Texas State Guard perform community service at Wings over Houston Air Show

Texas State Guard perform community service at Wings over Houston Air Show

Story and photos by: Warrant Officer Malana Nall

8th Regiment, Texas State Guard

Col. Edwin Grantham, Commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. John Marshall, Senior Enlisted Advisor, 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard, present a regimental challenge coin to World War II veteran Col. Richard “Dick” Cole, during a ceremony at the 32nd Annual Wings over Houston Air Show at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Houston, Oct. 22-23, 2016.   Cole is the last surviving member of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders and was co-pilot to Gen. Doolittle during the famous raid on Tokyo during World War II.  (Texas State Guard photo by Warrant Officer Malana Nall)
Col. Edwin Grantham, Commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. John Marshall, Senior Enlisted Advisor, 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard, present a regimental challenge coin to World War II veteran Col. Richard “Dick” Cole, during a ceremony at the 32nd Annual Wings over Houston Air Show at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Houston, Oct. 22-23, 2016.   Cole is the last surviving member of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders and was co-pilot to Gen. Doolittle during the famous raid on Tokyo during World War II.  (Texas State Guard photo by Warrant Officer Malana Nall) 

HOUSTON- As citizen-guardsmen, the Texas State Guard is known for its volunteerism and putting others first, with support to the Wings over Houston Air Show at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Houston, Oct. 22-23, 2016, a prime example of serving in their own communities. 

For 32 years members from the 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard, have provided event organizers with logistical support. This year, volunteers provided information and directions to a record-breaking 50,000 visitors.  

“Because of our participation at the air show, many Texans got to see firsthand a well-trained Texas State Guard, as we assisted the thousands of visitors.  Our troops demonstrated professionalism and courtesy as they guided visitors to the many air show venues,” said Col. Edwin Grantham, Commander, 8th Regiment. “Wings over Houston gives the Texas State Guard a real-world opportunity to apply our communications and logistical skills; which are necessary skills when we are called upon to assist our fellow Texans in an emergency.” 

For one volunteer this annual air show remains a favorite community service project.

“It always exciting to see the planes and talk to all the visitors and introduce them to the Texas State Guard,” said Staff Sgt. Troy Charleville, 3rd Battalion, 8th Regiment.

During a ceremony at the air show, Col. Grantham and Command Sgt. Maj. John Marshall, 8th Regiment Senior Enlisted Advisor, presented a regimental challenge coin to Col. Richard “Dick” Cole, the last surviving member of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders and co-pilot to Gen. Doolittle during the famous raid on Tokyo during World War II.  

“It was a privilege to meet such a legendary pilot and hear his firsthand account of such a pivotal event in the war. There was not enough time in the day to hear about his service to our country,” said Marshall. “It is something I won’t forget.”

According to event organizers, the Wings over Houston Air Show is one of the largest in the United States. For 2016, the main attraction was the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.  The event also showcased vintage World War II aircraft. 

Texas Army National Guard Engineers partner with Active Duty in Pilot Program

Col. Mark Quander, commander of the 36th Engineer Brigade, based in Fort Hood, Texas, removes removed their unit patch and replaces with 36th patch during a patch-over ceremony at Cherry Park in Weatherford, Texas, Oct. 15, 2016. Texas Army National Guard’s 840th Mobility Augmentation Company, based in Grand Praire joined efforts with the 36th Engineer Brigade, out of Fort Hood. The partnering of forces is the result of the Associated Unit Pilot Program, which is designed to increase the readiness and responsiveness of the Army as a total force. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by: Sgt. Elizabeth Pena)
Col. Mark Quander, commander of the 36th Engineer Brigade, based in Fort Hood, Texas, conducts a patch-over during a ceremony at Cherry Park in Weatherford, Texas, Oct. 15, 2016. Texas Army National Guard’s 840th Mobility Augmentation Company "Maniacs", based in Grand Praire joined efforts with the 36th Engineer Brigade, out of Fort Hood. The partnering of forces is the result of the Associated Unit Pilot Program, which is designed to increase the readiness and responsiveness of the Army as a total force. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by: Sgt. Elizabeth Pena)

Texas Army National Guard Engineers partner with Active Duty in Pilot Program

Story by: Sgt. Elizabeth Peña

Posted: Oct. 19, 2016

WEATHERFORD, Texas – Guardsmen from Texas Army National Guard’s 840th Mobility Augmentation Company, based in Grand Prairie joined efforts with the 36th Engineer Brigade, out of Fort Hood, during a patch-over ceremony at Cherry Park in Weatherford, Texas, Oct. 15, 2016.

