Posts in Category: Blog

TAG Talks: LTC Ross Davis

On this edition of TAG Talks, LTC Ross Davis speaks about the Adult Learning Theory and the differences between Pedagogy Learning and Andragogy Learning. TAG Talks are a series of unique presentations put together by students in The Adjutant General's Executive Leadership Development Program offering the perspective of future Senior leaders of the Texas Military Forces.

REFLECTIONS ON WARRIOR LEADERSHIP

 

Leadership Philosophy and Expectations of LeadersCommentary by Robert T. Hastings

Next month I will pass the Regimental colors to a new leader for the organization I have had the honor and privilege of commanding for the past three years.  As I reflect upon my personal learning during this time and focus on my next duty assignment, I re-read the command philosophy letter I published when I first joined the unit.   I still think it’s a pretty good framework for leaders of both military and non-military units alike.   I don’t take credit for all of this as original work; I borrowed liberally from other leaders I have known and worked for over the past 30 years.

Subject:  Leadership Philosophy and Expectations of Leaders

Command is a privilege and it is an honor for me to join you as commander of the 19th Regiment.  The most important and sacred responsibility entrusted to an officer or noncommissioned officer is the privilege of leading others in execution of an important mission.  We must never forget that others depend upon us, they look to us for guidance and to set the example, and when we ask them to go in harm’s way they and their families expect us to lead them back home safely.

This memorandum outlines my leadership philosophy and expectations of you, the leaders of this Regiment.

I define my leadership philosophy simply as People First: Mission Always.

I developed this philosophy as I advanced through several levels of responsibility within the Army, from platoon to regiment and across a wide range of missions.  This philosophy recognizes that the most valuable and important resource a leader has to accomplish the mission are people.  I believe that well-trained, highly-motivated and performance-oriented people provided with clear guidance and direction can accomplish any mission and will exceed our expectations every time. People first.

But the reason any organization exists is to accomplish a mission.  If we fail to accomplish our mission then nothing else matters; nothing.  I believe a leader’s principle focus must always be on successful execution of the mission. Mission always.

Obviously people and mission are inextricably linked; you cannot succeed in one without the other.  People First: Mission Always has provided me a sense of balance with two equal priorities that are mutually supportive.  We must excel at both to excel as an organization.

We are not a combat organization, but I do believe deeply in the Warrior Ethos and that it is equally applicable to the culture we must build within this Regiment to be successful.

The Warrior Ethos is:
•I will always place the mission first.
•I will never accept defeat.
•I will never quit.
•I will never leave a fallen comrade.

 I expect each of you to learn it, live it and teach it.

These are my expectations of you as leaders in this Regiment:
1.Communicate: Good communication is the hallmark of a great leader.  Whether it comes easy for you or not, it is your responsibility to ensure each and every member of your team knows what is expected of them at all times.  Our mission will take us into the unknown, and you and your teams will be asked at times to operate in ambiguous and chaotic conditions.  I expect leaders to use the troop leading procedures to create and communicate well-developed plans and orders, and to provide clear guidance and direction.   

2.Build trust & teamwork: Trust is earned not given, through deeds not words.  It extends laterally and vertically, both ways.  Trust is inherent in the strength of our collective character and is an essential element of leadership and successful mission execution.  I must trust you, you must trust your troops, and they must trust one another and the entire leadership team.  Trust is the glue that bonds individuals into a team and once lost is never regained.  Military operations are a team sport, or more accurately, a ‘team of teams’ sport.  I am not impressed by high-performing individuals; we need high-performing teams.

3.Provide clarity through intent: “Commander’s intent” might be the most important leadership tactic ever developed.  Long practiced in the Army, it is now taught at premier leadership schools and universities to include the Harvard Business School.  Commander’s intent enables action and initiative.  When your subordinates know how you define success, it allows them to think on their feet, to achieve mission success in light of changing situations, and to focus on achieving an end-state which everyone understands.

4.Take prudent risks: Our mission is high risk.  I expect leaders to accept prudent risk when necessary; make every effort to assess, mitigate and minimize risks; and ensure that risk decisions are made at the appropriate levels.  As a leader I expect you to practice risk assessment continually so that you can be confidently aggressive in your mission execution without gambling with the safety of our troopers.  Safety must always remain at the forefront of our minds.

