Texas-based Engineer Brigades embrace Army Total Force Policy to complete a 17-mile road construction project

Story by: Capt. Maria Mengrone

Posted: August 22, 2015

Courtesy Photo  Soldiers from the 420th Engineer Brigade pose for a photograph while participating in a 25-day roadway construction project spanning 17 miles along the perimeter of the Camp Bowie Training Center in Brownwood from July 6-30, 2015. (Texas National Guard courtesy photo by 111th Engineer Battalion/Released)
Courtesy Photo 
Soldiers from the 420th Engineer Brigade pose for a photograph while participating in a 25-day roadway construction project spanning 17 miles along the perimeter of the Camp Bowie Training Center in Brownwood from July 6-30, 2015. (Texas National Guard courtesy photo by 111th Engineer Battalion/Released)

BROWNWOOD, Texas – Army Engineers from across Texas came together during a 25-day roadway construction project spanning 17 miles along the perimeter of the Camp Bowie Training Center in Brownwood, Texas, from July 6-30, 2015. 

 The multi-component project was planned and led by 111th Engineer Battalion “Roughnecks”, 176th Engineer Brigade, Texas Army National Guard (TXARNG). The multi-component element included active duty soldiers from the 62nd Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade based in Fort Hood, Texas and U.S. Army Reserve soldiers from the 980th Engineer Battalion, 420th Engineer Brigade headquartered in Bryan, Texas. 

 While informal, a relationship between the three Texas engineer brigades has existed for some time. Recently, the Army adopted a “Total Force Policy” that encourages regionally aligned units from all components of the U.S. Army Engineer Regiment – Active, National Guard, and Army Reserve - to plan and execute multi-component training in order to maximize resources and gain efficiency. 

 “The project included multi-component Soldiers who had never met before; they planned and resourced this project remotely, months before execution. Elements came together at all levels with little to no friction. It’s been about getting the mission done – expanding engineer collective capability,” said Maj. Matthew D. Calton, 111th Engineer Battalion commander. 

 “It is reassuring to observe the caliber of Officers, Warrant Officers and NCOs that exist within our Engineer Regiment,” said Calton. 

 The range road construction project was divided into three major sections with each assigned to specific component. Horizontal engineer soldiers completed excavations, cut and fill, hauling and borrow site operations, while vertical engineer soldiers focused on round and box culvert installations, and headwall construction. Soldiers with other engineer skill sets were task organized to further the mission.

 “Within each major route section there are critical path sub-tasks,” said Capt. John Veracruz, construction officer, 111th Engineer Battalion. “Among these were improving trafficability of the route by decreasing the grade of two large hill sections, building new sections of road and installing three concrete-cable low-water crossings.”

 At the height of the project, the 111th Engineer Battalion accounted for 646 soldiers with significant representation from four separate engineer battalions (62nd, 111th, 386th, 980th) and elements from 3rd Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division and the 72nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 72nd Infantry Brigade, 36th Infantry Division Engineer Battalions. 

 “The quality of training is unprecedented, officers are getting training to plan, NCOs are getting training on complex problem solving and soldiers are getting significant equipment training opportunities; it’s rare to have so many diverse components and engineer capabilities working within a multi-phased project,” said Calton. 

 Soldiers from across all components now have a better understanding of how the Army Total Force Policy can be implemented.

 “The support has been fantastic,” said Capt. Jacob Niewold, commander, 68th Engineer Company, 62nd Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade. “We don’t usually get this kind of training by staying at Fort Hood.” 

 “I’ve never had an opportunity to work with National Guard but it’s great that we are able to help each other,” said active-duty soldier, Spc. Joshua M. Green, horizontal construction engineer, 68th Engineer Company. “If there was something we couldn’t figure out the guard Soldiers would come out and help and we would help them too.”