“Today should be one of both quiet reflections but also great anticipation, looking back where our Army has been partnering the reserve and active component, but also where our Army is going as we try to find ways to improve and increase readiness in some different innovative ways,” said Col. Mark Quander, commander of the 36th Eng. Brig.

During the ceremony, service members of the 840th MAC removed their unit patch and put on the 36th Eng. Brig. patch.

“While it’s a simple action changing the patches in the Army is a symbol of who you are, what you are a part of and what your mission is,” said Texas Army National Guard Rear Detachment Lt. Col. Paul Cerniaskas, brigade commander (rear) of the 176th Eng. Brig. “Changing patches is significant and necessary to make the Associated Unit Pilot program a success and it is the right thing to do.”

The partnering of forces is the result of the Associated Unit Pilot Program, which is designed to increase the readiness and responsiveness of the Army as a total force. 

“It’s an honor and privilege to be here as we chart a new course toward the integrations of our total force,” said Quander. “After significant downsizing in our forces over the past five or six years, the demands for our forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and across the world continue to remain elevated.”

This multi-year pilot program pairs Active-Duty units with those in the Army Reserve and Army National Guard so they can train together as well as includes an exchange of assigned personnel. 

“For the engineer regiment, this close integration between the 36th and the 176th is nothing new,” said Quander. “The associated unit takes that partnership a little bit farther establishing a more formal relationship between the active component and the reserve component.”
 
A total of 27 units have been selected to undergo the pilot; four of those units come from the Texas Army National Guard. These units will train, build readiness and ultimately fight as one Army.

“What mobility augmentation company does is breach a bypass,” said National Guard Capt. Aaron McConnell, commander of the 840th MAC. “If we run across an infantry, maneuver company or a brigade ever comes across an obstacle - they call us.  I send my first or second platoon out there depending on what needs to happen and we either blow it up or put a bridge over it. Then our third platoon sets up obstacles to keep bad guys from coming in.”

Last year, the 840th MAC trained with an active duty unit at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California and a guardsman from the engineer unit was able to perform mechanical operations on a broken down vehicle during a mission.

“The sergeant major of the active duty unit was with us, and his Humvee deadlined,” said McConnell. “That’s four hours we have to waste for field maintenance team. Sgt. Keith, who is our mechanic, we call him our “MacGyver” we tell him run back there and fix it and he does, because that’s what he does on the day side.”

There are many benefits that come from training alongside the active components as well. 
 
“They’ve got real estate,” said McConnell. “Our highly motivated soldiers have the opportunity to train more. Which is what a lot of them want to do, it’s why they are here, they like training and blowing things up and reducing obstacles.”

Association enables integration of formations from units of different components prior to mobilization through collective training.

“From my personal experience while deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, that’s how we as an organization normally operate. A unit’s component didn’t matter in a deployed environment, what mattered is how ready you were to do the mission and the team building that occurred,” said Cerniaskas. “That’s what the AUP program is all about; maximizing readiness, and building teams in advance of a mission. So we are making partnership the norm and it will make us stronger as an Army and better prepared when our nation calls.”

“Today should be one of both quiet reflections but also great anticipation, looking back where our Army has been partnering the reserve and active component, but also where our Army is going as we try to find ways to improve and increase readiness in some different innovative ways,” said Col. Mark Quander, commander of the 36th Eng. Brig.

During the ceremony, service members of the 840th MAC removed their unit patch and put on the 36th Eng. Brig. patch.

“While it’s a simple action changing the patches in the Army is a symbol of who you are, what you are a part of and what your mission is,” said Texas Army National Guard Lt. Col. Paul Cerniaskas, brigade commander (rear) of the 176th Eng. Brig. “Changing patches is significant and necessary to make the Associated Unit Pilot program a success and it is the right thing to do.”

The partnering of forces is the result of the AUP Program, which is designed to increase the readiness and responsiveness of the Army as a total force. 

