Community, military team up for Laredo air show

Story by: Sgt. Michael Vanpool

Posted: Feb 16, 2015

PHOTO: Sgt. Michael Vanpool Brig. Gen. Orlando Salinas, the deputy assistant adjutant general of the Texas Army National Guard, gives a thumbs up after being designated the air marshal of the 2015 Stars and Stripes Spectacular Air Show in Laredo, Texas, Feb. 15. The Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association Stars and Stripes Spectacular Air Show is one of many events for Laredo’s month-long celebration for America’s first president. (Texas Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Michael Vanpool, 36th Infantry Division Public Affairs)
Sgt. Michael Vanpool
Brig. Gen. Orlando Salinas, the deputy assistant adjutant general of the Texas Army National Guard, gives a thumbs up after being designated the air marshal of the 2015 Stars and Stripes Spectacular Air Show in Laredo, Texas, Feb. 15. The Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association Stars and Stripes Spectacular Air Show is one of many events for Laredo’s month-long celebration for America’s first president. (Texas Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Michael Vanpool, 36th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

LAREDO, Texas – Texas Guardsmen parachutists flew the American and Texan flags over Laredo to open the Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association’s Stars and Stripes Air Show Spectacular at Laredo International Airport, Feb. 15.

Capt. Tim Hanrahan and Staff Sgt. Zachary Bowen lowered the flags onto the flight line. This was the fifth year for Hanrahan, who said he continues to jump because it’s an “opportunity to represent our country and the Texas Army National Guard.”

For those watching, seeing the flags drop down from the sky has a personal attachment.

“I no longer see red, white, and blue on our nation’s colors,” said Brig. Gen. Orlando Salinas, the air marshal for this year’s show. “What we see now is names and faces of friends and places.”

The air show was first included nearly 20 years ago in the Washington’s Birthday Celebration, a monthlong celebration for the Laredo area. That was when Carlos Garza took the position as the first sergeant for the Texas Army National Guard’s 436th Chemical Company. 

Garza knew the importance of the military in the history of the border town, not just from books but his family’s experience. Laredo is where his mother and family sought refuge during the Mexican Revolution of 1910. 

When Garza began to drill in Laredo, he felt that the city’s attachment to the military had waned. He said that he could grow the community’s patriotism by showcasing the aircraft that helped win World War II. So he helped put together the Stars and Stripes Air Show.

“It started small with war-birds,” Garza said, “but now it’s the biggest event for Laredo and Washington’s Birthday.” 

The spins and rolls captivated the audiences, making the show an integral event for the Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association (WBCA). Garza served as a WBCA board member and currently is its military liaison. 

This year brought in nearly 40,000 spectators to the airfield, with countless others looking up to the sky.

The air show now features civilian and stunt pilots from across the country, but the event still holds onto its military roots. Every year, one Soldier from the Texas Military Forces is chosen to preside over the show as the air marshal.

This year, Brig. Gen Orlando Salinas, the deputy assistant adjutant general for the Texas Army National Guard, was selected for the honor. Salinas grew up in San Diego, Texas and said that he had fond memories of visiting Laredo. 

“To me, personally, it is extremely important to say thank you on behalf of a native south Texan to be invited to be your air marshal,” Salinas said to the crowd. “With all the duties that I have and all the places I have visited there is no place in the world I would rather be than sharing this great day with you.”

This year’s show saw the return of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, which was the only fighter plane produced in America during World War II. The particular plane flown was dug from its grave and completely restored to its original glory, said Garza.

For the city of Laredo, Washington’s Birthday is a month long celebration filled with pageants, parades, and so much more; many of which are reminiscent of the days of George and Martha Washington. 

The air show is one of the more grand departures from Washington’s times. However, the airplanes, helicopters and airborne Soldiers are very much a part of today’s military celebrated year after year here in Laredo.

Journey to becoming Army Fit

We are getting pretty comfortable with the two-mile run.Week 3

We are getting pretty comfortable with the two-mile run. Now that we can comfortably run with-out any walking we are about to start timing ourselves and working on increasing our pace to make sure we can meet our 60 percent time standard (24:24 for Tracy and 23:42 for Courtney). 