 “This is good training, we’re learning our MOS, many of our Soldiers are fresh out of basic training and we are doing a real-world project,” said U.S. Army Reserve Spc. Lucero Rios, interior electrician, 808th Engineer Company, 980th Engineer Battalion, 420th Engineer Brigade, USAR. “We started something here and I would definitely want to come back and see the finished product.”

 For those not familiar with Camp Bowie and its expansive training areas. Camp Bowie covers nearly 9,000 acres with weapons ranges and various training facilities, barracks, administrative areas and a dining facility. Although Camp Bowie has expanded in recent years by adding post infrastructure, barracks, and training facilities, upgrades to the transportation infrastructure were lacking. The construction on Camp Bowie sought to address that need.

 “This project provides emergency access to all training areas, which is something we didn’t have before. It also allows soldier access to all training areas with the finished road serving as a firebreak,” said Lt. Col. Jamey L. Creek, chief of Plans and Operations, Training Center Command, 71st Troop Command, TXARNG. “We train primarily National Guard Soldiers but active-duty, reserve, Marines and a host of other governmental organizations train here too, so everyone will benefit from the improvements.” 

 Resourcing for the project came from multiple Texas National Guard directorates that included the Construction and Facilities Management Office, the Army G-4 and Training Center Garrison Command. The investment in building material and fuel exceeded $700,000. 

 A key component of the project was the planning and synchronization of logistics through scheduled bulk fuel deliveries and three weekly trips to draw rations from Fort Hood, Texas. Additionally, early procurements of field sanitation, equipment repair parts, and prepositioning of building materials facilitated logistical requirements. 

 “The total number of soldiers fed peaked at 646 on day 12 of the 25 day annual training. We had more than 300 pieces of transportation and heavy engineer equipment and fuel consumption topped 50,000 gallons,” said Maj. Jimmy C. Horst, logistical officer, 176th Engineer Brigade, TXARNG. “I believe the greatest reward, from a logistical standpoint, is the success of including all three Army components into one training event.” 

 All Army engineers, regardless of their component, are bonded by a culture of cooperation and collaboration that has grown stronger over the last 14 years of conflict. With the relationships further codified by regional alignment and the Army Total Force Policy, the U.S. Army Engineer Regiment is leading the way. The Camp Bowie Range Road project is a shining example of Army Total Force Policy implementation, and is a snapshot of what is possible when the components work together. 

 “Going forward, if there is a national incident or another training opportunity, those lines of communication have been absolutely tested, they’re in place and they have been validated; we have proven the concept of the Army Total Force Policy,” said Calton. 

 “Essayons!” – Let us try.

Special Operations Detachment - Africa, Texas Army National Guard

Courtesy Story by: Maj. Robert Cowart, Special Operations Detachment - Africa, Texas Army National Guard

Posted: August 21, 2015

Courtesy Photo  A Texas Army National Guardsman with Special Operations Detachment - Africa, 71st Troop Command, jumps into the waters off of Key West, Fla., July 24, 2015. The jump, was part of a long-range, airborne water insertion and a culmination of three years of planning with active duty Army Special Forces, Air Force, Navy and U.S. Coast Guard to ensure that SOD-A always has trained and deployable personnel to conduct the many real world missions it is called upon to execute. (Courtesy photo by Special Operations Detachment - Africa)
Courtesy Photo 
A Texas Army National Guardsman with Special Operations Detachment - Africa, 71st Troop Command, jumps into the waters off of Key West, Fla., July 24, 2015. The jump, was part of a long-range, airborne water insertion and a culmination of three years of planning with active duty Army Special Forces, Air Force, Navy and U.S. Coast Guard to ensure that SOD-A always has trained and deployable personnel to conduct the many real world missions it is called upon to execute. (Courtesy photo by Special Operations Detachment - Africa)

KEY WEST, Fla. - As the ramp opened up, the smell of salty air and humidity filled the C-130. It was almost as thick as the enthusiasm displayed by the Texas Army National Guardsmen on board. The soldiers, part of the Special Operations Detachment – Africa (SOD-A), 71st Troop Command, conducted a long-range airborne insertion into the waters near Key West, Fla., July 24, 2015.