“It’s an honor and privilege to be here as we chart a new course toward the integrations of our total force,” said Quander. “After significant downsizing in our forces over the past five or six years, the demands for our forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and across the world continue to remain elevated.”

This multi-year pilot program pairs Active-Duty units with those in the Army Reserve and Army National Guard so they can train together as well as includes an exchange of assigned personnel. 

“For the engineer regiment, this close integration between the 36th and the 176th is nothing new,” said Quander. “The associated unit takes that partnership a little bit farther establishing a more formal relationship between the active component and the reserve component.”
 
A total of 27 units have been selected to undergo the pilot; four of those units come from the Texas Army National Guard. These units will train, build readiness and ultimately fight as one Army.
“What mobility augmentation company does is breach a bypass,” said National Guard Capt. Aaron McConnell, commander of the 840th MAC. “If we run across an infantry, maneuver company or a brigade ever comes across an obstacle - they call us.  I send my first or second platoon out there depending on what needs to happen and we either blow it up or put a bridge over it. Then our third platoon sets up obstacles to keep bad guys from coming in.”

Last year, the 840th MAC trained with an active duty unit at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California and a guardsman from the engineer unit was able to perform mechanical operations on a broken down vehicle during a mission.

“The sergeant major of the active duty unit was with us, and his Humvee deadlined,” said McConnell. “That’s four hours we have to waste for field maintenance team. Sgt. Keith, who is our mechanic, we call him our “MacGyver” we tell him run back there and fix it and he does, because that’s what he does on the day side.”

There are many benefits that come from training alongside the active components as well. 
 
“They’ve got real estate,” said McConnell. “Our highly motivated soldiers have the opportunity to train more. Which is what a lot of them want to do, it’s why they are here, they like training and blowing things up and reducing obstacles.”

Association enables integration of formations from units of different components prior to mobilization through collective training.

“From my personal experience while deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, that’s how we as an organization normally operate. A unit’s component didn’t matter in a deployed environment, what mattered is how ready you were to do the mission and the team building that occurred,” said Cerniaskas. “That’s what the AUP program is all about; maximizing readiness, and building teams in advance of a mission. So we are making partnership the norm and it will make us stronger as an Army and better prepared when our nation calls.”

Texas TAG Encourages ANG Leaders to build partnerships

Texas TAG encourages ANG leaders to build partnerships

Story by: 2nd Lt. Phil Fountain

Posted: October 7, 2016

Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, the adjutant general of Texas, addresses members of the Air National Guard Strategic Planning System Central Region during a meeting at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, April 4, 2016. Nichols, a gubernatorial appointee, is the senior National Guard officer in Texas. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 2nd Lt. Phil Fountain)
Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, the adjutant general of Texas, addresses members of the Air National Guard Strategic Planning System Central Region during a meeting at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, April 4, 2016. Nichols, a gubernatorial appointee, is the senior National Guard officer in Texas. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 2nd Lt. Phil Fountain)

NAVAL AIR STATION FORT WORTH JOINT RESERVE BASE, Texas – The Texas Air National Guard hosted members of the Air National Guard’s Strategic Planning System Central Region for a workshop earlier this year at the 136th Airlift Wing, in Fort Worth, Texas.
 
The Strategic Planning System is composed of general officers who provide input on potential missions and personnel considerations to higher headquarters at the state and federal level.
 
“It’s a go-between between the two-stars, all the [adjutants general], and the three-star, being the director of the Air National Guard,” said Brig. Gen. Matthew P. Jamison, South Dakota’s assistant adjutant general for air and the immediate past chairman of the central region.

“This is state representatives, it’s field-driven, it’s the ability to gain the pulse of what the issues are and to bring that into a strategic format where we can say, ‘in the future, we would like to fix or resolve some of the issues that are out there,’” Jamison said. “We take off our state hat and look at what’s best for the nation.”

During the workshop, the attendees heard from Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, who serves as the adjutant general of Texas and is also the chairman of the national Air Reserve Forces Policy Committee.

He encouraged the attendees to continue to look at long-term modernization and recapitalization issues, but to also build partnerships wherever they can.
 
Disaster preparation and relationship-building is critical to develop early and maintain in advance of the potential emergency, Nichols said. This is something the National Guard is adept at doing.
 
“We have 254 counties (in Texas), and each county has a judge,” Nichols said. “He or she has to deal with the mayors within the county.”

