Guardsmen reunite children with parents during annual kite festival

Story by: Specialist Stefan Wray, 2nd Regiment PAO

Posted: March 30, 2016

Thousands gathered in Austin’s Zilker Park, March 6, 2016, for the 88th Zilker Kite Festival. The Texas State Guard supported festival organizers and local park rangers with search and rescue teams and logistics.
Thousands gathered in Austin’s Zilker Park, March 6, 2016, for the 88th Zilker Kite Festival. The Texas State Guard supported festival organizers and local park rangers with search and rescue teams and logistics.

AUSTIN, Texas – It couldn’t have been a more perfect day for flying kites, as thousands gathered in Austin’s Zilker Park on Sunday, March 6, for the 88th Zilker Kite Festival. 

For the 9th year, 28 guardsmen from the Texas State Guard's 2nd Regiment spent the day helping to reunite children and parents who had become separated in the crowd and providing logistical support to event organizers.

Weather conditions were optimal and the wind was constant throughout the day enabling hundreds of kites of all designs, colors, shapes and sizes were continuously in flight from mid morning to late afternoon.

Partnered with the Austin Park Rangers, guardsmen worked to reunite lost children with their parents.

“We had a lot of good people out in the field that knew what they were doing,” said Austin Park Ranger Brian Leuzinger. “I think we just had a really great command team that were sharing information, making sure that everyone knew who and what we were looking for.”

Working alongside park rangers, guardsmen were able to exercise their ground search and rescue skills, one the regiment’s primary missions. 

“The Kite Festival is really amazing. You get to see all the teamwork,” said Private 1st Class  Francis Ortiz, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Regiment.  “All the training I had paid off to do search and rescue, locating any missing children or missing parents.”

Some guardsmen even worked as linguists.

“Private 1st Class Dianna Salinas did an excellent job today.  In one situation, an unaccompanied child was brought back to our TOC. While she was here PFC Salinas sat down on the ground with the child. The child spoke only Spanish,” said Texas State Guards Staff Sgt Curtiz Rust. “Salinas was able to translate and get us the information we needed to reach out and locate the parents.” 

The Exchange Club of Austin originally founded the kite festival in 1929. It moved to Zilker Park in 1936 when the park opened and has been there ever since. 

“We so appreciate y’all and we so need y’all to be here. It means so much to us,” said Dorothy Twidwell, a member of the Exchange Club and the key festival organizer, referring to the 2nd Regiment’s role in assisting with the festival. “The crowd has grown so large that what we need from the State Guard is management of the crowd, help getting people on and off the buses, and help us patrolling the field.” 


Approximately 25,000 festival goers attended the free event this year, said Les Stobart, ABC Home and Commercial Services’ Marketing Director. The festival is actively being transferred from the Exchange Club to ABC.

 “One of the first questions that we ask every year is ‘Is the Guard going to be back?  Can we count on the Guard again?’’ said Sobard. “We couldn’t do it without y’all, so we deeply appreciate the role that the Guard plays in everything.”

The 2nd Regiment began preparations in advance of the actual festival.  A logistical team was at Zilker Park the day before to make preparations. The 2nd Regiment converged at 0500 on the morning of the festival near Zilker Park. Once on site, the Tactical Operations Center was set up adjacent to the command centers for Emergency Services and the Park Rangers.

Radios and GPS tracking devices were distributed to teams who were dispatched to positions throughout the park as well as other points in Austin where festival attendees would leave their cars and board buses to get to the park.
   
“It definitely exceeded my expectations,” said Texas State Guard Private 1st Class Miranda Leal.. “I didn’t think it was going to be this involved and with this many people.  It’s really fun. I would do it again next year.”

The regiment helped reunite 11 lost children with parents or guardians during the event. 

