Camp Mabry Continues History of Community Involvement

Photo By Sgt. Mark Otte | Kids watch WWII re-enactment at Texas Military Department Open House And American Heroes Air Show at Camp Mabry. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt Mark Otte, 100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)
Photo By Sgt. Mark Otte | Kids watch WWII re-enactment at Texas Military Department Open House And American Heroes Air Show at Camp Mabry. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt Mark Otte, 100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

AUSTIN, TX, UNITED STATES

04.23.2017

Story by: Sgt. Mark Otte

Texas Military Department

AUSTIN, Texas - Anyone who has ever traveled Austin’s MOPAC highway has inevitably become mired in the bumper-to- bumper traffic and hoped for a hero to rescue them. And then there it is; the imposing F-4 Phantom fighter jet, pointed toward downtown, nose up and about to take flight.

The aircraft, a welcome and interesting change of scenery for morning commuters and kids strapped in their car seats, is part of Camp Mabry's static aviation display, which may be the most recognizable part of the installation, but only begins to tell the post's story.

Initially, the space was little more than an 85-acre campsite, donated in 1892 by local citizens, at the urging of its future namesake, Brigadier General Woodford H. Mabry; in an attempt to professionalize the Texas Volunteer Guard. The new plot of land provided a place for those Soldiers to train for two weeks in the summer time.

During those weeks the community would make the trip out to the country to watch the mock battles and demonstrations the Soldiers would conduct. Those public displays are a tradition that continues today.

"You have to remember they didn't have TV, radio or internet," said Jeff Hunt, Director of the Texas Military Forces Museum. "So people going out to see military dress parades, drills and demonstrations, that was a form of entertainment."

As Austin has grown around the camp, so have the events hosted for the community. The Annual Texas Military Department Open House and American Heroes’ Airshow draws thousands to the post for battle re-enactments and helicopter demonstrations. The event also hosts local police, fire and rescue organizations.

The now 375-acre site that houses the Texas Military Department continues to serve the community that surrounds it. From Boy Scout campouts, 5K road races or historic-themed galas, Central Texans have shared the space since its inception in the 1800s. Lt. Col. Paul Mancuso, Camp Mabry Garrison Commander, said that while the open house is the largest public draw to the post, Mabry welcomes a host of other local organizations throughout the year.

"Because we have this beautiful facility, we have the ability to allow some nonprofits to come and do fund raisers and host events," Mancuso said. "It allows us to support those organizations that are in our local community, and lets our neighbors come out and see how beautiful Mabry is."

In 1992 the post converted a building designed as a mess hall in 1918 into the Texas Military Forces Museum. The almost 26,000 square feet of display space now house relics that date back to 1823 all the way to the present. Each item on display is used to help tell the story of the Texas military forces to youngsters and veterans a like.

Camp Mabry is an open installation so the community can come enjoy the 1-mile track or the catch-and-release fishing pond. Currently in the planning stages, the post will soon add a 5-mile hike-and-bike trail, with the help of Boy Scout Troop 1407.

"We will help clear the brush and make the trail," said Tyler Broz, a scout with the troop. "We will provide as much of the labor as we can."

For over 100 years Camp Mabry has supported both the soldiers of Texas and the community that supports them. The collective history of the post and those around it, provide an interesting lesson for both the those in uniform and those that call Texas home.

Texas Military Department Open House Demonstrates Partnership and Capabilities

AUSTIN, TX, UNITED STATES

04.23.2017

Courtesy Story

100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Military Department members, along with representatives from federal, state and local law enforcement and first responders converged on Camp Mabry, in Austin, Texas for the annual Texas Military Department Open House and Air Show weekend, April 22, 23, 2017. 

The Open House highlights a multilateral partnership, which includes local, state and federal agencies. This partnership spans over three decades, and allows TMD and first responders to demonstrate teamwork and capabilities to the local community. The event also included by an array of vendors, living history reenactors, and dozens of volunteer groups.

Usually civilians are unable to interact with service members and first responders while they are on the job, but the Open House invites the community to see these agencies demonstrate their capabilities. Tim Pruett, commander of Special Operations with the Austin Police Department was on hand with members of the Austin Bomb Squad demonstrating some of their tools, such as bomb-sniffing dogs, tracked robots and bomb disposal suits. 

“It’s important to come out and visit the public and get those relationships built, not only for trust purposes, but to let them know we are people just like them,” said Pruett.

Steve Robertson, a special agent with the DEA drove down from Waco for his third straight year at the event. He felt the event was a critical part of informing the public about what they do. 

