40 people representing at least 14 churches and the Texas State Guard

April 17, 2014
MISSION MW!

Mineral Wells Index

Mineral Wells — Henry Ford is quoted as saying that, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” Last Saturday, more than 40 people representing at least 14 churches, the Texas State Guard (1st Battalion, 4th Regiment, Civil Affairs of Weatherford), the Mineral Wells Police Department and Progressive Waste Solutions worked together to clean a portion of the area the police department has designated as the Project 365 zone.

Saturday’s effort was the third of four Saturdays that churches worked together to share the love of Christ with the families of the Project 365 area.

“This past Saturday was unique because we had not only the churches, but also a nearby Texas Guard unit join MISSION Mineral Wells and the Mineral Wells Police Department with the cleanup efforts,” said Rose Jordan.

After only two hours of picking up garbage and debris, the difference in the area was clearly visible and volunteers knew they had made a difference.

“We have multiple denominations coming together to make a better community for our families and for our children,” said David Chavira of Iglesia Templo Bautista.

MISSION Mineral Wells, a partnership of PULSE Ministries Inc and several local churches, also has plans for an Easter celebration for the neighborhood this Saturday.

MISSION Mineral Wells is a ministry of PULSE Ministries Inc. desiring to unite local churches in showing the love of Christ to the residents of Mineral Wells. For information contact Rose Jordan 682-225-3315 or visit Facebook: MISSION Mineral Wells.

Command and General Staff College

Command and General Staff College, Texas State Guard (TXSG), a component of the Texas Military Forces, hosted an impressive panel of real world “subject matter experts” in dealing with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS), during disasters.

Left to right, COL Robert A. Miller, Commander J 9 Strategic Planning TXSG, and former City Manager of Smithville, Texas during the devastating flooding of 1998, Brigadier General Gerald R. (Jake) Betty, Commander of Army Component Command TXSG, Ronnie C. McDonald, County Judge of Bastrop County during the Bastrop wildfires, John Gaete, Austin ISD Emergency Management Coordinator overseeing the district’s emergency management process, Rene D. Blaschke,  served as Mayor of Smithville, TX  during the flood, Scott Hawkins, Chief Plans Officer, Austin Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and in rear background 1LT Mike von Wupperfeld, TXSG, Mass Care Liaison Officer and long time Emergency Management professional.
Left to right, COL Robert A. Miller, Commander J 9 Strategic Planning TXSG, and former City Manager of Smithville, Texas during the devastating flooding of 1998, Brigadier General Gerald R. (Jake) Betty, Commander of Army Component Command TXSG, Ronnie C. McDonald, County Judge of Bastrop County during the Bastrop wildfires, John Gaete, Austin ISD Emergency Management Coordinator overseeing the district’s emergency management process, Rene D. Blaschke,  served as Mayor of Smithville, TX  during the flood, Scott Hawkins, Chief Plans Officer, Austin Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and in rear background 1LT Mike von Wupperfeld, TXSG, Mass Care Liaison Officer and long time Emergency Management professional.
Judge Ronnie McDonald (ct) former Bastrop County Judge (youngest Bastrop County Judge, ever), discussing with LCDR Robert Finley (lf) and MAJ Benedict Boerner (rt) students in the Texas State Guard, Command General Staff College, how the National Incident Management System worked allowing a structured command system to bring together a diverse group of agencies and facilitate working together efficiently during the Bastrop wildfires which destroyed over 1,000 homes.
Judge Ronnie McDonald (ct) former Bastrop County Judge (youngest Bastrop County Judge, ever), discussing with LCDR Robert Finley (lf) and MAJ Benedict Boerner (rt) students in the Texas State Guard, Command General Staff College, how the National Incident Management System worked allowing a structured command system to bring together a diverse group of agencies and facilitate working together efficiently during the Bastrop wildfires which destroyed over 1,000 homes.
Scott Hawkins (lf), Austin Department of Homeland Security, and LTC COL Edwin Grantham, student in Texas State Guard Command General Staff College, discussing the Capital Area Shelter Hub Plan (CASH-P) for Mass Care in the Austin and surrounding areas.
Scott Hawkins (lf), Austin Department of Homeland Security, and LTC COL Edwin Grantham, student in Texas State Guard Command General Staff College, discussing the Capital Area Shelter Hub Plan (CASH-P) for Mass Care in the Austin and surrounding areas.

