Across the wild blue yonder to serve ARCTIC CARE 2017

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



Story by: Staff Sgt. Kristina Overton

136th Airlift Wing (Texas Air National Guard)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The exercise ended on April 6, 2017. 

For more information about members of the 136th Airlift Wing, visit

Texas, Nebraska ANG benefit from State Partnership Program

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



Story by: Senior Airman De'Jon Williams

136th Airlift Wing (Texas Air National Guard)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Texas Leaders go back to the basics with supply

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Single Father Driven to Become Best Warrior

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information about the Airmen of the 136th Airlift Wing, visit

Traditional Airmen given opportunity to showcase abilities

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Texas Army National Guard commander helps build DPS leaders and partners

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


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patriots Partner with Arrowhead Division

Photo By Staff Sgt. Nathan Akridge | Col. Clarence Henderson Jr. (left) commander of the 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 36th Infantry Division and Col. Brian Sullivan (right) commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division discuss lessons learned while conducting a joint training exercise. 
Story by: Staff Sgt. Nathan Akridge
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division Public Affairs


POLK, La. – Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (LI) “Patriots” trained side by side with members of the 36th Infantry Division “Arrowhead” during the Mountain Peak exercise here at Fort Polk, writing history together as the first two units in the Associated Unit Pilot program, or AUP, to participate in a major training event together.

In September 2016, the Patriot Brigade became the only Active Duty brigade combat team to wear a National Guard Patch. By partnering an Active Duty brigade with a National Guard unit, the Army hoped to drastically cut the time needed for the National Guard to prepare for a deployment.

Col. Brian Sullivan, commander, 3BCT, said that this training exercise shows that the AUP program is more than just a patch change. 

“The pilot has specific benchmark events that assess the effectiveness of the particular associations increasing readiness. For 3/10 and 36 ID, our benchmark for this year is our JRTC rotation in May,” said Sulllivan. “Mountain Peak serves as a critical rehearsal to ensure we are successful at JRTC. Right now there are 80 Soldiers from the 72nd IBCT [Infantry Brigade Combat Team], 36th ID serving as the exercise control for Mountain Peak, which means a National Guard IBCT from 36th ID is training its sister Active Component BCT 3/10.”

Col. Sullivan also stresses that the AUP partnership has already paid dividends to the Soldiers of 3BCT.

“3/10 has already benefitted greatly from our association with 36th ID,” said Sullivan. “The knowledge of their Division Master Gunner exceeds any on active duty I've known. Without him, we would not have been able to train our cavalry squadron to standard.”

Col. Clarence Henderson, 72nd IBCT Commander, said that both the 72nd and 3BCT leadership have a specific goal in mind.

“We are aligning the activities we are conducting between our two units with Gen. Abram’s and Gen. Milley’s intent, which is readiness is our number one priority,” said Henderson. “This is our first opportunity to partner with 3/10 and develop and mature the AUP program, as well as share the challenges that our units face.”

Soldiers from the 36th Infantry Division participated in all facets of the training during Mountain Peak, including the preparation, planning, and execution phases of the exercise. Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Sublett, Command Sgt. Maj. of the 72nd IBCT, a Soldier with 34 years of service, 13 of which were on Active Duty, said the AUP program has helped both the Active Duty and National Guard units involved.

“It gives us a better insight on lessons learned from the Active Duty side to the National Guard side and vice versa,” said Sublett. “What do we each do better than the other? It’s more of a best practices, what we learn from you and what you learn from us.”

Both sides profited tremendously from the training. Maj. Philip Waggoner, the 3BCT Plans and Operations Officer in Charge, said the National Guard enhanced the effectiveness and training value of the Mountain Peak exercise.

“I think this exercise proves that the National Guard and active duty components are very capable of working together. 36th ID, 10th Mountain Division, and 3BCT have conducted integrated planning on this exercise since October to make it a worthwhile training event for the 3BCT Soldiers. 36th ID’s ability to send personnel to serve as the EXCON [exercise control] and OC/Ts [observer controller/trainer] is truly valuable not only to making the exercise run properly, but provide critical lessons learned to make the BCT better during JRTC and in combat.”

So as the Army goes rolling along, the AUP program charges full speed ahead, strengthening the bond between our Active Duty and National Guard forces.

Texas Soldiers and Airmen join Czech and Chilean service members at Best Warrior Competition

Air Force Staff Sgt. Juan Nunez, a security forces specialist with the 136th Security Forces Squadron, Texas Air National Guard, Fort Worth, Texas, completes the sit-up portion of the joint army physical fitness test during the Texas Military Department 2017 Best Warrior Competition March 3, 2017 at Camp Swift in Bastrop, Texas. Nunez was graded based on his overall score that included a three mile run, push ups and sit-ups. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman De’Jon Williams)
Photo by: Senior Airman DeJon Williams
136th Airlift Wing (Texas Air National Guard)


BASTROP, Texas —Soldiers and Airmen from the Texas Military Department competed alongside service members from partner nations in the Best Warrior Competition March 2 – 4, 2017, at Camp Swift near Bastrop, Texas. 

Twenty-seven members of the Texas Army National Guard and Air National Guard joined with service members from Chile and the Czech Republic to compete in a series of tactical exercises and soldiering tasks in a competition intended to foster joint-force and multinational comradery. 

“It’s a great opportunity to bring our Soldiers and Airmen together in competition,” said Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, the adjutant general of the Texas . “While it’s a friendly competition, it’s also a very, very hard competition.”

