanding the introduction of the C-130 Hercules tactical aircraft at the 136th Airlift Wing, Texas Air National Guard, in Fort Worth.

Driggers changed the outlook and focus of the Texas Air National Guard when he instituted combat training and encouraged closer cooperation with the active duty Air Force. He led Texas ANG aircrews and support personnel from the 136th to participate in Red Flag combat training exercises.

This training outlook improved coordination between the active duty and guard air forces, and was a foundation that was built upon during aerial operations during the Gulf War. This was instrumental in achieving mission success.  

During his time as Texas ANG Commander, Driggers elevated the role and contributions of the Air Guard into TXMF statewide operations. He oversaw the development and construction of Air Guard’s state headquarters building, at Camp Mabry. This led to greater cooperation and missions involving Texas ANG units and the TXMF leadership team.

 “This is a great day for the Texas National Guard,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. John F.  Nichols, the Adjutant General of Texas, recognizing the honorees. “You give service the definition of what it means to be free.”

 

Former Texas National Guard State Chief Master Sgt. Harold L. Higgins Jr. inducted into TXMF Hall of Honor

Commentary courtesy of the Texas Military Forces

Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Harold L. Higgings Jr.AUSTIN, Texas (May 17, 2014) - Retired Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Harold L. Higgins Jr., the former State Chief Master Sgt., Texas Air National Guard, was inducted into the Texas Military Forces’ Hall of Honor during a ceremony held at Camp Mabry, in Austin, May 17, 2014.

Located inside the TXMF Museum, at Camp Mabry, the Hall of Honor was created as a permanent tribute to recognize TXMF members who have made lasting contributions of an outstanding nature to the organization. Induction into the Hall of Honor is the highest form of recognition that may be bestowed upon an individual and is widely recognized as a crowning achievement of a distinguished career.

Higgins, who served his state and nation with honor and distinction for more than 30 years, beginning in 1965, was one of four honored during the induction ceremony.

He had a profound impact on the TXMF by promoting the Professional Development of all Airmen.  Serving as First Sgt., Wing Command Chief and ultimately the Texas State Command Chief, his focus was to provide senior leadership with a professional and capable enlisted force to meet the ever increasing demands, both domestic and deployed. 

Higgins promoted a joint environment at every opportunity, working closely with the State Senior Enlisted Advisor, while also working nationally with the Air National Guard Command Chief Master Sgt.  

During his tenure, the first Command Chief/Command Sgt. Maj. Conference was established to understand the unique, as well as, common issues and seek opportunities for benchmarking successful resolutions. 

Higgins was also appointed as a Region coordinator on the ANG Enlisted Field Advisory Council representing eight states.  As such, his actions touched all ranks from Airman to Chief Master Sgt. by instituting programs such as a the Enlisted Performance Feedback, the National Command Chiefs Orientation Course and a distance learning program. 

His objective to serve Texas and the men and women of the TXMF was accomplished flawlessly and today his legacy lives on in the pride and professionalism of all that wear the uniform and their call to duty.

“This is a great day for the Texas National Guard,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. John F.  Nichols, the Adjutant General of Texas, recognizing the honorees. “You give service the definition of what it means to be free.”

Former Texas National Guard State Command Sgt. Maj. Clyde Worrell inducted into TXMF Hall of Honor

Commentary courtesy of the Texas Military Forces

Sgt. Maj. Clyde WorrellAUSTIN, Texas (May 17, 2014) - Retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Clyde Worrell, the former State Command Sgt. Maj., Texas Army National Guard, was inducted into the Texas Military Forces’ Hall of Honor during a ceremony held at Camp Mabry, in Austin, May 17, 2014.

Located inside the TXMF Museum, at Camp Mabry, the Hall of Honor was created as a permanent tribute to recognize TXMF members who have made lasting contributions of an outstanding nature to the organization. Induction into the Hall of Honor is the highest form of recognition that may be bestowed upon an individual and is widely recognized as a crowning achievement of a distinguished career.

Worrell, who served his state and nation with honor and distinction for more than 40 years, beginning in 1965, was one of four honored during the induction ceremony.

He made an extraordinary and positive difference in the continual transformation of the TXMF by instituting a promotion process in Texas establishing noncommissioned officer promotion boards at the battalion, brigade, division and state level for different ranks, producing a more professional NCO corps promoted on the basis of stringent qualifications and performance.  

Worrell changed the outlook and focus of the organization by instituting a requirement for NCO education to be tied to rank progression, and lobbied successfully at the national level for the creation of Guard/Reserve-friendly course offerings to be completed locally and during drill periods.  