“We have the Texas Division of Emergency Management, that’s not over them, but they’re resource holders,” Nichols said. “All disasters are local. They make their requests – there’s a lot of interchange and planning before things happen – and then we come in as an advisor or as part of a team. We’re not in charge of disaster response.”

Additionally, Nichols said some states may not be maximizing their international partnerships through the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program.

“I’m on the steering committee for partnerships,” Nichols said. “I think it’s the golden treasure of the National Guard.”

“We go to a lot of SPP events – we have two countries, Czech Republic and Chile – everything we do is nested (with the combatant command’s security agreements).”

Nichols discussed a recent SPP trip to Chile and the importance of building those partnerships.

“The Secretary of the Air Force was there, (and) the 12th Air Force commander was there,” Nichols said. “Of course, the ambassador was there and he supports the partnership program.”

“They realize that the trust that we (National Guard) built up in our partnership is important to international security and cooperation,” Nichols said. “My tidbit to you is to go back to your state and go to your partner and determine what they might need” and work with the combatant commands and NGB’s Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate (J5).

While service on the system is an additional duty for the general officers, there is a full-time field grade officer designated to support the system’s activities and be a conduit of information.

Maj. Terri Prosperie, an air battle manager with the Georgia Air National Guard, serves as the SPS’ liaison officer between the director and the regional committees.

“There’s a steady stream of communication that goes between leadership and the SPS members and all of this information is to inform the Air National Guard decision-making process,” Prosperie said. “Everything that happens on the SPS steering committee shapes the future of the Air National Guard.”
 
The steering committee is composed of the chairs and vice chairs from each of the six regions, Prosperie said.
 
“We’re a community of 54 – 50 states, four territories – everybody’s got different needs and requirements,” Prosperie said. “Not everything can be the same, so things just really have to be vetted through everybody to make sure that it’s not affecting anybody the wrong way.”
 
There steering committee has a direct-line to the director of the Air National Guard, Prosperie said. Their inputs are used to inform his decision-making.

Jamison said this meeting was a success.

“This workshop was a great one, in terms of getting a lot of inputs from the field,” Jamison said. “We got exactly what we would like to have at one of these regional meetings.”

Jamison also said SPS is a great way for airmen to get involved in the future of the Air National Guard.

“What we look for in many cases is field inputs on a sub-group or sub-committee that is going to work on an effort and it might be in the A1 (Personnel) area, for instance, and we go back to states and ask for experts,” Jamison said.

“It’s a force development plan, if you will,” Jamison said. “It’s a way for states to develop their officers and enlisted in areas that are strategic in nature, but will give them a great perspective, and help them develop for the future.”

Texas Guardsman, Border Patrol Agent rescues girl in drowning waters

Texas Guardsman, Border Patrol Agent rescues girl in drowning waters

Posted: Oct. 5, 2016

Story by: Sgt. Elizabeth Peña 

Sgt. Josue Gonzalez, border patrol agent and traditional guardsman with the 836th Engineer Company, Texas National Guard was awarded the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery for his actions during a ceremony on Oct. 5, 2016, in Laredo, Texas. Gonzalez recognized for their actions in saving an illegal immigrant from rapid currents during a 2014 Rio Grande River border crossing. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Elizabeth Pena)
Sgt. Josue Gonzalez, border patrol agent and traditional guardsman with the 836th Engineer Company, Texas National Guard is awarded the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery for his actions during a ceremony on Oct. 5, 2016, in Laredo, Texas. Gonzalez was recognized for his actions in saving an illegal immigrant from rapid currents during a 2014 Rio Grande River border crossing. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Elizabeth Pena)

Laredo, Texas -- Rain was pouring heavily and swift waters were rising fast along the Rio Grande River near Eagle Pass. Del Rio border patrol agents working in that area received a report and had to act fast.

“The days before and the day of the incident, Eagle Pass had received a lot of rain so the levels of the Rio Grande had risen more than normal; it got pretty deep,” said Sgt. Josue Gonzalez, border patrol agent and traditional guardsman with the 836th Engineer Company, Texas National Guard.

Gonzalez and another border patrol agent received a report that a large group of adults and children were crossing the river near the port of entry and several of the people in the group were seen floating uncontrollably downriver.

