PSYOPS Reservists support Texas Guard exercise

PSYOP Reservists support Texas Guard exercise

Story by: Sgt. Elizabeth Pena

Posted: June 21, 2015

Sgt. Elizabeth Peña Soldiers from the Army Reserves' 341st Tactical Psychological Operations Company "Kiowa" supported the Texas National Guard's 36th Infantry Division in their two-week Warfighter exercise held at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas, May 29 through June 12. Soldiers of the 341st developed and implemented different PSYOP products to use in support of the 36th Inf. Div.’s Warfighter. These training objectives increase the overall combat effectiveness of operations. (Texas Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Elizabeth Pena/Released)
Sgt. Elizabeth Peña
Soldiers from the Army Reserves' 341st Tactical Psychological Operations Company "Kiowa" supported the Texas National Guard's 36th Infantry Division in their two-week Warfighter exercise held at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas, May 29 through June 12. Soldiers of the 341st developed and implemented different PSYOP products to use in support of the 36th Inf. Div.’s Warfighter. These training objectives increase the overall combat effectiveness of operations. (Texas Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Elizabeth Pena/Released)

FORT HOOD, Texas - Soldiers from throughout the Army’s three components came to Texas to support the 36th Infantry Division "Arrowhead" during their Warfighter exercise, held in Fort Hood, Texas, May 29 – June 12, 2015.

The controlled exercise, which also featured the regular Army and Army Reserves, was designed to test the battle skills and procedures of the Texas National Guard’s 36th Infantry Division through simulated deployment scenarios. 

"Warfighter is important because it's not just the 36th Infantry Division from Texas, but it is a multi-state, multi-organizational exercise,” said Maj. Gen. John Nichols, the Texas adjutant general.

Among the organizations that came to support the mission was the Army Reserves’ 341st Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPC) from Camp Bullis in San Antonio, Texas. The unit, which handles the analysis, development, and distribution of intelligence, enables tactical commanders to communicate directly with the enemy and foreign civilians during combat operations. 

“PSYOP is marketing,” said Army Spc. Lindsey Hoffman, assistant team leader for the 341st TPC. “Our target is to persuade, influence, and change the behavior of a foreign target audience based upon the commander’s intent.”

The TPC is one of the main components that make up the psychological operations (PSYOP) element, which includes a headquarters section, a tactical PSYOP development detachment (TPDD), and a tactical PSYOP detachment (TPD).

During Warfighter, the 341st TPC replicated a headquarters capability with an organic Product Development Detachment (PPD).

“This kind of exercise is a great opportunity for the PDD to train and show the supported unit what they are able to accomplish,” said Army 1st Sgt. Benny Witt, the 341st TCP first sergeant.

Soldiers of the 341st developed and implemented different PSYOP products to use in support of the 36th Inf. Div.’s Warfighter. These training objectives increase the overall combat effectiveness of operations. 

“Other exercises are limited to a TPD supporting a maneuver commander,” said Maj. Roxana Pagan, company commander for the 341st TPC. “Only this high level of exercise can provide the same opportunity to not only the PDD, but also the company headquarters."

The two-week training gives units like the 341st TPC and the 36th Inf. Div. an opportunity to come together and train in their mission-specific roles so that they are prepared for real-life combat operations.

“When we deploy, this is the same set up that we operate,” said Staff Sgt. George Rodriquez, noncommissioned officer in charge of PDD. “We bring our equipment, and just like in real life we have to manage expectations because PSYOP is not something that can just happen at the drop of a hat.”

