Texas airmen and soldiers train together in a simulated deployed environment

Texas airmen and soldiers train together in a simulated deployed environment

Posted On: March 8, 2016

Tactical air control party airmen assigned to the 147th Air Support Operations Squadron, 147th Reconnaissance Wing based at Ellington Field in Houston, work closely with soldiers from the Texas Army National Guard's 197th Special Troops Support Company March 5, 2016 at Camp Swift near Bastrop, Texas. The Air Guardsmen performed close air support and an assault with the soldiers and Army aviators to locate a high value target in a simulated combat environment. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Chasity Lollis/Released)
Photo by Senior Airman Chasity Lollis
Tactical air control party airmen assigned to the 147th Air Support Operations Squadron, 147th Reconnaissance Wing based at Ellington Field in Houston, work closely with soldiers from the Texas Army National Guard's 197th Special Troops Support Company March 5, 2016 at Camp Swift near Bastrop, Texas. The Air Guardsmen performed close air support and an assault with the soldiers and Army aviators to locate a high value target in a simulated combat environment. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Chasity Lollis/Released)

 

Multi-state Air National Guardsmen attend Contemporary Base Issue course in Oregon

Multi-state Air National Guardsmen attend Contemporary Base Issue course in Oregon

Story by: 1st Lt. Chelsi Spence

Posted on: March 8 2016

Master Sgt. Shelly Davison Major Gen. Brian C. Newby, Air National Guard assistant to the Judge Advocate General, addresses members of the Air National Guard during a two-day Contemporary Base Issues (CBI) course held at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas, Ore., Feb. 19-20, 2016. The CBI course is taught by Air National Guard Judge Advocate Generals and the primary goal is to allow commanders and supervisors to work together as a team to identify, analyze and resolve contemporary problems leaders face. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Shelly Davison, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)
Master Sgt. Shelly Davison
Major Gen. Brian C. Newby, Air National Guard assistant to the Judge Advocate General, addresses members of the Air National Guard during a two-day Contemporary Base Issues (CBI) course held at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas, Ore., Feb. 19-20, 2016. The CBI course is taught by Air National Guard Judge Advocate Generals and the primary goal is to allow commanders and supervisors to work together as a team to identify, analyze and resolve contemporary problems leaders face. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Shelly Davison, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

CLACKAMAS, Ore. - The 142nd Fighter Wing hosted over 200 Air National Guardsmen from around the country in a two-day Contemporary Base Issues course held at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas, Oregon, Feb. 19-20, 2016.

The Contemporary Base Issues (CBI) course is put on by Air National Guard Judge Advocate Generals (JAG). The primary goal of the CBI course is to allow commanders and supervisors to work together as a team to identify, analyze and resolve contemporary problems leaders face.

“The most important aspect of the course is that it allows commanders and supervisors an opportunity to spot legal issues and recognizing the steps to resolve it,” said Maj. Gen. Brian C. Newby, Air National Guard assistant to the Judge Advocate General.

The course covered an array of topics discussed via lecture and student interaction, to include standards on- and off-duty, progressive discipline and administrative discharges, unprofessional relationships, and ethics in the military.

The course kicked off with an hour-long presentation about understanding that duty status matters. The National Guard is the only United States military force that operates across both State and Federal responses, leveraging State Active Duty under state law, inactive duty training or full-time National Guard duty under Title 32 U.S.C and active federal service under Title 10 U.S.C

According to the Air National Guard Commander’s Legal Deskbook, one of the most important issues in determining the power of the Commander to command the members of a National Guard Unit is a determination of the status of its members. 

The status of National Guard members determines jurisdiction for administrative and criminal matters as well as medical benefits in the event of injury or liability in the event of the loss of government property.

“What’s unique in the Air National Guard is its members are always in different statuses, like civilian, part-time, and full-time,” said Col. Jim Demarest, staff judge advocate, Florida Air National Guard. “Commanders and supervisors need to understand how the status directly affects the rights and obligations of our citizen-Airmen.”

On the final day, the course focused on a larger Air Force topic, sexual assault. Since fiscal year 2010, the Air Force has experienced a steady increase in the number of reports, both restricted and unrestricted according to the United States Air Force Report on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response to the President of the United States.

During the briefing, Lt. Col. Beverly G. Schneider, administrative law attorney with the National Guard, focused on the several ways commanders and supervisors can approach sexual assault within their unit and provided information on how to assist the victims of sexual assault.