He also shaped the organizational environment for the future by implementing a National Guard Bureau requirement to select, train, promote and assign enlisted personnel through  statewide implementation of meetings and processes designed to make the requirement Texas-specific and soldier-friendly, producing a generation of trained and ready NCO leadership. 

 His contributions created the framework of a professional NCO corps in Texas that has excelled in garrison and in combat.

“This is a great day for the Texas National Guard,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. John F.  Nichols, the Adjutant General of Texas, recognizing the honorees. “You give service the definition of what it means to be free.”

American Heroes Open House and Air Show

Commentary by: Michelle McBride

Open house and Air showThe Texas Military Forces would like to invite the community to enjoy a weekend of fun at Camp Mabry!

While Camp Mabry is always an open base, this weekend, April 26-27, we will host a free open house and air show that will demonstrate capabilities of the Texas Military Forces to include engineering, aviation, security, transportation, airfield operations, communications and logistics should the governor call on them for support.  Many of the agencies that the Texas Military Forces regularly partners with, like the Austin Police Department, will also be there to showcase some of their assets.The Texas Military Forces would like to invite the community to enjoy a weekend of fun at Camp Mabry!

Camp Mabry is proud to be a part of this community and would like to use this free event to thank Texans for their continued support as their loved ones, employees, friends, and residents have served at home and abroad.

The event will kick off on Saturday, April 26th at 8 a.m. and go through the weekend. Helicopters from both the military and civilian agencies will be showcased on both days, as well as, soldier training simulators.

Saturday will feature a Naturalization Ceremony for service members as they become American citizens; Jack Woodville London, nationally acclaimed author; the TXMF Parachute Demo team; the Austin Police Department K-9 Demo team; a World War II reenactment; and even  Texas Revolution and Civil War weapons demonstration.

Sunday will feature the Missing in America Project Memorial Service, a special tribute to service members who paid the ultimate sacrifice and whose remains were never claimed; the Cox Elementary Choir; Puerto Rican Folk Dancing; and another World War II reenactment.

Rain or shine, the 36th Infantry Division Band will be playing and there will be numerous activities for the kids along with many popular Austin food vendors.  It should be a great event!

We hope to see you there.

For more information and a detailed list of events please visit our webpage at https://tmd.texas.gov/

San Jacinto – Texans Defending Texas

Commentary by: Michelle McBride

Texans Defending TexasFrom the official report of the April 21, 1836 Battle of San Jacinto, by General Sam Houston to D. G. Burnet, Provisional President of the Republic of Texas,  “The conflict lasted about eighteen minutes from the time of close action until we were in possession of the enemy’s encampment … In the battle, our loss was two killed and twenty-three wounded, six of them mortally.  The enemy’s loss was 630 killed, among whom was 1 general officer, 4 colonels, 2 lieutenant colonels, 5 captains, 12 lieutenants; wounded 208, of which were 5 colonels, 3 lieutenant-colonels, 2 second lieutenant-colonels, 7 captains, I cadet; prisoners 730-President General Santa Anna, Gen. Cos, 4 colonels, aides to Gen. Santa Anna, and the Colonel of the Guerrero Battalion, are included in the number … About 600 muskets, 300 sabres, and 200 pistols, have been collected since the action; several hundred mules and horses were taken, and near twelve thousand dollars in specie.” 

Texan soldiers fought side by side for their independence, outnumbered by their enemy, in the Battle of San Jacinto.  This battle was the final battle in the Texas Revolution, paving the way for Texas independence - it has been recorded as one of the most decisive battles in military history.

The soldiers that fought for Texas independence were not career soldiers, but rather citizen soldiers, who risked everything in service to Texas and their fellow Texans. Today our citizen soldiers of the Texas Military Forces continue to serve Texas and their fellow Texans, working hard to maintain the legacy that was started so many years ago.

“This battle shows that there is a long tradition of serving Texas in a military capacity,” said SSG Jennifer Atkinson, Texas Army National Guard, “and I am proud to continue that tradition.”

In celebration of the day, an annual re-enactment of The Battle of San Jacinto will take place Saturday, April 26, 2014 on the ground surrounding the San Jacinto Monument.  For more information on the event as well as the history behind it please visit

http://www.sanjacinto-museum.org/The_Battle/Our_Annual_Reenactment/.