The exercise was a culmination of a three-year process, which executed the unit’s Mission Essential Task List training; a training plan designed to take units from an untrained status, to proficient and finally to a trained status – all leading to the unit’s ability to conduct its wartime mission. 

“The key focus for this weekend is the Mission Essential Task, load out and deploy,” said Col. Doug O’Connell, SOD-A commander. 

The SOD-A mission is to provide command and control for U.S. and coalition special operation forces within the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility.

“Everything we have done, leading up to this weekend, are essential skills that we use on a regular basis, as we send small teams to remote locations,” said Lt. Col. Tim Ochsner, SOD-A executive officer. 

Coordination for the operation involved several branches, which included reaching out to the Army’s Special Forces Underwater Operations School that helped secure the drop zone, lodging, watercraft and parachute drying facility; the Navy for the overall use of Naval Air Station Key West and for emergency management services during the airborne insertion operations; the Air Force helped with their C-130 aircraft for the trip to and from the insertion and the U.S. Coast Guard provided its galley for meals. 

“After completing the water jump into Key West, the unit conducted recovery operations in preparation for redeployment back to Austin, said Maj. William “Rusty” Weedman, SOD-A logistical planner. “During the SOD-A's stay in Key West, they received support from the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Key West Galley and the Special Forces Underwater Operations School.” 

With preparations set, the SOD-A members, assisted by 294th Quartermaster Company (Rigger), 36th Infantry Division, leapt from the aircraft, as members of the SFUOWS conducted drop zone operations, manned watercraft for recovery and provided medical coverage. Once all of the jumpers had successfully completed their required water sustainment jump, they transitioned to deploying-and-supporting dive team operations, in this case, the 5th Special Forces Group dive team as they conducted airborne water insertion and underwater infiltration operations.

Planning a training event with this many moving pieces is an enormous undertaking, but it ensures that SOD-A always has trained and deployable personnel to conduct the many real world missions it is called upon to execute, Ochsner said.

“Because the unit deploys small teams, almost quarterly to remote locations in Africa supporting missions and exercises, it is imperative that we find ways to conduct mission essential task list training while conducting steady state operations,” O’Connell said.

TEXAS STATE GUARD BASIC TRAINING I - AUGUST 14-16 2015

This drill weekend the Texas State Guard trained new Guardsmen at their Regional Basic Orientation Training Phase I in Austin, Texas. Training continues next month with Phase II.  Click here to see the photos.

Staff Sgt. David Ausborn, a Texas Army National Guardsman, volunteers his weekend to teach newly joined Texas State Guardsmen drill and ceremony movements at Regional Basic Orientation Training I in Austin, Texas, Aug. 14-16, 2015. RBOT teaches the new Guardsmen military customs, basic first aid and CPR, drill and ceremony, land navigation and radio communication skills. The training is broken up into two phases, which take place during monthly drill. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Malcolm McClendon).
Staff Sgt. David Ausborn, a Texas Army National Guardsman, volunteers his weekend to teach newly joined Texas State Guardsmen drill and ceremony movements at Regional Basic Orientation Training I in Austin, Texas, Aug. 14-16, 2015. RBOT teaches the new Guardsmen military customs, basic first aid and CPR, drill and ceremony, land navigation and radio communication skills. The training is broken up into two phases, which take place during monthly drill. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Malcolm McClendon).

 

TAG Talks: Curtis De Keyrel

On this edition of TAG Talks Curtis De Keyrel speaks about how the Air Guard and Active Air Force use their assets. TAG Talks are a series of unique presentations put together by students in The Adjutant General's Executive Leadership Development Program offering the perspective of future Senior leaders of the Texas Military Forces.

Back to School- Tax Free Weekend!