“Our primary job is to put drug traffickers in jail; however another part of our mission is to educate the public. So today, we are here for education and to talk to the public,” he said. 

Robertson also stressed that strong relationships between members of TMD, federal, state and local law enforcement and first responders are critical to the safety of Texas.

“Partnerships, task forces, team building, all those different words you use for working with different agencies are important to us because I have a four-man office that covers 13 counties. Without these partnerships we could not survive,” said Robertson.

Along with the static displays of vehicles, watercraft and helicopters, there were also demonstrations that showcased how partnering agencies work together during natural disasters - such as floods - in simulated rescues. 
One participant, Sgt. Destry Riggs, a UH-72 Lakota crew chief said it was important to reassure citizens that TMD stands ready to serve them. 

“We’re not just a combat role aircraft; we stand shoulder to shoulder with the Texas Department of Public Safety and other agencies on a regular basis ready to assist them,” he said.

“We work for the people of Texas to ensure their safety in the event of a natural disaster.”

The event was also a great opportunity for TMD to show its appreciation for the support it receives from the local community. 

“We host this event to thank our friends and neighbors,” said Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, the adjutant general of Texas.

One of the biggest attractions at the event is the battle reenactment put on by “living history” members and personnel from the Texas Military Forces Museum, also located on Camp Mabry. The event featured nearly 100 reenactors in World War II uniforms and equipment, along with tanks and armored vehicles, and drew hundreds of spectators.

“To me it is very important because we’re also remembering those who came before us,” said Nichols.

Museum Director Jeff Hunt felt the importance of the event and the participation by the museum and reenactors could not be overstated. 
“This is our busiest weekend of the year. We will have anywhere between 4,500 and 6,500 people come through the museum. We are educating people, not only about the past, but the present. Through educating them about the past, we are putting the present into context, which helps them understand it.”

Hunt also felt that the opportunities provided to members of the public by the Open House event could have far reaching impacts on the future of TMD.

“We like to think that the 6 year old that comes through the museum and gets to sit in the cockpit of the F-16, or stands in awe of the Sherman tank, or comes down to one of our battle reenactments, is more likely when they are 18 or 19 to raise their hand and take the oath and put on the uniform and step into that long line of heroes who have defended the country and they will hold the torch aloft for their time and then pass it along to the next generation.”

Conquering Obstacles of SHARP

Soldiers of 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 36th Infantry Division navigate through obstacle course in an event to promote Sexual Harassment Assault Response Prevention awareness on Apr. 22, 2017 at Camp Swift, Texas. (U.S. Army Photo by Capt. James Greenwood, 72nd IBCT Public Affairs)
Soldiers of 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 36th Infantry Division navigate through obstacle course in an event to promote Sexual Harassment Assault Response Prevention awareness on Apr. 22, 2017 at Camp Swift, Texas. (U.S. Army Photo by Capt. James Greenwood, 72nd IBCT Public Affairs)

BASTROP, TX, UNITED STATES

04.22.2017

Conquering Obstacles of SHARP


Story by: Capt. James Greenwood, 72nd IBCT Public Affairs

CAMP SWIFT, Texas – Approximately 83 Texas National Guard Soldiers from the 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 36th Inf. Div. participated in the Sexual Harassment Assault Response and Prevention Month obstacle course on Apr. 22, at Camp Swift, Texas. April is SHARP Awareness Month, and 72nd IBCT Soldiers showed their support for zero tolerance.

After the Soldiers completed the obstacle course, Maj. Zebadiah Miller, 172nd Engineer Battalion Commander, stated the SHARP program is a high priority and he always ensures his Soldiers understand his support. 

“SHARP is about taking action," said Miller. “Are you doing something that might be offensive? Are you doing something that might be taking advantage of your relationship with someone? Check yourself first, start taking action today.” 

Miller emphasized how the SHARP program promotes cultural change across the Army with a vision toward a culture of discipline and respect in which Soldiers intervene in sexual harassment and sexual assault to protect one another.

The SHARP program's main goal is to decrease, with a point toward taking out sexual offenses inside the Army through social change, avoidance, intervention, examination, responsibility, advocacy/response, appraisal, and training to sustain the All-Volunteer Force.

"The obstacle course was a great way to bring Soldiers of the brigade together to emphasize the importance of working as a cohesive team to complete a challenge,” said Col. Clarence Henderson, 72nd IBCT Commander. ”Our focus here was to enforce awareness on the prevention of any activity that would break the trust and integrity that is vital to our team."

