Posts in Category: Texas Air National Guard

Texas Military, Austin Police showcase partnership during annual Open House

Texas Military, Austin Police showcase partnership during annual Open House

Story by: Spc. Christina Clardy

Posted on: April 17, 2016

Spectators check out an Austin Police Department helicopter during the 10th annual Texas Military Department's Open House featuring the American Heroe’s Air Show. The event showcases the Texas Military Department and various state and local law enforcement agencies, first responders, volunteer services and veteran support organizations at Camp Mabry in Austin, Saturday, April 16, 2016. The free two day event featured the Traveling Vietnam Wall, a naturalization ceremony for members of all military branches, World War II and Vietnam reenactments, the Missing in America Project, local first responder demonstrations, a JROTC Drill competition and numerous vendors.(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Christina Clardy/Released)
Spectators check out an Austin Police Department helicopter during the 10th annual Texas Military Department's Open House featuring the American Heroe’s Air Show. The event showcases the Texas Military Department and various state and local law enforcement agencies, first responders, volunteer services and veteran support organizations at Camp Mabry in Austin, Saturday, April 16, 2016. The free two day event featured the Traveling Vietnam Wall, a naturalization ceremony for members of all military branches, World War II and Vietnam reenactments, the Missing in America Project, local first responder demonstrations, a JROTC Drill competition and numerous vendors.(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Christina Clardy/Released)

AUSTIN, Texas – Despite the heavy mist and scattered showers, members of the Texas Military Department, state and local law enforcement officers, first responders, volunteer services and veteran support organizations turned out for the Texas Military Department’s Open House weekend featuring the American Heroes Show at Camp Mabry, in Austin, April 16, 2016.

The free public event showcased a wide variety of demonstrations, reenactments, static displays, an 80 percent replica of the Vietnam War memorial, vendors and family fun events focused on the continued partnership between the various State and local civil services and the Texas Military Department.

“This is our 10th year to put on this event in partnership with the Texas Military Department,” said Austin Police Cpl. Wut Tantaksinanukij, this year’s American Heroes Show co-director. “It’s a great community event for the citizens here, who many don’t even realize that there is a military base in the center of Austin, and they don’t realize that it is open to the public.”

The Austin Police Department shares a long partnership with Camp Mabry and the service men and women of the Texas Military Department. Together, they share in numerous training and real-life reactionary situations that allow the two departments the opportunity to learn from one another and to gain a deep understanding of how their counterparts operate.

“We have a great working relationship with the folks here at Camp Mabry and the Texas Military Department, and have for a great many years,” said Tantaksinanukij. “There are all different types of emergency scenarios that could bring us together. With continued training and partnership, we will have a professional resolution to any situations that arise.”

The Texas Military Department, as part of the Defense Support to Civilian Authorities, has mobilized 24,000 guardsmen in support of federal, state and local law enforcement and first responders in more than 183 natural and man-made disasters since 2001. These include wildfires, flash floods, winter weather, hurricanes and law enforcement.

Many officers from the Austin Police Department, Austin Fire Department and Austin Emergency Medical Services train frequently with their counterparts from the Texas Military Department on the joint Texas Task Force-1. According to their mission statement, the task force is one of 28 federal teams under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Urban Search and Rescue System and the Texas Division of Emergency Management.

“During natural disasters, state governments call on many federal and state response agencies to assist local first responders,” said Senior Lt. Kurt Rothert, Austin Police

Department Special Operations unit, during the police and military tactics demonstration. “In Texas, a specialized partnership exists between the Texas Military Department and the most active urban search and rescue team in the country, Texas Task Force 1.”

This Urban Search and Rescue Task Force has more than 600 members including doctors, first responders, military counterparts, structural engineers, canine handlers, professors and experts throughout many different fields. In addition, the Texas Military Department partners with Task Force-1 providing water response capabilities and aviation response teams.

“As part of Task Force 1, I work with the Texas Military Department on a monthly basis,” said Austin Fire Department Lt. Matt McElearney, Company Officer for Engine 32. “For example, we train with the National Guard’s helicopter units using their hoists for rescue missions, such as water rescue where people may be stuck in their houses, on a car or in a tree during a flood or emergency situation.”

Despite the weather, more than 5,900 people visited the Open House on Saturday.

“The weather didn’t cooperate with us this year but we are excited and already planning for next year,” said Tantaksinanukij. “It’s exciting for us to showcase what we do on a public side of the house through the Austin Police Department, the Austin Fire Department, the Austin EMS, and show some of our other skills sets that we have to offer to keep our community safe. But also to show how the Texas Military Department and the Austin Police Department play two different roles, and how we integrate those two components in our partnership.”