Color Guard Honors Memorial Day At Local Church

Story by:  Staff. Sgt. Eddie Thomas

Posted: June 19, 2015

Flag folding

Flag folding
In honor of Memorial Day Sgt. Joe Gahm and Staff Sgt. Eddie Thomas, 2nd Battalion, 4th Regiment, performs a flag folding ceremony at Garner Baptist Church, Garner, Texas, May 24, 2015.  The TXSG provides Color Guard service at many community events in North Texas as part of its mission "Texans Serving Texans."  (Photo courtesy of the Texas State Guard/Released)
Every Memorial Day Garner Baptist Church, Garner, Texas, holds a special service to honor veterans in their  congregation and family members who have served their country in the military. This past Memorial Day, May 24, 2015, the Color Guard, 2nd Battalion, 4th Regiment, performed flag folding honors at the church.  This is the fourth consecutive year that the Color Guard has assisted the church on Memorial Day.  
 
At this ceremony, Staff Sgt. Eddie Thomas and Sgt. Joe Gahm, 2nd Battalion, 4th
Regiment, were assisted by LTC Joe Henry Kelly, U.S. Army, Sgt. Brandon P. Blackburn, U.S. Army, and Master of Arms Clint Weed, U.S. Navy.  
 
Jon Blackburn, pastor of Garner Baptist Church, told his congregation that "I've pastored many churches across this great country, including churches near some of our largest military installations, and never had a congregation with so many military  members, past or present, in its family."

"It's a privilege to be able to provide flag services to such a patriotic church that honors our military," Thomas commented.  "Garner Baptist really understands the meaning of Memorial Day."

 

Flag folding
Sgt. Joe Gahm hands the folded flag to Lt. Col. Joe Henry Kelly, U.S. Army during a flag folding ceremony at Garner Baptist Church, Garner, Texas, May 24, 2015. This is fourth consecutive year that the 4th Regiment has provided this service to Garner Baptist Church. (Photo courtesy of the Texas State Guard/Released)

Texas State Guard 2nd Regiment renders final salute

Story by:  1st Lt. Ernesto C. Garcia

Posted:   June 19, 2015

final salute
Soldiers from the 2nd Regiment, Texas State Guard, and Texas Army National Guard, render a "final salute" to U.S. Army soldier and Korean War veteran PV2 Lovry Davenport in a ceremony at the Cook-Walden/Capital Parks Cemetery, Pflugerville, Texas, May 25, 2015.  Sfc. Matt Allen, 2nd Regiment, Texas State Guard, presents a U.S. Flag to Davenport's daughter.  The Texas State Guard honors veterans by participating in military ceremonies and community events. (Texas State Guard photo by 1st Lt. Ernesto C. Garcia/ Released)

AUSTIN, Texas – On Memorial Day, soldiers from the Texas State Guard and the Texas Army National Guard honored U.S. Army soldier and Korean War veteran, PV2 Lovry Davenport (deceased), by presenting the United States Flag to his family in a ceremony at the Cook-Walden/Capital Parks Cemetery, Pflugerville, Texas, May 25, 2015.  The Texas State Guard honors veterans by participating in military ceremonies and community events.  

Texas State Guard 2nd Regiment Sfc. Matt Allen learned that a close friend had recently lost her father in Illinois.  Since the daughter lived in Texas, Allen decided to have the service of PV2 Davenport honored in Texas.  "This honorably discharged veteran deserves our recognition here where his family lives," Allen commented, "because We are Texans Serving Texans."

Allen arranged to have the Davenport family meet at the cemetery on Memorial Day. At the ceremony, the soldiers folded the flag into the symbolic tri-cornered shape, similar to the tri-cornered hats worn by colonial soldiers during the American Revolution in 1776.  The red and white stripes are folded into the blue, symbolizing the light of day fading into the darkness of night. The blue field of white stars is the top of the folded flag.

Allen placed the flag in a display case as a keepsake for Davenport's daughter and  presented the flag to his friend on behalf of a grateful nation as a token of appreciation for PV2 Davenport's honorable and faithful service. He then rendered a final salute.