Research shows that sexual assault is most likely to occur in environments where there are unhealthy social factors. Such factors include gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and other problems that degrade or devalue individuals and their contributions in the workplace. Based on this and other evidence, sexual assault prevention efforts in the military aim to advance a culture of dignity and respect for all who serve. 

Military leaders at all levels are the center of gravity in establishing a healthy command climate. The Department’s prevention programs focus on reinforcing the cultural imperatives of mutual respect and trust, professional values, and team commitment to creating an environment where sexist behaviors, sexual harassment, and sexual assault are not condoned, tolerated, or ignored.

The goal of the 72nd IBCT SHARP program is to build awareness and stop the crime from happening in the first place. Prevention efforts should ultimately decrease the number of individuals who perpetrate sexual assault and the number of people who become victims.

 

 

TMD Day at the Capitol

Texas legislators recognized the members of the Texas Military for their service to the state and nation, March 8, 2017 during a visit to the Capitol in Austin, Texas. The visit was to showcase capabilities of the Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air National Guard, Texas State Guard, Domestic Operations Taskforce, Office of the Executive Director and the National Guard Association of Texas. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Elizabeth Pena)
Texas legislators recognized the members of the Texas Military for their service to the state and nation, March 8, 2017 during a visit to the Capitol in Austin, Texas. The visit was to showcase capabilities of the Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air National Guard, Texas State Guard, Domestic Operations Taskforce, Office of the Executive Director and the National Guard Association of Texas. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Elizabeth Pena)

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Lawmakers had the opportunity to see first hand the Texas Military Department’s capabilities as representatives of the Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air National Guard, Texas State Guard, Domestic Operations Taskforce, Office of the Executive Director and the National Guard Association of Texas, set up informational displays and met with elected officials as the Texas Capitol hosted TMD Day on March 8, 2017,
 
“There are always questions about how our organization works, how our funding works and how we help Texas,” said Maj. Christopher R. Mckeag, Texas Army National Guard legislative liaison. “A lot of people know we show up to the scene during disasters, but there’s a lot of behind the scenes work.”
 
Among the visitors was Texas Senator Donna Campbell, chairwoman for the Veterans Affairs and Border Security Committee. 
 
“She is pretty spun up so there wasn’t any questions that were burning for us,” said McKeag. “But just her coming out here, her presence serves as visibility and it increases the awareness of the organization.” 
 
During the visit, legislators recognized the members of the Texas Military for their service to the state and nation. Service members received a standing applause by all representatives and members of the public present, for the service the Texas Military Department gives to both the state and nation.
 
“We are Texans first and foremost so we are here for everyone,” said McKeag.
 
As part of TMD day at the Capitol, the Texas Army National Guard 36th Infantry Division Band held a surprise performance playing several patriotic and military songs in the rotunda. 
 
According to Mckeag, the Government Affairs team said they achieved their goal of increasing awareness and understanding of the Texas Military Department’s dual state and federal mission to both state representatives and the general public.
 
While addressing the gathered soldiers, airmen and civilian employees Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, the adjutant general of Texas explained the importance of TMD Day at the Capitol. 
 
“I thought today went extremely well, they got to meet you all, they didn’t just see Nichols. They got to see the National Guard.”
 

Across the wild blue yonder to serve ARCTIC CARE 2017

Photo By Tech. Sgt. Wendy Day | Air Force Major Brett Ringger, 136th Medical Group, Texas Air National Guard, provide eye exams in a portable optometry clinic during ARCTIC CARE 2017, Port Lions, Alaska, March 28, 2017. ARCTIC CARE 2017 is part of the Innovative Readiness Training program, which is an Office of Secretary of Defense sponsored civil-military collaboration intended to build on mutually beneficial partnerships between U.S. communities and the Department of Defense. ARCTIC CARE 2017 provides training opportunities for U.S. military (Active, Guard, Reserve) and Canadian Health service members to prepare for worldwide deployment while supporting the needs of underserved communities on Kodiak Island, Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Wendy Day)
Photo By Tech. Sgt. Wendy Day | Air Force Major Brett Ringger, 136th Medical Group, Texas Air National Guard, provide eye exams in a portable optometry clinic during ARCTIC CARE 2017, Port Lions, Alaska, March 28, 2017. ARCTIC CARE 2017 is part of the Innovative Readiness Training program, which is an Office of Secretary of Defense sponsored civil-military collaboration intended to build on mutually beneficial partnerships between U.S. communities and the Department of Defense. ARCTIC CARE 2017 provides training opportunities for U.S. military (Active, Guard, Reserve) and Canadian Health service members to prepare for worldwide deployment while supporting the needs of underserved communities on Kodiak Island, Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Wendy Day) 

KODIAK ISLAND, AK, UNITED STATES

04.11.2017

Story by: Staff Sgt. Kristina Overton

136th Airlift Wing (Texas Air National Guard)

 

The mission of the Texas Air National Guard involves not only assisting individuals within the state, but also a nation-wide outreach effort to provide relief and care for citizens throughout the country. When called, guardsmen are equipped to travel coast-to-coast to offer services when needed. 