Texas ANG updates Congressman on cyber, readies for mission expansion

Texas ANG updates Congressman on cyber, readies for mission expansion

Story by: 2nd Lt. Phil Fountain

Posted: April 16, 2016 

94th Airlift Wing U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (TX-23) (left) visits with Brig. Gen. David M. McMinn, commander of the Texas Air National Guard, and Brig. Gen. Dawn M. Ferrell. Texas’ deputy adjutant general for air, in his Capitol Hill office in the Cannon House Office Building, in Washington, March 2, 2016. McMinn and Ferrell were requested to provide an update on the 273rd Information Operations Squadron, a subordinate unit of the 149th Fighter Wing, based at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, which has been selected to become an Air National Guard Cyber Protection Team and recently completed a site activation visit as they transition toward becoming a cyber operations squadron. (Photo courtesy of the Office of U.S. Rep. Will Hurd) 160302-Z-XX000-002
94th Airlift Wing
U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (TX-23) (left) visits with Brig. Gen. David M. McMinn, commander of the Texas Air National Guard, and Brig. Gen. Dawn M. Ferrell. Texas’ deputy adjutant general for air, in his Capitol Hill office in the Cannon House Office Building, in Washington, March 2, 2016. McMinn and Ferrell were requested to provide an update on the 273rd Information Operations Squadron, a subordinate unit of the 149th Fighter Wing, based at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, which has been selected to become an Air National Guard Cyber Protection Team and recently completed a site activation visit as they transition toward becoming a cyber operations squadron. (Photo courtesy of the Office of U.S. Rep. Will Hurd) 160302-Z-XX000-002

WASHINGTON – Senior leaders from the Texas Air National Guard were invited to provide U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (TX-23) an update on the 273rd Information Operations Squadron while visiting Washington, March 2, 2016.

The 273rd IOS is a subordinate unit of the 149th Fighter Wing, headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, and has been selected to become an Air National Guard Cyber Protection Team, which will expand the organization’s mission and designate them as a cyber operations squadron.

Last year, Hurd joined U.S. Reps. Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Henry Cuellar (TX-28) and Lamar Smith (TX-21), who all represent portions of San Antonio, in penning a letter to the National Guard Bureau and the Air National Guard in support of the 273rd IOS’ selection.

“The TXANG is a logical and cost-effective means to defend America in the cyber realm,” according to the letter. “The TXANG is unique in its diverse ability to perform cyber operations in State Active Duty, Title 32 and Title 10 status. The relationship with 24th Air Force and the TXANG has already been established by a signed agreement, which provides Texas Guard members secure and non-secure positions for current and further growth requirements…”

Brig. Gen. Dawn M. Ferrell, Texas’ deputy adjutant general for air, and Brig. Gen. David M. McMinn, commander of the Texas Air National Guard, were joined by Col. Kurt Leslie and Command Chief Master Sgt. George B. Longoria, both representing the 149th Fighter Wing.

“The activation of the cyber protection team will take Texas cyber to the next level,” Ferrell said. “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished and the cyber mission we perform, but stand ready to give even more. As we say in Texas, ‘we’re open for business.’”

A big part of the Texas Air National Guard’s success has to do with the organization’s ability to retain and recruit cyber talent.

“We’ve been very successful at retaining this critical talent for the Air Force – bringing in those transitioning from the active duty to stay in the cyber fight,” McMinn said. “We have maximum cyber capacity for our current cyber mission and have to regularly turn away fully-qualified cyber warriors seeking to continue their service (in the guard).”

A planning team from the Air National Guard’s Readiness Center, headquartered at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, recently completed a site activation visit to determine the unit’s suitability to accept the new mission requirements as a cyber operations squadron.

“They looked at several areas to include: manpower, communications, Total Force Initiatives and logistics,” said Maj. Kristy Leasman, the squadron’s commander. “Our ability to recruit is exceptional and our communications support is ideal, with our active duty relationships.”

The unit is working toward hitting all of the benchmarks before Fiscal Year 2017.

“Going forward, we are refining our strategy to maintain our Total Force relationships, to continue our requirements through an updated agreement – a bigger agreement plan – and will implement new logistics processes for mobility,” Leasman said. “We are on a very fast track to meet all initial operation capability requirements. We expect to have them completed well before the FY17 target.”

Leasman is very proud of the squadron she leads and their role within the Department of Defense.

“We’re leading-edge cyber security professionals for the Air Force and DOD,” she said. “We’re extremely well-suited, a natural fit, to accept this mission.”

While the Air Guard cyber unit is located near the 23rd Congressional District of Texas, their mission is an area of personal and professional interest for Hurd, who is a former CIA officer and civilian cybersecurity professional.

“When both the public and private sectors take notice of a growing industry in a city, you know something real is happening,” Hurd said. 

A graduate of Texas A&M University, Hurd also chairs the Information Technology Subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

“It was a pleasure to work with the Air National Guard to bring the 273rd Cyber Operations Squadron to San Antonio,” Hurd said. “I'm excited about the impact they will have on education opportunities and job growth in my hometown.”

The future looks bright for Texas airmen to continue defending America in the cyber realm.

“Texas – San Antonio, in particular – is perfectly situated to meet the long-term needs of any cyberspace mission,” Ferrell said. “We appreciate our congressional delegation’s strong support of the Texas Air National Guard.”

