Chief Petty Officer Nathan Gilbert Promoted to Senior Chief Petty Officer

By: CMSgt Paul Lankford, 5th AW Public Affairs Officer

Posted: 17-JUL-14

Members of the Del Rio JOIC stood in formation as Col Hamilton and Maj Kali Pinckney, Commander of the 449th ASG, pinned on his new rank.   Col Hamilton explained, “I’m pleased to promote CPO Gilbert to SCPO.  Chief Gilbert began his TXSG career with the Army side, later when TMAR stood up, he transferred to that component.”
Members of the Del Rio JOIC stood in formation as Col Hamilton and Maj Kali Pinckney, Commander of the 449th ASG, pinned on his new rank.   Col Hamilton explained, “I’m pleased to promote CPO Gilbert to SCPO.  Chief Gilbert began his TXSG career with the Army side, later when TMAR stood up, he transferred to that component.” 

Del Rio—During a July 15th Staff Assistance Visit, Operation Border Star OIC Col Thomas Hamilton, promoted Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Nathan Gilbert to Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO). SCPO Gilbert is the Training Officer for the Del Rio Joint Operations Intelligence Center (JOIC).

SCPO Gilbert’s home unit is TMAR 1st BN located at the Rosenberg, TX Armory. SCPO is the N-1 Personnel Actions Officer for TMAR 1st BN.

“The ‘Top Three,’ within the enlisted naval ranks of TMAR are the Chief Petty Officer, the Senior Chief Petty Officer, and the Master Chief Petty Officer,” said Col Hamilton. On April 1, 1893, the grade of Chief Petty Officer was established, and effective June 1, 1958 the grade of Senior Chief and Master Chief were created. The Chief Petty Officers (CPO) serve a dual role as both technical experts and as leaders, with the emphasis being more on leadership; including the recognized collateral duty of training newly commissioned Junior Officers. CPO’s are, in essence, the middle managers of the Navy, the Chief is in charge of getting the work done through the junior enlisted.

Arthur J. Miller, Border Liaison Officer Del Rio for Operation Border Star (OBS) said, “SCPO Gilbert is very deserving of this promotion. He is the JOIC Training Officer, who is responsible of not only new-hire training, but refresher training on OBS JOIC procedures.”

After the promotion ceremony, members of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Del Rio Border Intelligence Center (BIC) and TXSG members of the JOIC congratulated SCPO Gilbert during a promotion reception in the JOIC.

Memoirs from a Deployment

Memoirs from a Deployment

27 March

There's nothing like deployment preparation to make you go crazy. For example, prior to coming here we were told that we were getting issued cold weather gear and that we could only bring one duffle bag, so none of us packed any cold weather gear. However, after arriving, we were told that no, we are not getting cold weather gear issued anymore. And of course, when we were told to only bring one duffle, makeup and cute civilian outfits took precedence over my fleece. 

Yesterday, we got issued our multi cam uniforms, complete with a new pair of boots. A least, everyone else got a new pair of boots. I unfortunately wear a size 2.5 extra wide, and those never seem to be in supply (or anywhere else for that matter). So it's no surprise.  A friend of mine who deployed with me was slightly upset. It sucks but I really try not to let it bring me down too much. There are worse things to be upset over, like standing outside in sub freezing temperatures with no cold weather gear. 

The other girls here seem ok; I am slowly starting to warm up to them. I never get too close to anyone right away. I like to step back and observe everyone's personalities before I say much to anyone. Hopefully there won't be too much drama.  This is one of the reasons why I've made it in the military for so long. It's important to keep an equal mix in gender around to keep everyone in check. I'm glad my friend is here with me though; she gets me, understands my need for quiet time and shares an appreciation for makeup, which we have decided we won't be giving up for this deployment.

Part 1 of a 13 part miniseries following the personal memoirs of a TXMF soldier.