On March 28, the need was forged in Kodiak, Alaska, and Maj. Brett Ringger, 136th Medical Group optometry officer in charge, deployed in support of an Innovative Readiness Training mission on the island. 

“I took part in ARCTIC CARE 2017, a joint services mission to provide care to the underserved community of Kodiak, Alaska, and its surrounding villages of Old Harbor, Port Lions, Ouzinkie, Akhiok, Larsen Bay, and Karluk,” said Ringger. “I was in a village location, Port Lions. It is a community of about 120-125 people and is accessible only by airlift or water.”

The Alaska Air Force Reserve provided Blackhawk support and airlifted equipment and staff to the village airstrip. Despite the geographical challenges, Ringger and his team were able to set up their facilities to assist the community. 

“I was the optometrist for the team and performed 34 exams, approximately a quarter of the village population,” Ringger said. “I also served as officer in charge for the Port Lions location and was responsible for our team of 17 service members across the guard and reserve, Navy, Army, and Marine components. I was ultimately accountable for tracking patients and training hours, inventory, repacking equipment and supplies, and reporting to the Tactical Operations Center.”

ARCTIC CARE 2017 is an Air Force Reserve Command led event coordinated with Kodiak Area Native Association (KANA) and civil authorities to provide medical, dental, optometry, and veterinary care for communities in the area at no cost to the patient. The exercise included active-duty, guard and reserve units and allowed for service members to hone their abilities to set up and utilize medical equipment in deployed environments.

“It’s vital to have the opportunity to train with the actual equipment that we would work with in a deployed environment to an austere location,” Ringger said. “For example, in a static optometry clinic we have automated equipment that measures the prescription in members' glasses, eye pressure, and approximate refraction. We had the ability to do all of these things with the portable equipment we use on deployments, which is much different in operation and mostly uses analog as opposed to automated. I was able to train the optometry tech assigned to perform all of the necessary tests on equipment she had never seen before. She is now proficient in being a part of a deployable optometric team.”

With multiple services involved in making ARCTIC CARE 2017 a successful operation, teamwork was paramount in the overall mission. For Ringger, being able to work with different units was a major highlight of the experience. 

“I really enjoyed getting to know my team,” Ringger said. “They all had a unique perspective that added to the mission and I appreciated how well we all worked together to complete the mission, and most importantly, to care for the people we came to serve. I loved interacting with the local folks and feel like this experience has been very enriching to me both personally and in my military service.”

As Ringger traveled back to his unit, he had several takeaways from his participation in ARCTIC CARE 2017, but the ability to train and provide services to citizens like those on Kodiak Island was one he said he could never forget and an exercise he would recommend. 

“It is great training to be forced to problem-solve and remedy things when they go sideways before something similar happens downrange,” Ringger concluded. “Alaska is a beautiful place and in our village, the locals made us feel right at home, as if we were already family. They were so appreciative of why we were there and were willing to help us in any way. The icing on the cake was to be able to provide care for appreciative people who may not otherwise have access to the care that they need.”

The exercise ended on April 6, 2017. 

For more information about members of the 136th Airlift Wing, visit http://www.136aw.ang.af.mil.

Texas, Nebraska ANG benefit from State Partnership Program

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Tyson Cannon, maintenance operations officer with the 149th Fighter Wing, Texas Air National Guard, and Czech Air Force 1st Lt. Pavel Popspisil, chief of electric and special equipment group, examines the main gear box of the Mi-24 Hind Attack Helicopter March 22, 2017 at 22nd Air Base, Namest Nab Oslavou, Czech Republic. Popspisil explained how the gear box and engine were configured and removed. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman De’Jon Williams)
U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Tyson Cannon, maintenance operations officer with the 149th Fighter Wing, Texas Air National Guard, and Czech Air Force 1st Lt. Pavel Popspisil, chief of electric and special equipment group, examines the main gear box of the Mi-24 Hind Attack Helicopter March 22, 2017 at 22nd Air Base, Namest Nab Oslavou, Czech Republic. Popspisil explained how the gear box and engine were configured and removed. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman De’Jon Williams)

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

04.06.2017

Story by: Senior Airman De'Jon Williams

136th Airlift Wing (Texas Air National Guard)

PRAGUE - Airmen from Texas and Nebraska Air National Guard units partnered with the Czech Air Force to participate in a subject matter expert exchange of maintenance information March 20-23, 2017, at air bases in the Czech Republic.