Texas ANG unit participates in Luke’s weapons loading competition

Texas ANG unit participates in Luke’s weapons loading competition

Story by: 2nd Lt. Phil Fountain

Posted: April 16, 2016

2nd Lt. Phil Fountain Tech. Sgt. Mark Nash (right), Tech. Sgt. Federico Barrios (center) and Senior Airman Robert Satter (left), aircraft armament systems technicians, load an inert AIM-120, advanced medium-range air-to-air missile onto the wingtip of an F-16 Fighting Falcon during the loading portion of the 56th Fighter Wing’s quarterly load crew of the quarter competition at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, April 8, 2016. Nash, Barrios and Satter are members of the Texas Air National Guard’s 149th Fighter Wing, headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, which is currently operating at Luke while San Antonio’s Kelly Field undergoes runway repairs. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 2nd Lt. Phil Fountain) 160408-Z-DJ352-029
2nd Lt. Phil Fountain
Tech. Sgt. Mark Nash (right), Tech. Sgt. Federico Barrios (center) and Senior Airman Robert Satter (left), aircraft armament systems technicians, load an inert AIM-120, advanced medium-range air-to-air missile onto the wingtip of an F-16 Fighting Falcon during the loading portion of the 56th Fighter Wing’s quarterly load crew of the quarter competition at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, April 8, 2016. Nash, Barrios and Satter are members of the Texas Air National Guard’s 149th Fighter Wing, headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, which is currently operating at Luke while San Antonio’s Kelly Field undergoes runway repairs. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 2nd Lt. Phil Fountain) 160408-Z-DJ352-029

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Arizona (April 8, 2016) – A weapons loading team with the Texas Air National Guard participated in the Load Crew of the Quarter competition at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, April 8, 2016.

Tech. Sgts. Mark Nash and Federico Barrios and Senior Airman Robert Satter, aircraft armament systems technicians assigned to the 149th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, a subordinate unit of the 149th Fighter Wing, headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas participated in the first quarter competition.

In addition to the 149th team, the competition included U.S. Air Force weapons loading teams from the Luke-based 61st, 309th and 310th aircraft maintenance units, subordinate units of the 56th Fighter Wing.

“We were invited by the 56th Fighter Wing’s loading standardization section to perform in a ‘loadeo’ competition,” said Chief Master Sgt. Darin S. LaCour, the wing weapons manager for the 149th. “A three-member crew competed against the active duty weapons loaders for a load crew competition.”

“When we came here and introduced ourselves to them, they said, ‘hey, we have a competition, would you like to join?” LaCour said. “We jumped at the chance and said ‘absolutely, we’ll be ready.’”

The 149th is currently conducting their F-16 Fighting Falcon operations at Luke, near Phoenix, while San Antonio’s Kelly Field undergoes repairs, which has temporarily limited the fighter training unit’s flight operations in the Alamo City.

“It builds camaraderie between the crews, out there,” said Master Sgt. Ian Snowsill, the weapons standardization superintendent for the 56th Maintenance Group. “It’s a competition, its bragging rights.”

The timed competition required the teams to load two inert AIM-120, advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles onto on their unit’s aircraft, Snowsill said. Additionally, there was a tool kit inventory and inspection by quality assurance from the 56th. There was also an individual written examination.

The competition brought out the Texas unit’s pride, complete with the Lone Star State’s flag on display and members from across the wing cheering on the weapons load crew.

“You definitely saw the pride that was in our unit,” Barrios said. “Being in the competition, you’re so focused on the task at hand. But, when you’ve got people out there cheering that loud, you can’t help but hear.”

“It motivates you,” Barrios said. “You want to go faster, you want to be more proficient, because you know you’ve got people behind you rooting you on.”

In addition to fellow weapons loaders, the 149th had airmen from across the wing watching the loaders compete.

“It’s not only good for loaders, but for the wing, in general,” LaCour said. “From the crew chiefs – to show off their jets and how clean we keep them – to the loaders showing off their skillsets and their speed and accuracy, to the [aerospace ground equipment] guys showing off their equipment and how quickly and well they work, to the operations guys coming out and seeing what we do every day.”

“This machine wouldn’t work without everyone involved,” LaCour said. “The loaders were highlighted today, but it takes everybody.”

As a career field, weapons load crews are responsible for ensuring their unit’s primary assigned aircraft are properly loaded with munitions and countermeasures to meet the pilot’s mission and contingency requirements, LaCour said. Competitions like this reinforce the importance of the loader’s role in the Air Force mission.

“The time-standard they used is the standard across the U.S. Air Force,” LaCour said. “It shows the load crews where they’re at, as far as their time standards. It’s a big morale booster for everyone involved.”

LaCour was pleased with his weapons loaders’ performance.

“They did an outstanding job representing the Texas Air National Guard and the Air Force, in general,” LaCour said.