 

TXMF sign Sexual Assault Awareness

Story by: Capt. Martha Nigrelle and Michelle McBride

Photos by: TSgt Phillip Fountain

Sign Sexual Assault Awareness(AUSTIN, Texas) April 4, 2014 – Maj. Gen. John Nichols, the Texas Adjutant General and Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Milford, Senior Enlisted Advisor Texas Army National Guard, signed a proclamation declaring April Sexual Assault Awareness Month within the Texas Military Forces during a ceremony at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, April 4, 2014.

The ceremony focused on spreading awareness in order to increase prevention of sexual assaults.    

“One is too many,” said Amy Allen, the guest speaker for the event  and community organizer for Safe Place, a nonprofit organization that works with victims of sexual and domestic violence. “Sexual violence is preventable. It takes everyone to get involved.”

Nichols encouraged service members to take action against sexual assault.

“Sexual assault is worse than bad,” Nichols said. “It has no place in our community, on our Texas Military Forces team.”

Nichols advised service members not to be naïve in thinking that sexual predators aren’t in their midst. He encouraged service members to watch out for themselves as well as their battle buddies and wingmen, and to stop behavior that could lead to sexual assault immediately.

To better support its members, the Texas Military Forces created the Sexual Assault Prevention and Report Program which focuses on education in order to spread awareness.

Lt. Col. James Castleman, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, 136th Airlift Wing, Texas Air National Guard, said that the program provides resources to victims of sexual assault including access to follow on care for both counseling and medical support and assisting commanders in working with victims to ensure they are treated fairly and not discriminated against.

The program is scheduled to host several events this month aimed at spreading awareness amongst the force. Among those is a Sexual Assault Prevention 5K hosted by the 136th at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, April 18, 2014 at 1100.

Another event, Denim Day, is aimed at debunking many of the myths surrounding sexual assaults. It is scheduled for April 23, 2014 on Camp Mabry.

“Today’s ceremony is very important,” Castleman said, “because it shows that the Adjutant General is committing to reducing the number of sexual assaults in the Texas Military Forces as well as increasing awareness of the issues faced by Texas Military Forces members.”

2014-2015 Texas Armed Services Scholarship Program (TASSP)

Posted: April 14, 2014

Nominations for the 2014-2015 Texas Armed Services Scholarship Program (TASSP) will officially open on April 15, 2014 for next year’s class (fall 2014/spring 2015 academic year). Students are encouraged to become members of the Texas Army National Guard, the Texas Air National Guard, the Texas State Guard, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Merchant Marine, or commissioned officers in any branch of the armed services of the United States. These annual awards of up to $10,000 each may make a difference in the life of high achieving students.

In order to be considered for the TASSP, a student enrolling in college straight from high school must meet two of the following four academic criteria at the time of application:

Be on track to graduate, or has graduated high school with the Distinguished Achievement Program (DAP) or the International Baccalaureate Program (IB);
Have a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale;
Achieve a college readiness score on the SAT (1590) or ACT (23);
Be ranked in the top one-third of the prospective high school graduating class.
Additionally, students must be enrolled in a college or university in the fall 2014/spring 2015 academic year in order to be nominated for the TASSP during the current nomination cycle. For more information on specific requirements, please visit http://hhloans.com and click on the “Texas Armed Services Scholarship Program (TASSP)” link.

"The TASSP is a unique opportunity for students build their leadership skills while earning college credit," Rep. Thompson stated. "I'm looking forward to reviewing the qualified applicants that District 29 has to offer."
If you would like to be considered for nomination by Rep. Thompson for the TASSP, please email your resume to district29.thompson@house.state.tx.us no later than June 1, 2014

PLEASE NOTE:  Each State Rep. can award one scholarship.

Texas State Guard’s maritime regiment scour the water

Posted: April 11, 2014

BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) — As the world continues to watch the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, search and rescue crews closer to home are preparing for a similar scenario.

But large jets crashing into the ocean are fairly rare. Much more likely are small planes crash-landing in fields, creeks or lakes. First responders spent Friday simulating that scenario at Lake Bastrop.

“What we’ve learned is that we need to do it more often, because…everything doesn’t always go right,” said Cmdr. Brian Smallwood with the Texas Maritime Unit. “Sometimes we think if we put it on paper it’s going to go just as it was written, but that doesn’t always happen.”