Soldiers in the formation are Texas State Guard 2nd Regiment Staff Sgt. Jason M. Myers, Sgts. Don E. Walden and Christopher L. Gano, and Spc. James D. Waddington, Headquarters Sgt. Maj. Dewayne D. Naumann, and Army Component Command Sgt. Maj. Morris W. Hickman, and Texas Army National Guard Sgt. Julian A. Quinones. 

Minuteman Brigade welcomes new commander

Col. Scott Mac Leod will assume command of the Texas National Guard’s Joint Task Force 136 (Maneuver Enhancement Brigade)Commentary by TXMF Staff

ROUND ROCK, Texas (June 17, 2015) – On Saturday, June 20, 2015, Col. Scott Mac Leod will assume command of the Texas National Guard’s Joint Task Force 136 (Maneuver Enhancement Brigade) from Col. Lee Schnell at a ceremony beginning at 2:30 p.m. at the Round Rock Armed Forces Reserve Center in Round Rock, Texas.

Mac Leod, of Austin, received his commission in 1992 from the Texas State Military Academy.       He is a career Infantry Officer, and has served in numerous key assignments, including as the Commander of Company A, 1st Battalion of the 141st Infantry Regiment, the Tiger Team Deputy Brigade S1, 36th Combat Aviation Brigade, commander for the 1st Battalion of the 141st Infantry Regiment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, deputy commander of the 136th Regional Training Institute for the Texas Army National Guard, and most recently, the Chief of Staff for Domestic Operations. Awards include the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Iraqi Campaign Medal - 2nd award, and many others.

Mac Leod graduated from Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice in 1994. In 2003, he graduated from the National Graduate School with a Master of Science in Quality Systems Management.  He received his master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College in June 2012, and is also a graduate of the War College's Advanced Strategic Arts Program.

Schnell, also of Austin, has served as brigade commander since October 2011 and retires after almost 40 years of distinguished service. During his tenure as commander of the Minuteman Brigade, Schnell was instrumental in the second-phase development and validation of the unit’s Homeland Response Force mission, part of the Department of Defense’s consequence management enterprise. Most recently, the brigade completed an emergency response Special Focus Exercise in April throughout central Texas, working alongside civil authorities and first responders.

As the new Joint Task Force commander, Mac Leod will be responsible for continuing the ready-state of the HRF mission for FEMA Region VI, while also ensuring the unit’s traditional wartime mission requirements are met. Additionally, he will work to execute the vision of an organization that facilitates the Texas Military Forces mission, partnering affirmatively with our agency partners and the surrounding community.

Joint Task Force 136 (Maneuver Enhancement Brigade) is headquartered in Round Rock, Texas, and boasts units throughout the Lone Star State, from Laredo to Dallas and El Paso to Fulton.

Airborne infantry drops into Golden Coyote training exercise

Story by: Staff Sgt. Michael Beck

129th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Posted: June 17, 2015

 U.S. Army Lt. Col. Max Krupp, commander of the 1st Battalion, 143rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), Texas Army National Guard, prepares to jump out of a C-130J aircraft flying over the Black Hills of South Dakota, during Golden Coyote training exercise, June 7, 2015. Golden Coyote gives service members from all over the country and world an opportunity to train on their skills. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Bryant Abel/Released)
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Max Krupp, commander of the 1st Battalion, 143rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), Texas Army National Guard, prepares to jump out of a C-130J aircraft flying over the Black Hills of South Dakota, during Golden Coyote training exercise, June 7, 2015.
Golden Coyote gives service members from all over the country and world an opportunity to train on their skills. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Bryant Abel/Released)

CAMP GUERNSEY, Wyo. – National Guard Soldiers perform combat airdrop training at Camp Guernsey, Wyo., as a part of the 31st Golden Coyote training exercise hosted by the South Dakota National Guard, June 6-20.

The Texas Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 143rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), is performing four jump missions during the exercise.

“Our first jump was challenging,” said Spc. Susana Olalde, a cook with the 143rd’s Forward Support Company. “We jump with all of our gear, which is pretty heavy.”