147th ASOS completes first full mission profile with Czech FACS

147th ASOS completes first full mission profile with Czech FACS

Story by: 1st Lt. Alicia Lacy

Posted: April 13, 2016

1st Lt. Alicia Lacy Tactical air control party members with the 147th Air Support Operations Squadron, 147th Reconnaissance Wing, pose as a 357th Fighter Squadron A-10 Warthog from Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, flies overhead April 12, 2016. The battlefield airmen traveled to the desert range in Gila Bend for a weeklong simulated deployment with their Czech partners. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Alicia Lacy/Released)
1st Lt. Alicia Lacy
Tactical air control party members with the 147th Air Support Operations Squadron, 147th Reconnaissance Wing, pose as a 357th Fighter Squadron A-10 Warthog from Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, flies overhead April 12, 2016. The battlefield airmen traveled to the desert range in Gila Bend for a weeklong simulated deployment with their Czech partners. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Alicia Lacy/Released)

About two dozen tactical air control party members from the 147th Air Support Operations Squadron, 147th Reconnaissance Wing, Texas Air National Guard, and four Czech forward air controllers completed a full-mission profile April 16, 2016, in Gila Bend, Arizona, for an annual National Guard State Partnership Program exchange.

The Texas National Guard has been paired with the Czech Republic since 1993 and has completed hundreds of engagements in the U.S. and in the Czech Republic to support the security cooperation objectives of the U.S. European Command commander.

For this year’s exercise, the battlefield airmen were able to mimic a cradle-to-grave, full squadron deployment, combining all warfighting elements from ground skills to air skills and close air support training with live fire. 

“Typically, we piecemeal our training,” said Capt. Steven Kroll, 147th ASOS director of operations, so the weeklong deployment allowed the airmen to merge all their full mission set capabilities within one mock, joint mobilization.

In a typical deployment for a TACP or joint terminal attack controller, the airman integrates with an Army ground unit and provides the expertise on air power and how to best use it, whether in combat or humanitarian operations.

Once, the TACPs are attached to the Army unit, the commander can task out close air support missions for the airmen to engage the enemy, neutralize threats and keep the troops on the ground safe by matching the correct ordnance with the targets.

In addition to working with their coalition partners from the Czech Republic, the Texas airmen worked with active duty A-10s, F-35s and F-16s for live-fire, close air support controls, and with the Arizona National Guard’s 2nd Battalion (Assault), 285th Aviation Regiment’s UH-60 Blackhawks during a simulated key leader engagement that included airlift of the leaders, a quick reaction force, and extraction of all parties in combat conditions. 

Altogether, the airmen completed nearly 100 controls, utilizing a mixture of live ordnance. 

The Czech FACs possess the same combat skill set as the TACPs, so the training provided an opportunity to exchange tactics and procedures, as well as other training experiences.

Chief Warrant Officer Pavel, a FAC with the Czech air force, said the exchange also builds trust and camaraderie, so if deployed together, they are able to have an established confidence in each other’s skills.

Pavel, who recently deployed with the 147th ASOS’ commander, said the relationship the two units have built over the years has helped while he was downrange.

According to Kroll, the dry, mountainous Arizona desert provided the perfect backdrop for this type of training.

“Davis Monthan and the Barry Goldwater Range in Gila Bend are really good training environments,” he said. “It’s wide open…it’s a desert environment, it’s a good representation of our current fight in Afghanistan, so that helps, and it’s a good way to practice our MCOs.”

Pavel agreed, saying that there aren’t too many places in the Czech Republic that represent the environment and terrain in Southwest Asia, so giving his troops experience in that type of environment was invaluable.

Not only did the exercise allow the airmen to employ a full mission profile in a joint environment, but it helped prepare them for their Warfighter exercise later this year, in support of the Texas Army National Guard’s 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 36th Infantry Division, Kroll said.

First enlisted wing IGI member leaves mark on Gunfighter history

First enlisted wing IGI member leaves mark on Gunfighter history

Story By: Staff Sgt. Mindy Bloem

Posted on: March 31, 2016

Staff Sgt. Mindy Bloem Senior Master Sgt. Carl Boeshore, 149th Fighter Wing Inspector General for Inspections superintendent, Texas Air National Guard, finishes some paperwork in his office, March 11, 2016, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. Boeshore came to the unit in 2013 as the first enlisted person assigned to the IGI when the program was still in its early stages. He plans to retire from the military April 9, 2016, after 29 years of service.
Staff Sgt. Mindy Bloem
Senior Master Sgt. Carl Boeshore, 149th Fighter Wing Inspector General for Inspections superintendent, Texas Air National Guard, finishes some paperwork in his office, March 11, 2016, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. Boeshore came to the unit in 2013 as the first enlisted person assigned to the IGI when the program was still in its early stages. He plans to retire from the military April 9, 2016, after 29 years of service.

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO - LACKLAND, Texas -- In 2012, the Inspector General for Inspections office was a new program in the Air Force and didn't officially come into play at the 149th Fighter Wing until the following year.

When Senior Master Sgt. Carl Boeshore arrived at the 149th, after his old unit, the 217th Training Squadron closed shop, he became the first enlisted member assigned to the newly developed IGI section.

Boeshore is no stranger to the inspection process. He was once written up for having too many additional duties, 28 in total at the time, but said that experience has benefited him in his current IGI position.

"In the write up, the inspector granted that I was doing my additional duties well, but that having 28 was too many," said Boeshore, referring to an inspection he had received early in his career. "But now, as an inspector, having that depth of knowledge from all of those additional duties has really helped me get familiar with a lot of various programs."

Lt. Col. Edward Stamper arrived at the wing shortly after Boeshore's arrival, when the IGI was still in its infancy at the wing. 

