Gov. Perry Appoints Brigadier General Betty as Commander of Texas State Guard

Posted: 20-AUG-14

Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Brigadier General Gerald "Jake" Betty as Commander of the Texas State Guard effective Sept. 1, 2014 for a term to expire at the pleasure of the governor. The commander of the Texas State Guard is responsible for the organization, training and administration of the Texas State Guard, and reports to the Texas Adjutant General.

Betty is Brigadier General of the Texas State Guard Army Component Command. He is a member of the American Legion, Association of Former Students of Texas A&M, Corps of Cadets Association and the Association of Former Yell Leaders. He served in the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve.

Betty received a bachelor's degree and master's degree in education administration from Texas A&M University.

2BN, 8th Regiment Changing of Command and Enlistment Promotions

Posted: 19-AUG-2014

MAJ Britton presents LTC Krueger with the Cavalry Saber from the 2nd Bn. Photographed by SPC Hays, 2nd Bn., 8th Regt. 16 AUG 2014
MAJ Britton presents LTC Krueger with the Cavalry Saber from the 2nd Bn. Photographed by SPC Hays, 2nd Bn., 8th Regt. 16 AUG 2014

It was already turning out to be a warm and humid Saturday even in the early hour of only seven-thirty in the morning. After pulling into the parking lot at the Bryan Armory several soldiers from Second Battalion were greeting each-other with warm handshakes and friendly banter. A steady stream of soldiers continued to arrive and, now numbering in the dozens, file into the classrooms inside the armory for company time. Once there the battalion companies briefly split into separate groups to review the process for the Second Battalion change of command ceremony and the promotion of four of the battalions enlisted personnel. After briefing the personnel verbally the companies rehearsed the Drill and Ceremony movements and functions before the ceremony itself took place in the vehicle bay of the armory.

The first round of ceremonies consisted of the promotion of four enlisted personnel in the Second Battalion from within Company A, and in the Second Battalion staff. Sergeant Gore, the Second Battalion S3 NCO, was promoted to Staff Sergeant, and Specialist Zelaya of Company A was promoted to Sergeant, and Privates First Class Manning and Hall, also of Company A, were promoted to Corporal and Specialist respectively. These enlisted men of the Second Battalion have demonstrated the dedication and competency of leadership necessary to be entrusted with greater responsibility and recognition deserving of promotion within the ranks. We look forward to their promising careers within the Texas State Guard and the Second Battalion.

Alas, all good things must come to an end, and the ceremony of the change of command of the Second Battalion resulted in the prestigious promotion of responsibility for one Major (MAJ) Britton to the role of commanding officer of the battalion, and the bittersweet loss of the outgoing commander of Second Battalion: Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Krueger. LTC Krueger, having inherited the Second Battalion from LTC Manning upon his retirement, set about creating the framework for a more consistent and quality focused training scheme for the soldiers of the Second Battalion. After working tirelessly with the Second Battalion for several years LTC Krueger has helped bring about many changes and improvements to the organization, efficiency, and quality of the personnel and training drills conducted by the Second Battalion.

As testament to LTC Krueger’s humility and exemplary leadership while in command he stressed in his farewell speech that his successes are not his own, but a result of the collective effort of each and every soldier in the unit. Each drill that saw an increase in the number of attending soldiers, every successful training mission undertaken by the unit, and the exemplary professionalism displayed at every Annual Training exercise is as much a reflection of the discipline of the men and women of the rank-and-file of Second Battalion as it is the quality of leadership from Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers alike. With Colonel Grantham, the Commanding Officer of the Eighth Regiment, presiding over the change of command, and with General Jake Betty in attendance, the mantle of responsibility for Second Battalion was passed to MAJ Britton.

Incoming commander of the Second Battalion, MAJ Britton, gave a short speech emphasizing that he will continue to build on the success of those before him, and presented the outgoing commander with a parting gift from the soldiers of the unit: A Cavalry Saber etched with the insignia of the Eighth Regiment shield, and the words “Texas State Guard” with a wooden display stand and an attached plaque inscribed with the name of LTC Krueger, the date and the purpose of the occasion for which it was presented. In the closing statements of the ceremony MAJ Britton wished LTC Krueger the best in his endeavors as he transfers to Texas State Guard Command Headquarters to continue doing greater and better things for the TXSG. LTC Krueger, we soldiers of the Second Battalion thank you for your dedication to us and for your service rendered thus far to our great State of Texas. You shall be sorely missed.

Memoirs from a Deployment

Memoirs from a Deployment

3/29

I never meant to join the Army. 

I was nineteen and stuck in a volatile marriage to my high school sweetheart who had just finished the Special Forces Qualification Course the year before. By our one year anniversary our fights were getting worse every day and I knew something had to change. So I enlisted and two weeks later I shipped off to basic training, followed by language school at the Defense Language Institute. I didn't tell my husband what I had done until the contract was signed.

I graduated from the Basic Korean course in July of 2002. By January of 2003 I was arriving to my duty station at Fort Campbell. During the two years of language school my husband and I fought constantly, but decided to give our marriage one more chance.  Then war was declared on Iraq. So my husband left for Kuwait a mere three weeks after I arrived at Ft Campbell. Six weeks later, I would follow him.