“When we got on site we saw a young man and woman being swept by the currents,” said Gonzalez. “The young man was able to swim so he was able to get back to the other side, but the girl wasn’t that lucky.”

The young woman grabbed onto a rope that was tied to the port of entry pillar as Gonzalez and his partner unsuccessfully attempted to throw her a rescue rope.

“She was afraid to let go of her rope and grab onto ours,” said Gonzalez. “So Garcia and I realized that if anything else would not be done, the possibilities of her being swept away were really high.”

Gonzalez and his partner tied the rescue ropes on to their waists and entered the water, but the strong current quickly swept them away as well, his determination however, remained strong. 

“My adrenaline was pretty high,” he said. “It’s just something that you don’t think about and you do it on the spot as best as you can.”

With the assistance of agents on the riverbank, they were able to maneuver Gonzales and Garcia back to where the young woman was just as the rope she had been holding unto, tore.

After delivering her safely into the hands of local EMT’s, the two agents went back out to rescue other women and children stranded in the river.

“We were able to go back into the water chest deep and start pulling the people in,” said Gonzales. “The water was still rising but luckily we had each other’s back to bring those people in. We lost count at about 45 people.”

Gonzalez was awarded the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery for his action that day, during a ceremony on Oct. 5, 2016, in Laredo. 

“When someone puts on a uniform, whether it’s a military uniform or a law enforcement you’re doing it because you want to help your community and your country,” said Jesus A. Chan, Patrol Agent in Charge of Laredo Unit Intelligence Unit.

“I am honored to have been nominated, and humbled to have received it but this award goes beyond myself,” said Gonzalez. “It goes for every border patrol agent and federal law enforcement, state and local officers that put their uniform on, not knowing the dangers they may come across that day.”

Gonzalez attributes his fast response skills to his basic combat training with the Texas Army National Guard as well as the Army values that are instilled.

“The stress levels they put us through - allows us to keep composure and think,” said Gonzalez. 

Texas Army National Guard Maj. Thomas Diaz De Leon III, commander of the border patrol search training and rescue team and 136th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade plans officer in charge, deployed with Gonzalez in 2007. 

“He was an outstanding soldier then, and is an outstanding agent now, he is very professional and very humble,” said Diaz De Leon. “What he learned through being a soldier of the MEB, helping to mitigate human suffering and the understanding is that we are on call to help local citizens. He brought that understanding to his current job.”

The award was created to honor exceptional acts of bravery in the line of duty. In 2014, the U.S. Attorney General cited 16 recipients for the 2014 Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery. 

“This heroic act measures the true character and fortitude of Agents Garcia and Gonzalez in the face of danger,” said Mathew J. Hudak, acting Chief Patrol Agent, Del Rio Sector.

“He sacrificed himself, so that somebody else may live. I think that is a very huge selfless service act,” said Diaz De Leon.

Texas State Guard Welcomes New Air Component Commander

Brig. Gen. Johann “John” Kinsey,Story by: Laura Lopez

Texas Military Department Public Affairs Office

AUSTIN, Texas- Members of the Texas State Guard welcomed Brig. Gen. Johann “John” Kinsey, as the incoming Air Component Commander, during a promotion and change of command ceremony, at Camp Mabry, in Austin, July 23, 2016.

As commander of the Air Component Command for the Texas State Guard, he is responsible for maintaining the preparedness of highly trained guardsmen for State Active Duty and other missions in response to contingencies, incidents or emergencies in the State of Texas, as directed by the Governor and the Adjutant General. 

“I consider command an honor and a sacred trust that demands loyalty and dedication in all directions,” said Kinsey. “Consequently, it is my responsibility to uphold the highest standards of leadership and personal conduct by always doing the right thing.  I also firmly believe that by taking care of my people, they will take care of the mission."

Kinsey was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force after graduating from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1977. As a career security forces officer, he worked at the installation, major command, Air Staff and joint theater staff levels in various positions to include serving as the chief of police and commanding several large nuclear security forces units like the 343rd Training Squadron (Air Force Security Forces Academy) and the 97th Mission Support Group.  

Since joining the Texas State Guard in 2010, he commanded the 449th Air Support Group, the 5th Air Wing and most recently served as the Vice Commander of the Air Component Command.