The maintenance exchange was part of a state partnership program between the Texas and Nebraska Air National Guards and the Czech Republic coordinated by Maj. Mark White, bilateral affairs officer, U.S. Embassy-Prague, Texas Army National Guard.

"Having the ability to have Airmen from across multiple airframes share their experiences and best practices is something that the Czech Air Force really appreciated and valued," said White. "You could see the dialog and discussion evolving with detailed questions. I was very happy with the level of information and the vast experience that the Airmen were able to share with their Czech partners."

The state partnership program has been in place since 1993 with a multitude of military exchanges and familiarization over the course of its existence. However, it had been many years since a dedicated Air Force maintenance exchange had taken place.

"I think it's very important to obtain a relationship with our sister units to exchange ideas and practices, said Tech. Sgt. Jarrett Patman, a crew chief with the 136th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. "I feel this exchange can benefit our unit in that we can learn from the way that their cargo base runs and I hope to gain knowledge to take back to Fort Worth and implement within our squadron."

The Airmen traveled to the three Czech Air Force bases, each with different aircraft, to discuss maintenance topics such as front shop, back shop and all levels of maintenance planning.

"As a maintenance systems subject matter expert, my goal was to describe to the Czech Air Force how we do our maintenance practices back in Nebraska, help and promote some new ideas, as well as exchange ideas from them and their maintenance practices that we might be able to utilize back in the states," said Master Sgt. Corey Wacker, 155th Air Refueling Wing maintenance management analyst, Nebraska Air National Guard. "The overall goal was to gain knowledge and a better understanding of how maintenance and military operations go in their country."

There have been multiple pilot exchanges, but never ones including maintenance or munitions. Both of these units are integral elements for mission success and were necessary additions for the benefit of the program.

"My role specifically was just to show them how we do it in the fighter world," said 1st Lt. Tyson Cannon, 149th Fighter Wing maintenance operations officer, Texas Air National Guard. "I brought a few slides to show our daily maintenance production meetings. I gave them a little insight into how we separate different shop sections, prioritize work operations and how we do our daily maintenance procedures."

The state partnership has been in place for over 24 years between the Czech Republic, the Texas National Guard and the Nebraska Air National Guard. Many military engagements have been conducted during this partnership, and with nearly 30 more exchanges covering the numerous mission sets within the military, planned this year, the states continue to build an enduring relationship with their Czech counterparts.

Texas Leaders go back to the basics with supply

Brig. Gen. Tracy Norris conveys her vision for the way ahead for Texas Army National Guard logisticians at the Sustainment Assistance Logistics Training Course of the Texas Army Career Training Program, at Camp Bowie in Brownwood, Texas, March 28, 2017. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Jolene Hinojosa)
Brig. Gen. Tracy Norris conveys her vision for the way ahead for Texas Army National Guard logisticians at the Sustainment Assistance Logistics Training Course of the Texas Army Career Training Program, at Camp Bowie in Brownwood, Texas, March 28, 2017. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Jolene Hinojosa)

 

Story By: 1st. Lt. Jolene Hinojosa, Texas Army National Guard Command Group, Unit Public Affairs Representative

BROWNWOOD, Texas – Brig. Gen. Tracy Norris, Deputy Adjutant General - Army and Texas Army National Guard Commander and Command Sgt. Maj. Kristopher Dyer, Senior Enlisted Leader for the Texas Army National Guard, addressed the Sustainment Assistance Logistics Training Course of the Texas Army Career Training Program, at Camp Bowie in Brownwood, to discuss the way ahead for logistics operations within the Texas Army National Guard, March 28, 2017.

“I recognize that the bulk of our battles begins with the supply sergeant,” said Norris. “You are the front line, and we need to get back to basics and empower our logisticians to become professional experts in their craft.”

The SALT course is aimed at training Texas logisticians on topics such as GCSS-Army, Command Supply Discipline and Defense Support of Civil Authorities. SALT Class 17-L2 was comprised of 14 students that held duty positions ranging from company and battalion level supply sergeants to readiness noncommissioned officers.