Preparing for the Iraq deployment was difficult. I was essentially a brand new soldier who had been issued mounds of equipment that I had no idea what to do with. I was also extremely broke, and had developed some questionable means to make it to the next payday. I was the queen of floating checks and lived on peanut butter and jelly. I didn't get to buy any of the "cool guy" Army gear but made do with what I was issued. The day before we left, I patched up a busted out window in our rented house with newspaper and duct tape.

A few months into my deployment I received a message that my husband was sick and was sent back to the states on emergency leave. His prognosis was extremely poor. His family took over his care, and persuaded me to sign over legal guardianship since I was so young, only twenty two. I never returned to Iraq, which was always an internal struggle for me; I hated leaving my team who had become my family in a short time but my husband had only been given six months to live.

His parents kept him alive in a persistent vegetative state for five years, with the help of feeding tubes, supplemental oxygen, and other great advances in modern medicine. During this time I decided that the enlisted life wasn't for me. I got selected for a Green to Gold scholarship and went to college, where I got a BSN. I had become pretty good at providing care, so why not get a degree in that? 

My husband passed away during my senior year of college. Shortly after, I graduated and commissioned as a 2nd Lt.  in the Army Nurse Corps. I changed my name back to my maiden name and moved. I thought that if I changed everything about myself, I could erase the past from my memory. It doesn't really work that way, especially since I became a nurse.

I've been a nurse at a military medical center since the fall of 2009. I initially worked caring for the wounded warriors. It was incredibly rewarding and emotionally taxing at the same time, and after a couple of years, I was ready for a change. 

Preparing for this deployment has been a complete 180 from the Iraq deployment ten years ago. I was able to afford cooler gear such as new Oakleys, as well as a spa day the week before I left. The girl who wrote hot checks to pay the light bill is a distant figure in the past.

The week before I left, I was invited to a function at the White House as a guest of a good friend, for Women's History Month. It was a cold, wet Monday afternoon in March. All of my nice clothing had been packed away in storage with the rest of my apartment, to include my umbrella. I was wearing the best outfit I could scrounge up and looked like a drowned rat next to all of the other women in their beautiful dresses and elegant coats. I almost turned around to leave, not wanting to embarrass anyone when it finally dawned on me. I am a female soldier going to Afghanistan to serve my country. I may not look my best, but that's OK.

Part 2 of a 13 part miniseries following the personal memoirs of a TXMF soldier

Governor Perry tasked us to increase our support

Photo of MG John F. NicholsJuly 21,2014 - Today, Governor Perry tasked us to increase our support to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Operation Strong Safety. The Texas National Guard will work in full support of this state-led border security surge operation to deter criminal activity along the Texas-Mexico border.  Within the next 30 days we will send additional forces to the border who will act as force multipliers for the state.  

We are not strangers to this mission.  Our forces will enhance security efforts by amplifying the visible presence on the ground and along the river; working alongside commissioned law enforcement officers to detect and prevent criminals from infiltrating through the international border, and helping to ensure the safety of our fellow Texans.  We have performed similar roles in support of various state and federal operations along the border since 2006.  To our Texas Guardsmen already engaged in border support missions, thank you for your selfless service and dedication to this important effort.

To those whom we will send, the state and nation once again need you.  In times of crisis, our civilian leaders call upon us without hesitation.  For many, I know this is not the first call; you’ve been called in the past to serve our state and nation.  Now the Governor of Texas is calling you to help secure our homeland.  Times of great need are why we wear the uniform and serve.  Times like these are why the Texas Guard exists.   

The citizens of Texas continue to honor us with their absolute trust and confidence.  They do so because they understand what I see every day:  you stand ready and willing to serve, whatever the call may be.  And I couldn’t be more proud of you.

This is a critical moment in our state and nation.  I’m thankful that at moments like this, Texas can rely on you for its safety and security.  Texas Strong!    

 

//Signed//

John F. Nichols
MAJOR General, TXANG
Adjutant General

 

 

 Letter from the Adjutant General

Texas State Guardsmen jumps into action!

Photo of the burning motorcycle.

By: LTC Cendy Antley, 2nd Regiment

Posted: 18-JUL-14

We all know Texas State Guard members are people who give of themselves selflessly to the citizens of the state of Texas.  Saturday, July 16, 2014 was no different.  On Interstate 35 South at Waco, CPL Michael Dunlap witnessed what few would ever want to see in their lifetime.

At approximately 5:45 p.m. CPL Dunlap was driving home to Austin when he witnessed a motorcycle in the right hand lane, on its side, on fire, with the driver lying in the lane not moving.  Fuel was running down the overpass on fire.  Without hesitation, CPL Dunlap stopped his car, checked to make sure the scene was safe, and pulled the driver of the motorcycle to safety with the assistance of a truck driver.

The motorcycle driver was conscious and answer pertinent questions posed by the CPL.  While no one Texas State Guard member expects to put their life on the line to save a stranger, we are very proud of CPL Michael Dunlap as he exemplifies what a State Guardsman is made of. CPL Michael Dunlap is the true grit of a Texas State Guard.  Bravo Zulu.

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 www.fisherhouse.org. For more information on the Fort Hood Fisher House visit the website www.crdamc.amedd.army.mil/fisher/ or Facebook fort hood fisher house