According to the National Guard Bureau Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Progress Report to the President, the National Guard currently has 383 Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) personnel and 3,439 victim advocates fully certified and trained to assist victims and ensure victims of sexual assault receive appropriate and responsive care. 

“The most important thing you can take away from this is to use your roundtable of the JAG, SARC and psychological health for assistance with this issue,” said Schneider.

In his opening remarks, Newby stated that incidents of sexual assault are a real and recognized problem in the military. Sexual assault is detrimental to morale, destroy unit cohesion and damage the military as a whole.

“We want the focus of the Air National Guard and the military to be a positive one,” said Newby. “We need to change our focus, change our training, and change the lens we look through to succeed.”

The CBI course is one way that commanders and supervisors can start to change their focus, change their training, and change their lens. 

The course wrapped up with a CBI Jeopardy game, where all participants got to apply the knowledge they learned throughout the course. Following the course, Air National Guard leaders will return back to their unit with more knowledge to ensure good order and discipline. 

“The CBI course continues to receive outstanding support from high-level Air National Guard leadership and because of this support, we can bring this course to thousands of Guardsmen,” said Newby.

Training to Serve Texans on the Homefront

Training to Serve Texans on the Homefront

Story by:  Chief Warrant Officer 2 Janet Schmelzer, ACC, PAO

Posted:  March 8, 2016

ground search
19th Regiment soldiers work alongside Lone Star Search and Rescue during ground search and rescue training at Hunewell Ranch, just north of Stephenville, Texas, January 23, 2016.  (Photo by Capt. Esperanza Meza, PAO, 19th Regiment/Released)

STEPHENVILLE, Texas - Over 300 Texas State Guard soldiers from 3 regiments conducted a combined joint task force training in the largest disaster exercise of the Army Component Command in Stephenville and Erath County, Texas, January 21-24, 2016.

The 2nd, 4th, and 19th regiments, Army Component Command, 3rd Battalion Texas Medical Brigade, and 3rd Battalion Texas Maritime Regiment, Texas State Guard (TXSG) partnered with Tarleton State University, the Erath County Emergency Management and the American Red Cross to train for any natural or man-made disaster that might occur in Erath County, Texas.

At this annual training the mock disaster event was a hurricane that spawned deadly tornadoes and caused widespread residential damage in Erath County.  Every

part of the training exercise mimicked, as realistically as possible, the movement, tasks, and duties of guardsmen that could occur during a real world disaster in Texas. 

“This mission rehearsal demonstrates our soldiers' abilities to support local emergency operations, run by local officials, during a natural or manmade disaster,” said Brig. Gen. Howard N. Palmer, Jr., Commander of the Army Component Command, TXSG.  “We are trained to provide skills such as mass care sheltering, emergency communications, ground search and recovery, distribution of food and water and staffing support to disaster district committees.” 

Following standard procedure, the soldiers began annual training by reporting to their battalions' home armories in North and Central Texas.  When the Army Component Command received the mission to deploy to Stephenville and Erath County, regiments moved to the check-in location at the National Guard Armory in Stephenville, January 22, 2016.

Each regiment used the check in as a training opportunity on how to use the Emergency Tracking Network (ETN) by checking in a fellow regiment.  In addition, soldiers also trained on ETN evacuation bus training.  These skills are important during an emergency to keep track of evacuees who travel on evacuation buses or check into a shelter. 

Mass care shelter management is another

important skill that the Texas State Guard can provide during an emergency or disaster.  Each regiment set up shelters in local schools and churches in Erath county as part of annual training.  Shelters offer residents a safe location where families can sleep, eat, and receive medical attention. 

Col. Kris Krueger, Operations Officer, Army Component Command, TXSG, sees shelter management as an essential skill for the TXSG.  "The TXSG can help residents and families during an emergency by providing shelters where basic needs can be met.  Our shelters will also help families to stay together in one location which is very comforting to Texans displaced from their homes during an emergency."

Soldiers also trained on the proper procedures to distribute food, water and other necessities during the mock disaster.  They set up points of distribution, or drive-through locations, where residents can receive with such items as food and water.  

The TXSG also trained on ground search and rescue. At Hunewell Ranch, just north of Stephenville, six-person teams, one from each regiment, learned how to find missing persons using line searches and search dogs from Lone Star Search and Rescue from Wylie, Texas, in heavily wooded areas of mesquite and fields of tall grass, weeds, and cacti.   