"The Air Force enacted the IGI around 2012, and the wing inspection program started in March of that same year, but the first person actually assigned to the inspection program was Sergeant Boeshore in 2013," Stamper said.

According to Stamper, when the IG was halved to become two separate sections -- one being the IG Quality of Life, designated for complaints resolution; the other being the IGI, designated for inspections -- Stamper joined the team as the head of this newly conceptualized department, mainly overseeing the IGI section.

Lt. Col. Christopher Miller, already assigned to what was then the IG, now became head of the more precisely formed IGQ section. 

With all of these changes and no clear-cut direction from higher headquarters, the IGI staff decided to create a lot of its own guidance to get their tasks accomplished.

"The MAJCOMS, AETC and the Air Force Inspection Agency - they were not giving guidance other than what had been printed," said Stamper, recalling the early days of setting up the IGI. "Their intent was to get creative solutions, pick the best ones and make those a best practice. Because of that, we were kind of on our own."

One of the first tasks Stamper assigned to Boeshore was no small undertaking.

"I wanted him to go through every inspection report that he could find that had been done elsewhere and create a checklist," Stamper said. It was a tough job for a [Drill Status Guardsman]. It must have taken him about four months, but he did it."

From that assignment came the Major Graded Area inspection checklist, a local wing product still used to date.

"It may seem minor, but this document represents hundreds of hours of research," Stamper said, pointing to various categories and subcategories under the four main ones on the checklist that Boeshore created. "One of our biggest challenges was there was no playbook for the inspection system. We now have something that we use in every single inspection."

Stamper referred to Boeshore as an "administrative wonder" and Boeshore, too, sees it as one of his strengths.

"One thing I've realized about myself is that I'm a good administrator," he said. "The biggest challenge is finding the most efficient way to do things. It's a lot of refinement of the process, a lot of trial and error."

The end result was a product the IGI staff could use in a comprehensive fashion when performing inspections.

"The checklist allows us to go in and capture the data needed to give to wing leadership to say this is what that unit looks like, this is their health -- the good, the bad, the things we need to change and the things we need to leave alone," Boeshore said.

According to Boeshore, the members of the IGI team are "solution managers" of sorts.

"We don't tell you how to solve your problem," Boeshore said. "That's not our realm. If we hear of something that may be a benefit to you, we'll pass that on to you, but our job is to help you identify the problem so you can find a solution and track work within it."

Stamper said one of the biggest hurdles the IGI has been trying to overcome is getting people out of the old inspection mindset. 

"A lot of people still haven't gotten a grasp on how you apply this effectiveness concept to the compliance concept we've had for so long," said Stamper. "It's no longer about being perfect. It's about being in control of your imperfections. The difference in the new system is continuous self-inspection, not trying to look perfect for one inspection."

Boeshore said part of the education process is eliminating people's misconceptions that the IGI is a villain out looking for a problem.

"I didn't want to be that evil IG guy," he said, before illustrating his point with a typical scenario. "You know, 'here he comes. Where are the coffee and doughnuts? Get them ready.' I've been in those shoes. I didn't want to be that guy."

Boeshore knows that to change the culture of thinking from compliance to effectiveness begins with the "mentoring moments" he gets on the job.

"We come in, sit people down and ask them how their program is going or what kinds of problems are they having and how they're working to fix them," he said. "Having a deficiency is not the worst thing anymore. The best thing you can do is admit you have a problem so you can find a solution."

Stamper gave an example early in the inspection process of a unit that had a major wing-wide program that the Wing Inspection Team rated as "marginally effective."
Nearly 10 months later, that same program was rated as "best seen to date" and "best in AETC" during the MAJCOM Unit Effectiveness Inspection CAPSTONE. Stamper said that unit's program is still the only one of its kind recognized to this day as having UEI strength by the Air Education and Training Command and represents how the new inspection program highlights non-compliance to enable corrective actions.

Since leaving his former IG position to become the deputy Mission Support Group commander, Stamper said he has and will remain heavily involved in the transition process with Lt. Col. Jeff Towns, now on board as Stamper's replacement.

1st Lt. Jonathan Sweat, coordinator for the Wing Inspection Program, arrived in the IG office the same time as Stamper, and is still in the office full-time with Towns, which Stamper said is helping with the "continuity and flow" during this transition period.

Boeshore is also set to leave the IGI soon when he retires in April. He said with the military constantly reducing in size, having to do things efficiently is essential. With that in mind, he wants people to remember that the IGI exists for the units' benefit. "We want to change the culture of inspections," he said. "We're not the bad guys. We're here to help."