TXMF sign Sexual Assault Awareness

Story by: Capt. Martha Nigrelle and Michelle McBride

Photos by: TSgt Phillip Fountain

Sign Sexual Assault Awareness(AUSTIN, Texas) April 4, 2014 – Maj. Gen. John Nichols, the Texas Adjutant General and Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Milford, Senior Enlisted Advisor Texas Army National Guard, signed a proclamation declaring April Sexual Assault Awareness Month within the Texas Military Forces during a ceremony at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, April 4, 2014.

The ceremony focused on spreading awareness in order to increase prevention of sexual assaults.    

“One is too many,” said Amy Allen, the guest speaker for the event  and community organizer for Safe Place, a nonprofit organization that works with victims of sexual and domestic violence. “Sexual violence is preventable. It takes everyone to get involved.”

Nichols encouraged service members to take action against sexual assault.

“Sexual assault is worse than bad,” Nichols said. “It has no place in our community, on our Texas Military Forces team.”

Nichols advised service members not to be naïve in thinking that sexual predators aren’t in their midst. He encouraged service members to watch out for themselves as well as their battle buddies and wingmen, and to stop behavior that could lead to sexual assault immediately.

To better support its members, the Texas Military Forces created the Sexual Assault Prevention and Report Program which focuses on education in order to spread awareness.

Lt. Col. James Castleman, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, 136th Airlift Wing, Texas Air National Guard, said that the program provides resources to victims of sexual assault including access to follow on care for both counseling and medical support and assisting commanders in working with victims to ensure they are treated fairly and not discriminated against.

The program is scheduled to host several events this month aimed at spreading awareness amongst the force. Among those is a Sexual Assault Prevention 5K hosted by the 136th at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, April 18, 2014 at 1100.

Another event, Denim Day, is aimed at debunking many of the myths surrounding sexual assaults. It is scheduled for April 23, 2014 on Camp Mabry.

“Today’s ceremony is very important,” Castleman said, “because it shows that the Adjutant General is committing to reducing the number of sexual assaults in the Texas Military Forces as well as increasing awareness of the issues faced by Texas Military Forces members.”

Free tax services at Camp Mabry!

Commentary by: Michelle McBride

Every year the deadline to file taxes seems to sneak up on us, and this year is no exception. If April 15th is approaching too fast for you, then maybe the Texas Military Forces IRS-Certified volunteers can help.

Starting Feb. 8, 2014 through April 8, 2014, the Legal Assistance team at Camp Mabry will be helping Service members, veterans and dependents file their taxes free of charge.

The Soldiers in Legal Assistance are certified through an IRS training program and are able to provide customers with E-filing as well as direct deposit for returns. Most people who have worked with them have received their returns in about a two week period.

To be eligible for this service you must be one of the following:

-Military Identification Card holding member of the Texas Military Forces or Reserve
-A retiree or surviving dependent spouse

Along with these requirements you must also have a combined household income BELOW $60,000. However, eligibility exceptions will be given on a case-by-case basis. 
If you meet eligibility requirements or have any other questions contact Legal Assistance at 512-782-1169 or email them at ng.tx.txarng.mbx.legal-asst-office@mail.mil.

Military Women in Transition event coming to Camp Mabry

Commentary by: Michelle McBride

What will you do when you or your spouse decide to retire? How do you disconnect from what you have always known and handle the transition into a civilian workforce? Where do you start? These are the big questions many women in our Texas Military Forces are asking themselves daily. What some women may not know is that there are others with similar backgrounds willing to offer assistance in preparing for these big changes.

On Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., the Texas Military Family Support Services will host a “Military Women in Transition” event at Camp Mabry in Austin, TX. According to Shandra Sponsler, deputy branch manager of Family Support Services, the event is meant to help women in all phases of the job search, or career enhancement process, learn valuable skills. The plan is to teach attendees vital skills through a series of activities such as mock interviews to help prepare for the real thing.

“Since Sept. 11, 2001, more than 33,000 Texas National Guardsmen have been called to active duty to serve their Country,” Sponsler said. “Upon their return, many need help transitioning from active duty to life as a civilian- particularly in recent years where a tough economy combined with limited job opportunities has made finding gainful employment especially difficult.”
The event schedule includes presentations, workshops, resource booths, roundtables with hiring managers, and a professional clothing closet for participants to ‘shop’ for FREE new or gently worn career-related outfits.

This is a free event which includes refreshments and youth activities for kids 6 and up. If you would like to attend please register at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/military-women-in-transitionevent-tickets-5650466698. For more information, please contact Shandra Sponsler at Shandra.b.sponsler.civ@mail.mil or 512-782-5771.

This event is open to all branches of service.