"Training in multiple skills assures that the TXSG is ready to deploy anywhere in the state when called upon during an emergency or disaster.  We are 'Texans Serving Texas,'" commented Command Sgt. Maj. Lloyd Schook, Senior Enlisted Advisor, Army Component Command, TXSG.

Emergency Tracking
Pfc. Caroline Bento places a wristband on Pfc. Matthew Bach, 3rd Battalion, 4th Regiment, as part of the Emergency Tracking Network training in Erath County, Texas, January 22, 2016.  (Photo by Sgt. Larry Smith, 4th Regiment/Released)
Shelter Management
Soldiers from the 2nd Regiment review shelter management operations during annual training in Erath County, Texas, January 23, 2016.  (Photo by Spc. Stefan Wray, 2nd Regiment/Released)

Texas State Guard 8th Regiment Partners with Local Emergency Agencies During 2016 Annual Training

Texas State Guard 8th Regiment Partners with Local Emergency Agencies During 2016 Annual Training

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

Posted:  March 3, 2016

HOUSTON - The 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard, partnered with the 447th Air Support Group, 5th Air Wing, Texas State Guard, the Galveston County (Tex.) Office of Emergency Management, the American Red Cross, and Texas Search and Rescue (TEXSAR) during annual training in Galveston, Texas, and at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Houston, Texas, February 25-28, 2016.  The Texas State Guard conducts annual training to provide soldiers with the skills necessary to assist Texans during an emergency or disaster.

ground search
Spcs. Craig Mathison and Justin Herder, 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard, use pen and paper to communicate with a mock injured and hearing impaired passenger of a simulated helicopter crash during a ground search and rescue exercise on Pelican Island, Texas, February 26, 2016.  The Texas State Guard trains to provide skills, such as ground search and rescue, to Texans during an emergency or disaster anywhere in the state.  (Photo by Warrant Officer Malana Nall, Texas State Guard/Released) 

The first exercise was a search and rescue after simulated helicopter crash with three people on board.  In coordination with Galveston County emergency management and TEXSAR, approximately 150 troops assembled on Pelican Island (Galveston County) to traverse 300 acres of chal-lenging terrain that included water, deep mud, and thickets as well as snakes and feral hogs.  

“This training is very important during an emergency or disaster when searching for and rescuing victims needs to be accomplished quickly, thoroughly, and efficiently,” stated Lt. Col. Gerry Levesque, Operations Officer, 8th Regiment.   

The troops conducted a grid search to locate the downed aircraft and passengers. Upon finding the crash site and rescuing the injured, they carried out a line search to find any debris from the crash.

“The members of the 8th Regiment demonstrated their versatility and competency as they worked through the different layers of the exercise,” observed Laura Norman, TEXSAR Gulf Coast Team Leader.  “The Texas State Guard is an incredible resource to the State of Texas and TEXSAR is honored to serve alongside these dedicated individuals.” 

The Texas State Guard is also trained to provide water, food, and other necessities to communities when a disaster, such as a hurricane, has occurred. 

water distribution
During a food and water distribution exercise, soldiers from the 1st and 3rd Battalions, 8th Regi-ment, Texas State Guard, hand out water to local residents of Galveston County during a mock disaster exercise at Spillway Park, Baycliff, Texas, February 27, 2017. The Texas State Guard is ready to provide skills such managing food and water distribution to Texans during an emergen-cy or disaster anywhere in the state.  (Photo by Warrant Officer Malana Nall, Texas State Guard/Released) 

On Galveston Island, 8th Regiment soldiers practiced this service by setting up two water distribution points.  They handed out bottles of water, donated by the local HEB food store, to Galveston residents, who volunteered to assist with the exercise. 

At Ellington Field soldiers trained on mass care shelter management, another important service

setting up cots
Staff Sgt. Gregory Burris, 447th Air Support Group, 5th Air Wing, Texas State Guard, trains 8th Regiment soldiers on how to set up and arrange cots during a mass care shelter management ex-ercise at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Houston, Texas, February 27, 2016.   The Texas State Guard is ready to provide assistance, such as shelter management, to Texans during an emergency or disaster anywhere in the state.  (Photo by Warrant Officer Malana Nall, Texas State Guard/Released) 

that the Texas State Guard provides during an emergency or disaster. Airmen from the 447th Air Support Group instructed the 8th Regiment on how to set up a shelter.  Simulating a shelter operation, soldiers set up an in processing section where guests register and receive information about the shelter, a dining section, guest sleeping quarters with cots, and a medical unit with an isolation area. 