Brig. Gen. Tracy Norris, Deputy Adjutant General - Army and Texas Army National Guard Commander and Command Sgt. Maj. Kristopher Dyer, Senior Enlisted Leader for the Texas Army National Guard, address the Sustainment Assistance Logistics Training Course of the Texas Army Career Training Program, at Camp Bowie in Brownwood, to discuss the way ahead for logistics operations within the Texas Army National Guard, March 28, 2017. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Jolene Hinojosa)
Brig. Gen. Tracy Norris, Deputy Adjutant General - Army and Texas Army National Guard Commander and Command Sgt. Maj. Kristopher Dyer, Senior Enlisted Leader for the Texas Army National Guard, address the Sustainment Assistance Logistics Training Course of the Texas Army Career Training Program, at Camp Bowie in Brownwood, to discuss the way ahead for logistics operations within the Texas Army National Guard, March 28, 2017. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Jolene Hinojosa)

The course max capacity is 30 students. BG Norris and CSM Dyer anticipate future classes will be filled to max capacity in the near future as a result of the GCSS-Army conversion.

“Logistics is the number one factor for our units because without supplies, we are unable to support our missions,” said retired Command Sgt. Maj. Raymond Jacobson, the Texas Army Career Training Program Manager. “It is great to have Brig. Gen. Norris and Command Sgt. Maj. Dyer here to address the class today. Soldiers need to see the senior leaders in the Texas Army National Guard recognize the importance of the work that they are doing and the steps they are taking to make organizational progress.”

The students had the opportunity to offer their input to Norris’ vision for the Texas Army National Guard and to give their recommendations on changes that could be made to improve the organization.

“It is refreshing to see that we have such caring, yet aggressive leaders, that understand that we logisticians are the backbone,” said Texas Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Wiggin, Delta Company, 156th Brigade Engineer Battalion. “Being a supply sergeant is a very demanding position that faces a lot of challenges due to the size of our state. I am glad to hear that our hard work is recognized, have our concerns addressed and understand how we fit in to the bigger picture in bettering the organization.”

Both Norris and Dyer said their support would be hands on.

“We are going to emphasize to command teams at all levels that we need to support our supply sergeants,” said Norris. “It is critical for the success of our organization to have logisticians that are professional experts. With the command sergeant major, we are going to work together to get us back to where we need to be.”

They discussed using inventories and showdown inspections as a means to help resolve financial liability investigations for property loss, and the conversion to the new GCSS-Army.

“I want to make sure that we have input from all levels,” said Dyer. “It is about assistance, helping the field, and giving the tools to help our force. I value everyone’s experience and I know that we can work together to come up with a solution.”

Single Father Driven to Become Best Warrior

Photo By Tech. Sgt. Vanessa Reed | Staff Sgt. Juan Nunez a security forces specialist with the 136th Security Forces Squadron, Texas Air National Guard, and his son pose for a photo at the 136th Airlift Wing’s Annual Children’s Christmas party Nov. 20, 2016 at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Vanessa Reed)
Photo By Tech. Sgt. Vanessa Reed | Staff Sgt. Juan Nunez a security forces specialist with the 136th Security Forces Squadron, Texas Air National Guard, and his son pose for a photo at the 136th Airlift Wing’s Annual Children’s Christmas party Nov. 20, 2016 at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Vanessa Reed)
FORT WORTH, TX, UNITED STATES
Story by Senior Airman DeJon Williams 
136th Airlift Wing (Texas Air National Guard)  

 

FORT WORTH, TEXAS – Finding motivation for accomplishing goals and excelling is something that most people can relate to. From making decisions in one’s everyday life to career choices that may affect the outcome of the future. Some even decide at a moment's notice to take on a new challenge to become the best version of themselves.

A physically grueling task such as competing in a military competition can be just that.

Staff Sgt. Juan Nunez, a combat arms training manager with the 136th Security Forces Squadron, Texas Air National Guard, represented his unit as a competitor in the Texas Military Department’s Best Warrior Competition March 2-4, held at Camp Swift in Bastrop, Texas.

The competition brought together members of the Texas Army and Air National Guard, Chile and the Czech Republic. The three-day event included an essay, an oral and appearance board, night land navigation, an M4 carbine qualification course, an obstacle course, a 12-mile ruck march and a mystery event that challenged the competitors mentally and physically.

“My son was my primary motivation,” Nunez said. “He’s always been the biggest motivation in my life. I asked my son to do something to challenge himself more, in school or anything else. I told him I was going to do it too… that I was going to find a way to challenge myself. I knew I didn’t have to, but he thinks I’m something bigger than even I think I am. That’s why I chose to do Best Warrior.”