5.Lead in difficult situations: This is where you earn your stripes.  As a leader you must be a role model for others.  You are viewed as the example and must maintain standards and provide examples of effective behaviors.  When leaders model the organization’s values, they provide tangible evidence of desired behaviors and reinforce verbal guidance by demonstrating commitment and action.  I expect you to be timely and decisive in your decisions especially when the going gets tough.  If you don’t lead your team someone else will.

6.Perform under stress: Regardless of how difficult or stressful the situation may become, you must perform.  Your subordinates and peers will watch your every move to see if you can handle the stress.  Self-confident leaders breed self-confident troops.  It is important that they are confident that when you take them into danger you will perform well and will lead them back to safety.  They will not follow you if they do not have confidence in you.

7.Grow future leaders: I believe leaders don’t occur naturally, at least not in the quantity we need.  Leaders are grown and developed.  A large part of how I evaluate you as a leader is the way you develop your subordinates.  Every member of this Regiment is a leader in training for the next level of responsibility.  It is our job as leaders to bring the next generation along and develop those that will replace us.  We do this through training, coaching and mentoring, and by providing challenging opportunities to grow and develop.

8.Exhibit unimpeachable integrity and character: Integrity is non-negotiable – I will not tolerate breaches.  Effective leaders are truthful in both word and deed.  I expect leaders to be morally and ethically upright and to be positive role-models at all times.

9.Adapt, innovate, and take the initiative: As a leader, I expect you to be a self-starter, to act when there are no clear orders, and to adapt when the situation changes or the plan falls apart – because it will!

10.Drive standards, discipline, and fitness: Discipline is not merely the obedience of orders; it is adherence to standards, the pursuit of excellence, and development of a collective will in a team that enables mission success.  I expect leaders to embrace the high standards of our organization for yourselves and your teams, and to develop a culture of discipline that builds cohesion and self-confidence among the troops.  Finally, I expect leaders to be physically and emotionally fit to lead.  Go to the Army website and read about the five Dimensions of Strength.

In summary, let me say how honored and proud I am to be serving with you.  This Regiment has a solid reputation, directly attributable to the hard work of each of you.  Together we’ll make it better.  The leaders and citizens of Texas depend on us.  Our missions demand confident leaders, trained and ready troopers, and an aggressive, determined spirit.  You have proven time and again that you can exceed every expectation.

I look forward to serving with you and meeting the challenges ahead.

TAG Talks: Curtis De Keyrel

On this edition of TAG Talks Curtis De Keyrel speaks about how the Air Guard and Active Air Force use their assets. TAG Talks are a series of unique presentations put together by students in The Adjutant General's Executive Leadership Development Program offering the perspective of future Senior leaders of the Texas Military Forces.

Back to School- Tax Free Weekend!

 

 “back-to-school”

Commentary by Michelle McBride

Though you wouldn’t know it from the heat, summer in Texas is almost over.  For kids, parents and teachers, this translates to “back-to-school” time complete with shopping sprees for school supplies and clothing--a burden on wallets. To help with budgeting shoppers, many retailers in Texas will be offering a tax free holiday this weekend August 7-9, 2015.  As with previous years, this will include most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced under $100.

The Christian Science Monitor noted, as a reminder, that Texas excludes clothing and footwear designed primarily for athletic use, but makes a nice distinction between athletic apparel and stuff that's more equipment than apparel. For example, a football jersey would be tax-free, but football pads and pants are not. Running shoes are tax-free, but track shoes and cleats are not.

Dates for sales tax holidays are set by the legislature and could mean savings of about $8.00 on every $100.00 spent. It is also good to note that Tax free will apply to layaway items if you place your items on layaway during the holiday or make the final payment during the holiday. The tax free sales can be combined with extra deals, both in stores and online, and some stores may even flex their hours, opening earlier or closing later.
For more information and a full list of exemptions please visit http://comptroller.texas.gov/taxinfo/taxpubs/taxholiday/d/
 

TAG Talks: Maj. Scott P. Nicholas

Maj. Scott P. Nicholas speaks about the importance of the manned space exploration for the continuation of the human race. TAG Talks are a series of unique presentations put together by students in The Adjutant General's Executive Leadership Development Program offering the perspective of future Senior leaders of the Texas Military Forces.

 

TAG Talks: Lt. Col. John C. Crawson

John C. Crawson speaks about how the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review resulted in the Secretary of Defense making a decision to restructure the military Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) response.TAG Talks are a series of unique presentations put together by students in The Adjutant General's Executive Leadership Development Program offering the perspective of future Senior leaders of the Texas Military Forces.