447th Air Support Group Change of Command

By: CMSgt Paul Lankford, 5th Air Wing Public Affairs Officer

Posted: 15-JUL-14

Col Thomas (Pre) Ball (left) presents the 447th ASG Guidon to Lt Col Barry Dolgow, new Commander 447th ASG (right), while Lt Col Patrick Cassidy, former commander looks on (center). (Photos by Capt Shawn James)
Col Thomas (Pre) Ball (left) presents the 447th ASG Guidon to Lt Col Barry Dolgow, new Commander 447th ASG (right), while Lt Col Patrick Cassidy, former commander looks on (center). (Photos by Capt Shawn James)

Houston, TX—Col Thomas Ball, 5th Air Wing Commander, conducted a promotion and change of command ceremony at the 447th Air Support Group located at the Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Houston, TX on Saturday July 12th. Col Ball promoted Maj Barry Dolgow to Lieutenant Colonel and then transferred command of the 447th Air Support Group from Lt Col Patrick Cassidy to Lt Col Dolgow. Lt Col Cassidy will be joining the 5th Air Wing staff as the Logistics officer.

Mrs. Dolgow assisted Col Ball in pinning on the new rank on Lt Col Dolgow. Col Ball said, “I’m pleased to promote Maj Dolgow to Lieutenant Colonel. He has had an incredible military career with the Navy as a Navy Flight Officer; he conducted two combat tours in Viet Nam as a F-4 Phantom Radar Intercept Officer, logged over 2,000 flight hours, 400 carrier landings, and completed 99 combat missions. Lt Col Dolgow will be a credit to the Texas State guard and the 447th Air Support Group.

Lt Col Dolgow joined the Texas State Guard over a year ago, and will begin the Command and General Staff College course July 25th at Camp Mabry in Austin, TX.

Lt Col Doglow assumes command of the 447th Air Support Group from Lt Col Patrick M. Cassidy, who served 9 years in the Naval Submarine service. Col Ball explained, “Lt Col Cassidy was assigned as a Missile Technician aboard the USS Michigan and later was an instructor at the Trident Training Facility, Naval Submarine Base, Silverdale, Washington.” Lt Col Cassidy has been a member of the Texas State Guard since June 2000, and supported relief efforts after hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Humberto , Alex, Dean and Gustav.

A House for the Military

Theresa Johnson, Fort Hood Fisher House volunteer, spoke with soldiers assigned to the Joint Force Headquarters, Texas National Guard about the services Fisher Houses around the world offer, in a presentation July 12, 2014 at Camp Mabry in Austin.

Commentary by: Capt. Martha Nigrelle

AUSTIN, Texas – A serious injury or illness often means an extended stay in a hospital with numerous follow up appointments during the recovery period. For many service members this means a lengthy visit in or near a military hospital to receive care from military providers. During this time, loved ones might spend a large sum of money to be there for their service member, or in the worst case scenario, because the cost of hotels and plane fare is too expensive, that service member won’t have a loved one by his or her side.

The Fisher House Foundation was created to help military families during these times. 

Theresa Johnson, Fort Hood Fisher House volunteer, spoke with soldiers assigned to the Joint Force Headquarters, Texas National Guard about the services Fisher Houses around the world offer, in a presentation July 12, 2014 at Camp Mabry in Austin. 

“This training is very important,” said Maj. David Tyler, commander, Joint Force Headquarters, Texas Military Forces. “This is a benefit that a lot of Texas National Guard soldiers don’t know about.”

Johnson told soldiers how she started volunteering at the Fisher House at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, and has since volunteered with a Fisher House in Hawaii and Fort Hood in Texas. 

“It’s like a hotel with no maids,” said Johnson, explaining that the Fisher House is a home available to the loved ones of any military patient being seen at nearby military medical facilities. 

The only requirement for staying at a Fisher House is that the service member being seen must have a military identification card. For the loved ones, Fisher House will never ask to see military orders or a military identification card, making it possible for parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, significant others and friends to stay at the Fisher House.