Donald Sanford, American Red Cross representative, observed the shelter operations.  “I knew coming in that the Texas State Guard was well trained in the area of shelter management, and we at the Red Cross are extremely proud to work alongside with the Texas State Guard.  I know that no matter what the situation might be, the soldiers of the Texas State Guard have the training and talent to get the job done.” 

Col. Edwin A. “Buddy” Grantham, Commander, 8th Regiment, was pleased with the annual training.  “I am proud of the soldiers in my command. They each have individual skills and working together as a team with the skills practiced during the past few days will allow them to take care of each other and the people of Texas during an emergency or disaster. This training exemplifies our motto of ‘Texans Serving Texas.’”

Texas Guard veteran continues service in hometown

Texas Guard veteran continues service in hometown

Story by: Staff Sgt. Melisa Washington

Posted: February 21, 2016

Staff Sgt. Melisa Washington Dignitaries from Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas gathered on the Lincoln-Juarez International Bridge for the International Bridge Ceremony Feb. 20, 2016. The ceremony celebrates the bond between the United States and Mexico. The staple of the ceremony, the "abrazo" or embrace, is led by two children representing Mexico and two children representing the United States, affectionately know as the "abrazo children". Dignitaries including religious, political, and military officials follow suit by embracing and exchanging flags. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Melisa Washington, 100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/Released)
Staff Sgt. Melisa Washington
Dignitaries from Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas gathered on the Lincoln-Juarez International Bridge for the International Bridge Ceremony Feb. 20, 2016. The ceremony celebrates the bond between the United States and Mexico. The staple of the ceremony, the "abrazo" or embrace, is led by two children representing Mexico and two children representing the United States, affectionately know as the "abrazo children". Dignitaries including religious, political, and military officials follow suit by embracing and exchanging flags. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Melisa Washington, 100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/Released)

LAREDO, Texas – Former Texas National Guardsman, Mario Alvarado, Sr., has a long history of service for not only his country and the state of Texas, but also for his hometown of Laredo as a sound technician. 

Alvarado served in the Texas Army National Guard for 13 years. He jokes that he has the hearing to prove it, leaning in when someone speaks to him. His service started when he was a teenager.

"I joined the Army when I was 16-years-old. My mom had to sign off so I could get into the Army," he said.

His family has continued this tradition of service. He proudly shows off the pins on his hat that depict the seals from each branch of service as he lists off all the family's connections with the military.

"I used to be with the 36th Infantry Division and the 49th Armored Division. My son was in the Navy for 6 years," Alvarado says "Most of my family has been in the military. I have a grandson with the Marine Corps."

Alvarado's family now serves their community as sound technicians for some of the city's most important events.The family business, Sounds International, provides sound support for key events during Laredo's annual George Washington Birthday Celebration. This year marks the 119th year the city has hosted the world's largest birthday celebration for the nation's first president. For the last 70 years, the now monthlong event has included the International Bridge Ceremony between representatives of the sister cities Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. 

"The ceremony that occurs on this spot every year is the symbolic and real nature of our relationship, our friendship, and our respect for each other," said Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security and keynote speaker for the event.

The bridge ceremony takes place on the Lincoln-Juarez International Bridge, connecting the countries in friendship and commerce. Dignitaries including political, military, and religious officials from both communities gathered on the bridge Feb. 20, 2016, to exchange "Abrazos," or embraces. Participants included actors and children dressed in colonial-era garb representing the two countries. The embraces symbolize the solidarity and camaraderie between the Unites States and Mexico.

Alvarado has provided the sound for the bridge ceremony for over 30 years. Not only has he had the opportunity to witness the abrazos for several decades, he also experiences the shared culture and friendship between the two cities everyday. 

"We make a lot of business with Mexico. We have a good relationship with Nuevo Laredo," said Alvarado. "We are like a family here."

After all the embraces are exchanged, Alvarado and his daughter-in-law scurry to get all their equipment packed up for the next festivity. They also provide the sound for the Anheuser-Busch Washington's Birthday Parade, the last event of the celebration. He looks forward to supporting the commemoration every year and witnessing the relationship between the two communities strengthen with each abrazo. 

"It's nice to be here, nice to work with the people here," Alvarado says. "It's not only to have the celebration, but to keep us together, one side to another."

