Texas training institute welcomes new commander

Texas training institute welcomes new commander

Story by: Sgt. Josiah Pugh

Posted on: May 17, 2016

Sgt. Josiah Pugh Brig. Gen. Sean A. Ryan passes the colors from the 136th Regiment's outgoing commander, Col. Michael Adame, to the unit's incoming commander, Col. Carlton Smith, during a change of command ceremony held at the Camp Mabry Simpson Auditorium on April 14, 2016. The ceremony represents the change of responsibility from one commander to another. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Josiah Pugh)
Sgt. Josiah Pugh
Brig. Gen. Sean A. Ryan passes the colors from the 136th Regiment's outgoing commander, Col. Michael Adame, to the unit's incoming commander, Col. Carlton Smith, during a change of command ceremony held at the Camp Mabry Simpson Auditorium on April 14, 2016. The ceremony represents the change of responsibility from one commander to another. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Josiah Pugh)

A group of about fifty Texas Guardsmen gathered into the dimly lit Command Sgt. Maj. Simpson Auditorium on Camp Mabry April 14, 2016. Their purpose? To bid farewell to the 136th Regional Training Institute's outgoing commander, Col. Michael Adame and welcome the incoming commander, Col. Carlton Smith.

The 136th RTI trains more than 1,500 Soldiers per year with more than 45 different courses offered. Soldiers come from across Texas and from around the nation to advance their military career here.

Adame, who has served for 30 years and deployed with the RTI in 2004, spoke to the group from the stage and reflected on his time with the unit. "The most important thing I've seen here is the people. It's been an honor to serve with you."

In the military today, change of command ceremonies harken back to the militaries of the Middle Ages in Europe. The passing of the colors signifies the orderly transfer of responsibility from one commander to another. On the ancient battlefield, the colors critically marked the position of a commander within a battle. During the ceremony, the colors passed from the senior enlisted leader, who safeguards them, to the outgoing commander. The outgoing commander passes the colors to the higher headquarters commander, who in turn entrusts them to the incoming commander, symbolically transferring the responsibility of commanding the unit. The new commander finally returns the colors to the senior enlisted leader, signifying the beginning of a new chapter in the organization's leadership.

Adame expressed his wishes for his troops going forward. "Continue to be all you can be and train the force."

Smith, who deployed with the RTI in 2003, took the stage with pride on his face. He spoke to his new troops about what he hopes the future will hold. "I really want to take the opportunity to know what this regiment is about. I look to carry forward with what Mike has established."

Texas Hall of Honor welcomes two new inductees

Texas Hall of Honor welcomes two new inductees

Story By: Sgt. Michael Giles

Posted On: May 17, 2016

 Sgt. Michael Giles Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, Texas Military Forces adjutant general, inducts retired Chief Master Sgt. Johnny D. Jones into the Texas Military Forces Museum Hall of Honor at Camp Mabry, Texas, May 14, 2016. (Texas Army National Guard Photo by Army Sgt. Michael Giles/Released)
Sgt. Michael Giles
Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, Texas Military Forces adjutant general, inducts retired Chief Master Sgt. Johnny D. Jones into the Texas Military Forces Museum Hall of Honor at Camp Mabry, Texas, May 14, 2016. (Texas Army National Guard Photo by Army Sgt. Michael Giles/Released)

AUSTIN, Texas (May 14, 2016) -- The Texas Military Department celebrated the contributions of two lifetime senior enlisted members by inducting them into the Hall of Honor May 14, 2016, at Camp Mabry.

The two retired military leaders, Sgt. Maj. Elwood H. Imken of the Texas Army National Guard, and Chief Master Sgt. Johnny D. Jones of the Texas Air Guard, received recognition for long and impactful military careers when they joined the ranks of the nearly 100 members who have been inducted since the tradition began in 1980.

The Hall of Honor, a room in the Texas Military Forces Museum, displays portraits and histories of military members whose leadership played key roles in transforming the Texas Military Department in positive ways. Texas military regulations state that Hall of Honor nominees need to have demonstrated positive impact through pioneering efforts or by changing the "outlook and focus of the organization."

Imken's 49 years of combined military and civilian federal service included leadership roles in training, disaster relief, and community outreach missions such as Food for Families and Blue Santa. He said he learned early in his career that planning and program management were important for taking care of Soldiers, because training time for Guard Soldiers was limited.