 

Texas State Guard supports civil authorities in recent floods

Texas State Guard supports civil authorities in recent floods

Story By: Capt. Maria Mengrone, Public Affairs Officer, 176th Engineer Brigade

Posted on: March 24, 2016

Sgt. 1st Class Chris Skinner, 2nd Battalion, 8th Regiment, Texas Sate Guard walks alongside a flood victim, at a safe shelter in Beaumont, Texas established by the American Red Cross, March 18, 2016. “We treat them like family,” said Skinner. “The people here are important to us and we must not forget that they need our help.” The TXSG mobilized, in support of civil authorities, to assist evacuated flood victims in the southeastern region of the state, 14-21 March 2016. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Capt. Maria Mengrone/Released)
Sgt. 1st Class Chris Skinner, 2nd Battalion, 8th Regiment, Texas Sate Guard walks alongside a flood victim, at a safe shelter in Beaumont, Texas established by the American Red Cross, March 18, 2016. “We treat them like family,” said Skinner. “The people here are important to us and we must not forget that they need our help.” The TXSG mobilized, in support of civil authorities, to assist evacuated flood victims in the southeastern region of the state, 14-21 March 2016. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Capt. Maria Mengrone/Released)

BEAUMONT, Texas – The Texas State Guard, in support of civil authorities, assisted in establishing safe shelters for evacuated flood victims in the southeastern region of the state, March 14-21, 2016.

“We have a total of 18 Soldiers from the State Guard here to supplement the Red Cross in any way they need us. They run the shelter, and we support their efforts,” said Sgt. Christopher T. Riehle, recruiter, 3rd Battalion, 8th Regiment. “We train closely with the Red Cross and other agencies to make sure we are prepared for something like this.”

The Texas State Guard trains annually to remain proficient in the duties they perform while called upon during disaster relief missions. Some of the emergency response training includes shelter management, search and rescue, emergency communications, mass care and medical support.

“We assist with setting up the shelter, but it could be anything from moving tables to providing security or just talking to the clients that are here,” said Staff Sgt. Nick B. Martinez, 2nd Battalion, 8th Regiment. “Just being able to help is a great reward.”

Guardsmen ran 24-hour operations at the shelter to ensure anyone in need was equipped with immediate support.

“At our peak we had about 170 clients that needed our help,” said Shelter Manager Marie Killingsworth, American Red Cross Volunteer. “The Soldiers have been here since the beginning. I love that they are so flexible, and can move at the drop of a dime.”

The Texas State Guard assisted with supporting three other safety shelters, two of which were evacuated due to flood concerns and consolidated in Beaumont.

“This is now the forth shelter we have been a part of and we are fully trained to do what it takes to help,” said Riehle. “The best part is when the clients thank us for being here because they know they’re gonna get the help that they need.”

The Texas Military Department activated more than 150 service members from the Texas Army National Guard and the Texas State Guard during severe flooding in Orange, Newton and Jasper counties. They provided swift water rescue support to emergency first responders, rescuing and evacuating 410 people from the floods, and supported shelter operations, providing basic necessities to hundreds of people in need.

The long, proud history of the Texas State Guard: Balloon Bombs in WWII

Photo Courtesy of The Texas Guardsman, June 1943 issue
Photo Courtesy of The Texas Guardsman, June 1943 issue

Story by: Chief Warrant Officer 4 Thomas W. Dodd

In November of 1944, Japanese forces launched a series of incendiary balloon bombs targeted for the west coast of the U.S.  Of the 9,300 balloons launched from Japan, only about 300 reached the U. S. – with two of them finding their way to Texas. 

One of these bombs was sighted by schoolboys in Desdemona (Eastland County), who made quick work of the balloon with their pocket knives.  Fortunately for them, the balloon had lost its payload before making landfall.  The next day Army personnel from Abilene confiscated all the pieces the boys had collected.

 The other device found its way to Comyn in Comanche County, which was located by members of Company  D  of the Texas State Guard.

 “The balloon was about 30-feet high when extended and carried five metal canisters,” said Wade Cowan, a member of the squad that located it. “Four were incendiaries and one was a fragmentary, or anti-personnel bomb.”