These airborne Soldiers carry their full gear which includes their weapon, kevlar and up to a 100-pound rucksack while jumping out of an aircraft.

A few of the Soldiers made their first jump outside of Airborne School

“I was a little nervous on my first jump,” said 1st Sgt. Jose Gilberto Del Bosque, of the 143rd’s Forward Support Company, who made his first jump this exercise at 46 years old. “It turned out fine once I focused on what I was doing and did what the jump masters told me to do.”

The 143rd will be utilizing a range of aircraft this year as a part of their operations.

“Our deployment jump used two C-17 and five C-130 Air Force aircraft,” said Lt. Col. Max Krupp, commander of 1-143rd Infantry.

The airborne unit not only conducts operations during the day but they also jump at night.

“We conduct operations in hours of limited visibility to leverage our night vision capabilities and increase stealth,” said Krupp.

The 143rd’s final jump during Golden Coyote will be the beginning of the full-scale cumulating training event, and will consist of three C-130 aircraft delivering a 150-man strike force to assault multiple objectives. The unit expects to perform a total of 720 individual jumps during this year’s exercise.

High-resolution photos are available at www.flickr.com/southdakotanationalguard

TAG Talks: MAJ Sergio Tristan

Maj. Sergio L. Tristan Speaks about social media engagement throughout the Texas Military Forces. 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.

Texas Military partners with Native American Tribes to preserve Texas history

Story by: Capt. Martha Nigrelle

Posted: June 8, 2015

Capt. Martha Nigrelle Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, adjutant general of Texas, left, and Charles Coleman, Thlopthlocco Tribal Town, right, sign letters of understanding during an annual tribal consultation conference to discuss the preservation and protection of historic resources located on Texas military lands, May 19-20, 2015, in Austin, Texas. The Texas Military Forces work one-on-one with tribes who trace their historic roots to Texas, for any period of time, in an effort to record both Texas military history and Texas tribal history for future generations. (Texas National Guard photo by Army Capt. Martha Nigrelle/Released)
Capt. Martha Nigrelle
Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, adjutant general of Texas, left, and Charles Coleman, Thlopthlocco Tribal Town, right, sign letters of understanding during an annual tribal consultation conference to discuss the preservation and protection of historic resources located on Texas military lands, May 19-20, 2015, in Austin, Texas. The Texas Military Forces work one-on-one with tribes who trace their historic roots to Texas, for any period of time, in an effort to record both Texas military history and Texas tribal history for future generations. (Texas National Guard photo by Army Capt. Martha Nigrelle/Released)

AUSTIN, Texas - Members of the Texas Military Forces gathered with representatives of seven Native American tribes in an annual tribal consultation conference to discuss the preservation and protection of historic resources located on Texas military lands, May 19-20, 2015 in Austin.

The Texas Military Forces work one-on-one with tribes who trace their historic roots to Texas, for any period of time, in an effort to record both Texas military history and Texas tribal history for future generations.

“We have to maintain the history of the place that we live,” said Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, the adjutant general of Texas. “We are a part of this history. By preserving Texas history, we preserve our history too.”

The Texas Military Forces operates five training sites across the state, covering approximately 30,000 acres of land. These 30,000 acres have had numerous residents in the past 8,000 years – different tribes, different people and now, the Texas Guard. It is this fact that forged a unique relationship between the military and a diverse group of Native American tribes.

In the 1990s, the Texas military began consulting with Tribal representatives in order to identify artifacts and locations of significance.

Today, representatives from the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe, Caddo Tribe, Comanche Nation, Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town, Thlopthlocco Tribal Town, Kiowa Tribe, Mescalero Apache Tribe, Tonkawa Tribe, Wichita and Affiliated Tribes and the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma regularly meet with Texas military officials to discuss efforts being made to preserve both their heritage and ancient Texas history.

It’s a partnership that has forged a mutual respect and friendship.