Latvian Chief of Defense thanks 147th Reconnaissance Wing Airmen

Latvian Chief of Defense thanks 147th Reconnaissance Wing Airmen

Story By: 1st Lt. Alicia M. Lacy 147th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs

Posted on: March 9, 2016

 Lt. Gen. Raimonds Graube, Latvian chief of defense, and Maj. Gen. John Nichols, adjutant general of Texas, speak to members of the 147th Reconnaissance Wing at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston, March 4, 2016. Lt. Gen Graube is visiting Ellington Field to meet and talk with members of the 147th Reconnaissance Wing who deployed to Latvia in September of 2015. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Sean Cowher / Released)

Lt. Gen. Raimonds Graube, Latvian chief of defense, and Maj. Gen. John Nichols, adjutant general of Texas, speak to members of the 147th Reconnaissance Wing at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston, March 4, 2016. Lt. Gen Graube is visiting Ellington Field to meet and talk with members of the 147th Reconnaissance Wing who deployed to Latvia in September of 2015. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Sean Cowher / Released)

About six months ago, the 147th Reconnaissance Wing made history with the Michigan National Guard and Latvia, flying the first MQ-1B Predator in the Baltic nation.

To reinforce the partnership the three forged over the past year and to thank the U.S. for their support in Latvia, Lt. Gen. Raimonds Graube, Latvian Chief of Defense, visited Texas March 2-5, 2016, making stops at the wing, the wing's state headquarters at Camp Mabry in Austin and at Fort Hood.

"It's good to see familiar faces in Texas," said Graube. "I'm glad to be here to say thank you."

From late August to late September 2016, dozens of Texas Air Guardsmen and Michigan Guardsmen forward deployed to Latvia to exercise remotely piloted aircraft capabilities in support of the European Reassurance Initiative. The ERI is an effort to bolster the security and capacity of NATO allies through a persistent, rotational presence of U.S. forces and by increasing the responsiveness of U.S. forces to contingencies in Central Europe.

"You are a real deterrence for us," Graube said to a group of airmen who deployed, "a show of force...what you did for us last year."

To make the noncombat deployment possible, several National Guard units played critical roles, from Latvia's State Partnership Program partners with the Michigan National Guard laying the groundwork to the 147th providing the unmanned platform and several other units supporting through airlift and personnel.

The 147th was able to jump on board with little notice to mobilize the MQ-1B package to Latvia, sending three Predators, maintenance airmen, communications airmen and pilots.

"(The Michigan National Guard) did a lot of ground work to get us to come," said Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, adjutant general of Texas. "Y'all have proven that we can do it."

"This is one of the strengths of the Guard," said Maj. Gen. Gregory J. Vadnais, adjutant general - Michigan. "Michigan didn't have that capability and Texas did and it really did help us a lot. To make this happen really helped build a great working relationship with Texas."

Providing the unmanned capability added another dimension to Michigan and Latvia's 23-year partnership, Vadnais said.

With the flight of the Predator, Latvia became the first nation in Europe to develop nationwide RPA flight procedures with countrywide corridors that tie into special use airspace to de-conflict civilian and military flights, as well as allowing for nationwide use of surveillance capabilities to support a range of government needs, from search and rescue to firefighting and border control, said Col. James Andrew Roberts, Combat Readiness Training Center commander, Michigan National Guard.

The mission not only included an exchange with Latvian armed forces on RPA operations, but troops from Lithuania and Estonia also participated in the training mission to familiarize with air traffic management with MQ-1 operations, supporting one of the ERI's objectives.

In addition to thanking the Texas airmen for their support, Graube visited with family members and leaders at Fort Hood to thank the soldiers there who deployed to Latvia and the Baltic region as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve in 2014.

"Americans, boots on the ground are very important to us," Graube said. "We do feel safer because of you, because of our good friends in the United States, in Texas, and Michigan."

Texas airmen and soldiers train together in a simulated deployed environment

Texas airmen and soldiers train together in a simulated deployed environment

Posted On: March 8, 2016

Tactical air control party airmen assigned to the 147th Air Support Operations Squadron, 147th Reconnaissance Wing based at Ellington Field in Houston, work closely with soldiers from the Texas Army National Guard's 197th Special Troops Support Company March 5, 2016 at Camp Swift near Bastrop, Texas. The Air Guardsmen performed close air support and an assault with the soldiers and Army aviators to locate a high value target in a simulated combat environment. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Chasity Lollis/Released)
Photo by Senior Airman Chasity Lollis
Tactical air control party airmen assigned to the 147th Air Support Operations Squadron, 147th Reconnaissance Wing based at Ellington Field in Houston, work closely with soldiers from the Texas Army National Guard's 197th Special Troops Support Company March 5, 2016 at Camp Swift near Bastrop, Texas. The Air Guardsmen performed close air support and an assault with the soldiers and Army aviators to locate a high value target in a simulated combat environment. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Chasity Lollis/Released)

 

Multi-state Air National Guardsmen attend Contemporary Base Issue course in Oregon

Multi-state Air National Guardsmen attend Contemporary Base Issue course in Oregon

Story by: 1st Lt. Chelsi Spence

Posted on: March 8 2016

Master Sgt. Shelly Davison Major Gen. Brian C. Newby, Air National Guard assistant to the Judge Advocate General, addresses members of the Air National Guard during a two-day Contemporary Base Issues (CBI) course held at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas, Ore., Feb. 19-20, 2016. The CBI course is taught by Air National Guard Judge Advocate Generals and the primary goal is to allow commanders and supervisors to work together as a team to identify, analyze and resolve contemporary problems leaders face. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Shelly Davison, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)
Master Sgt. Shelly Davison
Major Gen. Brian C. Newby, Air National Guard assistant to the Judge Advocate General, addresses members of the Air National Guard during a two-day Contemporary Base Issues (CBI) course held at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas, Ore., Feb. 19-20, 2016. The CBI course is taught by Air National Guard Judge Advocate Generals and the primary goal is to allow commanders and supervisors to work together as a team to identify, analyze and resolve contemporary problems leaders face. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Shelly Davison, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

CLACKAMAS, Ore. - The 142nd Fighter Wing hosted over 200 Air National Guardsmen from around the country in a two-day Contemporary Base Issues course held at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas, Oregon, Feb. 19-20, 2016.