Kinsey holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography and a Master of Science degree in International Relations. His military education includes the Air Command and Staff College, Air War College, On Scene Commander Couse and Senior Office Protection Awareness Course.

Some of Kinsey’s awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with silver oak leaf cluster, the Air Force Organizational Excellence Award with two oak leaf clusters, the National Defense Service Medal with one device, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal with “N” device.

Kinsey assumed command from Maj. Gen. Donald Prince, who served as the Air Component Commander for five years.

The Air Component Command is organized under a two air wing structure consisting of seven Air Support Groups located throughout the state. These air wings and their subordinate Air Support Groups provide regular direct support to the Texas Air National Guard and other components of the Texas State Guard and the Texas Military Department.

Georgetown resident retires after 27 years of service

Texas Guardsmen and family gathered to honor Lt. Col. Norbert Flores's serviceCommentary by Sgt. Elizabeth Peña

136th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade

Texas Guardsmen and family gathered to honor Lt. Col. Norbert Flores's service to the Texas National Guard, Oct. 1, 2016, during a retirement ceremony held at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas.

“Flores has always been known for his great common sense and his natural intelligence, but the bottom line is we are going to miss him,” said Col. Scott MacLeod, commander of the 136th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. “This command will not be the same without him and Flores even though the line will close to fill your gap, we will miss your sword and shield.”

During the ceremony, Flores reflected back on his career and thanked his friends and family for their support throughout his 27 years in service.

“At the end family is what keeps me going,” said Flores. “To my wife and kids, no matter how long I was gone, whether it was a weekend or four months or two years, they always welcomed me home with open arms.”

Flores began his military career in 1988, in the Texas Army National Guard. His career spanned every echelon from platoon through division and every level of leadership.

Flores currently resides in Georgetown with his wife Priscilla and their two children.

Flores’ tireless efforts and devotion to the Texas Military Department and the state of Texas made a significant impact that will undoubtedly last far into the future.

“I always enjoyed serving the state of Texas, the citizens of this country serving with soldiers - I love that stuff,” said Flores as he closed out his speech. “God bless America, God bless Texas and the U.S. Army, but especially God bless the Texas Army National Guard. Gun smoke and let's roll. ”

 

Patriot Brigade Soldiers partner with 36th Infantry Division

Patriot Brigade Soldiers partner with 36th Infantry Division
Courtesy story by
: Staff Sgt. Nathan Akridge
3rd Brigade Combat Team PAO NCOIC
Posted: Sept. 22, 2016

(Photo by Staff Sgt. Nathan Akridge) Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Bly, senior enlisted adviser for 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI), places the 36th Infantry Division patch on a battalion command sergeant major during a ceremony Friday at Fort Polk, La. The 3rd Brigade Combat Team is the first active-duty brigade to wear a National Guard unit's patch and is currently the only active Army unit wearing a National Guard patch.
(Photo by Staff Sgt. Nathan Akridge)
Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Bly, senior enlisted adviser for 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI), places the 36th Infantry Division patch on a battalion command sergeant major during a ceremony Friday at Fort Polk, La. The 3rd Brigade Combat Team is the first active-duty brigade to wear a National Guard unit's patch and is currently the only active Army unit wearing a National Guard patch.

FORT POLK, La. – The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI) "Patriots" have taken on a new challenge in the effort to elevate U.S. Army readiness. The brigade is now partnered with 36th Infantry Division, Texas Army National Guard, through the Associated Units program. 

"The Associated Units pilot allows us to leverage the capabilities and capacities of the active component, Army Reserve and the Army National Guard as One Army,” Gen. Mark A. Milley, Army chief of staff, said of the Total Force effort. 

The three-year pilot program pairs units from all U.S. Army components for training oversight. The goal is to build relationships, share knowledge and have a fully adaptable and ready force before mobilization. 

To solidify that partnership, Soldiers from the Patriot Brigade replaced their 10th Mountain Division (LI) patch with the 36th Infantry Division’s T patch during a ceremony Sept. 16 in front of Fort Polk’s headquarters building, 

Maj. Gen. Lester Simpson, 36th Infantry Division commanding general, said that although this is the Patriot Brigade’s first time wearing the 36th ID patch, this is not the first time the two units have worked together.