Texas Guardsmen support Washington birthday celebration

Texas Guardsmen support Washington birthday celebration

Story by: Staff Sgt. Amanda Torres, 436th Chemical Company

Posted on: February 14, 2016

Soldiers from the 436th Chemical Company, Texas Army National Guard, support the 119th George Washington Birthday Celebration in Laredo, Texas, Feb. 14, 2016. Guard support included static displays and participation in the Stars and Stripes Airshow Spectacular. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Amanda Torres/Released)
Soldiers from the 436th Chemical Company, Texas Army National Guard, support the 119th George Washington Birthday Celebration in Laredo, Texas, Feb. 14, 2016. Guard support included static displays and participation in the Stars and Stripes Airshow Spectacular. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Amanda Torres/Released)

 

LAREDO, Texas- For the past 20 years in mid-February, the sounds of modern and WWII-era airplanes in the skies over Laredo have heralded one of the most popular celebrations in south Texas.

Held during the first weekend of a two-week long celebration, the George Washington Birthday Celebration Stars and Stripes Air Show Spectacular brings in pilots from all over the U.S. to perform both fly-bys and aerobatic stunts.

“This impressive event showcases paratroopers and precision pilot teams,” said the 119th Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association.

“Thousands are thrilled and chilled with an up close and personal look at aviation that’s simply without parallel.”

During the performance of the national anthem, two Texas Military Department members delivered the National and Texas flags, gliding to the ground after a jump from a Department of Public Safety helicopter.

To celebrate the community’s close ties with the Texas Military Department, senior Guard officers are invited to serve as air marshal, opening the celebration and officiating as an ambassador for the George Washington Birthday Celebration.

This year, Laredo tapped Brigadier General Patrick Hamilton, commander for the Domestic Operations Task Force, for air marshal duties. Former air marshals have included current Texas Adjutant General Maj. Gen.

John F. Nichols and Brig. Gen. Orland Salinas, the former deputy assistant adjutant general for the Texas Army National Guard.

“We have a strong presence here. This weekend, during the airshow, we provide a lot of soldiers and airmen who come down and participate,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to be part of the community.”

Texas Military Department members participated in static displays, including a C-130 belonging to 136th Airlift Wing, an F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 149th Fighter Wing, and a UH-60 Blackhawk based out of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Austin.

“It also serves as a training event for our F-16s, since this is an alternate landing site for our F-16 wing in San Antonio,” said Hamiton.

Military aircraft weren’t the only planes on display. The “Yellow Rose,” a B-25 bomber from the Commemorative Air Force, shared space with a T-28 Trojan flown by the Trojan Phlyers, an all-veteran aerial demonstration team. The Jelly Belly Interstate Cadet stunt plane lightened the mood with a high-flying comedy routine, followed by the distinctive roar of the twin engines of the F7F Tigercat.

A rock-climbing wall, hosted by Texas Army National Guard recruiters and protective equipment from the 436th Chemical Company from Joint Task Force 136 (Maneuver Enhancement Brigade) kept the attendees busy on the ground with their forays into the National Guard world.

“I think it’s just the patriotism of the members of tis community to celebrate George Washington’s birthday,” said Hamilton.  “What a great thing to do as a community, and they’ve been doing it so long it’s really quite an event.”

Museum volunteer learns lessons in guard history

Museum volunteer learns lessons in guard history

Story by: Staff Sgt. Luke Allen

Posted on: February 8, 2016

Staff Sgt. Luke Allen Volunteer Alexis Corona greets a guest at the front desk in the Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas ,on Feb. 6, 2016. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Staff Sgt. Luke Allen/Released)
Staff Sgt. Luke Allen
Volunteer Alexis Corona greets a guest at the front desk in the Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas ,on Feb. 6, 2016. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Staff Sgt. Luke Allen/Released)

CAMP MABRY, AUSTIN, Texas - When the Texas Military Forces Museum's newest intern showed up for work on her first day at Austin's Camp Mabry, she had no idea what she would be in for. Alexis Corona, 21, is a student at nearby St. Edward's University majoring in History. This was her first day manning the museum's front desk, the nerve center of information and direction for casual visitors and Texas military history enthusiasts alike. 

"I'm excited but a little nervous because I've never worked at the front desk before, but I'm looking forward to talking to people as they come in, making sure that they know about all of the exhibits in the museum," said Corona. 