The Contemporary Base Issues (CBI) course is put on by Air National Guard Judge Advocate Generals (JAG). The primary goal of the CBI course is to allow commanders and supervisors to work together as a team to identify, analyze and resolve contemporary problems leaders face.

“The most important aspect of the course is that it allows commanders and supervisors an opportunity to spot legal issues and recognizing the steps to resolve it,” said Maj. Gen. Brian C. Newby, Air National Guard assistant to the Judge Advocate General.

The course covered an array of topics discussed via lecture and student interaction, to include standards on- and off-duty, progressive discipline and administrative discharges, unprofessional relationships, and ethics in the military.

The course kicked off with an hour-long presentation about understanding that duty status matters. The National Guard is the only United States military force that operates across both State and Federal responses, leveraging State Active Duty under state law, inactive duty training or full-time National Guard duty under Title 32 U.S.C and active federal service under Title 10 U.S.C

According to the Air National Guard Commander’s Legal Deskbook, one of the most important issues in determining the power of the Commander to command the members of a National Guard Unit is a determination of the status of its members. 

The status of National Guard members determines jurisdiction for administrative and criminal matters as well as medical benefits in the event of injury or liability in the event of the loss of government property.

“What’s unique in the Air National Guard is its members are always in different statuses, like civilian, part-time, and full-time,” said Col. Jim Demarest, staff judge advocate, Florida Air National Guard. “Commanders and supervisors need to understand how the status directly affects the rights and obligations of our citizen-Airmen.”

On the final day, the course focused on a larger Air Force topic, sexual assault. Since fiscal year 2010, the Air Force has experienced a steady increase in the number of reports, both restricted and unrestricted according to the United States Air Force Report on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response to the President of the United States.

During the briefing, Lt. Col. Beverly G. Schneider, administrative law attorney with the National Guard, focused on the several ways commanders and supervisors can approach sexual assault within their unit and provided information on how to assist the victims of sexual assault.

According to the National Guard Bureau Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Progress Report to the President, the National Guard currently has 383 Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) personnel and 3,439 victim advocates fully certified and trained to assist victims and ensure victims of sexual assault receive appropriate and responsive care. 

“The most important thing you can take away from this is to use your roundtable of the JAG, SARC and psychological health for assistance with this issue,” said Schneider.

In his opening remarks, Newby stated that incidents of sexual assault are a real and recognized problem in the military. Sexual assault is detrimental to morale, destroy unit cohesion and damage the military as a whole.

“We want the focus of the Air National Guard and the military to be a positive one,” said Newby. “We need to change our focus, change our training, and change the lens we look through to succeed.”

The CBI course is one way that commanders and supervisors can start to change their focus, change their training, and change their lens. 

The course wrapped up with a CBI Jeopardy game, where all participants got to apply the knowledge they learned throughout the course. Following the course, Air National Guard leaders will return back to their unit with more knowledge to ensure good order and discipline. 

“The CBI course continues to receive outstanding support from high-level Air National Guard leadership and because of this support, we can bring this course to thousands of Guardsmen,” said Newby.

From Texas cop to best warrior

From Texas cop to best warrior

Story by: Tech. Sgt. Vanessa Reed

Posted On: February 8, 2016

Tech. Sgt. Vanessa Reed Steven Hein, a police officer with the Richardsone Police Department in Richardson, Texas, inspects his vehicle prior to a patrol in Richardson, Texas, Jan. 28, 2016. Hein will be a two-time competitor at the 2016 Best Warrior Competition. (Texas Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Vanessa Reed/ Released)
Tech. Sgt. Vanessa Reed
Steven Hein, a police officer with the Richardson Police Department in Richardson, Texas, inspects his vehicle prior to a patrol in Richardson, Texas, Jan. 28, 2016. Hein will be a two-time competitor at the 2016 Best Warrior Competition. (Texas Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Vanessa Reed/ Released)

BASTROP, Texas. – “And the Winner is…,” the announcer paused.

Most remember saying, “when I grow up,” as a kid, but few will remember what career they loved at the time and fewer reach their childhood dream; U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Steven Hein is one of the few.

“I was like 8 or 9-years old and my dad was walking around with a video camera, videotaping all us kids and interviewing us. I was in the backyard shooting a BB gun of all things. I was shooting tin cans when he asked me, ’what do you want to be when you grow up?’ I said, ‘well I want to be on SWAT. I want to be a cop and be on SWAT,” said Hein.