 Cowan remembered that people who knew about the bombs at Desdemona and Comyn were very excited, thinking that the Japanese were about to invade the country.  When they realized that people could not survive at the altitudes where the balloons drifted, they relaxed a little.

 “Government censorship of the press kept panic down,” said Cowan. “Still it was a time to be watchful and alert.”

 Cowan and his squad members secured the area until Army ordnance personnel arrived on the scene.

World War II brought on many challenges for the U. S. and its allies.  The Texas State Guard played a part in providing the state and the citizens of Texas security when called on.
 

To learn more about World War II and the history that the Texas Military played in it, visit Campy Mabry in Austin, Texas and explore the Texas Military Forces Museum.

 

Sense of Service in Texans' Blood, Deeper than Water Texas National Guard Supports Health Department Supply Mission

Sense of Service in Texans' Blood, Deeper than Water

Texas National Guard Supports Health Department Supply Mission

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

Soldiers moving suppliesHundreds of Texans left their normal daily routine in mid-March to collectively help those affected by recent flooding in Orange, Texas. Orange County Emergency Management staff were joined by members of organizations like the local Red Cross, law enforcement, fire and rescue, various units from the Texas Military Department, and many others.

While this team was dedicated to rescue and support residents, some situations required them to provide a helping hand to each other.

Flooding forced the evacuation of the Orange County Health Department. But once workers were safe from the rising waters, someone had to return to retrieve vital medical supplies they would need to help injured evacuees.

Sabrina Davis, a Registered Nurse with the county health department, volunteered to return to get as many supplies as possible, but she couldn't get there alone. Members of the 551st Multi-Role Bridge Co., 386th Engineer Battalion, 176th Engineer Brigade stepped up to get her safely through the high waters.

Davis was escorted by SPC Gabriel Torres, a member of 551 MRBC, who helped carry and load alcohol pads, syringes, bandages, gloves, and many other daily-use medical items. She recognized the importance of what could have seemed like a basic chauffeur trip.

"I am very thankful these Texas Guard members are here to help. We really need these supplies at our local shelters and other support locations. The health department couldn't help anyone without the things we retrieved. This is a terrible situation Orange is experiencing, but it is great to see us coming together together like this," said Davis.

Even the seemingly simple supply run reinforced the definition of the Texas Guard mission, "Texans helping Texans."

My VIRIN - 160317-Z-UZ218-

DSC_3343 - 551st Into the Deluge - A vehicle operator with the 551st Multi-Role Bridge Co., 386th Engineer Battalion, 176th Engineer Brigade prepares to drive into the flooded city of Orange, Texas, March 17, 2016. The 551 MRBC stepped up to retrieve medic

al supplies left behind during evacuations due to the high waters.

DSC_3357 - Reality Washes Over - Sabrina Davis, a Registered Nurse with the Orange County Health Department, takes a photo of her flooded building while aboard a vehicle operated by the 551st Multi-Role Bridge Co., 386th Engineer Battalion, 176th Engineer Brigade in Orange, Texas, March 17, 2016. The 551 MRBC stepped up to retrieve medical supplies left behind during evacuations due to the high waters.

DSC_3359 - Dry Doc - Sabrina Davis, a Registered Nurse with the Orange County Health Department, prepares to return to her flooded building while aboard a vehicle operated by the 551st Multi-Role Bridge Co., 386th Engineer Battalion, 176th Engineer Brigade in Orange, Texas, March 17, 2016, with the help of SPC Gabriel Torres, a member of 551 MRBC. The 551 MRBC stepped up to retrieve medical supplies left behind during evacuations due to the high waters.