Nunez is a single father to his 10-year-old son Tristan, so managing home life and preparing for the competition was a challenge in itself.

“I had to find a way to train between work and picking up my son, taking him to his tutoring and getting him to his Jiu Jitsu classes,” said Nunez. “Aside from that, I still had to help him with his homework, make dinner, workout and find time to try and squeeze in six hours of sleep. It was the same thing every day. By the time Friday hit, all I wanted to do was sleep. So one of the things I did was incorporate him into my training. I would do these long ruck marches and ask him to go with me.”

With such a busy schedule, balancing work and being a full-time father, Nunez found consistent ways to stay on top of his goals. Though he faced several different obstacles, he realized that being fit was the priority.

“The most important thing I knew I needed to develop was my physical fitness,” Nunez said. “I was already in good shape, I thought, but I knew I needed to prepare more for the actual event. I started focusing on cardio, I ruck marched every day and I started doing CrossFit type exercises as opposed to my normal workout.”

Nunez wasn’t alone on his quest for the Best Warrior Competition. He had support Airmen in his squadron and leadership as well.

“We had the tryouts a month before, and he showed a lot of heart and passion,” said Chief Master Sgt. Del Atkinson, security forces manager with the 136th Security Forces Squadron. “It 
was evident how hard he was pushing himself. I’m proud of him, I didn’t hear him complain one time.”

Sergeant Nunez successfully completed the competition, and did exceptionally well on the essay portion. Though results won’t be released for another month, for him, the biggest reward was getting home after the competition to see his son once again.

“He kept giving me hugs, and telling me how proud he was of me,” Nunez said. “What surprised me was he came up to me out of nowhere and said, ‘Hey Dad. You don't have to do all of these crazy things, I’m already proud of you.’ I don't think I’d be anywhere close to where I am in life without him.”

For more information about the Airmen of the 136th Airlift Wing, visit www.136aw.ang.af.mil.

Traditional Airmen given opportunity to showcase abilities

Photo By Senior Airman DeJon Williams | Staff Sgt. Michael J. Davis, a loadmaster with the 136th Mission Support Group, Texas Air National Guard, completes a pre flight inspection on a C-130H2 Hercules aircraft, Feb. 26, 2017 at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas. Davis, along with other traditional Guardsmen, flew a max-fly effort that utilized only traditional Airmen. (Air Force photo by Senior Airman De'Jon Williams)
Photo By Senior Airman DeJon Williams | Staff Sgt. Michael J. Davis, a loadmaster with the 136th Mission Support Group, Texas Air National Guard, completes a pre flight inspection on a C-130H2 Hercules aircraft, Feb. 26, 2017 at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas. Davis, along with other traditional Guardsmen, flew a max-fly effort that utilized only traditional Airmen. (Air Force photo by Senior Airman De'Jon Williams)
FORT WORTH, TX, UNITED STATES
Story by Senior Airman DeJon Williams
136th Airlift Wing (Texas Air National Guard)

 

WORTH, TEXAS – Traditional members of the Air National Guard live two lives. While serving both the federal and state mission in their chosen military capacity, guardsmen are also avid members of the local community holding full-time jobs or attending school. Typically, active guardsmen maintain day-to-day operations for the base and flight line to ensure operational success. On Feb. 27, 2017, weekend warriors from the 136th Airlift Wing, Texas Air National Guard at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base Texas took the helm and demonstrated their capabilities during an aerial training mission. 

“Today was a max fly, max effort mission utilizing only our traditional force,” said Capt. Casey Vetter, 136th Maintenance Squadron officer in charge. “It’s significant because it really kind of proves that being a traditional Airmen, just like a full time guard or an active duty Airmen, really is a seamless transition. When we deploy you really shouldn’t even be able to tell the difference in the quality of training and execution.”

Members conducted two C-130H2 Hercules aircraft flights, one being a six-ship mission and the other being a four. All eight flights were fully manned by traditional guardsmen from the pilots down to the maintenance personnel. The full time Airmen were given the day off, giving the traditional members an opportunity to highlight their abilities. 

“We had guys out here a week prior, planning and getting everything prepared,” said Vetter. “There is a lot that goes into the process, and being here early allowed traditional folks an opportunity to see a part of the process that we don’t normally get to. Normally we show up on Saturday and are brought up to speed, whereas this time we really got to be a part of everything and executed the mission all on our own. We relied on the training and expertise of all of our subject matter experts here.”

The all traditional guardsmen flight was the second max-effort mission done by the 136th. The first took place in 2016. 

