New OCS Class Begins

New OCS Class Begins
MAJ Michael Quinn Sullivan, PAO, TXSG
2011/11/30Photo of O.C.S. Hate with class in background
AUSTIN, Texas – With an emphasis on practical leadership development, the Texas State Guard’s redesigned Officer Candidate School has begun with 17 soldiers starting their journey to second lieutenant.

“The only person who is going to beat you out of being an officer is you,” OCS Commander COL Tom Hamilton told the candidates on the first evening. “An officer isn’t what you do, it’s who you are.”

A revised OCS curriculum has been more than 18 months in the making, designed with the specific needs and mission of the TXSG in mind.

“This is an investment in the future of the Guard… We want leaders who will be prepared to handle what they aren’t prepared for,” Hamilton said earlier in the evening, as the candidates processed in Building 32 at Camp Mabry. “There’s always one more thing to do, one more task.”

Being prepared to handle those tasks is what attracted JoAnna Kearns of Leander to pursue the challenges presented by OCS. She currently serves as S1 for the 2nd Battalion of the 2nd Regiment.

“It seemed to fit,” said Kearns, an insurance broker whose husband is also in the TXSG. “I like to try to keep things going, keep things moving and organized.”

She will have the opportunity for that. Candidates spend two to three days a month at Camp Mabry, through the six-month program, sitting through course lectures, practical exercises and physical training. They also have at-home assignment to be completed in the intervening weeks.

Hamilton said the OCS program developed for the TXSG is fundamentally different than a program for the US Army or National Guard, recognizing that often soldiers going through the program are older with more life experiences under their belt.

“These are all very smart, very mature and capable people,” he said. “We have a pilot, an attorney, folks with multiple advanced degrees. Each one of them is incredibly impressive on their own.”

MAJ Troy Evanovich, the OCS executive officer, clearly agreed with his boss’ assessment. But, he also told the candidates during their in-brief, that the program will require them “rely on each other.”

“You cannot do this alone,” he said. “Leadership includes recognizing you need the support of those around you.”

Candidate Joe Tillman of Brock has served in the TXSG for three years. He was attracted to OCS by the challenges presented by taking on new leadership within the TXSG. He currently serves in the Maritime Regiment’s 3rd Battalion.

“I want to be a stronger leader,” said Tillman, who works in the restaurant business. He is a TXSG recruiter, on the Maritime Regiment’s pistol and rifle team, and serves as his company quartermaster.

COL Hamilton, OCS Commander, noted the program also includes two three-day programs – one at Camp Swift and the other at Fort Hood.

“Everything the candidates do, every day they are here, is graded, and everything they do is done with a purpose behind it,” he said. “It’s going to take a lot of sacrifice on their part to get through the program.”

Candidate James Lumpkin of Pflugerville said he was eager to embrace those sacrifices as he handled a broom and helped his fellow candidates clear out the back of Building 32 – turning it into a temporary dormitory.

“I enjoy serving,” said Lumpkin, who works as the director of operations for the University of Phoenix’s Austin campus. “I’m looking forward to making some new friends here, leaning on each other, building our leadership skills and finding new ways to serve the Guard and the people of Texas.”


The Texas State Guard is one of three branches of the Texas Military Forces (TXMF), operating under the command of the Adjutant General of Texas and the Governor as Commander-in-Chief of all state military forces. The TXMF includes the Texas Army National Guard and the Texas Air National Guard.

The mission of the Texas State Guard (TXSG) is to provide mission-ready military forces to assist state and local authorities in times of state emergencies; to conduct homeland security and community service activities under the umbrella of Defense Support to Civil Authorities; and to augment the Texas Army National Guard and Texas Air National Guard as required.

Headquartered at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, the TXSG functions as an organized state militia under the authority of Title 32 of the U.S. Code and Chapter 431 of the Texas Government Code.

2nd Regiment Assists in Coat Distribution more then 1,600 families get coats for kids

2nd Regiment Assists In Coat Distribution More than 1,600 families get coats for kids
MAJ Michael Quinn Sullivan, PAO, TXSG
ROUND ROCK, Texas – For nearly a decade, the Texas State Guard’s 2nd Regiment has supported the work of the Round Rock Area Serving Center’s “Coats for Kids” project. With winter approaching, more than 1,600 families received coats for their children.

“We’re honored to stand alongside the Serving Center in making sure kids are ready for winter,” said Col. Frank Woodall, commanding officer of the 2nd Regiment. “It’s another way our men and women in the Texas State Guard can give back to our communities.”

The coat distribution was made available to families facing touch economic choices this winter. And the weather for the distribution day at Dell Diamond set the tone.

“It was near freezing when the volunteers and TXSG personnel arrived, so it was no stretch to imagine the hardship the kids would be facing in a couple months without appropriate clothing,” added Lt. Col. Peyton Randolph, who commands the regiment’s 2nd Battalion.

Throughout the morning, more than a dozen TXSG Soldiers helped shoppers find the right line to stand it, while also assisting the” Coats for Kids” volunteers with crowd control near the tables handing out coats, caps, scarves and stuffed animals. They also escorted families through the various stations where they picked up cold-weather clothing for their children.

“The Serving Center is all about practically helping families in a temporary bind, and that’s something the Soldiers in the State Guard can identify with completely,” said Randolph. “Supporting them annually in this way is frankly a highlight of our year.”