DSC_3362 - Texas State and County Services Stick Together - Sabrina Davis, a Registered Nurse with the Orange County Health Department, and SPC Gabriel Torres, a member of the 551st Multi-Role Bridge Co., 386th Engineer Battalion, 176th Engineer Brigade, gather important medical supplies in Orange, Texas, March 17, 2016. The 551 MRBC stepped up to retrieve medical supplies left behind during evacuations due to the high waters.

DSC_3371 - That Sinking Feeling - Sabrina Davis, a Registered Nurse with the Orange County Health Department, inspects the flooded area and homes around her building after gathering vital medical supplies with the help of the 551st Multi-Role Bridge Co., 386th Engineer Battalion, 176th Engineer Brigade in Orange, Texas, March 17, 2016. The 551 MRBC stepped up to assist retrieve medical supplies left behind during evacuations due to the high waters.

DSC_3372 - That Sinking Feeling - Sabrina Davis, a Registered Nurse with the Orange County Health Department, inspects the flooded area and homes around her building after gathering vital medical supplies with the help of the 551st Multi-Role Bridge Co., 386th Engineer Battalion, 176th Engineer Brigade in Orange, Texas, March 17, 2016. The 551 MRBC stepped up to assist Davis retrieve medical supplies left behind during evacuations due to the high waters.

Texas State Guard 8th Regiment Mobilizes During South Texas Flooding

Texas State Guard 8th Regiment Mobilizes During South Texas Flooding

Story by:  Warrant Officer Malana Nall, Public Affairs Officer, 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard

Posted: March 19, 2016

Shelter operations
Pvt. Eric Crosley and Pfc. Jesse Martinez, 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard, prepare additional cots for shelter guests at the mass care shelter at Lamar University, Beau-mont, Texas, March 17, 2016.  The 8th Regiment, Army Component, Texas State Guard, managed three shelters and provided food and a safe place to sleep to flood evacuees during the recent flooding.   (Photo by Staff Sgt. Mikel Stephens, 2nd Battalion, 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard/Released)

BEAUMONT, Texas - Soldiers from the 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard, mobilized to support the American Red Cross in opening three mass care shelter locations during the recent flooding in southeast Texas, March 16-20, 2016.

Texas State Guardsmen worked alongside partner emergency first responders and members of the Red Cross to provide flood evacuees with cots, blankets, food, water and shelter until it was safe for them to return to their homes.

"The assistance of the Texas State Guard is indescribable," said Angella Tomas-Bendy, American Red Cross Shelter Operations Manager. "Everyone worked diligently and tirelessly to make sure the Red Cross shelter operated smoothly. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to the Texas State Guard for your duty to the southeast Texas community!”

The regiment supported shelter operations for 200 evacuees at the Montagne Center, Lamar University in Beaumont and the Antioch Baptist Church in Beaumont, as well as, the Newton First Baptist Church in Newton.

"It’s an honor to help out the people of Texas, especially in an area in which I train and live,” said Sgt. Christopher Riehle, 3rd Battalion, 8th Regiment. “It is just one way in which we in the Texas State Guard can give back to the community.”

The Texas State Guard regularly trains alongside emergency management partners and the Red Cross on conducting shelter operations in order to prepare for situations like this.

“Now, here in Beaumont, Texas, we have put that training into a real world flooding disaster,” said Col. E.A. “Buddy” Grantham, 8th Regiment commander. "I am extremely proud of the men and women under my command for the job they have done in working with the Red Cross and other local agencies to assist the members of the community who were displaced from their homes. My hope is that our assistance has made this terrible event a little less stressful on all of them.”

The Texas Military Department activated more than 150 service members from the Texas Army National Guard and the Texas State Guard during severe flooding in Orange, Newton and Jasper counties. They provided swift water rescue support to emergency first responders, rescuing and evacuating 410 people from the floods, and supported shelter operations, providing basic necessities to hundreds of people in need.