There seems to be a long-standing myth that it takes about 21 days for a new habit to form. Many people have studied the concept of habit-making and there are varying ideas about the length of time it takes to form them. Some say days, some say months, others say it is about setting realistic and small goals.

We want running, pushups, and sit-ups to become habit, just like something small we do every day, such as brushing our teeth. When we brush our teeth, chances are that we give it no thought at all. If we do think about it, we are probably not thinking how much we dislike it, how we don’t want to do it, or even how it is good for our oral health. We just do it because it is habit and routine, and just what we do every day.

Here are some of the things that are helping us make physical fitness a habit:

  • If you are new to running, start by walking for 10 minutes. Then, for the next 15 minutes, alternate 30 seconds walking and 30 seconds running. End by walking for 10 more minutes. Do this three times per week. 
  • Work out with a partner, whenever you can. 
  • Make your workout something you can do anywhere, whether at home, at work, or somewhere else. For us, this means keeping spare workout clothes and shoes in the car at all times for lunchtime or after-work workouts. Make it difficult to talk yourself out of exercising!
  • At home, map out a two mile route in your neighborhood so that you can be ready to run at a moment’s notice. 
  • Do pushups or sit-ups during commercials of your favorite TV program. 
  • Schedule time for physical fitness and exercise. Put it on your calendar and, as much as possible, try to stick to a routine (i.e. schedule workouts on the same days/times). 
  • Involve family members; children might think doing pushups with you is fun! 
  • Here are some of the things you can try to make mental fitness a habit:
  • "Exercise releases endorphins—chemicals in your brain that boost your mood—giving you an instant surge in happiness…..Happiness Tip: Go on a short 20-minute walk. It will help you relax and make you more confident about your body." (GuardYourHealth.com) 
  • "By elevating your mood and energy levels, your morning workout will curb your cravings and motivate you to make other healthy choices throughout the day." (GuardYourHealth.com)
  • "Don’t underestimate smiles," says psychologist Dan Hill. "When you smile, you pull more oxygen into your lungs. It makes you relaxed and open to possibilities…Happiness Tip: Think of something that makes you smile, like your favorite stand-up comedian or your team’s touchdown on Monday night. By making yourself smile, even when you’re feeling down, you really can trick yourself into feeling happier". (GuardYourHealth.com)

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

TXMF Museum honored with Texas Star Award

Story By: Capt. Martha Nigrelle

Posted: Feb 12, 2015

Courtesy Photo The Texas Military Forces (TXMF) Museum’s living history detachment portrays Texas Civil War veterans during a reenactment commemorating the Battle of New Market Heights in Henrico County, Virginia, Sept. 26, 2014. The detachment, which covers numerous time periods and pays tribute to the Texas military and the service and sacrifices made by Texas veterans, received a Texas Star award from the Texas Living History Association for its living history program in a ceremony held in Dallas, Jan. 24, 2015. (Photo courtesy Jeff Cantrell, TXMF Museum)
Courtesy Photo
The Texas Military Forces (TXMF) Museum’s living history detachment portrays Texas Civil War veterans during a reenactment commemorating the Battle of New Market Heights in Henrico County, Virginia, Sept. 26, 2014. The detachment, which covers numerous time periods and pays tribute to the Texas military and the service and sacrifices made by Texas veterans, received a Texas Star award from the Texas Living History Association for its living history program in a ceremony held in Dallas, Jan. 24, 2015. (Photo courtesy Jeff Cantrell, TXMF Museum)

DALLAS – The Texas Living History Association awarded the Texas Military Forces Museum a Texas Star for outstanding contributions to the field of living history, in a ceremony held at the Dallas Heritage Park, Jan. 24, 2015.

The museum’s living history detachment, made up of more than 50 volunteers, participates in reenactments and living history programs spanning numerous time periods, from the War of 1812 to the Vietnam War. Each program or reenactment that the detachment participates in pays tribute to a piece of Texas Military Forces history.

“It’s a great way to reach out to the public,” said Jeff Hunt, the TXMF Museum curator.

The Texas Living History Association was founded in 2012 by living history enthusiasts and professional historians in Texas to help advocate for living history around the state and encourage participation and interaction between fellow enthusiasts and historic sites that have living history programs said Jim Lauderdale, president of the Texas Living History Association.