“I’m glad we had this training,” said Sgt. 1st Class Pablo Martinez, Joint Force Headquarters, Texas Military Forces. “I knew injured people went to Fisher Houses. I didn’t know families could go, too. I think this should be mandatory training for everyone in the military.”

The Fisher House also helps family members purchase plane tickets and pay for hotel rooms, if a Fisher House is unavailable, Johnson said. 
Anyone can donate frequent flyer miles and hotel points to the Fisher House Foundation, and the Foundation then uses those miles and hotel points to pay for family members who need help getting to their loved one. 

“My son got into a car accident that almost took his life,” said Johnson. Following this, the Fisher House Foundation paid for her plane ticket and put her up in a Fisher Home while her son was recovering. "If you have ever donated your frequent flyer miles to Fisher House, I want to thank you. That paid for my plane ticket to see my son when he needed me,” she said.

This year, the Fort Hood Fisher House is organizing a “Fallen Hero Remembrance Run, Walk or Roll 8K” to honor service members who made the ultimate sacrifice. Johnson said her goal is to collect 7,000 combat boots, one for every service member who lost their life since 9/11. Each boot will have a picture attached to it for the service member it represents. These boots will be displayed in a field on Fort Hood during the event Nov. 1, 2014, there. 
“There is no cost. They’ve already paid the price,” said Johnson.

Anyone can participate in the event. The unit that has the most service members participate will receive a bronzed set of combat boots. Johnson is still looking to collect old combat boots. With only about 1,000 collected so far, she has a long way to go.

For members of the Texas Military Forces wishing to donate, Sgt. Brandon Ancar, with Joint Force Headquarters, will be collecting boots for Johnson in the Joint Force Headquarters orderly room in Building 8 on Camp Mabry.

There are 45 Fisher Houses in the United States, seven located right inside of Texas in Dallas, El Paso, Fort Hood, San Antonio and Houston, there are even two Fisher Houses located overseas in Germany and the United Kingdom. According to foundation records, upon completion of each home, the Fisher House Foundation donates the home to the U.S. government as a gift and each home is run as a non-profit organization primarily on donations.

Fisher House is for all service members, National Guard, Reserve or Active, Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine or Coast Guard.

“Fisher House is about being a family,” said Johnson. “I want you to know we are just down the street. We’re there for you.”

For more information on the Fisher House Foundation visit the website at For more information on the Fort Hood Fisher House visit the website or Facebook fort hood fisher house 


Texas State Guard Keeps Citizens Safe During Celebrations

Posted: Friday, July 04, 2014

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Whether you choose to celebrate with a picnic in unfamiliar territory like several UT Austin fans – or take a tour of Independence Hall – there is no shortage of activities for today's Independence Day celebration.
But, for the men and women of the Texas State Guard – they enjoyed celebrating America's birthday all suited up and eager to keep you safe.

“The sense of pride of just being here and being able to serve other fellow Texans within the guard and outside the guard has always been a great thing for me,” said Texas State Guard soldier, Thomas Coleman.

"The Texas State Guard is about Texans serving Texans. We are here to volunteer our time to be able to perform a defense support and civil authorities mission at this commission,” said Texas State Guard soldier, Sgt. Jeff Gore.

Back at the command center – they prepare for today's patriotic mission at Washington on the Brazos Park by first briefing the soldiers before sending them to their assignments.

And it's safe to say – Park Director, Catherine Nolte appreciates their hard work.

"Those folks are absolutely crucial to the success and the pleasure that our visitors can have here,” Nolte said.

While their main mission is to assist during a state emergency, one of their duties this afternoon is just to make sure everyone gets in and out safely and enjoy the holiday without any issues.

As visitors listen in on the tour and others carve wood for the first time, guard members grab their gear and stand their post – all while remembering their own favorite holiday moments.

“I guess it's always been the fireworks – coming out and seeing them and participating in the fireworks,” Coleman added.

