Texas Guard at 70!

Texas Guard At 70!
MAJ Michael Quinn Sullivan, TXSG 
2011/02/09

Photo of Banner with Color Guard that says "Texas State Guard at 70"
Image of the 2nd Battalion Color Guard, Texas Defense Guard in Houston, Texas, 1942

AUSTIN - While its history can be traced to Stephen F. Austin’s colonial militia, the modern Texas State Guard is celebrating its 70th anniversary this week. Today’s guard features more than 2,000 men and women serving the state – peak participation since World War II.

“Whatever the task, the Texas State Guard has been, and will continue to be, equal to it,” said Commanding General Ray Peters, who leads the Guard under the direction of the Texas Adjutant General and the Governor. “This is Texans serving Texans in practical and pragmatic ways.”

On Feb. 10, 1941, Texas Gov. Lee O’Daniel signed the Defense Act creating the Texas Defense Guard. The U.S. Congress had previously authorized the states to establish defensive units to serve at the discretion of the governor in support capacities. When the federal authority for the “Defense Guard” expired in 1947, the Texas Legislature re-authorized the entity under the banner of the “Texas State Guard Reserve Corps.”

Today’s state guard is one of three components of the Texas Military Forces, alongside the Army National Guard and Air National Guard. But unlike the National Guard entities, the State Guard generally serves only within the borders of the Texas and answers only to the governor. When activated, guardsmen provide critical services in times of natural and man-made disasters. In recent years the Texas State Guard has played critical roles in a wide-range of situations, from the search-and-recovery of the Columbia to shelter management in last summer’s Hurricane Alex.

“The flexibility of having 2,000 professional, civic-minded and uniformed Texans serving in the State Guard means we can mobilize anywhere in the state within hours of activation by the governor,” said Peters. “We serve to support the needs of local authorities, and provide for the relief and comfort of our neighbors at the worst of times. Whether it’s search and rescue operations with the Texas Parks and Wildlife, providing logistical support to the National Guard, or offering emergency medical care during a disaster, our men and women are trained to do it all.”

With only a half-dozen full-time staff, the Texas State Guard is composed of volunteer citizen-soldiers from all walks of life.

“For 70 years the men and women of the Texas State Guard have been honored to serve the people of Texas,” said Peters.

Two Honored for Spirit, Professionalism in Service

Two Honored for Spirit, Professionalism in Service
MAJ Michael Quinn Sullivan, TXSG 
2011/01/22

Photo of NCO of the Year Award being presented
Major General Raymond Peters (right), Commanding General, Texas State Guard, and Brigadier General Robert Bodisch, commander of the Texas State Guard Maritime Regiment (left) presents the NCO of the Year Award Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Lofy of Katy(center).Photo by SGM Steve Gamboa

AUSTIN - Going above and beyond what is expected of a Texan has long been the Hallmark of the men and women serving in the Texas State Guard. But this year’s junior enlisted member and non-commissioned officer of the year exceed the state guard’s high standard for exceptional service.

Corporal James Smith of Arlington said he was just looking for a way to “give something back to my adopted state” when he joined the Texas State Guard in 2009. He said he was motivated to “do something to feel like I have earned the right to call myself a Texan.”

As the Junior Enlisted Service Member of 2010, CPL Smith says he believes the award reflects on the collaborative work of his fellow enlisted men and officers in the 4th Regiment.

Since joining the TXSG, CPL Smith has served in the 4th Regiment’s 2nd Battalion as a squad leader, developing materials to aid in the training of non prior-service guardsmen. He serves as his unit’s personnel NCO and public affairs officer.

During Hurricane Alex, CPL Smith deployed to south Texas where he oversaw the first operational utilization of the battalion’s Special Needs Evacuation Tracking System (SNETS). Outside the Texas Guard, CPL Smith is a professional engineer with degrees from Oklahoma State University and Emory-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Major Wendell Sadler, CPL Smith’s commanding officer said “CPL Smith has proven to be an apt leader within the unit and has expanded his role into the areas of personnel and public affairs. His attitude and initiative exemplifies the values of the TXSG.”