Texas Military Department Names Human Resources Director

Ms. Shelia B. Taylor has been selected to serve as the State Human Resources Director for the Texas Military DepartmentAUSTIN, Texas (July 1, 2015) – Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, The Adjutant General of Texas is pleased to announce that Ms. Shelia B. Taylor has been selected to serve as the State Human Resources Director for the Texas Military Department, effective April 1, 2015.

“I consider it an honor and a privilege to have been selected as the new State Director of Human Resources,” said Taylor. “I look forward to continued service in my new role as part of the TMD team; and--with the help and support of dedicated staff- I will do my best to maintain the vote of confidence indicated by giving me this opportunity.”

Taylor joined the agency in March 2011 as Legal Counsel. Prior to that she served as the Deputy Chief and Chief Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) for the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) (gubernatorial appointment by former Governors George W. Bush and Rick Perry), Legal Counsel with the Disaster Recovery Division at the Texas Department of Rural Affairs, Administrative Law Judge and Assistant Director of Hearings for the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and Assistant District Attorney for Travis County District Attorney's Office.

As the Human Resources Director, her role will involve the management, supervision, coordination and oversight of all aspects of human resources activities, including, but not limited to: personnel administration (recruitment, selection, classification, performance management; staff development, employee benefits; and employee relations, etc.); ensuring compliance with applicable state and federal laws and policies, as well as agency policies. Additionally, she will provide direction, guidance, and assistance to agency staff and supervisors on issues, rules, and regulations related to human resources; develop policies and procedures and other guidance; assist in the coordination and management of the agency's defense on administrative actions and litigation such as proceedings before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and unemployment claims before the Texas Workforce Commission. Taylor will also review the results of special investigations, internal audits, research studies and forecasts, to provide direction and guidance; maintain a working knowledge of changes in employment law and legislation that affect (or may potentially impact) agency operations.

Taylor received a Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Criminal Justice from Southern Methodist University and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from The University of Texas at Austin School of Law. She has been licensed by the State Bar of Texas since October 1981. She is the recipient of the Victor J. Rosskopf Award, awarded by the National Association of the Administrative Law Judiciary for significant contributions made in the field of administrative adjudication.

San Antonio resident inducted into TXMF Hall of Honor

Retired Air Force Col. Harold H. Blackshear, of San Antonio, was inducted into the Texas Military Forces Hall of Honor programAUSTIN, Texas (June 29, 2015) – Retired Air Force Col. Harold H. Blackshear, of San Antonio, was inducted into the Texas Military Forces Hall of Honor program June 27, 2015, at Camp Mabry, in Austin, for his outstanding military service and leadership while serving as a member of the Texas Air National Guard.

Blackshear enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in Aug. of 1949, as a T-6 trainer and F-51 Mustang Fighter mechanic. Following three years at the University of Texas, where he majored in architectural engineering studies, Blackshear received a commission in the Texas Air National Guard in 1956. Blackshear attended pilot training and finished at the top his class, accumulating 3,639 hours of flight time in all-weather fighter interceptors, tactical fighters and support aircraft.

Blackshear’s work ethic is mission oriented as evident in unmatched performance as the air technician base civil engineer and commander of the 149th Civil Engineering Squadron that maintained a C-1 combat-ready status. His base master planning proved invaluable, setting standards, cutting costs, and building state of the art facilities. 

His design of a first of its kind mobile hydraulically-operated thrust frame supporting an engine test stand to provide safe change-over for use with a unique noise suppressor with either aircraft or engine, earned him the prestigious Texas Minuteman Award. His design of a highly-specialized foundation and appurtenances for the first “Hush-House,” resulted in building an additional 126 Air Force-wide. He also is credited with the design and construction of the first military non-destruct inspection laboratory that high-intensity x-rays detect imperfections in metal. Blackshear chaired a select group of base civil engineers to develop a mission directive for a civil engineer emergency force. For state employees, he developed a career progression ladder that resulted in adoption of Senate Concurrence Resolution #08 effective state-wide. Blackshear served the National Guard Bureau during three one-year terms as chief engineer of the ANG Civil Engineers Association. His final position with the TXANG was as director of plans, where he was promoted to colonel, receiving the Meritorious Service Medal. He retired from the Texas Military Forces in March of 1986.