If you're in the Washington County area – festivities will last until 9 p.m.

19th Regiment combines Annual Training with North Texas Mass Casualty Exercise 2-2

Spc. Michael Ross, Texas State Guard, left, checks a "victim's"vital signs during a mock aviation disaster at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Dallas, June 6, 2014.
Spc. Michael Ross, Texas State Guard, left, checks a "victim's"vital signs during a mock aviation disaster at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Dallas, June 6, 2014. (Texas State Guard photo by Capt. Esperanza Mesa).

DALLAS -  The Troopers of the Dallas-based  19th Civil Affairs Regiment, Texas State Guard, joined more than a dozen North Texas emergency management agencies in a mass casualty exercise that tested the full-range of the Regiment's mission set.

Operation Thunderbolt, led by the Dallas County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, tested the Regiment's leaders and staffs at every level and provided Troopers unique and challenging training in readiness for this year's hurricane season.

The exercise took place in several communities across North Texas requiring the Regiment to operate simultaneously from numerous locations at the maximum range of its communications capabilities and to move everyday.

“We set out from the beginning to exercise each of our METL tasks in an interagency agency environment on the turf where we’re likely to be employed,” said Col. Robert Hastings, commander of the 19th Regiment. “Every year, our annual training cycle culminates in a hurricane readiness exercise at the beginning of hurricane season.” 

The training scenario revolved around a category 4 hurricane bearing down on the gulf coast triggering evacuations of Texas and Louisiana coastal communities and activation of the Dallas mass sheltering plan. 

It was further complicated by severe weather in North Texas with multiple tornadoes and severe flooding. In addition to thousands of evacuees, the scenario included mass casualties from an airplane crash and a hazardous chemical accident. 

The scenario enabled the Regiment to exercise its emergency response capabilities in communications, mass care, shelter management, evacuee tracking, wide area damage assessment and search and rescue. 

The exercise also contained a number leadership reaction scenarios designed to build teamwork and communication. 

In one scenario, teams conducted wide area damage assessment in Grapevine, following a simulated tornado strike, discovered civilians and another TXSG team trapped in a “collapsed” warehouse – in reality a Grapevine Fire Department rescue training facility. The teams had to rapidly assess the situation, determine a course of action and evacuate and treat the victims as the building “collapsed” around them. 

In another scenario, the Regiment responded to a request for assistance from the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport in Dallas, to help search for missing passengers from a plane crash in a heavily wooded area on the airport. 

“This AT tested both our basic and advanced skills in dealing with different real world scenarios and issues," said Sgt. Samantha Shipman, Civil Affairs team leader, Texas State Guard. "It built our teamwork and communications to a new level and gave us an opportunity to find things to improve on that we may have overlooked in previous AT experiences.” 

As thousands of "displaced citizens" began flooding into Dallas, the Regiment was redirected to the area of Balch Springs, Kaufman and Terrell to establish shelters and process evacuees. As evacuee “role players” streamed in by bus and carload, Troopers quickly established shelters, emergency tracking network stations and medical treatment stations for special needs patients. 

Each of the dozens of role players presented a unique and challenging problem for the shelter teams to deal with. Realism was further driven by injects provided by observer-controllers and civilian emergency management subject matter experts.

“I enjoyed getting the chance to set up and work with the emergency tracking network equipment and though there were some issues, it gave me the chance to practice coming up with a viable solution in real time with people actually waiting,” explained Texas State Guardsman Spc. John Hurst.

The sentiment was echoed by Pvt. Jonathan Miller, a new member of the 19th Regiment, who added that the exercise put all his previous training in context. 

“Having just completed my FEMA and Red Cross training, it allowed me to gain real world perspective and partake in multiple disaster scenarios,” said Miller.

The Regiment’s three battalions were augmented by a detachment from the Texas State Guard Medical Brigade, a signals team from the Texas State Guard Military Auxiliary Radio System Detachment and personnel from the Texas State Guard Maritime Regiment.