The NCO of the year is similarly motivating.

The Texas Maritime Regiment’s 1st Battalion has been served ably by Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Lofy of Katy.

Drawing from his prior service in the United States Navy and civilian work in emergency management, PO2 Lofy serves in the dual role of communications and intelligence NCO. He has pursued qualifications on the IC4U, ISIS and TICP communications systems, while also receiving his general HAM operating license.

“I joined the TXSG because I did not feel like I was finished serving my country and state," said PO2 Lofy. "The state guard was the outlet I felt I needed to explore, as it was a marriage of the two pastimes I enjoy: the military and emergency management."

His enjoyment is evident in by the degree to which he involves himself in his duties and responsibilities. In July, he received the Commanding General’s Individual Award for his support of the joint TMAR / Texas Parks and Wildlife training exercise. Commander Wayne Hogard of the Maritime Regiment says PO2 Lofy is a model guardsman.

“PO2 Lofy’s professionalism and volunteering sprit, along with his ’can-do’ attitude, exemplifies the embodiment of the TXSG soldier.”

That spirit was evident in 2010. While returning home from TXSG annual training, PO2 Lofy witnessed a motorcycle accident. He stopped and rendered lifesaving aid – an action for which commendation is pending.

The graduate of Fort Hayes State University is currently enrolled in a master’s degree program in emergency and disaster management. PO2 Lofy said he is excited about the opportunities presented in the TXSG to "continue to volunteer and learn all I can."

PO2 Lofy said that from the recognition he feels an even deeper obligation to "model for our junior personnel" the qualities to be a senior NCO.

When asked why he felt the compelled to be in the TXSG, Junior Enlisted Member of the Year CPL Smith spoke for many native born sons of the Lone Star State.

“There is something special about Texas,” he said. “I don’t care where you go in the world, when you tell people that you are from Texas there is a certain recognition that you are from someplace special.”

It’s the dedicated service of PO2 Lofy, CPL Smith and the more than 2,000 men and women of the State Guard, who make the Lone Star State special.

TXSG Deputy Commanding General Retires

TXSG Deputy Commanding General Retires
MAJ Michael Quinn Sullivan, TXSG 
2010/11/01

Photo of Major General Raymond Peters presenting the Commander's Award for Public Service to retiring Brigadier General Robert Cheeseman.
Major General Raymond Peters (right), Commanding General, Texas State Guard, presents the Commander’s Award for Public Service to retiring Brigadier General Robert Cheeseman. The award was among many presented to Cheeseman during a retirement ceremony at Camp Mabry on October 30,2010.Photo by SGM Steve Gamboa

AUSTIN, Texas -- With more than 40 years of uniformed service to his nation and state, Brigadier General Robert Cheeseman’s distinguished career was recognized this weekend in a retirement ceremony at Camp Mabry.

“I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to wear the uniform and serve the citizens of Texas,” Cheeseman said in his remarks to family, colleagues and fellow guardsmen. “It’s been my honor to work among you and serve with you.”

Cheeseman has served in the Texas State Guard since 1996, the same year he retired from the United States Air Force. He had enlisted in the Air Force in 1966. As a staff sergeant, he was selected to attend Texas State University as a part of the Airman Education and Commissioning Program. He was commissioned in April 1972.

He is a graduate of the USAF Air War College, Air Command and Staff College, and Squadron Officers School. Cheeseman served in the Air Force as a Special Investigations and Counterintelligence Officer. His last assignment, with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, was as Deputy Director and Senior Special Agent, Contingency and Wartime Plans, at Headquarters in Washington, DC.

“We thank you for your service to Texas,” said Major General Raymond Peters, commanding general of the Texas State Guard in his remarks at the ceremony.