Using information from witnesses, three divers from the Texas State Guard’s maritime regiment scour the water using sonar equipment. The lake runs just 13 feet deep, a far cry from the depths crews are encountering in their search for the Malaysian Airlines plane.

But the key to the this round of training involving more than 100 rescue workers is to make sure everyone meshes well, and knows each other’s strengths.

“We exercise together, we train together, so that when an incident occurs, we’re not all meeting each other for the first time,” said Greg Pyles with Texas Search and Rescue.

But making sure the search effort is successful requires the right people.

“It takes a person with a lot of commitment to achieve the skill level,” Pyles said, “(and to) commit to the training and the time away from family, and their paying jobs.”

That rescue training involves several agencies and will continue through Sunday.

http://kxan.com/2014/04/11/crews-scour-lake-bed-for-missing-plane-during-exercise/

Texas National Guard and partner agencies orchestrate search and rescue exercise

rom left: Melchor Fernandez, Luke Schott and Jeff Keuper from Federal Emergency Management Agency's Texas Task Force 1, discuss a search and rescue mission with a joint terminal attack controller from the 147th Air Support Operations Squadron, 147th Reconnaissance Wing, based at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston, Texas
From left: Melchor Fernandez, Luke Schott and Jeff Keuper from Federal Emergency Management Agency's Texas Task Force 1, discuss a search and rescue mission with a joint terminal attack controller from the 147th Air Support Operations Squadron, 147th Reconnaissance Wing, based at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston, Texas, during an exercise at Canyon Lake, Texas, April 11, 2014. The joint, interagency exercise simulated emergency response following a hurricane, with members from the Texas Air National Guard, Texas Army National Guard, Texas Task Force 1 and Texas Department of Public Safety integrating to form a joint response team.

Story by 2nd Lt. Alicia Lacy

 

 CANYON LAKE, Texas – Canyon Lake was their stage.

 The joint team of the Texas National Guard, Texas Taskforce 1 and the Texas Department of Public Safety were the players. 

 The interagency team worked together in a search and rescue exercise April 11, 2014, at Canyon Lake, Texas, with each  entity taking charge of the roles they would play in a real-world emergency response situation.

 While members from the combined response element actively participated in the search and rescue exercise, representatives  from each component were at Camp Mabry, Texas, handling all command and control functions, viewing live feeds of the  action thanks to the set up of the communications Texas Air National Guardsmen from the 149th and 221st Combat  Communications Squadrons.

 This particular exercise was conducted over the course of a week, beginning April 9 and ending April 13, 2014, with Texas  National Guard units contributing their piece throughout the week, from aviation assets to communications capabilities. 

 When a natural disaster or an emergency situation arises, the governor calls all the involved agencies together to respond  and fall under the command of a lead agency.

 “You’ve got a lot of different agencies operating in the same area trying to complete the same mission and each agency  brings its own piece to the puzzle,” said Jeff Deane, a Texas Task Force 1 helicopter search and rescue technician and  Austin firefighter.

 “This is the first time we’ve put all these pieces together with a focus on the aviation side of things,” Deane said. “The piece  that the aviation brings to the search and rescue mission is very valuable. We can cover a lot of area in a short amount of  time, and we see a lot of things the ground crew may not see.”

In addition to linking all the aviation pieces together for the exercise, this was the first time all the interagency partners worked with Tactical Air Control Party members.

“When you think of TACP, you normally think of warheads on foreheads,” said a master sergeant with the 147th Air Support Operations Squadron, 147th Reconnaissance Wing. “Close air support is our bread and butter, but we’re broadening our horizons as a unit and really getting vested in the domestic operations.”

“(The ASOS element) was absolutely beneficial,” said Chief Master Sgt. Shawna Woods, Texas Air National Guard operations superintendent. “This was the first time Texas Task Force 1, Army aviation and ASOS had eyes on the same focus.”

Woods said the primary responsibility of the TACPs was to de-conflict the airspace, acting in the role of the Federal Aviation Administration. However, in addition to that, the incorporation of the TACPs was a way to integrate an added capability from the Guard.

The goal of the exercise was twofold: to exercise command, control and coordination of joint and interagency aviation capabilities in response to a hurricane in Texas, as well as conduct training in actual search and rescue, incident awareness and assessment, and air mobility response operations.