“This is the second largest fly they’ve done in the history of the unit,” said Capt. Adrian Burke, 136th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron officer in charge, “so this is big having the traditionals coming together to get them all off the ground. Outside of the normal coordination, there was a lot of effort from our traditional members coming in early and staying late to make sure that we had all six tails C-130H2 Hercules aircraft] locked and ready to go.”
The flights were a success, and leadership within the unit look forward to coordinating another all traditional guard flight to make sure that members are always at their best and able to fulfill the mission. 

“I think we’d all like to see this again,” said Burke. “It was a great deal last year when we did the max fly effort, and having it again gives us a greater purpose. Everyone that comes across the flight line when they get in in the morning wants to touch an aircraft and come to work to do what they wanted to do when they joined the Air Force. We got to do that together.”
For more information about the 136th Airlift Wing, visit www.136aw.ang.af.mil.

Texas Army National Guard commander helps build DPS leaders and partners

Brig. Gen. Tracy Norris, addresses the Texas Department of Public Safety Command College, Cohort V Class to prepare them for their culminating CAPSTONE event at the DPS Headquarters in Austin, Texas, March 8, 2017. The TXARNG and Texas DPS train together and support each other in domestic operations in order to better serve the citizens of Texas.
Brig. Gen. Tracy Norris, addresses the Texas Department of Public Safety Command College, Cohort V Class to prepare them for their culminating CAPSTONE event at the DPS Headquarters in Austin, Texas, March 8, 2017. The TXARNG and Texas DPS train together and support each other in domestic operations in order to better serve the citizens of Texas.

 

Story By: 1st. Lt. Jolene Hinojosa, Texas Army National Guard Command Group, Unit Public Affairs Representative

AUSTIN, Texas – Brig. Gen. Tracy Norris, Deputy Adjutant General - Army and Texas Army National Guard Commander attended the Texas Department of Public Safety Command College, Cohort V Class as guest speaker to prepare them for their culminating CAPSTONE event, March 8, 2017, at their headquarters in Austin.

“The DPS Command College is our version of the Army's War College,” said Texas Army National Guard retired Brig. Gen. Orlando Salinas, Deputy Assistant Director, Education, Training and Research. “The leaders participating in this training are equivalent to lieutenant colonels and colonels in the military. The course is very selective to make sure that we are targeting the very best in our agency.”

 

Brig. Gen. Tracy Norris, Deputy Adjutant General - Army and Texas Army National Guard (TXARNG) Commander attended the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Command College, Cohort V Class as guest speaker to prepare them for their culminating CAPSTONE event at the DPS Headquarters in Austin, Texas, March 8, 2017. The TXARNG and Texas DPS train together and support each other in domestic operations in order to better serve the citizens of Texas.
Brig. Gen. Tracy Norris, Deputy Adjutant General - Army and Texas Army National Guard (TXARNG) Commander attended the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Command College, Cohort V Class as guest speaker to prepare them for their culminating CAPSTONE event at the DPS Headquarters in Austin, Texas, March 8, 2017. The TXARNG and Texas DPS train together and support each other in domestic operations in order to better serve the citizens of Texas.

 

The command college participants included 30 DPS employees and one member of the Texas Army National Guard.

Salinas, former Deputy Assistant Adjutant General for the Texas Army National Guard, understands exactly what the Texas Military Department has to offer. Creating a strong partnership to share knowledge and leadership experience is something that he and BG Norris hope to continue to build.

“I am excited about the partnership that we have with DPS and look forward to continuing to build our relationship with them,” said Norris. “By sharing our leadership experiences, we can all grow together in our craft as Texans serving Texas.”

Norris participated in the leadership development portion of the course’s curriculum. The main topics of discussion included discussion points and questions on topics such as leadership, ethics and communication.

“Throughout my 30-year career, I’ve had leaders who invested in me and took the time to make sure that I knew the way ahead for the organization,” said Norris. “This helped me understand what my role was and why I was doing the things I was doing. By seeing the bigger picture, even as a junior leader, I was able to exercise disciplined initiative and take action for the betterment of the organization.”

Leader development through mentorship and advocacy is one of Norris’ top priorities and supports the Adjutant General’s priorities of putting people first. The opportunity to communicate and partner with the Texas Department of Public Safety to share this message is one that she and Salinas hope to continue to foster.

“As always, Brig. Gen. Norris hit a home run,” said Salinas. “We appreciate the experience that she has as a military leader and are so honored to have her come and speak with us. We hope to continue to build the relationship between ourselves and the Texas Army National Guard.”