As a member of the Texas State Guard, Brigadier General Cheeseman's assignments have included Air Liaison Officer, Vice Commander and Commander of the 4th Air Wing, Inspector General, and Deputy Commanding General for Air.

Cheeseman and his wife, Lorraine, have two children and two grandchildren.

The Mission of the Texas State Guard is to provide highly trained soldiers for Defense Support to Civil Authorities by providing ready military forces during State Emergences to assist State and local authorities in homeland security, community service and with medical services.

The Texas State Guard is one of three branches of the Texas Military Forces, reporting to The Texas Adjutant General, Major General Jose S. Mayorga, The Commander-in-Chief of the Texas Military Forces is the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry. The other two branches are the Texas Army National Guard and the Texas Air National Guard.

8th Regiment Provides 'Wings Over Houston' Support

8th Regiment Provides ‘Wings Over Houston’ Support
CPT Joseph Conte, PAO, 8th Civil Affairs Regt., TXSG 
2010/10/27

Photo of PFC Adam Dudley in front of a crowd.
PFC Adam Dudley (Foreground), 1st Bn., 8th Regt., provides flight line crowd control in front of a Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress “THUNDER BIRD”.

HOUSTON, Texas -- Over 100 Soldiers of the 8th Civil Affairs Regiment, Texas State Guard, helped make the 26th Annual Wings Over Houston Air Show a success on Saturday Oct. 23 and Sunday, Oct. 24 at Ellington Field in Houston.

The Wings Over Houston Air Show draws approximately 50,000 visitors annually. It is organized as a celebration of patriotism and an educational event providing community entertainment, aviation awareness and military recruiting opportunities.

The 8th Civil Affairs Regiment soldiers provided over 3,000 man-hours to its mission of gate access control, flight line crowd control, and crowd control during air show performances. This was the 24th time the 8th Regiment has participated in the Wings Over Houston Air Show.

Members of the Texas State Guard’s Medical Brigade, Houston Group, provided medical support to Wings Over Houston during air show operations.

The Highlights of the 26th Annual Wings Over Houston Air Show featured the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Flight Demonstration Team, U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet Tactical Demo Team, USAF Viper West Demo Team F-16 Fighting Falcon, USAF A/OA-10 Thunderbolt II, USAF C-17 Globemaster III Demo, C-47 and C-17 Transport Heritage Flight, Air Force Heritage Flight, U.S. Coast Guard HH-65C Dauphine Helicopter Demo, Commemorative Air Force “Tora! Tora! Tora!” WWII Airpower Demo, Navy Legacy Flight and many others.

The show’s security coordinator, Chris Hendon, said he was very impressed with the 8th Regiment’s handling of the visitors during the air show performances. The 8th Regiment’s assistance will be requested at next year’s show, Hendon noted.

The Mission of the Texas State Guard is to provide highly trained soldiers for Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA) by providing ready military forces during State Emergences to assist State and local authorities in homeland security, community service and with medical services.

The Texas State Guard (TXSG) is one of three branches of the Texas Military Forces (TXMF), reporting to The Texas Adjutant General, Major General Jose S. Mayorga, located at Texas Military Forces HQ, Camp Mabry (Austin), Texas. The Commander-in-Chief of the Texas Military Forces is the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry. The other two branches are the Texas Army National Guard (TXARNG) and the Texas Air National Guard (TXANG).

Texas State Guard Trains in oil spill response - hundreds more to be trained by end of year

Texas State Guard Trains In Oil Spill Response - Hundreds More To Be Trained By End Of Year
Maj. Michael Sullivan, TXSG Public Affairs
2010/09/17
AUSTIN, Texas – With the effects of the Deep Horizon disaster still lingering, 30 members of the Texas State Guard recently received specialized instructor training in oil spill response strategies from the Texas Engineering Extension Service. By the end of 2010, a significant portion of the TXSG will be trained in oil spill response.