“When they come to visit the tribes, they learn tribal traditions and tribal customs – this makes the relationship good,” said Charles Coleman, Thlopthlocco tribal representative and a recognized elder amongst the group, speaking of the guardsmen and Texas Military Forces representatives he works with one on one. “It all boils down to the personal relationships – them learning from us, us learning from them.”

This year’s conference opened when Nichols welcomed tribal representatives back to Austin and Coleman presented Nichols with a gift from his tribe, thanking Nichols for the efforts the Texas military takes in understanding Texan tribal history.

“It’s important to us, because it’s important to you,” said Nichols.

The conference continued with presentations from both the military and the tribal representatives present, focusing on upcoming renovations scheduled for training sites, current archaeological projects, improving access to artifacts and records from the military for tribal representatives and addressing any concerns on ways to improve the partnership and the preservation process.

During this time, training site commanders were recognized for their dedication to each training area.

“That’s their little piece of heaven and they want to take care of it,” said Lt. Col. Jamey Creek, commander, Training Centers Garrison Command, Texas Military Forces. “We want our training sites sustainable for many years.”

Cultural sensitivity training is a part of what all service members using the training grounds must go through said Creek. This is to help ensure that historical artifacts and sites found on military training grounds are taken care of appropriately.

As this topic continued, Nichols recommended that future training plans incorporate tribal partners in the planning and development of these classes. This idea was met with enthusiasm from both groups as a possibility for the future.

“It’s nice to be able to pick up the phone and speak to someone who you know cares about your concerns,” said Coleman. “We can use our resources and the National Guard can use their resources. It’s important that we look at the same thing.”

As the conference drew to a close, old friends and new friends said their goodbyes and reflected on the ties that bind – preserving a shared history for future generations to learn from.

“Artifacts need to come out of the shed,” said Coleman, “And into the head of the youth of America."

TAG Talks: LTC David Burger

LT. Col. David Burger, Director International Affairs, Texas Military Forces, talks about the Leadership Development Program in his TAG Talk at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, April 2, 2015
 

TEXAS STATE GUARD 2nd REGIMENT AND BUGLER ASSISTS VFW ON MEMORIAL DAY

Story by:  1st Lt. Ernesto C. Garcia

Posted:   June 3, 2015

TXSG at VFW ceremony
Texas State Guard soldiers from the 2nd Regiment served as the Honor Guard along with the Capital City VFW Post 8787, Austin, Texas, at the VFW Memorial Day ceremony the Cook-Walden/ Capital Parks Cemetery in Pflugerville, Texas, May 25, 2015.  Sgt. Maj. Morris Hickman, 2nd Regiment, had the honor to play taps.  The  Texas State Guard serves the people of Texas during natural or man-made disasters and assists communities during local events. (Texas State Guard photo by 1st Lt. Ernesto C. Garcia/Released)

AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas State Guard paid tribute to the fallen soldiers on Memorial Day at  the Cook-Walden/Capital Parks Cemetery in Pflugerville, Texas, May 25, 2015.  At the request of the Capital City VFW Post 8787, located in Austin, Texas, soldiers of the 2nd Regiment, Texas State Guard, participated in the VFW Memorial Day ceremony. One soldier from the 2nd Regiment, Sgt. Maj. Morris Hickman, had the honor to play taps.

When members of VFW Post 8787 needed assistance with their 2015 Memorial Day Celebration, they turned to their own VFW bugler, Hickman, to see if the Texas State Guard was available. Hickman has been playing the bugle since 1966 since his service with the U.S. Navy from 1962 to 1968 where he worked in communications and as a diver.

The 2nd Regiment was honored to help with the ceremony. The soldiers presented the colors, served as an honor guard, assisted various military organizations that placed wreaths around the cemetery, and the fired three volley salute. The last part of the ceremony was when Sgt.Maj. Hickman played taps.
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The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) of the United States is a nonprofit veterans service organization comprised of about 1.9 million members.  The VFW advocates for U.S. veterans, by working to ensure that veterans and their loved ones are recognized for the sacrifices they have made on behalf of our great nation.