Steve Draper, director of the 1st Cavalry Museum, located at Fort Hood, and a member of the Texas Living History Association, nominated the TXMF Museum for this distinguished honor. 

“I nominated them because they are one of the few organizations in Texas that primarily do 20th and 21st century history,” said Draper. “The Texas Military Forces Museum has been doing it for a long time. The reviews are that they do an outstanding job – that warrants some recognition.”

There are hundreds of living history programs across the state, from the Alamo’s Texas Revolutionary living history program to groups portraying life in Texas during the 17th century. 

“The Texas Star Award is awarded to the best living history site or group nominated,” said Lauderdale. “The TXMF Museum was nominated based on the outstanding Muster Day event they put on every year and the many other interpretive programs they have done.”

The TXMF Museum hosts programs and reenactments at Camp Mabry in Austin several times a year, but also travels to numerous places across the country, to include the Battle of Gettysburg in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. 

“What’s different about us is that most places only focus on one time period,” said Hunt. “We’re the only museum program that I know of that deals with different time periods.”

The museum conducts approximately one living history program a month. They traditionally cover three separate events in May, their busiest month – a Vietnam display in Temple, the Close Assault reenactment and weapons display honoring the history of the 36th Infantry Division during World War II, at Camp Mabry in Austin and the reenactment of the Battle of Palmetto Ranch, the last battle of the Civil War in Brownwood. 

“I am exceptionally proud of this award because it speaks to the dedication of our volunteers,” said Hunt. “They are the backbone of the whole thing. They love history and want to support the men and women of the Texas guard today and our veterans.”

The TXMF Museum’s Muster Day is held annually during the TXMF Open House at Camp Mabry and traditionally hosts displays and presentations from every military campaign the Texas Military has participated in since the Texas Revolution through the Vietnam War, to include a World War II reenactment with World War II aircraft and several 1940’s Army tanks. 

This year’s TXMF Open House and Muster Day will be held at Camp Mabry, April 18-19. For more information on this event or other upcoming museum events please visit https://tmd.texas.gov/upcoming-events or http://texasmilitaryforcesmuseum.org/.

Texas Army Aviators receive national award

Story by: Maj. Randall Stillinger

Posted: Feb 12, 2015

Maj. Randall Stillinger A C-12 aircraft from Operational Support Airlift Detachment 49 takes off from Dallas Executive Airport en route to Austin, Texas. The detachment, commanded by Chief Warrant Officer 5 Todd Moorehead, was selected as the best fixed-wing unit in its category by the Joint Operational Support Airlift Center. They had just returned from receiving their award at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. (36th Infantry Division photo by Maj. Randy Stillinger)
Maj. Randall Stillinger
A C-12 aircraft from Operational Support Airlift Detachment 49 takes off from Dallas Executive Airport en route to Austin, Texas. The detachment, commanded by Chief Warrant Officer 5 Todd Moorehead, was selected as the best fixed-wing unit in its category by the Joint Operational Support Airlift Center. They had just returned from receiving their award at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. (36th Infantry Division photo by Maj. Randy Stillinger)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. – An Austin-based fixed wing unit from the Texas Army National Guard received special honors from the Joint Operational Support Airlift Center (JOSAC) during a ceremony on Tuesday.

Operational Support Airlift (OSA) Detachment 49, which utilizes C-12 aircraft to transport passengers and cargo from across the military branches, received this special honor during a ceremony at the headquarters for United States Transportation Command.

The unit, which is commanded by Chief Warrant Officer 5 Todd Moorehead, is a detachment assigned to the 36th Combat Aviation Brigade, 36th Infantry Division, also headquartered in Austin.

Maj. Scott Messare, JOSAC’s Execution Operations officer, said, “These awards are a chance for us to publicly recognize units that are consistently performing at the top of their peer organization groups.”

Messare helps facilitate the awards program and praised the Texas aviators for their great work and willingness to support the Department of Defense mission.

“They are here for a reason,” Messare said. “They are definitely at the top of their group and a pleasure to work with.” 

The annual award is presented among various categories based on size, function and location. Detachment 49 was at the top of the 21 units in their category.