The course, funded by the Texas Division of Emergency Management, provided participants with the fundamental knowledge and skills needed to effectively manage an oil spill response operation.

With 691 drilling platforms on the Texas coast and 9 million acres leased offshore for exploration, the risk for a major spill is real, said Brigadier General Robert Bodisch, commander of the Texas State Guard Maritime Regiment.

“The Texas Maritime Regiment (TMAR) of the Texas State Guard is honored to participate in oil spill response training with the Texas Engineering Extension Service,” said Bodisch. “Following the recent BP incident in the Gulf of Mexico, it is important that we are properly trained and prepared to assist when called upon. This training exercise advanced our skills and knowledge for such an occasion.”

The hands-on training was conducted at Lake Bastrop in Texas, which is operated by the Lower Colorado River Authority. The classroom portion of the course was held at Camp Swift, a Bastrop training site for the Texas Army National Guard.

State Guard officers and enlisted men learned response strategies and techniques. They also participated in a simulated spill situation, assuming leadership and operational roles. Specific course topics included containment, clean-up and recovery of oil, sorbents, boom deployment, skimmer operations, and oil sampling and documentation techniques, as well as shoreline protection, clean-up and restoration.

The Texas Engineering Extension Service, operating under the authority of the Texas A&M University System, has delivered oil spill prevention and incident management training for the U.S. Coast Guard and the petrochemical industry since 1975. They are experts in oil spill control and response recently developed the curriculum and delivered instructor training for workers, contractors and volunteers involved in the Gulf cleanup operation following the BP Deepwater Horizon incident in April.

NGAUS Conference Builds Families, Friendships

National Guard Officer and spouse have some down time to unwind early in the evening at the barbeque mixer at Austin's Schultz Beer Garden during the 132nd National Guard Association of the United States General Conference.
National Guard Officer and spouse have some down time to unwind early in the evening at the barbeque mixer at Austin's Schultz Beer Garden during the 132nd National Guard Association of the United States General Conference.

 

The National Guard Association of the United States supports Guardsmen across the country with advocacy efforts and standard of living improvements. This week's general conference for the association, held in Austin, Texas, brought together not just the service members, but also their spouses. While the association members enjoyed mixers, banquets, exhibits and professional meetings, their loved ones enjoyed shopping excursions and bonding events.

With events scheduled specifically for spouses, the conference enabled these dedicated family members to network with one another, develop a strong support system, and build lasting friendships.

The spouse shopping excursions to San Antonio, San Marcos, Austin and Fredericksburg offered participants the opportunity to see the colorful cultures of Texas, rich with Hispanic culture.

"I love it," said Gina Welch, the wife of Army Maj. Wyatt Welch and mother of three, from Bowling Green, Virginia. "I always look forward to attending these events. It is somewhat of a getaway." 

Nearly 200 spouses traveled to San Antonio for a day of sightseeing, shopping, and Texas history. The city's beautiful Riverwalk and the famous Alamo provided much-needed decompression and morale boosts to the busy participants looking to share an adventure. 

Pat Wilkinson chose the San Antonio excursion "to learn something about the history of the Alamo."

In addition to the bonding excursions, the spouses enjoyed the special opportunity to build a strong support system as members of NGAUS. Spouses are able to learn from one another's experiences and struggles by knowing that there are many other people on whom they can rely. 

Further, the conference affords family members education possibilities that foster support and trust for their service member and the service member's duty. For NGAUS and its representatives, becoming knowledgeable of the intricacies of the military lifestyle comes first in supporting a community of troops.

"We know it's not just the military member that serves," said Texas State Senator Leticia Van De Putte. "It's the entire family."

The senator encouraged her audience to support their spouses' call for duty, sharing an anecdote about how her great-grandmother showed love and support for her grandfather and great-uncle.

"My great-grandmother said that if her two sons return from World War II safely that she would go on her knees from her house to the church on Thanksgiving. She was from Mexico, it's very traditional to do these promesas, these promises." 