Hein followed through with his dream and became a police officer with the Richardson Police Department in Richardson, Texas. He also became a training noncommissioned officer assigned to the 136th Security Forces Squadron, Texas Air National Guard, at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas.

He enjoys setting goals and overcoming challenges. His latest challenge is a second attempt at taking home first place in the Texas Military Department’s Best Warrior Competition.

“It’s pretty impressive to make it twice in a row because he competed against all the guys in his wing and beat them out a second time to get here.” said U.S. Army Master Sgt. Shane Ruppel, Texas Army National Guard, the BWC event noncommissioned officer in charge.

The BWC is an annual event that tests the aptitude of elite Texas Air and Army National Guardsmen during three days of physically and mentally grueling events. The events are meant to test the member’s endurance, marksmanship, land navigation skills and professionalism. This year, guard members were also joined by Army reservist and Chilean military members.

“I figured I’d give it another try,” said Hein. “It was a good experience; it’s fun. You get to meet some new people, experience new things and learn some new stuff.”

His road to police work began in 2007, when he joined the U.S. Air Force as a security forces member. His first and only active duty assignment was with the 90th Security Forces Squadron, F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, where he was a gate guard and patrolman for two years before becoming a member of the elite Tactical Response Force. 

“We were dual mission,” said Hein. “We had nuclear recapture and recovery and we were also the base EST team, or SWAT team.”

The training he received during his time with the Tactical Response Force directly contributed to his success in both his civilian and military law enforcement careers said Hein. It also prepared him for many of the tasks he faced during his first run at BWC. He hopes that the training comes back just as naturally during his second trip here.

The little boy grew up and became a cop, times two. He works long hours to help protect the city of Richardson and trained hard to represent his squadron at the BWC for a second time and through all that he remains humble.

“I’m not the best, I’m not the strongest, I’m not the fastest and I’m definitely not the smartest, but I do give 100 percent to everything I do,” said Hein. “I get that from my dad, he always had the no quit mentality.”

The 2016 BWC is over. The competitors stood before a board, wrote an essay, completed a land navigation course in below-freezing temperatures, rucked eight miles, assembled, disassembled and fired a variety of weapons, ran an obstacle course and faced the mystery event.

The announcer continued, “The top NCO for the Texas Air National Guard, from the 136th Security Forces Squadron is Staff Sergeant Steven Hein.” 

“I didn’t think I did that well, but I gave it all I’ve got,” concluded Hein.

147th Reconnaissance Wing hosts ANG Command Chief

147th Reconnaissance Wing hosts ANG Command Chief

Story by: Tech. Sgt. Shawn McCowan
147 Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs

Posted On: February 2nd, 2016

Command Chief Master Sergeant of the Air National Guard James W. Hotaling spent time talking with 147th Reconnaissance Wing enlisted members at Ellington Field JRB in Houston, January 30, 2016. Hotaling talked about commitment to the profession of arms, health of the force, recognizing our accomplishments and finished the enlisted all call by answering questions from the airmen.
Command Chief Master Sergeant of the Air National Guard James W. Hotaling spent time talking with 147th Reconnaissance Wing enlisted members at Ellington Field JRB in Houston, January 30, 2016. Hotaling talked about commitment to the profession of arms, health of the force, recognizing our accomplishments and finished the enlisted all call by answering questions from the airmen.

ELLINGTON FIELD, Texas - In one of his final visits of his career, the Air National Guard Command Chief spent two days with members of the 147th Reconnaissance Wing at Ellington Field January 30-31.

Chief Master Sgt. James W. Hotaling made it a priority during his visit to speak with 147th Reconnaissance Wing's junior enlisted Airmen during an enlisted all call. Airmen were given the opportunity to interact with Chief Hotaling and ask him any questions they had about the Air Force and the Air National Guard. Hotaling discussed his key focus areas that include the renewing of the commitment to the profession of arms, the health of the force, and recognizing and embracing the accomplishments of Airmen.

During the all call, Airmen candidly presented issues important to them. Hotaling expressed the importance of making sure Airmen are part of any solution they hope to see.

"I see two kinds of people when there is an issue at hand, victims and victors. I want you to have a victor mentality when tackling your challenges," said Hotaling.

Chief Hotaling also spoke on renewing he commitment to the profession of arms, focus on performance and training, and education requirements. His presentation of the profession of arms included  mentorship and supervision as well as the deliberate development of Airmen.

Other topics included the health of the force, resiliency, and the four pillars of an Airman's life, which included mental, physical, social, and spiritual aspects. As part of the health of the force, Hotaling discussed the importance of sexual assault prevention and response.

Hotaling also took time to recognize Airmen accomplishments during the all call, telling the audience that recognizing Airmen both informally and formally is important.

Hotaling said he was very impressed with the wing, both as a whole and its individuals.

"I have visited all 90 Air National Guard units, and I can tell you that the 147th is a great wing. Morale is high here, and there is a real sense of camaraderie."

As Hotaling prepares for retirement, he hopes all Airmen focus on their "here and now," doing their best work where they are.

"If each of us do our very best today, while planning for tomorrow, the future will take care of itself. I really believe that."