The primary selection criteria includes number of hours and missions flown, number of passengers carried and pounds of cargo hauled. The JOSAC branch chiefs also consider other aspects like aircraft and aircrew availability, flexibility in supporting missions, percentage of cancelled missions, and the accuracy of logistics flight records. 

The goal of the awards program is to recognize the success of flight crews in meeting the goals of JOSAC, which include preventing fraud, waste and abuse of Department of Defense assets, conducting operations with efficiency, and completing assigned missions with the most amount of cost savings to government and the taxpayers.

The program also rewards an aspect of the mission that can’t necessarily be measured in statistics: Excellent customer service for the passengers who fly on their aircraft. 

Moorehead, of Austin, said that this award is a nice recognition of all the work that the Soldiers have done. 

“We threw the Army work ethic at the mission and we make ourselves as available as possible,” Moorehead said.

Col. Micheal Dye, commander of the Army Aviation Support Facility at Austin’s Bergstrom International Airport, said that he’s not surprised that the detachment received the award.

“These are a great group of guys that work hard to accomplish the mission with a tremendous level of professionalism,” Dye said.

Same but different: Texas Air and Army National Guard compete for 'Best Warrior'

Courtesy Story

Posted: Feb 2, 2015

BASTROP, Texas – This year’s 2015 Texas Military Forces Best Warrior Competition brought out 35 guardsmen from both the Texas Army and Air National Guard who competed here to determine who would be the best of the best Feb. 5-7.

“The Best Warrior Competition is a big deal for Texas and the Texas Military Forces,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Weedon, TXMF senior enlisted adviser. "It is one of the biggest joint events we have involving actual soldiers and airmen. This event allows the soldier and airman to compete with each other in both physical and mental challenges.”

The competition demonstrated the knowledge and skills of the guardsmen in seven events, spanning three days. The first day started with an essay, testing their aptitude, writing abilities and critical thinking and how well the soldiers and the airmen express their thoughts. Following the writing skills, the competitors met with a panel of senior enlisted leaders who barraged them with a series of questions pertaining to their military tasks.

“We are from the same Texas Military Forces,” said Command Chief Master Sgt. Kevin O’Gorman, state command chief for the Texas Air National Guard. “When we deploy in a joint environment, we work together side-by-side and we need to foster that early on. This competition brings camaraderie and jointness, even though soldiers and airmen do things differently.”

Day two started with a twilight land-navigation course, starting at 5 a.m. and finishing after daybreak. Once again, the soldiers and airmen battle-tested their skills in using a map and compass to plot the points and discover hidden flags throughout the course. 

Shortly after completing land navigation, the competitors went to the weapons-qualification range, then on to the 11 Army warrior task lanes, where both Army and Air Force participants demonstrated their ability to disassemble and reassemble weapons ranging from a 9 mm pistol to an M2 machine gun, as well as testing in combat-first-aid techniques.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Steven Hein, 136th Security Forces Squadron, and member of the Richardson Police Department, finished first during the land navigation course, coming in at 1 hour and 29 minutes, finding three of four flags. 

“It’s been a privilege to come out here and contend with the best,” said Hein. “It’s definitely good to come out here to compete and learn from the other guys like the Army and other guys in the tactical control party.”

Many of the competitors felt that the first day of the competition was the most challenging and exhausting. It included the mile-long obstacle course, containing nine stations with rigorous calisthenics in between obstacles, a six-mile ruck march and finished with three mystery events. The total course spanned eight miles as each competitor attempted to conquer each event with a go or no-go while carrying a 35-pound ruck sack on their back.

“The BWC is tougher than all the races I’ve competed in,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Candice Wade, a veteran competitor in the Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder and Spartan Races, about the Best Warrior Competition. “The Best Warrior Competition is in a much higher level ... dealing with a land navigation course, eight types of weapons, combat casualty care, an obstacle course, ruck march and various physical events. I can say that this is absolutely the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.”

Among the spectators present were Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, the adjutant general for Texas, and Maj. Gen. Edmundo Villarroel Geissbuhler, Chilean army liaison officer, who were both here to observe the competing guardsmen.

“There are two competitions going on here,” said Nichols. “One is the competition between Army and Air Force. The other is between the soldiers so we can send forth the best soldier in a national competition and be the best in the U.S. Army. This is a big deal to us.”