 

Texas Guard member and his daughter personally supported Flint relief mission

Texas Guard member and his daughter personally supported Flint relief mission

Story by:  Master Sgt. Daniel Griego

Posted: March 18, 2016

Maj. George Hurd, left, Staff Sgt. Erdoo Thompson, center, and 1st Lt. Matthew Verdugo, right, all of the 136th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, load bottled water in preparation for Hurd's convoy to Flint, Michigan, March 10, 2016, in Round Rock, Texas. (Photo by Master Sgt. Daniel Griego)
Maj. George Hurd, left, Staff Sgt. Erdoo Thompson, center, and 1st Lt. Matthew Verdugo, right, all of the 136th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, load bottled water in preparation for Hurd's convoy to Flint, Michigan, March 10, 2016, in Round Rock, Texas. (Photo by Master Sgt. Daniel Griego)

ROUND ROCK, Texas - As the Flint Water Crisis enters its third month, one Texas Army National Guard member decided to step up and directly help the people most affected. So he took a road trip to Michigan.

More than two months ago, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency for Flint, Michigan, in response to the ongoing water crisis that has exposed up to 12,000 children to contaminated drinking water. Since then, private donations have poured in to support the community suffering from long-term lead poisoning. For Maj. George Hurd, a Texas Army National Guard member and combat veteran, sitting idly was not an option.

"Part of it comes from my experience overseas in Egypt, Iraq and Afghanistan, where we gave out bottled water to children all across that region," said Hurd. "When I sat back and became more aware of what was going on in Flint and seeing the disaster that's going on up there, I just thought there wasn't enough attention. It affected me to the core and instead of just complaining about it, I decided to do something about it."

Hurd, who serves as the deputy operations officer for the 136th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in Round Rock, Texas, organized a support effort wherein he and his daughter loaded up the family truck and drove more than 1,200 miles from their Mansfield home to Flint to deliver water and other supplies to the children in need.

"We're going to go door to door," said Hurd. "We're going to link up with local churches and the police department, and hit the areas that are most afflicted and haven't received as much water as they've hoped or have been asking for."

The trip for the father-daughter team started the morning of Saturday, March 12, and lasted until their return home March 16. In Flint, they delivered water, toiletry supplies, and other necessities directly to families affected by the crisis.

"We wanted to do that human interaction thing and actually just meet with people and give them some water and find out what else they need," Hurd said. "We're hoping to create some awareness. We're calling our mission the Flint Water Brigade, a spinoff from the old days when firemen and the community would come together with buckets of water to help put out fire."

Hurd's daughter Olivia, a high school sophomore, chose to spend her spring break on this trip with her father in support of the Flint Water Brigade.

"I'm so blessed to have this opportunity to help people," Olivia said. "I just want to make a difference one person at a time."

In total, the team delivered two truckloads of water, a truckload of baby wipes, and helped a local single mother purchase a vehicle.

"We're hoping it inspires other people to help out," said Hurd.

Latvian Chief of Defense thanks 147th Reconnaissance Wing Airmen

Latvian Chief of Defense thanks 147th Reconnaissance Wing Airmen

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

Posted on: March 9, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The long, proud history of the Texas State Guard

 we are “Texans serving Texas.”
Photo provided by Beaumont Enterprise

Commentary by: Staff Sgt. John Gately

From the volunteer units who fought for Texas Independence and the Travis Guards who provided home protection and campaigns against the Indians for the citizens of Texas in the newly formed Texas Republic, to the civil affairs work that we do today, the Texas State Guard has a long and proud history of serving the citizens of Texas; we are “Texans serving Texas.”

The Texas State Guard was founded in 1871. However, federal authorization for state guards did not come until World War II.  In October 1950, as the National Guard was mobilized to assist in the war effort, states were authorized to organize forces to work in the state while the National Guard was active with federal service.  In accordance with the “State Guard Amendment” of the National Defense Act authorized by Congress, Oct. 21,  1940, the Texas Legislature signed into law the Texas Defense Guard Act (H.B. #45),Feb. 10, 1941. The Texas Defense Guard was formed and had 17,497 members sign up, in contrast to the 11,633 who joined the National Guard around the same time period.