As guests filed in and signed their name on the museum registry, Corona explained how she's aspiring to be a professor or work in a museum after college. 

"[This internship] is good for my major and possible career opportunities," Corona said. "I just volunteer. I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn between classes."

Corona says that history runs in her family, noting that her mother and grandfather were both history majors.

"History will help us in preparing for the future," says Corona.
Volunteering at the museum doesn't always apply to just administrative work or greeting incoming guests.

"I really like using the saw blades and power tools because I've never done that sort of thing before," Corona said. "I really like helping to get the exhibits ready by painting and making everything look good."

"She's been doing really well here and putting in a lot of work even though she's still in her first few weeks here," said Andrew Druart, a two-year volunteer at the museum. 

Corona, a native of Athens, Texas, has been working at the museum for a little more than two weeks and says that the internship gives her a chance to brush up on Texas history. After hearing about the position from a friend at school, Corona contacted the Texas Military Forces Museum. The museum offers students, veterans, and local patrons a chance to volunteer their time and learn a little history along the way. 

"I've catalogued training manuals and field manuals from World War II," Corona said. "I get to put them into our system, and that was interesting because they were so old. We have to wear gloves if they're in poor condition or if they are paperback." 

She says that she enjoys interacting with our veterans on a daily basis. 

"We get a lot of veterans that visit, many Korean and Vietnam era veterans," said Corona.

Corona's next major project at the museum is preparing for next week's Sweetheart Dance, a World-War-II-themed fundraiser held annually at the museum on Valentine's Day weekend. The museum also holds battle re-enactments and demonstrations throughout the year. 

"We get to do so much, from gift shop work to helping make the exhibits, to archiving things," said Corona. "It's just a total museum experience. I'm happy to be here." 

For more information about the Texas Military Forces Museum, visit the website at http://www.texasmilitaryforcesmuseum.org.

Camp Mabry hosts Texas Boy Scouts

Camp Mabry hosts Texas Boy Scouts

Story by: Spc. Samuel Bennett-Hurta

Posted On: February 8, 2016

Spc. Samuel Bennett-Hurta Chief Master Sgt. Brandt Spenrath explains the patches and insignias on the back of a camp kitchen box at Camp Mabry, Texas, Feb. 6, 2016. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Spc. Samuel Bennett/Released)
Spc. Samuel Bennett-Hurta
Chief Master Sgt. Brandt Spenrath explains the patches and insignias on the back of a camp kitchen box at Camp Mabry, Texas, Feb. 6, 2016. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Spc. Samuel Bennett/Released)

CAMP MABRY, Texas – Boy Scouts with Troop 615 from League City, Texas, participated in the 67th annual Boy Scout Parade and Report to the State of Texas ceremony at the State Capitol today. Troop 615 members joined Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, Sea Scouts and Explorers from all over Texas in the parade up Congress Avenue to the State Capitol.

“Report to the State is about much more than walking in a parade,” said Brandt Spenrath, Assistant Scout Master of Troop 615. “Delegates from each troop council in Texas will be seated in the House of Representatives and will report to the Texas state Governor about the significant accomplishments in their council from the last year. For the Scouts, this is an opportunity to not only work on their Citizenship in the Community Merit Badge, but a chance to see their state government and how things work. On this merit badge, they learn what it means to be a good citizen in the community and what their responsibilities are in their community,” Spenrath said.

Troop 615 of the Coastal District, Bay Area Council, brought 18 Scouts and 10 adult leaders to participate in the state event. 

“This is the sixth year that we have participated in this event”, said Spenrath. “We are trying to build leadership qualities in young men to be the leaders of tomorrow.”

Spenrath, who is also a Chief Master Sgt. with the 147th Reconnaissance Wing, Texas Air Guard, has dedicated his life to service, both in and out of uniform.

“The Guard has always supported our scouts with mentorship and letting us use their facilities.”

The troop arrived at Camp Mabry at 10 p.m. Friday night and finished setting up camp at 12:30 a.m. The setup involved scouts pitching tents and establishing cooking areas.

“We really appreciate Camp Mabry allowing us to camp here, not only is it free, it is only a 15 minute drive to the Capitol from here.”

Camp Mabry is home to the Texas Military Department, which includes the Texas Air Guard, Texas Army National Guard, and Texas State Guard.

“This outing is a fun event where our troop members get to meet scouts from all over the state and learn valuable lessons about state government,” said Spenrath.