Geissbuhler strolled though the courses, closely observing each station, cheering on the soldiers and airmen racing through the obstacles.

“We have a lot of contact with the Texas Military Forces, both in the Air Force and Army,” said Geissbuhler. “This state partnership began in 2008 and there are a lot of activities we do together. I received an invitation to come here today and I’m very glad to be here.”

Texas and Chile are part of the State Partnership Program, using military-to-military relationships between the U.S. and Chile to increase military capabilities and interoperability. 

When asked if the Chileans have this type of competition amongst their military forces, Geissbuhler said, “We do have this competition in Chile, it is part of our training. We have been approved to send four competitors here to the BWC next year and compete among the TXMF. We will be sending two soldiers and two airmen and hope to do well.”

By the end of the three-day event, the competitors seemed both mentally and physically exhausted. 

“I’m here to do my best, not just as a woman, but as a soldier,” said Sgt. Wendy Farris, 149th Aviation Battalion, one of the four female competitors. “This was really exciting. I’ve learned a lot and grown in the process. I’m devising my plan for next year’s competition.”

There were 22 Army and 13 Air Force competitors, coming from all parts of Texas. Most of the competing guardsmen were drill status guardsmen. They also serve Texas as police officers, firefighters, physical strength trainers and other professionals. 

The overall winners for the competition will be announced at an award ceremony April 11, 2015.

Sibling rivalry adds edge during Best Warrior Competition

Story by: Spc. Michael Giles

Posted: Feb 7, 2015

Sibling rivalry adds edge during Best Warrior Competition

Spc. Michael Giles
Tech. Sgt. Matthew Renteria and Senior Airman Michael Pineda listen to a brief before the obstacle course portion of the Texas Military Forces Best Warrior Competition at Camp Swift near Bastrop, Texas, Feb. 5, 2015. The event tests the mental and physical proficiencies of the participants through various challenges. Winners will continue to compete at a multi-state regional level. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Michael Giles/Released)

BASTROP, Texas - When the Texas Air National Guard first joined the Texas Military Forces Best Warrior Competition in 2013, then Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Rentería proclaimed that he would "win it all." He did not end up winning "it all" in 2013, but he pulled a close second in the noncommissioned officer division of the competition.

Matthew returned to compete in the 2015 Best Warrior Competition at Camp Swift, this time bringing a lifelong friend who helped him forge his competitive spirit, Senior Airman Michael Rentería.

The fraternal twins are well known as highly motivated, with an intense drive to surpass each other in all pursuits.

"They are both outstanding individuals," said Master Sgt. Justin Tassin, a Tactical Air Control Party supervisor for the brothers in the 147th Air Support Operations Squadron. "But when you put the two together, you can see the sibling rivalry, and it pushes them harder to perform."

Competition between the brothers covered all aspects of growing up.

"Everything we were doing, we were doing at the same time," Senior Airman Rentería said. "We competed in getting the girls, school and sports. It keeps us going. It keeps us battling."
Matthew and Michael also credit their father and their role in the military for their drive to excel. 

"He's my hero," Michael said. "He did a lot for us growing up."

Matthew explained that their roles as tactical air control party Airmen require high standards of physical and mental readiness, and this also keeps them working to stay sharp.

"Primarily, my concern is the mission," Matthew said. "If something were to pop off, I want to be in combat shape to go and do my duties."

Matthew has served for 10 years in the Air Guard while Michael has served for eight. Matthew mentored his brother in preparation for the competition, giving him the benefit of his experience, but said that Michael has what it takes to do well on his own in his first Best Warrior Competition.

"He has learned a lot," Matthew said. "He has been through a lot of training, so he's squared away."

Both brothers earned bragging rights during this year's competition. Matthew and Michael each achieved the highest event score during the interview portion, and they both scored among the top three in the obstacle course. Matthew earned the highest score on land navigation and Michael succeeded in earning the highest overall score among the junior enlisted soldiers.

The 149th Fighter Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. George Longoria, evaluator chairman for the essay portion of the event, expressed that the brothers' competitiveness is a quality that strengthens Americans. "Competing and being the best is part of our make up."

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.”