 

 “back-to-school”

Commentary by Michelle McBride

Though you wouldn’t know it from the heat, summer in Texas is almost over.  For kids, parents and teachers, this translates to “back-to-school” time complete with shopping sprees for school supplies and clothing--a burden on wallets. To help with budgeting shoppers, many retailers in Texas will be offering a tax free holiday this weekend August 7-9, 2015.  As with previous years, this will include most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced under $100.

The Christian Science Monitor noted, as a reminder, that Texas excludes clothing and footwear designed primarily for athletic use, but makes a nice distinction between athletic apparel and stuff that's more equipment than apparel. For example, a football jersey would be tax-free, but football pads and pants are not. Running shoes are tax-free, but track shoes and cleats are not.

Dates for sales tax holidays are set by the legislature and could mean savings of about $8.00 on every $100.00 spent. It is also good to note that Tax free will apply to layaway items if you place your items on layaway during the holiday or make the final payment during the holiday. The tax free sales can be combined with extra deals, both in stores and online, and some stores may even flex their hours, opening earlier or closing later.
For more information and a full list of exemptions please visit http://comptroller.texas.gov/taxinfo/taxpubs/taxholiday/d/
 

39th Composite Regiment Provides Community Service at Bike-A-Thon

Story by: Capt. John Root, 39th Regiment

Posted:August 7, 2015

Rest stop
Pvt. Gregory Turnbow, 39th Regiment, Texas State Guard, guides cyclists at a rest stop during the Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Cactus & Crude MS-150 Bike-A-Thon from Midland to Lubbock, Texas, July 26, 2015. The Texas State Guard provides support to community events as part of its mission in addition to assisting local authorities during emergencies such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires. (TXSG photo/Released)

MIDLAND, Texas (July 28, 2015) – Soldiers from the 39th Composite Regiment, Texas State Guard, performed route and safety guidance for the Cactus & Crude MS-150 Bike-A-Thon, sponsored by the  Multiple Sclerosis Society, along the 150-mile route from Midland to Lubbock, Texas, July 25-26, 2015.  The Texas State Guard serves Texans by providing assistance during emergencies such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires, and community events.   

Guiding cyclists
Staff Sgt. Manuel Hernandez and Staff Sgt. Derald Mabbit, 39th Regiment, Texas State Guard, guides cyclists through a blind curve during the Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Cactus & Crude MS-150 Bike-A-Thon from Midland to Lubbock, Texas, July 26, 2015. The Texas State Guard provides support to community events as part of its mission in addition to assisting local authorities during emergencies such as hurricances, tornadoes, and wildfires. (TXSG photo/Released)

Soldiers from the 39th Composite Regiment followed the lead of local law enforcement to create a safe roadway for the cyclists at multiple highway intersections, blind curves, and other potentially dangerous points along the route.

In the spirit of the event, Sgt. 1st Class Rosalind Roger, 3rd Battalion, 39th Composite Regiment, entered the race and finished among the top riders. "The ride was great, the weather was fabulous, and the support from the Texas State Guard was amazing," said Roger.  "I am proud to be a part of a great team like the Texas State Guard.  I look forward to this event next year.”

"The  soldiers of the 39th Composite Regiment, along with event organizers, local emergency management, law enforcement and emergency medical services, did an outstanding job of ensuring the safety of all cyclists along the two-day 150-mile route," stated Col. Barney E. Welch, commander of the 39th Composite Regiment, Texas State Guard.  "In the process, our soldiers used this event as a training opportunity for future missions where the regiment is needed for maintaining traffic flow and assisting with the evacuation of citizens during an emergency, such as a hurricane or a wildfire.  The 39th is always ready and "equal to the task"."

The 39th Composite Regiment appreciated the support and cooperation of their local jurisdiction partners, National Multiple Sclerosis Society Event Coordinator Lyndee Groce, the congregation of the Lamesa First Baptist Church, the local officials and citizens of Lamesa, Texas, and Larry Duyck and Terri Stahl of Lamesa and their staffs.