When the event ended at 11 am, the TXSG Soldiers remained to reorganize the undistributed items, and box them for return to the RRASC’s facilities. Central Texas families who could not participate in Saturday’s giveaway are welcome to visit the RRASC offices before the end of December to pick up needed items.

Texas Maritime Regiment 2BN Dive team step up Mission Readiness

Texas Maritime Regiment 2BN Dive Teams Step up Mission Readiness
LT Dale Laine, TMAR Public Affairs Officer

Photo of dive team in tranining
PO1 John Arnn and GySgt Clayton Cormack are adjusting SCPO Gary Wilson’s equipment.Photo by ENS Frank S. Hooton

Five members of the Texas Maritime Regiment (TMAR) 2nd Battalion’s Dive, Rescue and Recovery (DR&R) teams achieved diver second class status by completing the requisite dive training evolutions as well as attaining the advanced open water civilian certification.

The stepped up recognition means two new elite teams have made a giant step towards fulfilling one of TMAR’s primary missions - supporting Texas Parks and

Additionally, the DR&R teams will now be ready to respond during emergencies such as flooding that affects local communities and traps residents, or during search and recovery operations for missing boaters and swimmers. Wildlife officers on state lakes and rivers.

Members of the teams must achieve a minimum of third class diver to be eligible to join, and then and then commit to train towards first class designation.

Applications for the teams are being accepted from qualified members of the Texas State Guard. If you think you have what it takes to make the teams, please contact the Maritime Regiment for full details and qualifications needed.

Texas Military Forces perform during World Series in Arlington, Texas

Two CH-47 Chinooks, belonging to the Texas Army National Guard, perform a two ship flyover during Game 4 of the Major League Baseball World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers, Oct. 23, in Arlington, Texas.
Two CH-47 Chinooks, belonging to the Texas Army National Guard, perform a two ship flyover during Game 4 of the Major League Baseball World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers, Oct. 23, in Arlington, Texas. Other Game 4 participation from the Texas Military Forces included the singing of the national anthem during the seventh-inning stretch by Chief Warrant Officer 3 Darby Ledbetter.

 Texas Military Forces perform during World Series in Arlington, Texas

 Story by Laura Lopez
 ARLINGTON, Texas - With more than 50,000 people in attendance at Ballpark Stadium in Arlington, Texas and millions  more watching at home, members of the Texas Military Forces joined the Texas Rangers in their battle for the Major League Baseball World Series title, Saturday, Oct. 22 and Sunday, Oct. 23.
 Over the course of two games, soldiers and airmen performed on the field and two CH-47 Chinooks flew high above the  ballpark displaying both the American and Texas flags. In game three, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Darby Ledbetter, of the  Recruiting and Retention Battalion Headquarters, performed “God Bless America” during the seventh-inning stretch. Texas Air National Guard member Master Sgt. Erika Stevens, of the 531st Band of the Gulf Coast, performed the same song,  Sunday, Oct. 23, while the 36th Combat Aviation Brigade conducted a two ship CH-47 helicopter flyover following the  conclusion of the national anthem.
 “It was a huge honor to be given the opportunity to do this for the Texas Rangers organization and to get the opportunity to  represent all of our fellow brothers and sisters in the Texas Army National Guard,” said Lt. Col. James Hardy, Dallas Army  Aviation facility commander. 
 With a short lead time to execute the flyover mission for millions to see, it took nine crew members on the aircraft, two  soldiers coordinating from inside the stadium and five additional mechanics to prepare the aircraft back at the aviation  facility, eight miles away in Grand Prairie. Forced to sharpen their focus and create a plan for execution, this is one mission some Soldiers will soon not forget.
“To be chosen to conduct this mission was a once in a lifetime experience for myself and my crew members,” said Standardization Instructor Pilot with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2-149th General Support Aviation Battalion, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Doug Phillips. “It was an honor to represent the Dallas Army Aviation Support Facility, 2-149th GSAB (Rough Riders) and the Texas Army National Guard in front of the world!!!”
After months of firefighting support throughout the state of Texas, one soldier on board the trail aircraft was honored to take part in this terrific and rare experience that allowed her to hear the fans down below.
“When we are usually called for domestic support, it is helping our neighbors in their time of need. This was a great morale-building event for a GSAB that has been deployed, to which we were able to add our mark to a great World Series game,” said Capt. Carisa Kimbro, HHC 2-149th GSAB. 
While well below the height of the Chinooks’ mission, both Ledbetter and Stevens’ experience performing “God Bless America” near home plate was one that changed their lives. A member of the Texas Army National since 2000, Ledbetter jokingly feels he can now check one item off of his bucket list. 
“I was humbled to receive the opportunity to sing at the World Series knowing there are so many great performers out there,” said Ledbetter. “Being on that field was so surreal and an honor to stand in the uniform representing the soldiers, the National Guard and the United States.”
For Stevens, an elementary school teacher in Dallas, receiving the call 48 hours before the game and given the opportunity to perform for millions of people was not only an honor and a privilege, but allowed her to demonstrate how practice and perseverance can pay off. 
“It was a nervous and exciting experience all at the same time, but it helped that I did a sound check around noon on Sunday,” said Stevens. “It was an honor to represent the military, my family and all those rooting for me and I really wanted to conquer my nerves because this is the one performance you prepare years and years for.”
Other members of the Texas Military Forces assisted in the unfurling of the American flag on Saturday alongside members of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.