The search and rescue mission began with members from the 221st and the 149th Combat Communications Squadrons establishing communications that allowed for the delivery of incident awareness and assessment capabilities to the representatives in the air operations center at Camp Mabry, as well as facilitating communications amongst all the players involved to include the TACPs speaking to aircraft via radio communications. 

“We’ll provide the immediate situational awareness for the incident commander, and then we’ll also provide additional incident awareness for the senior military officials,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Sean Morrison, with the 221st Combat Communications Squadron. “Our package can be setup in 15 minutes or less and an additional 30 minutes for the (Texas Interoperable Communications Package) and from there, you’ll have a pretty robust communications system.”

The communications element was imperative to the seamless execution of the search and rescue exercise.
“(Communications) for command and control is very critical,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Juan Rodriguez, an RF transmission systems airman from the 149th Combat Communications Squadron. “The on-scene commander can communicate in a given area, but it also gives reach back.”

Network and radio communications set in motion the simultaneous command and control from the air operations center to the forces on the ground, as they were able to view a live feed of the action in real-time through visuals provided by the RC-26 aircraft flying overhead.

“Everybody has a part to play and what we do is we help them talk to each other,” Morrison said.

After communications were established, the TACPs setup the landing zone for the helicopters to load and unload personnel and “survivors,” and then members from Texas Task Force 1 and DPS set to the waters and geared up to launch the mission with players wading in the lake awaiting rescue.

This continued throughout the day, as rescuers hoisted survivors onto aircraft and delivered them back on land, rescuing 36 survivors total.

Ultimately, it was the scene of a well-executed mission to enable all agencies to communicate with each other as a piece flowed from group to group to create a synthesis of capabilities and collaboration, as each agency worked together to accomplish the mission. 

“The great thing about Texas is that we have a lot of partners, from the local partners to the state partners to the federal partners,” said Mike Miller, DPS Region VI Division of Emergency Management state coordinator. “We value the exercise for bringing everybody together for an event like this so in real world there is a coordination piece that has to go on…so it’s important to exercise and work through those issues today so in a real world event we can assist the citizens of Texas.”

“We value the partnership with the National Guard. They’re our neighbors, our community folks, our partners. They help us serve the citizens of Texas,” Miller added. 

“In hurricane events we look for our valuable partners in the Guard.”

Texas State Guard (TXSG) is hosting its second annual team competition

Texas State Guard Army Component 19th Regiment team rescues an injured person as part of the First Aid exercise at the 2013 Gonzalez Cup competition at Camp Bowie.
Texas State Guard Army Component 19th Regiment team rescues an injured person as part of the First Aid exercise at the 2013 Gonzalez Cup competition at Camp Bowie.

The Texas State Guard (TXSG) is hosting its second annual team competition which will test five skill sets in Stephenville and Erath County from April 10-13. Approximately 30 soldiers in five six-soldier teams from the Army Component will be competing to win the Gonzales Cup.

The skills to be tested include marksmanship, the ropes challenge course, physical fitness, land navigation, and first aid. Competition will be held Friday and Saturday at the Tac Pro Shooting Range, the Tarleton Challenge Course and Hunewell Ranch.

The Gonzales Cup represents the courage, strength, and skill that the defenders of Gonzales demonstrated while resisting the attack of the Mexican Army during the Texas Revolution in 1835. The Gonzales Cup is engraved with the words “Come and Take It” found on the flag made by the people of Gonzales during the fight.

Texas Airman named Air National Guard's 2013 Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year

Master Sgt. Joseph G. Ashwood, from the 111th Reconnaissance Squadron, 147th Reconnaissance at Ellington Field in Houston, receives an award from Maj. Gen. Kenneth Wisian, Texas Air National Guard commander, during the 2014 Outstanding Airman of the Year  event at Camp Mabry.
Master Sgt. Joseph G. Ashwood, from the 111th Reconnaissance Squadron, 147th Reconnaissance at Ellington Field in Houston, receives an award from Maj. Gen. Kenneth Wisian, Texas Air National Guard commander, during the 2014 Outstanding Airman of the Year  event at Camp Mabry. Ashwood was named the Air National Guard's Outstanding Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year and will compete against other nominees at the Air Force level.