Like today, the volunteers had to provide their own uniforms. They were given rifles by the War Department, but those were returned less than a year later due to army shortages. They were also given a small amount of money for munitions and supplies and looked to civic clubs and sponsorships to provide financial support for other necessary items.

The Texas Defense Guard became the Texas State Guard, May 12, 1943, and the current shoulder patch was approved the following July..

The State Guard was activated only one month later, during the Beaumont Riot, June 1943. Following the rioting, assaults and property destruction, Beaumont Mayor George Gary mobilized the Texas State Guard’s 18th Battalion and acting Texas Governor A. M. Aiken, Jr, instituted martial law. State Police, Texas Rangers and 1,800 State guardsmen arrived in Beaumont to handle the situation.

Although interest decreased after the end of World War II, a disaster on April 16, 1947 created another tour of duty for the State Guard. Guardsman were called into action when martial law was declared due to a fire aboard a French freighter, Grandcamp, at port in Texas City.  Carrying ammonium nitrate and other explosive materials, the fire caused an explosion that destroyed much of the city, and as nearby chemical plants exploded, fire spread  throughout the area. The next day another freighter, High Flyer, also carrying nitrates, exploded causing new explosions and fires. In total more than 600 people were killed and another 3,000 were wounded. The State Guard stepped in and provided much needed support to local law enforcement and triage to the wounded

On Aug. 28, 1947, the Texas State Guard disbanded, colors cased, and its members were placed on an inactive list.  Even though the federal legislation authorizing the Texas State Guard had expired, the Texas State Legislature authorized the activation of the Texas State Guard Reserve Corps in January 1948. In 1955, federal legislators also reauthorized state guards, and in 1965, the Texas State Guard took the place of the Texas State Guard Reserve Corp. 

At one time, the State Guard included the First Naval Battalion with Sterling Hogan and his 60-foot yacht, the Sumoria, being the first vessel. That yacht and the retired U.S.S. Texas were used for training purposes.

In the early 1970s, the Texas State Guard were used as infantry and security units.  The State Guard had six Military Police Groups that followed closely with the boundaries of the Texas Department of Public Safety command districts, being located in Fort Worth, Houston, Rio Grande Valley, Midland, Lubbock and Austin.  In 1979, a 7th military police group was formed for east Texas, and in 1980, groups were formed in San Antonio and Dallas.

In 1993, the groups were changed into regiments located in San Antonio, Austin, Fort Worth, Houston, Dallas and Lubbock. These regiments had new colors and distinctive unit insignia.  In 1995, a 7th regiment was formed in El Paso from the 39th Unit in Lubbock. However, this unit was returned to the 39th in 1999.

On July 1, 1993, the Texas State Guard was designated into six regiments:

The 1st Regiment, the Alamo Guards, began their formation in 1885 as part of the Texas Volunteer Guard, and has the motto “Fidelis et constans” which means faithful and constant. 

The 2nd Regiment, the Austin Greys, started in 1860 as Co A of the 2nd Regiment, Infantry, Texas Volunteer Guard. Their motto is “Opus Perficere,” which means work to achieve.

The 4th Regiment, the Panther City Fencibles, began in 1883 as descendants of the Loyd Rifles and the Fort Worth Fencibles. Their motto is “Sempre Caveo,” or always be aware.

The 8th Cavalry Regiment, Terry’s Texas Rangers, began in 1861 as part of the Confederate States of America Army. Their motto is “In Ardius Fidelis,” meaning faithful in hardship.

