Top Guard leadership recognizes benefits of joint competition

Story by: Sgt. Suzanne Carter

Posted: Feb 7, 2015

Sgt. Suzanne Carter Command Sgt. Maj. Brunk W. Conley, the Army National Guard command sergeant major, talks with the range control officer at the M203 Range at Camp Swift near Bastrop, Texas, during the 2015 Texas Military Forces Best Warrior Competition Feb. 7, 2015. Conley visited the competition to offer encouragement to competitors who each diligently trained during their off-duty days to prepare for the challenges they would face. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Suzanne Carter)
Sgt. Suzanne Carter
Command Sgt. Maj. Brunk W. Conley, the Army National Guard command sergeant major, talks with the range control officer at the M203 Range at Camp Swift near Bastrop, Texas, during the 2015 Texas Military Forces Best Warrior Competition Feb. 7, 2015. Conley visited the competition to offer encouragement to competitors who each diligently trained during their off-duty days to prepare for the challenges they would face. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Suzanne Carter)

BASTROP, Texas --The grey sky and brisk wind did not keep leaders from supporting their troops during the final day of the Texas Military Forces Best Warrior Competition 2015 at Camp Swift.

One leader in particular traveled halfway across the country to cheer on the Soldiers and Airmen contending to reach the top.
"I'm really pleased that the leadership of the Texas National Guard has allowed me the opportunity to come out here and see these great men and women compete," said Command Sgt. Maj. Brunk W. Conley, the command sergeant major of the Army National Guard. "I couldn't say yes fast enough because every day out of [Washington] D.C. is a great day." 

Conley said that Texas has a unique strategy for selecting the Best Warrior by including Air Guardsmen in a traditionally Army National Guard only event.

"You're one of the only states that I know of that has a joint competition with both Soldiers and Airmen competing with and against each other," he said. "This brings the National Guard together… We learn about our Soldiers and Airmen, what they do. It breaks down barriers." 

Events like this joint Best Warrior Competition showcase the readiness of Texas' top Guardsmen and women, reflecting the long history of the National Guard as the "force of choice in homeland defense," Conley said.

"Since 9/11, we have become more operational than we've ever been in our history," he said. "We want to make sure that the investment that our nation and our states have placed in our [service members] is maintained."

Conley said that he spends as much time as he can drilling with and visiting units across the country in order to get the best sense of what the Soldiers and their noncommissioned officers need to continue to be the "best led, best trained, and best equipped National Guard in our history."

Journey to becoming Army Fit

Courtney and Tracy here to give you another update on our journey in becoming Army-fit!

Week 2

Courtney and Tracy here to give you another update on our journey in becoming Army-fit!

Our motivation remains high, but the holidays threw us off our schedule just a bit. We are ready to get back to our workout routine and complete our first run of the new year, when we realize Tracy’s running clothes are in her locked car, along with her car keys. So Courtney completes her run without Tracy but realizes how much it helps to have a running partner. Tracy spends time making arrangements to get into her car and does situps and pushups in her office. That is dedication! She completes her run the next morning, and on her run is lucky enough to meet an amazing runner who also happens to be a Master Fitness Trainer at Camp Mabry (read about her team in the December Dispatch article!, and stayed tuned here for more highlights from their team). 

Week 2 Tips: 

In talking to the Master Fitness Trainer, she offers some tips for strengthening core muscles which will help us with sit-ups. We are both aware of the need for strengthening our core muscles, which feel especially weak after years of sitting for long hours in our previous jobs, and not always with the best posture. 

  • For core strengthening, the Master Fitness Trainer recommends side and front and planks, and leg lifts, holding each for 60 seconds. 
  • Weak core muscles might make one more prone to hip or low-back problems, so we’re told to try sitting on a ball or ball chair at work desks to help with posture and keeping core muscles engaged. 
  • Practice pushups on the knees. 
  • Having a workout partner is key to staying motivated (as Courtney learned when running without Tracy).
  • Avoid a heavy meal prior to workout. We both notice that running is a bit more difficult after a big meal. 