"When the citizens of the Texas need assistance, exercises like this ensure we'll be ready. It was an opportunity to prove to ourselves and our emergency management partners that we are in fact prepared to respond," said Hastings.

TXARNG Deputy Chief of Staff Retires

Commentary by: Michelle McBride
Texas Military Forces Public Affairs

Retirement ceremony honoring Col. Timothy M. Smith, deputy chief of staff for the Texas Army National Guard
U.S. Army National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Kenneth Walker/Released

CAMP MABRY, Texas (June 21, 2014) – The Texas Military Forces held a retirement ceremony honoring Col. Timothy M. Smith, deputy chief of staff for the Texas Army National Guard, at Camp Mabry, in Austin June 21, 2014.

Smith received his commission through the ROTC program at Stephen F. Austin State University in 1986 and joined the Texas National Guard in October of 1989. 

“It came down to whether or not this country – its people, its constitution, its freedoms, its heritage and its beauty – is all of that worth defending?” said Smith, when asked about his reasons for joining. “More importantly, is it worth dying for?  I absolutely believe that it is.”

In 2003, Smith was the first Texas Army National Guard Soldier to enter Iraq as part of the liberating force with the 4th Infantry Division. His service includes two combat tours in Iraq as well as assignments in all levels of command including the role of deputy chief of staff for Command, Control, Communications and Computer Operations. 

“I found the culture of military service a very comfortable fit,” said Smith. “The longer I stayed in, the more people I got to know who had experienced the same things I did.  In no other profession can you meet someone for the first time in your life and be able to establish a common frame of reference and rapport based on commonality of past experiences.”

Throughout his career Smith has been awarded, two Bronze Star Medals and five Meritorious Service Medals, but said his greatest accomplishment during his 29 years of service was his tenure as a battalion commander. 

“Leading 480 Soldiers through the preparation for deployment to combat, preparing and transporting $500 million worth of tactical equipment overseas, successfully relieving an active duty battalion in place so they could go home, accomplishing our assigned mission and returning everyone and all the equipment home safely during the period of the nine-year Iraq campaign that saw the most instances of road-side bombs and rocket attacks on coalition forces is, without question, what I consider to be my most significant accomplishment,” said Smith. 

His training includes the U.S. Army Signal Officer Basic and Advanced courses, the U.S. Army Combined Arms and Services Staff School, the U.S. Army Inspector General Course and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff Officer Course. Additionally, Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in radio/TV communications as well as professional certifications as a Certified Information Systems Security Professional and a Project Management Professional. He resides in Georgetown with his wife of 27 years and their 14- year-old daughter. 

“There’s no one thing I can put my finger on that I’ll miss more than anything else,” said Smith. “I think, though, that the hardest part of this transition for me to come to grips with will be not getting to wear the uniform which has been part of my identity for over 29 years.” 


TXNG State Chaplain Retires

Commentary by: Michelle McBride
Texas Military Forces Public Affairs

Col. Combs retirement
U.S. Army National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Kenneth Walker/Released

CAMP MABRY, Texas (June 21, 2014) – Col.  J. Craig Combs, Army Operations Chaplain for Joint Force Headquarters and State Chaplain for the Texas National Guard, celebrated his retirement in a ceremony held at Camp Mabry, in Austin, June 21, 2014. 