TXSG cyclist
Col.Barney Welch, commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Marshall Allen, 39th Regiment, Texas State Guard, congratulate  Sgt. 1st Class  Rosalind Roger, 3rd Battallion, 39th Regiment, for completing the first day of the Multiple Schlerosis Society's Cactus & Crude MS-150 Bike-A-Thon from Midland to Lubbock, Texas, July 25, 2015. The Texas State Guard provides support to community events as part of its mission in addition to supporting local authorities during emergencies such as hurricances, tornadoes, and wildfires. (TXSG photo/Released)

Working together, the organizers, cyclists, and soldiers, saw this community event as a shining example of  how cooperative efforts among citizens, local authorities, and the Texas State Guard can achieve a successful outcome. 

Operation Lone Star shines once again in South Texas

Story by: Sgt. Praxedis Piñeda
100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Posted: August 5, 2015

Operation Lone Star 2015 Medical PhotoMembers of the Texas Military Forces gathered for a five-day emergency preparedness training exercise in South Texas, July 27-31, 2015. Operation Lone Star allows guardsmen, local and state health agencies, and the Department of State Health Services to train together and prepare for a mass casualty disaster.

"We get the opportunity to practice what we do in case of a deployment for a disaster situation," said Texas State Guard 1st Lt. Daniel Steinberg, a personnel officer with 3rd Battalion, Texas Medical Brigade. "At the same time we get to provide medical care for a lot of individuals that don't have the access to that care"

Community members of all ages give the multi-agency healthcare providers the chance to treat civilian patients as they would during a real-world catastrophe.

"It's invaluable for everyone participating, because it's difficult to gain real world experience during training," said Spc. Danielle Schrag, a health care specialist with the Texas Medical Command, Texas Army National Guard. "You immediately see the impact you have on the community."

While conducting vision, physical, dental and other medical exams, healthcare personnel also benefited from the interagency environment. 
 
"It's my third time doing OLS and every year it’s a little bit different and every year we learn how to effectively manage and communicate amongst other people from different agencies," said Capt. Ryan Sharp, a dentist with the Texas Medical Command.

Together, the supporting agencies provided medical services to more than 9,000 South Texans in Laredo, Palm View, Rio Grande City, San Juan, and Brownsville. The operation has served more than 100,000 people in the last 16 years. 

"This is an excellent service that we're providing for the people of Texas, and it also gives us, as a resource, an excellent opportunity to practice what we may be called upon to do," said Steinberg.

Operation Lone Star 2015

 

Operation Lone Star 2015

Is an emergency preparedness exercise to help us get ready for disasters.
We bring FREE medical services to communities with help from hundreds of local service groups and volunteers.

Some of the services provided are:

Immunizations for children.
Diabetic screening.
Blood pressure screening.
Hearing and vision screenings.
Sports physicals.
Dental

OLS 2015

Texas State Guard: New Assignments

The Commanding General, Texas State Guard, is pleased to announce the following assignments:

 

Colonel Robert Hastings, commander, 19th Regiment, Dallas, Texas, to chief of staff, Army Component Command, Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas. 

 

Colonel Robert Woodmansee, chief of staff, Army Component Command, Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas, to commander, 2nd Regiment, Gatesville, Texas.  

Lieutenant Colonel Lloyd Lietz, executive officer and acting commander, 4thRegiment, Fort Worth, Texas to commander, 19th Regiment, Dallas, Texas.

Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Sustaita, training and operations officer, Texas Medical Brigade, Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas to commander 4th Regiment, Fort Worth, Texas.   

Lieutenant Colonel John Dudenhoeffer, commander, 1st Battalion, 2ndRegiment, San Marcos, Texas to training and operations officer, Texas Medical Brigade, Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas.


Approved, MG Betty, Commanding.