"You knew you had to do good planning," Imken said. "If you didn't do good planning and task analysis on things, you couldn't do anything."

Imken's advice for young service members looking to support the military in positive change is to work to make things less complicated.

"The biggest thing is listen, learn, use common sense and keep things simple," Imken said.

Jones, a 38-year veteran of the Air Force and Air National Guard, served in Vietnam, Desert Storm/Shield as well as Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. His pioneering included breaking a record for transporting loads during Desert Storm and facilitating the emergency airlift of a 30-ton cooling tower by C-130, a feat that had never before been accomplished.

Jones said he was shocked to learn that his image and story would be placed on the wall in the Hall of Honor.

"Many times I've read the narratives and looked at the photos of the people on that wall," Jones said. "I never expected to be on that wall with them."

Hall of Honor inductees such as Imken and Jones have made the Air and Army National Guards far stronger than they used to be, said Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, the Adjutant General for Texas. He explained that leaders such as these have brought the Texas Military Department out of times when they were under-funded and under-equipped so that they can play key roles in national defense and domestic response.

"We owe our present conditions to them," Nichols said. "It is our honor to honor them, because they honored us by serving. We owe them that same honor to thank them for what they did for us."

Texas Guardsmen support Emergency Tracking Network training

Texas Guardsmen support Emergency Tracking Network training

Story by: 1st Sgt. Daniel Griego

Posted On: May 17, 2016

1st Sgt. Daniel Griego Spc. Victoria Diaz (center) of the Texas National Guard's Joint Task Force 136 (Maneuver Enhancement Brigade) role plays as a disaster evacuee during a training scenario with the Texas Division of Emergency Management to test their new Emergency Tracking Network May 12 at the Round Rock Armed Forces Reserve Center. The scenario allowed the National Guard and civilian authorities to work together while also creating a training video product for use once the new tracking system goes online June 1. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by 1st Sgt. Daniel Griego/Released)
1st Sgt. Daniel Griego
Spc. Victoria Diaz (center) of the Texas National Guard's Joint Task Force 136 (Maneuver Enhancement Brigade) role plays as a disaster evacuee during a training scenario with the Texas Division of Emergency Management to test their new Emergency Tracking Network May 12 at the Round Rock Armed Forces Reserve Center. The scenario allowed the National Guard and civilian authorities to work together while also creating a training video product for use once the new tracking system goes online June 1. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by 1st Sgt. Daniel Griego/Released)

The Texas Division of Emergency Management, part of the Department of Public Safety, is rolling out a new resource to help evacuees during disasters. As a longtime partner within the emergency response community, the Texas National Guard’s Joint Task Force 136 (Maneuver Enhancement Brigade) supported a key effort May 12 in the system’s implementation by hosting a training simulation and instructional video project at its Round Rock Armed Forces Reserve Center.

“Today we are testing the ETN system,” said Sam Miller, the Critical Information Systems Response and Development Manager for TDEM. “We’re running through the steps and recording the process so that we can build a training video so that those who are going to be using the Emergency Tracking Network in the future would be able to watch the video to get a quick lesson before we implement it in real life.”

The network, which operates as both a web-based platform and a smartphone application, integrates capabilities that previously required four separate programs, allowing smoother accountability and tracking of citizens in need following a natural disaster.

“This is very innovative because it’s the first time that they’ve used an application like this and made it a cell phone-based application,” said Lt. Col. Patrick Nolan, the Joint Task Force 136 (Maneuver Enhancement Brigade) chief of staff. “For us it was a great opportunity, just using the resources we have at hand to help them out with that particular problem and further our partnership with the [Division] of Emergency Management.”

The National Guard’s role in the event included providing support personnel, a suitable location, and resources to complete a scaled evacuation scenario and film the training video.

“This National Guard armory had all of the facets that we look for in an entry place and a shelter,” said Miller. “We also had the ability to load a bus. The pieces of the evacuation are simply just tracking the movement of people and assets and animals into vehicles and locations. This particular facility held all of them.”

Both the application and the video will be ready in time for the Texas hurricane season.