 

Commentary by Courtney J. Lynch and Tracy K. Ward, Psychological Health Coordinators

CSM John L. Hoxie Named Texas Army National Guard Senior Enlisted Advisor

Command Sgt. Maj. John L. Hoxie, assumed responsibility
Command Sgt. Maj. John L. Hoxie, incoming Texas Army National Guard Senior Enlisted Advisor, addresses attendees at his change of responsibility ceremony held at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, Jan. 30, 2015. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Malcolm McClendon).

Commentary by Michelle McBride

AUSTIN, Texas (Feb. 4, 2015) – Command Sgt. Maj. John L. Hoxie, assumed responsibility as the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Texas Army National Guard from Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Milford, Jan. 30, 2015, in a ceremony held at Camp Mabry in Austin.

During the ceremony Hoxie thanked his family for their many years of love, support and sacrifice. He also took time to thank the soldiers who make up the Texas Army National Guard.

"I want to thank all of the soldiers who made it here today," said Hoxie. "You have no idea how much you have influenced my career and helped me get to where I am."

Hoxie’s previous leadership positions include Squad Leader, Section Sergeant/Senior Scout, and Master Gunner. His awards include the Bronze Star w/V-Device, Meritorious Service Medal 4th award, Army Commendation Medal 5th award, Army Achievement Medal 3rd award, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Multi-Force and Observers Medal 2nd award, Combat Infantry Badge, Excellence in Competition Badge (Rifle), Omar Bradley Leadership Award Recipient, Order of St. George, as well as numerous other awards and decorations.

"I’ve taken on quite a bit in this position and I truly have some big shoes to fill," said Hoxie, speaking to Milford.

As the Senior Enlisted Advisor for the Texas Army National Guard, Hoxie will advise the commander of the Texas Army National Guard on all enlisted matters affecting training, effective utilization, health of the force and enlisted professional development.

Marksmen compete in annual pistol match

Story By: Staff Sgt. Mindy Bloem

Posted: Feb 6.2015

Staff Sgt. Mindy Bloem Second Lt. Brian Street, 147th Civil Engineer Squadron assigned to Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston, checks his target at the Governor's 20 Pistol Match Jan. 24, 2015, at Camp Swift, Texas
Staff Sgt. Mindy Bloem
Second Lt. Brian Street, 147th Civil Engineer Squadron assigned to Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston, checks his target at the Governor's 20 Pistol Match Jan. 24, 2015, at Camp Swift, Texas

CAMP SWIFT, Texas - Sharpshooting Airmen, Soldiers and Texas State Guardsmen competed for a chance to be dubbed “best shot in the state” during the annual Adjutant General Governor’s 20 Pistol Match Jan. 23-25 at Camp Swift, Texas.

The top shooters from four separate competitions go on to comprise the team for the Governor’s 20. These shooters include the top eight in pistol, the top eight in rifle, the top two in machine gun, and the top two in sniper – 20 marksmen in all.

Because each team needs a certain amount of new shooters, Ellington Fields’s base marksmanship co-founder, 2nd Lt. Brian Street, said he’s always looking for fresh faces.

Street, who has now received both the pistol and machine gun tabs for finishing in the top percentile and is planning to compete in this year’s sniper and rifle competitions, encourages newcomers not to get discouraged their first time out.

“I thought I was a pretty good shot because I was coming off of active duty, and I always made expert,” said Street, recalling his first rifle match. “I got out here, and I got the humility beat into me. I didn't even finish some courses of fire. It was a train wreck through the whole weekend.”

Street has come a long way since that first self-proclaimed debacle in 2007 and asks those wanting to try it out to contact him.

One of this year’s newest recruits, Staff Sgt. Michael Oberts, a combat arms instructor assigned to the 147th Security Forces Squadron, decided to take full advantage of the opportunity. Besides wanting to see how he fared among the best in Texas, Oberts said that military members wanting to try their hand at sharpshooting just makes sense.

“As a member of the Armed Forces, you should be somewhat proficient with a weapon, seeing as you may have to use it to protect yourself and others or government property.”