With a direct commission as a first lieutenant, Combs took his oath of office as a chaplain in the Texas Army National Guard on June 24, 1988. During his 26 years, he has deployed to Iraq twice and traveled on military operations and training missions to Honduras, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Egypt. 
“I realized one day that I didn’t have to give up my calling to God and I didn’t have to give up my desire to serve my country,” said Combs, “I could do both as a Citizen -Soldier.”
Throughout his career, Combs has served as the division chaplain for the 36th Infantry Division, Texas Army National Guard, as well as the mobilization chaplain for U.S. Army South, among other roles. He has attended the Chaplain Officer Basic Course, Chaplain Officer Career Course, Command and General Staff Course, Chaplain Lieutenant Colonel Course and the U.S. Army War College Fellowship at George Mason University.
Combs holds a Bachelor of Arts in religion from Dallas Baptist University, a master of theology in pastoral ministries from Dallas Theological Seminary and a Ph.D in family education from Texas Tech University. 
“Being able to serve God and Soldiers faithfully in a time of war- the fact that I had the opportunity to get the call and answer it- is the best thing I have been able to do as a Citizen-Soldier,” said Combs.
Combs currently resides in Argyle with his wife of 40 years. Together they have four sons and one daughter.  
“I will miss the Soldiers,” said Combs. “That’s what my job was about- laughing with, crying with and serving with these men and women in uniform.”

Texas National Guard kids make connections at Young Heroes Camp

Story by 2nd Lt. Alicia Lacy

BROWNWOOD, Texas - A little rain never hurt, and it most certainly did not kill their groove or dampen their moods.

Temporarily packed in a stuffed auditorium, about four dozen kids took a pause from the outdoor activities due to a sudden downpour, but the rain did not discourage them or end their fun. 
Music blasted on the speakers and they all hit the floor, showing off the new moves they’ve learned days before.

They were no longer strangers, but friends who only needed a little bit of music, but primarily just each other to have a good time.

To officially kick off summer, 106 Texas Air and Army National Guard kids swarmed the 78-acre conference and retreat center at Lake Brownwood for the annual, weeklong Young Heroes camp June 9-13, 2014.

Nearing the end of their stay at the camp, the kids were restless and eager to jump into the next activity with their new friends, some coming out of their shells and engaging with each other and camp staff. 

Though organizers packed the weeklong schedule with dancing, singing, hiking, shooting, zip-lining, swimming, and a flood of other activities that included a talent show and color run, the real message was to let parents and kids know that there is a support system available through the Texas Military Forces Family Support Services. 

However, the biggest takeaway is for the kids to form camaraderie among each other and build confidence, said Robert Hankins, the lead child and youth coordinator with TXMF FSS.

“[This is for] kids who have gone through, are going through or will go through a deployment or any military situation,” Hankins said. “[Annual Training] throws a lot of kids off, but here they can share, figure it out, and link together with other kids, and they learn that they’re not alone.”

Campers learned information pertaining to child and youth services available that they can take home to their parents, as well as a better understanding of the word “brat.”

Army brat and Air Force brat are terms often used to describe military dependents; however, Hankins put a twist on the old expression and formed an acronym to mean brave, responsible, adapt/attitude, and tough/terrific/tenacious.

He urged all campers to be proud of their service member and to be brave, responsible, adaptable with a good attitude, tough, terrific and tenacious.

Bailey Wehrman, 11, of Dallas, said she made many friends at the camp.

“It was fun and it’s a good experience,” said Wehrman, whose dad serves in the Air National Guard.

Alysa Touchett, 11, of Pflugerville, and daughter of a Texas Army National Guard member echoed those sentiments, telling participants to just “have fun.” 

For many of the kids, they’ve had very little contact with other Texas National Guard kids and families and have also experienced several mobilizations of their parent or parents.

“We want them to establish camaraderie by breaking the routing and bringing the parents together,” Hankins said. “With Guard kids, there may be another Guard family four blocks down the street and they don’t know.”

The kids ranged in age from about 9-years-old to 13-years-old, who were entering the fourth through the ninth grades. Each attended the camp at no cost thanks to the Army National Guard, the National Guard Association of Texas and the State Family Program.

This camp is not the only program offered by the TXMF Child and Youth program. The program offers events and programs geared toward TXMF children ages six through 18 throughout the year.
“It’s all about serving the kids,” Hankins said.

For more information on TXMF Child and Youth programs, call 512-782-1231 or visit