“We will have this product before June 1, and it will be available for the end users,” said Jaime Ovalla, CIS Developer for TDEM. “The important thing is we want to track individuals.”

Last month, JTF-136 (MEB) supported TDEM with a scaled display and guest speaker at the annual emergency management conference. This training event is just one of many each year that help to reinforce the strong bond between the two organizations. 

“They can depend on us to bring resources together in partnership with them when they need to do just about anything,” said Nolan.

Cody Damron

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Wesley West

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Christopher Winnek

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Texas National Guard Chief Master Sergeant to be inducted to Hall of Honor

Texas Air National Guard retired Chief Master Sgt. Johnny D. JonesAUSTIN, Texas – Texas Air National Guard retired Chief Master Sgt. Johnny D. Jones will be inducted into the Texas Military Department’s Hall of Honor for his extraordinary impact on the Texas Military, during a ceremony at Camp Mabry in Austin, May 14, 2016.

Jones served in the U.S. Air Force and the Texas Air National Guard for more than 38 years. He enlisted into the Air Force as an aircraft loadmaster in November of 1969. Early in his career, he crewed C-141 and C-130 missions in Vietnam for 18 months, compiling over 300 combat missions with 575 combat flying hours, and earning the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor as a young Airman 1st Class. He returned from Vietnam to serve as an instructor and evaluator loadmaster where his efforts resulted in superior combat readiness and an outstanding safety record.

Jones transferred to the Texas Air National Guard’s 136th Airlift Wing in 1978. Throughout his tenure at the wing, he served in the 136th Aerial Port Squadron, 136th Airlift Control Flight and the 181st Airlift Squadron. While the Aerial Port Squadron was activated during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, he and his crew shattered all previous Air Force records for tonnage moved in a 24-hour period.

As a testament to his “service before self” attitude, Jones served on the National Aerial Port Advisory Council, and as Vice Chairman of the 136th Airlift Wing Chief’s Council. As Chairman of the Enlisted Performance Feedback Working Group, he led the implementation of a feedback program in the 136th Airlift Wing two years ahead of the Air National Guard. He also co-authored ANGI 24-101, Air National Guard Aerial Port Program Instruction, as well as the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Aerial Port Self-Evaluation and Quality Control Program.

As well as striving to improve the Air Guard, Jones served his state and nation both at home and abroad, improving the lives of thousands in need.

In 1988, Jones supported the aeromedical evacuation of the Corpus Christi State School during Hurricane Gilbert and assisted in the emergency airlift of a 30-ton air conditioning cooling tower, a type of load that had never been airlifted on a C-130 before. The following year, he led a team to support Hurricane Hugo airlift operations to the U.S. Virgin Islands. His efforts resulted in the rapid airlift and deployment of a Hospital Unit, medical supplies, food, water and equipment.

In 2005, Jones deployed in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom as the superintendent of transportation for the logistics directorate of the combined Air headquarters. There, he directed the airlift of over 105 tons of equipment increasing Air capabilities by 40 percent for Enduring Freedom's MQ-1 Predator strike mission.

Back home again, he served as the Deployed Aerial Port Superintendent for Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita relief efforts at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (Belle Chase), New Orleans and Ellington Field in Houston, where his team set up a fully functioning aerial port to handle the massive influx of aircraft delivering troops and supplies.

As the 136th Airlift Wing Command Chief, Jones was the "pulse" of the enlisted force, where his insight, experience and renowned respect were invaluable in his role as a mentor for the wing commander, over 1,200 wing enlisted personnel, and the entire Texas Air National Guard enlisted force. He was an active member of the National Guard Association of Texas, co-chairing the Enlisted Breakfast programs, as well as ensuring enlisted issues were well represented during break-out sessions and business meetings. He was also an active member of the Silver Eagles, an organization of 136th Airlift Wing tenured and retired members who dedicate themselves to improving the quality of life for airman currently serving.
Chief Master Sgt. Jones’ tireless efforts and devotion to the Texas Air National Guard and the state of Texas for more than 38 years had a significant impact on the force that will undoubtedly continue far into the future.  His competence and outstanding contributions to the Texas National Guard reflect great credit on the Texas Military Department and the state of Texas.

Ms. Denise Taylor

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Denise Taylor speaks about external communication with in the TMD public affairs genre.

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