Since 1868, Memorial Day (originally called Decoration Day) is the federal holiday that honors soldiers who have died in military service to the United States.

A Texas twang by any other name

Courtesy story: 211th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Story by:  Sgt. Jeff Daniel

Posted: June 2, 2015

 
Sgt. Jeff Daniel Sgt. Omar Anwar, a crew chief with Charlie Company, 1-108th Air Assault out of Austin, Texas, climbs into his seat on the UH-60 Black Hawk that he is assigned to for a flight May 26. The Texas National Guard is supporting Beyond the Horizon 2015. BTH15 is a joint humanitarian and civic engineering exercise sponsored by U.S. Southern Command and the government of El Salvador to show support for the country of El Salvador. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jeff Daniel)
Sgt. Jeff Daniel
Sgt. Omar Anwar, a crew chief with Charlie Company, 1-108th Air Assault out of Austin, Texas, climbs into his seat on the UH-60 Black Hawk that he is assigned to for a flight May 26. The Texas National Guard is supporting Beyond the Horizon 2015. BTH15 is a joint humanitarian and civic engineering exercise sponsored by U.S. Southern Command and the government of El Salvador to show support for the country of El Salvador. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jeff Daniel)

COMANDO DE INGENIEROS DE LA FUERZ ARMADA, El Salvador - A strange voice comes from ship 191 not often heard on this Salvadoran field covered in green grass. The ship is a UH-60 Black Hawk that belongs to the Texas National Guard and the voice has an unusual accent, sort of a different twang -- a British twang. 

Sgt. Omar Anwar, a crew chief with Charlie Company, 1-108th Air Assault out of Austin, Texas, is originally from London, England, and has lived in the U.S. for eight years. His story, he claims, is full of romance and scandal.

He, along with is unit, are here to support Beyond the Horizon 2015 in El Salvador by providing casualty evacuation support and site surveys. CASEVAC support is the means of picking up an injured person and transporting them to a medical facility for care. 

But how did a British citizen find his way to Texas and then El Salvador in the first place. Let’s go back almost a decade, to the beginning.

He was originally part of a military cadet exchange program between the U.S. and Great Britain. As the story goes, he met a female soldier from the Texas National Guard. He later returned to Texas, enlisted in the National Guard and by the end of his basic training was a citizen.

“Initially it worked out great. There was a point when I asked myself why did I do this, because that little romance ended in divorce,” said Anwar. “I am lucky enough to have a fiancé now. But at the time it was a little rough.”

“I only got interested in being a pilot when I came to the United States,” said Anwar. “The original reason I wanted to join the U.S. military was to become a pilot.”

“I wanted to fly Black Hawks more than any other airframe,” said Anwar. “I figured the best way to get a foot in the door was to actually work on the aircraft and then go to flight school.”

He is currently past the age to go to flight school.

As his story continues, when he enlisted he chose to be a Black Hawk maintainer. 

“I was actually working in a maintenance company. I got to do a couple of flights and I was picked to move into a flight company from there, I progressed to become a crew chief.”

I love the versatility of the Black Hawk, Anwar said proudly, referring to the fact they can perform different types of missions from medevac to combat to insertion and extraction.

“I love doing hoist missions,” said Anwar. “I really enjoy sitting on the edge of the aircraft with the doors open sending a medic down to be able to actually help someone, and rescue them and bring them up to the aircraft.”

His responsibilities as a crew chief include maintenance and readiness of the Black Hawk, and to make sure that any occupants are safely protected.

Anwar is expressingly proud of his job and his unit.

“In a million years I never thought I would I be working one of these things, let alone get to fly around in one,” said Anwar.

“The best part my job is the flying,” said Anwar. “Also I just love knowing that I can tell people that I am a crew chief.”