“I am excited about this next chapter in the Army’s Total Force policy that goes far beyond just wearing a patch,” Simpson said. “We will train together, we will fight together, and this will not be the first time. 

“More than 70 years ago, we fought Axis forces in Italy during World War II as part of 5th and 7th Army operations,” he continued. “More than 15 years ago, we exchanged commands during Operation Joint Forge in Bosnia, and over the last 10 years, we have served side by side fighting against terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Col. Brian Sullivan, commander of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI), stressed to the Soldiers the positive changes this partnership brings. 

“Our Patriot Soldiers will gain the experience, insight and professionalism that a National Guard unit can bring to the fight,” Sullivan said. “By giving 3rd Brigade Soldiers access to National Guard facilities and giving the 36th Infantry Division Soldiers access to our facilities, this will be a mutually beneficial arrangement for all units involved. 

“In an era of reduced resources, we must train, deploy and fight as one team,” he added.

Sullivan also spoke about the storied history of the 36th Infantry Division, when Staff Sgt. Homer Wise, from Baton Rouge, La., was presented the Medal of Honor for his actions during World War II. After speaking about how Wise saved his fellow Soldiers lives and suppressed and killed the enemy fire, Sullivan made a connection with the troops on the field before him. 

“Patriots, no matter how many divisions, brigades or battalions the Army might have, it is a lone staff sergeant from Louisiana, wearing the 36th Infantry Division’s patch, that can shake the world.”

Till the last drop; Texas Guardsmen deliver drinking water to state jail

Till the last drop; Texas Guardsmen deliver drinking water to state jail

Story by:
Capt. Jessica Jackson
Posted: Sept. 14, 2016
 

Guardsmen for 3rd battalion, 133 Field Artillery regiment use water buffalos to deliver drinking water to more than 1,400 correctional officers, staff and inmate at the Rogelio Sanchez State Jail in El Paso, Texas, Aug. 11, 2016.   After a main water break at the jail, administrators reached out to the unit to provide potable water to the site until water was restored to the facility.
Guardsmen for 3rd battalion, 133 Field Artillery regiment use water buffalos to deliver drinking water to more than 1,400 correctional officers, staff and inmate at the Rogelio Sanchez State Jail in El Paso, Texas, Aug. 11, 2016. 

After a main water break at the jail, administrators reached out to the unit to provide potable water to the site until water was restored to the facility. (Courtesy photo)

EL PASO, Texas—It’s the middle of summer, with temperatures in the triple digits and the water main breaks—leaving a jail full of inmates and staff without water. This was the situation at the Rogelio Sanchez State Jail in El Paso, Aug. 11, 2016. 

Jail administrators reached out to Texas Army National Guard 3rd Battalion, 133 Field Artillery Regiment based out of El Paso to see if the unit could assist in providing drinkable water for more than 1,400 correctional officers, staff and inmates onsite.

Understanding the severity of the problem, the unit quickly ramped up their water buffalos to provide assistance.

“The potable water was delivered the same day of the request,” said Capt. Charles Peters, 3rd Battalion, 133 Field Artillery Regiment S3 operations officer. “We were able to mount an initial response rapidly to provide the needed water within hours of notification.”

A quick response not lost on Garth Parker, Rogelio Sanchez State Jail warden.

“From the time they received the request it was only three hours until water was delivered,” said Parker. “This was a very impressive response time.  It shows the amount of commitment of the Guardsman and how very well-trained they are to be able to put together such a rapid response.”

The Guardsmen provided water to the jail for approximately 22 hours and delivered more than 30,000 gallons of potable water.

“It is awesome; the guard being able to provide this service to those in need,” Parker said. “It shows their high level of leadership, professionalism and organization to be able to gather the requested resources and deploy them in such a quick response.”  

The quick response not only helped those left without drinking water, but also gave Guardsmen a view into how their unique set of skills and equipment could help those locally in need.

“The soldiers were able to conduct a real-world DSCA mission, gaining valuable insight into supporting the community, and see how their actions can provide a positive impact within their own community,” said Peters.

Emergency situations are bound to occur, having these capabilities allow Texas National Guard units to provide much needed support throughout the state. 

“To me this displays superior readiness for any emergency or situation that arises, it’s great to know …we can make a call and receive assistance,” said Parker.

Yet another example of how Texas Guardsmen are always ready and always there.