Story by: 2nd Lt. Alicia Lacy

 

 CAMP MABRY, Texas – Doing the assigned job is one thing, but taking that a step further and going the extra mile is what  makes one outstanding.

 Superior leadership, job performance, community involvement and personal achievements are all part of the criteria  Outstanding Airman of the Year nominees must demonstrate.

 The work and contributions of Master Sgt. Joseph G. Ashwood, from the 111th Reconnaissance Squadron, 147th  Reconnaissance at Ellington Field in Houston, earned him a special honor: the Air National Guard’s 2013 Senior  Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.

 “The task of selecting these Airmen from the outstanding individuals nominated this year was a difficult one,” said Lt. Gen.  Stanley "Sid" E. Clarke, III, Air National Guard director. “All nominees should be extremely proud of their achievements, their  exemplary representation of their states and territories, and their service to the Air National Guard and the communities in  which they live. They are examples to all Guard Airmen.”

 Besides his outstanding achievements at the squadron, Ashwood recently earned his bachelor’s degree, implemented a  workout regimen for the flight that increased the pass rate of members’ physical fitness assessment, and participated in a  wealth of community events, raising funds for the chief master sergeant of the Air Force’s scholarship fund, the Wounded  Warrior Project, and other groups, in addition to volunteering at the annual Wings Over Houston Air Show and being an active  member of the National Guard Association of Texas.

 Despite all his work at the wing and in the community, Ashwood credits his success to his leaders and his Airmen.

“I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for leadership trusting me and putting me in positions to be successful,” Ashwood said, “my troops for working [hard] for me and to those who have mentored me along the way.”

As the ANG’s Senior NCO of the year, Ashwood will move on to compete against other nominees at the Air Force level.

Partners in Care program making its way to Texas National Guard

Story by: 2nd Lt. Alicia Lacy

 

CAMP MABRY, Texas - The goal is to help the Soldiers and Airmen of the Texas National Guard.

Through collaboration and partnerships with faith-based organizations in the state, the Texas Military Forces Chaplain Col. Joe Combs can achieve just that.

Since November 2013, Combs and his staff have been working to launch a Partners in Care program for the Texas Military Forces.

Partners in Care is a Department of Defense-approved program that establishes partnerships between the Texas National Guard and faith-based organizations that can provide resources to Soldiers and Airmen, and do so without regard to any religious affiliation.

The benefit of the initiative in Texas, given Texas’ vast geographical area and members living in communities across the state, often rural, is that it provides a linkage between service members who may be in need with groups that can provide resources to assist them at no charge. 

“In Dallas, or Houston or Austin, there are a lot of resources, but when you’re talking about Nocona, Texas, and Muleshoe, Texas, where we have Guardsmen and women, those resources aren’t as easily available,” Combs said. “But in each of those communities, there are faith-based organizations that are active and meeting the needs of those in the community.”

Though the partnerships are with faith-based organizations, the program allows service members to receive needed assistance from these organizations while maintaining their religious freedoms.

“It’s very clear in the [Memorandum of Understanding]. This initiative neither endorses the establishment of religion, nor requires any member of the Texas Military Forces to participate in any religious activity,” Combs said. “It respects each member’s right and each family member’s right to freedom of religion.”

Types of support includes, but isn’t limited to; counseling for individuals, couples, or families, childcare, household and automotive repairs, child and teen education, mentoring, reunion and reintegration support, single parent support, emergency food, clothing, and housing, transportation assistance, financial management classes and crisis and grief counseling.

A key benefit is that these groups provide assistance at no cost to the National Guard or the service member.

In early March 2014, Combs received the final approval to hit the ground running and begin establishing these partnerships with Texas congregations. Despite the green light, Combs is not in a rush to kick off the program.

“I want to make sure to proceed slowly and judiciously to make sure we do it right,” Combs said.

Combs plans to work with Air and Army National Guard chaplains throughout Texas Military Forces to identify possible congregations that would be willing to participate, in addition to getting commanders on board with the program.

Twenty-five other National Guards have already established a program in their respective state or territory, and Combs and his staff connected with chaplains from other states with established programs to gain insight on how to launch a program here.

“These faith-based organizations have a history of being willing, ready and able to help in the time of need,” Combs said. “As long as we ensure those religious freedoms are being upheld, this is a great resource to alleviate some of those needs out there.”