AUSTIN, Texas - Texas Army National Guard retired Sgt. Maj. Elwood H Imken 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.
Imken’s military service spanned more than thirty-eight years from March 1967 through 2005. His career reached every echelon from Platoon through Division and every level of leadership, culminating as the Division Operations Sergeant Major for the 49th Armored Division and the 36th Infantry Division. In each capacity he demonstrated the highest degree of professionalism and dedication to improving unit readiness and taking care of the Soldier.
As Operations Sergeant Major for the 49th Armored Division and 36th Infantry Division, a position he held for over fourteen years, he has left a lasting mark. He served as the Operations Sergeant Major for all four division warfighter exercises and approximately 30 other major exercises conducted by the Division.
He also served as the State Active Duty coordinator for the Division, directing the mobilization of Texas soldiers in over 100 state active duty missions, ranging from hurricane relief to the Space Shuttle Columbia recovery mission.
As the lead trainer for the Division, he helped thousands of Texas soldiers get the required schooling for their grade and specialty. During the 49th Armored Division's historic deployment to Bosnia he served as the Operations Sergeant Major for the Multi-National Division.
Following his retirement, he immediately began working for the Texas Military Department as the Chief Training Specialist. In addition to supporting the soldiers of Texas, Imken worked hard to improve the quality of communication and planning efforts with law enforcement agencies, political leaders and citizens throughout the state of Texas
As the Texas Army National Guard Chief Training Specialist for the Texas Military Department, he was integral in designing the All Hazard's Plan and statewide rehearsal of concept drills where services across the state met to rehearse the plan for a state response to natural disasters. It was his plans and integration of many key organizations that led to successful responses for Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, Hurricane Ike and dozens of other droughts, fires and floods that affected Texas in the last 15 years.
In addition to his immense impact in domestic operations, Imken played a huge role in establishing and sustaining community outreach programs such as Food For Families, a program that provides food to stock pantries across the state of Texas. His planning efforts directly contributed to the success of the one-day food drive collection of 1,552,714 pounds of food in 2014 alone. Similarly, he is very involved in the planning and execution efforts of Blue Santa, another outreach program where he worked hand in hand with the Austin Police Department to provide thousands of toys annually to underprivileged children across the state of Texas.
On top of this, each year he coordinates Texas Guard support for the annual dual weekend George Washington Birthday Celebration in Laredo, Texas, a huge community event with international impact.
He was integral in creating the annual American Heroes Open House on Camp Mabry, which showcases the Texas Military Department's mission through static displays and dynamic demonstrations of past and present capabilities to the public, military members, governmental and non-governmental agency members. His unremitting planning and coordination efforts enabled the Texas Military Department the ability to educate 20,000 guests each year.
He worked alongside the Texas Department of State Health Services to create an annual medical emergency preparedness exercise, Operation Lone Star. Operation Lone Star provides hands-on training for the Texas Military Department medical personnel as well as providing valuable community health services to Texas inhabitants that may otherwise not receive medical care. Imken facilitated the planning and coordination necessary to execute the establishment of Medical Points of Dispensing along the Texas border. The magnitude of this operation is so big that 12,000 border area residents attend annually, and over 100,000 have been cared for during the program's 12-year history.
Sgt. Maj. Imken’s tireless efforts and devotion to the Texas Army National Guard and the state of Texas for the last 49 years made 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.