This year, the Best Warrior Competition consisted of various scored and timed events including; the Army Physical Fitness Test, weapons qualification, a road march, night land navigation, writing an essay, and appearing before a board that reviewed competitor’s personal appearance, military bearing and knowledge. The competition concluded with a mystery event, the details of which were not revealed until the event began.

Nichols said he appreciated the effect that this joint competition will have on future collaboration.

“That allows young Soldiers and Airmen to build relationships and gain experience that they will carry with them through their whole careers,” Nichols said. 

The experience the Texas Military Department forces gain from this joint competition will also translate to real-world benefits in emergency response and warfighting capabilities, Nichols said.

“The reality is that if we as the Texas Military Department find ourselves responding to an emergency, we are able to work with other branches or our foreign allies and operate more effectively,” Nichols said.

“With us having a joint Best Warrior Competition, we have our Guardsmen honing their skills to ensure mission readiness,” said Command Sergeant Major John Sampa, command sergeant major of the 36th Infantry Division. “But they also get to do that in conjunction with other services and our international allies to see how they operate.”

This will be the second time personnel from the military of Chile have joined Texan Soldiers and Airmen at the Best Warrior Competition, and the first for soldiers from the Czech Republic. 

The intent of the joint competition is for the foreign partners to also gain experience working alongside members of the Texas Military Department, Sampa said. 

“It’s our hope that they will take the impression back to their countries and their units that Texas Soldiers are well-trained Soldiers, professional Soldiers and be willing to come back again to train with us and, if need be, fight alongside us.” Sampa said.

An enduring bond: NCO reinforces partnership with first-time Czech Republic competitors

Photo By Sgt. Michael Giles | Czech Army Staff Sgt. Jakub Domeny receives a briefing with service members from the Texas Air and National Guard, as well as soldiers from Chile and the Czech Republic at the M4 qualification event as part of the fifth annual Texas Military Department Best Warrior Competition, at Camp Swift near Bastrop, Texas, March 3, 2017. This year's Best Warrior Competition was the second time Chilean soldiers participated and the first time for soldiers from the Czech Republic as part of Texas Military Department's initiative to develop relations with foreign partners. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Sgt. Michael Giles) 
Story by: 1st Lt. Allegra Boutch
100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment


BASTROP, Texas — The Texas Military Department enjoys a valuable and enduring relationship with Chile and the Czech Republic. The State Partnership Program, or SPP, facilitates frequent, constructive engagement with foreign armies. 
The foreign soldiers who participate in SPP exchanges carry the responsibility of bringing lessons learned from these events with them back home. They also represent their respective countries, building a reputation wherever they go.
Staff Sgt. Jakub Domeny with the 41st Mechanized Battalion, 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade, understands this immense pressure. The Czech soldier, who decided to become a soldier after watching “Saving Private Ryan,” felt nervous as he prepared to compete alongside Texan and Chilean soldiers in the fifth annual TMD Best Warrior Competition at Camp Swift, near Bastrop, Texas. 
”I am here for the first time,” said Domeny. “I am here to compete, but my main goal is to get experience from here and then get it to Czech Republic so we can have our own competition and continue sending our soldiers here.” 
The TMD Best Warrior Competition brings together exemplary Soldiers across Texas to test their skills in board interviews, physical fitness tests, written exams and warfare simulations. 
Domeny trained during every spare moment before tests began. “This is people say the best Army in the world,” he said. “I thought that I was going to be average, but after being here for a week, I feel pretty relaxed.”
The greatest responsibility however may fall with the American service members assigned to each foreign soldier. Staff Sgt. Kevin Hannah,136th Maintenance Squadron, Airlift Wing, also sought to leave a good impression with his assigned soldiers.
“The main thing we are trying to do with the soldiers is take care of them,” said Hannah. “For any NCO, taking care of each other is the ultimate. So for the Czech soldiers, I can show how the American military takes care of our people by taking care of them. Hopefully they will go back to the Czech Republic and take those interactions with them.”
Hannah told his Czech counterparts jokes to help calm their nerves. Domeny then passed his board interview and went on to score a 29 of 40 on his marksmanship test. According to Domeny, Hannah’s efforts made him confident that he can return home and be a positive influence to his soldiers as well. 
“A good soldier is the results you have in the field, but it is also your behavior, your attitude and how you help,” Domeny said. “A good soldier will do the maximum they can do to serve.” 
After the competition, Domeny plans to return home and share the administrative and organizational techniques that made the Best Warrior run, in his words, flawlessly.

Texas Military Department Best Warrior Competition 2017



Video by Staff Sgt. Luke Allen
100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment  


The Best Warrior Competition brings together the best junior enlisted and noncommissioned officers from the Texas Air and Army National Guards to compete for the prestigious title.

The BWC is intended to reflect real-life combat situations, stress, endurance and convey how important both intelligence and dedication are to being a National Guardsman. At the end of the grueling three-day competition one junior enlisted and one noncommissioned officer with the highest overall ranking is recognized as the Texas Best Warrior.

During the event, competitors will test their Warrior aptitude by conquering urban warfare simulations, board interviews, physical fitness tests, written exams and other tasks and battle drills relevant to today’s military operational environment.

Traditionally an Army event, the Texas National Guard opened this competition to the Texas Air National Guard in 2013 in order improve camaraderie in a joint environment. Finalists from the Texas Army National Guard, will move on to the National Guard Bureau’s Region V Best Warrior Competition. The competition will also include Chilean and Czech competitors this year as part of TMD’s SPP program.