The Hall of Honor program was established in 1980 to recognize outstanding Texas Air, Army and State Guard members. Since its inception, more than 95 members of the TXMF have been inducted. Blackshear’s picture and a narrative explaining her service will hang in the conference room of the Brig. Gen. John C.L. Scribner Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry in Austin.

Elgin resident to be inducted into TXMF Hall of Honor

Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Maggie McCormick, of Elgin, will be inducted into the Texas Military Forces Hall of Honor programAUSTIN, Texas (June 24, 2015) – Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Maggie McCormick, of Elgin, will be inducted into the Texas Military Forces Hall of Honor program June 27, 2015, at Camp Mabry, in Austin, for her outstanding military service and leadership while serving as a member of the Texas Army National Guard.

McCormick’s service in the Texas Army National Guard began August 1977 as an administrative specialist. During her service with the TXMF, McCormick served as personnel sergeant, first sergeant and chief personnel sergeant; the first female sergeant major to hold the position. Later, McCormick served as the chief personnel services sergeant, while simultaneously serving as a command sergeant major for the 149th Personnel Services Battalion. 

During her career in the personnel field, her superior knowledge of personnel services contributed exponentially to the success of the organization. She implemented measures that streamlined personnel action processing throughout all levels of the Texas Army National Guard.

McCormick frequently traveled throughout the state visiting subordinate units to ensure the competency of the personnel force. She unselfishly dedicated many off-duty hours of her time to ensure the health, welfare and morale of all Soldiers in the Texas National Guard was high.

McCormick is the recipient of the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Lone Star Distinguished Service Medal, the Texas Outstanding Service Medal, the Texas Medal of Merit, the Adjutant General’s Individual Award and the Texas Faithful Service Medal.

The Hall of Honor program was established in 1980 to recognize outstanding Texas Air, Army and State Guard members. Since its inception, more than 95 members of the TXMF have been inducted. McCormick’s picture and a narrative explaining her service will hang in the conference room of the Brig. Gen. John C.L. Scribner Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry in Austin.

Austin native to be inducted into TXMF Hall of Honor

Retired Master Sgt. Theresa M. Billeck-Zuniga, of Austin, will be inducted into the Texas Military Forces Hall of Honor programAUSTIN, Texas (June 24, 2015) – Retired Master Sgt. Theresa M. Billeck-Zuniga, of Austin, will be inducted into the Texas Military Forces Hall of Honor program June 27, 2015,at Camp Mabry, in Austin, for her outstanding military service and leadership while serving as a member of the Texas Army National Guard.

Billeck-Zuniga served a total of 26 years in the U.S. Air Force and the Texas Army National Guard. Her service in the Guard began in March of 1988, when she enlisted as a personnel records specialist. Throughout her career in the Texas National Guard, Billeck-Zuniga served as an administrative specialist, unit clerk, training noncommissioned officer, readiness NCO, operations NCO and a recruiter.

Billeck-Zuniga has a record of superior achievements that enhanced the image of the Texas Military Forces throughout her career. During her career she was involved with many programs that brought attention to the Guard, to include a training event, unit activity, retiree event, a family program or a deployment/homecoming ceremony. In 1996, the Adjutant General selected the Billeck family as the Texas National Guard Family of the Year for exemplifying the total family concept. From 1997 to 2000, she made the National Guard Bureau honor roll achieving 44 enlistments each year, as the first female recruiter for an all-male battalion. 

As a National Guard Association of Texas life member and member of the board of directors from 2001-2007, she served as only the second female president of the association in 2006-2007 and is only one of four females to receive the prestigious Minuteman award. She has served as the editor of the NGAT News Magazine for more than 10 years spending hours searching for stories that highlight the citizen-soldiers and airmen of the Texas Military Forces. Through the NGAT Silent Auction she has raised over $52,000 for scholarship to be given to TXMF members.

Among her numerous awards are the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal with seven oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Humanitarian Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Army National Guard Master Recruiter Badge, Career Counselor Badge, Lone Star Distinguished Service Medal, the Texas Outstanding Service Medal, The Texas Medal of Merit, Honorable Order of Molly Pitcher and Order of Saint Martin.

The Hall of Honor program was established in 1980 to recognize outstanding Texas Air, Army and State Guard members. Since its inception, more than 95 members of the TXMF have been inducted. Billeck-Zuniga’s picture and a narrative explaining her service will hang in the conference room of the Brig. Gen. John C.L. Scribner Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry in Austin.