Military associations like NGAUS ensure the families and the livelihoods of servicemembers remain a priority throughout the nation. Building strong bonds of community and friendship, the conference continues to guide and enrich the lives and careers of Guardsmen from the newest lieutenants to the most experienced of generals. 

"Every [conference] get's better and better," said Jean Dobaschi, from Hawaii. "NGAUS has played a very critical role in my life and in my husband's life. We've been able to make friends across the country; friends that will be lifetime friends forever."

Industries support National Guard, bring new technologies for troops

A group of Backpack Journalists take some photos Aug. 22 on an expedition to the Texas Army National Guard airfield during the 132nd National Guard Association of the United States General Conference in Austin, Texas.
A group of Backpack Journalists take some photos Aug. 22 on an expedition to the Texas Army National Guard airfield during the 132nd National Guard Association of the United States General Conference in Austin, Texas.

 

 Story by  Spc. Suzanne Carter

 A mariachi band struck up a song as Texas Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Jose S. Mayorga snipped the red ribbon  stretched across the entrance in two. The doors to the exhibit hall swung open Aug. 21, marking the official opening of  the 132nd National Guard Association of the United States General Conference exhibit hall at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas.

 Army and Air National Guard officers and their spouses from across the U.S. and its territories flooded the exhibit hall  floor for three days, interacting with more than 400 vendors. The exhibitors showed their support for the Guard by  demonstrating a variety of products and services, while conference attendees told vendors directly what they needed.

 Mark Saturno, Simulation Systems Division business development director for Cubic Defense Applications in Orlando,  Fla., said that the NGAUS convention is not the place to make sales, but a place to show support and appreciation for  the National Guard and its mission.

 "We have been dealing with the Guard for about a dozen years with our products," Saturno said. "The Guard has been  very supportive of our company and our products, so we want to come out and show our support for the Guard."

 With products ranging from combat training simulators to portable latrine devices and services from continuing  education programs to custom coin and tag manufacturing, the exhibit hall offered officers of all ranks the most up-to-  date technology, equipment and services available to their Guardsmen.

 "There's a lot of new technology," said Guam Air National Guard Capt. Josephine Blas. "As you know, technology  changes quickly, every day, so whatever they have that can help improve what we do for ourselves, for our troops, it's  always great to see what they have."

 By interacting with the vendors, attendees can discuss what improvements they want to see to best service their home  units.

 "It's an incredible opportunity for junior leaders to interact directly with folks in the industry," said Oregon Army National  Guard Capt. Jonathan R. Tipton. "We can explain to them what we need, what we like and what we'd like to see  happen." 

 Vendors in the exhibit hall said they use the feedback they receive to help guide the futures of their products and  services as they relate to the National Guard.

"We talk to everybody from soldiers all the way up to the adjutant general about what the needs are for the Guard, where the Guard is trying to go," said Arthur C. Wright, business development and marketing manager for the Washington-Harris Group, a health services and information technology group from Greenbelt, Md. "If we don't know where they're trying to go and what their needs are, we won't know what services we need to provide."

Exhibitors also said they enjoyed hearing from the family members in attendance as much as the officers.

"The Guard is certainly very family-oriented," said Cora Jackson-Chandler, the Management Support Technology vice president of Defense Department programs, a research, evaluation and planning company from Fairfax, Va. "Because we do some work in the areas of sustaining, training, life-cycle support and transition of soldiers, it's good to hear from the family members."

Jackson-Chandler went on to say that having this interaction with the servicemembers and their families helps give her the full perspective of everyone who needs her company's services.

After a year of planning, a week of set-up and three days of marketing and networking, Exhibit Promotions Plus Director of Business Development Kevin M. Horowitz praised the conference for making available so many resources to which military leaders might otherwise not have exposure.

"They don't know what products and services are out there and what's available and what's the most modern technology," Horowitz said. "They need to see it, feel it, touch it, use it."