The 19th Cavalry Regiment, Parson’s Brigade, also began as part of the Confederate States of America, in 1862, and was formed by Col. Nathanial M. Burford from Dallas. During the reorganization in 1993, parts of the 7th & 9th Military Police Groups formed the 19th Regiment. Their motto is “Parson’s Brigade” in memory of former units

The 39Th Regiment, the Roughnecks, was composed of members of the former 9th regiment (the Buffalo Soldiers which began in 1871) and the 5th Military Police group, Texas State Guard. Their motto is “Semper Defenders” meaning always to defend

The State Guard started to grow and it became clear there should be other types of services.  As a result, in 1996, the 4th Air Wing was created, and in November 2003, the Medical Brigade formed.  The Air Division and 5th Air Wings were established in October 2006, along with the Maritime Regiment in November of that same year.

The Texas State Guard continues to provide Texas with support in state missions, from hurricanes to border security. No matter what the needs of Texas are, the Texas State Guard continues to stand ready to serve; they are “Texans Serving Texas.”

Candidates learn to take charge of their future

Candidates learn to take charge of their future

Story by: Pvt. Kourtney Grimes

Posted On: March 8, 2016

Members of Warrant Officer Candidate School Course 16-01 host a car wash at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, March 5, 2016, to raise funds for their graduation ceremony. The candidates are in Phase II of the three-part course that will turn them into technical experts in their fields within the United States Army. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Pvt. Kourtney Grimes/Released)
Members of Warrant Officer Candidate School Course 16-01 host a car wash at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, March 5, 2016, to raise funds for their graduation ceremony. The candidates are in Phase II of the three-part course that will turn them into technical experts in their fields within the United States Army. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Pvt. Kourtney Grimes/Released)

Candidates of the Texas Army National Guard’s Warrant Officer Candidate School organized a car wash to raise funds for their graduation ceremony at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, March 5, 2016. This event is one of several tasks that the candidates will execute without guidance or direction throughout their course.

“This project is entirely led by candidates,” said Warrant Officer Candidate Travis Chappell, a unit supply specialist in the Army Reserves. “We write the operational order, figure out what supplies we need, figure out the route, locate the facility we are going to use, and we do all of it to bring this big project together with a group of individuals that were strangers four or five months ago.”

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Patricia Crawson, a WOCS instructor, provides the candidates with the mission goal and they tackle the objective as a team.

“We provide [candidates] with the training schedule,” said Crawson, “but they get themselves up in the morning, clean the barracks, and conduct physical readiness training. They are ultimately responsible for being in the right place at the right time. That’s how we evaluate the various leadership positions.”

The WOCS program is broken up into three phases: online training courses, the classroom warrant officer candidate course, and a two-week resident phase in Alabama.

“In the first phase, candidates complete two online classes,” said Candidate Erikia Dunn. “In the second phase, they attend five multiple unit training weekend assemblies and get a feel for what the school is actually like. Phase three is a two-week course at Fort McClellan that includes an academic exam, land navigation, and a week in the field doing situational training exercise lanes.”

With only mission requirements provided, the candidates must reevaluate their accustomed leadership roles as they improvise solutions and demonstrate their creativity.

“You have to transition from an NCO mindset to an officer mindset,” said Dunn. “As an NCO we are the ‘do-ers’ of the task, but as an officer we are the planner of the task.”

In addition to the physical and logistical training, candidates must reconcile the crucial differences between the mentality of a non-commissioned officer and a warrant officer.

Chief Warrant Officer 5 Ernest Metcalf, Command Chief Warrant Officer for the Texas Army National Guard, maintains regular contact with both his instructors and the students, ensuring their development is in keeping with the standards of the Warrant Officer Corps.

“It takes some perseverance to complete any officer candidate school,” said Metcalf. “On a monthly basis I meet with all of the candidates to motivate them to persevere through all of the mental and physical challenges they may face within the warrant officer candidate school.”

After months of intensive training, physical rigors, and intellectual challenges, successful candidates graduate and become the technical and tactical experts of the United States Army.

“You have to be serious about being a warrant officer because this class is not a walk in the park,” said Dunn. “It will challenge you as a person, it will challenge you as a leader and it will challenge you in every aspect of your life.”