Dement Named TXARNG Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel

Lt. Col. Darrell W. DementCAMP MABRY, Texas - The Adjutant General is pleased to announce Lt. Col. (Promotable) Darrell W. Dement of Cedar Park will assume duties as the Texas Army National Guard Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel (G1), effective Feb. 15, 2013. He replaces retiring Col. Ron McLaurin.

Dement, a Gulf War and Iraq War Veteran, will be the principal staff officer responsible for oversight and control over all matters concerning human resource management within the Texas Army National Guard. He previously served as the Director for Plans & Policy (J5) for the Joint Force Headquarters, Texas Military Forces.

TXMF Supports Chris Kyle’s Funeral in Austin

CAMP MABRY, Texas - The Texas Military Forces is honored to have provided a chaplain, a seven-person rifle detail and a flyover by two F-16 Fighting Falcons in support of the funeral for Christopher Scott “Chris” Kyle (Apr. 8, 1974 - Feb. 2, 2013), a retired U.S. Navy chief petty officer and former Navy SEAL, at the Texas State Cemetery, in Austin, today.

Kyle, a native Texan and Iraq War Veteran, was dubbed the “Devil of Ramadi” by Iraqi insurgents, and has been credited with more than 150 confirmed kills by the Department of Defense, which makes him the most lethal sniper in American military history.

Texas Guard opens ranks to Special Operations Detachment

Story By: Capt. Adam Musil

Posted: February 11, 2013

Sgt. Michael Vanpool Texas Guard Special Forces and Airborne Soldiers ready themselves aboard a CH-47 Chinook just prior to a deliberate water airborne drop into Walter E. long Lake. (Photo by Spc. Michael Vanpool, 36th Infantry Division, Public Affairs)
Sgt. Michael Vanpool
Texas Guard Special Forces and Airborne Soldiers ready themselves aboard a CH-47 Chinook just prior to a deliberate water airborne drop into Walter E. long Lake. (Photo by Spc. Michael Vanpool, 36th Infantry Division, Public Affairs)

AUSTIN, Texas - Continuing its mission to remain adaptable and deployable for contingency operations around the world, the Texas Army National Guard has opened its ranks to what will be one of its most diverse and unique units, Special Operations Detachment-Africa.

“It’s an exciting time for Texas Special Forces as we add the Special Operations Detachment to our [Texas National Guard] current Special Forces structure,” said Lt. Col. Doug O’Connell, SOD-A detachment commander. “The addition of the SOD-A coupled with the two SF Companies currently in place and a theater Special Forces Support Company means Texas now has the ability to support worldwide missions.” 

Lt. Col. O’Connell and his staff have spent the better part of the last two years working to establish the SOD-Africa unit in the Texas Army National Guard, an organization traditionally comprised of standard infantry, artillery, and cavalry units. The new unit officially joined the ranks of the Texas Army National Guard in October 2012 and will directly support the Special Operations Command-Africa, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. When not serving on active duty, SOD-A will provide specialized capabilities to the governor and adjutant general for homeland security operations.

"The members of the SOD-A bring with them an unprecedented wealth of regional and special operations backgrounds,” said Capt. Dan Edwards, SOD-A team member. “As we close in on 100 percent strength, the civilian, academic, and special forces operational experience of our staff is quite impressive."

Despite a geographical orientation to Africa, SOD-A has the ability to deploy anywhere in the world. SOD-Africa is one of eight National Guard Special Operations Detachments, all of which currently rotate to Afghanistan to conduct Special Operations missions.

Texas Air Guard joins annual 'Best Warrior Competition'

Air Force Staff Sgt. Jose Veliz, a member of the Texas Air National Guard's 149th Security Forces Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio - Lackland, attempts to negotiate an obstacle during the Texas Military Forces' Best Warrior Competition at Camp Swift, near Bastrop, Texas, Feb. 9, 2013.
Air Force Staff Sgt. Jose Veliz, a member of the Texas Air National Guard's 149th Security Forces Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio - Lackland, attempts to negotiate an obstacle during the Texas Military Forces' Best Warrior Competition at Camp Swift, near Bastrop, Texas, Feb. 9, 2013. Veliz is one of the first Texas Air National Guard members to participate in the event as a competitor. (National Guard photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Phil Fountain / Released)

Story by: Staff Sgt. Phil Fountain

 CAMP SWIFT, Texas – The Texas Military Forces hosted the first joint-service “Best Warrior Competition” at the Texas  Army National Guard’s Camp Swift, near Bastrop, Texas, Feb. 8-10.

 The three-day long competition consisted of numerous events to challenge the Army and Air Guard participants –  physically and mentally, said Command Chief Master Sgt. Kevin O’Gorman, with the Texas Air National Guard’s  headquarters at Camp Mabry, in Austin.

 In recent years, senior leaders have been laying the groundwork for this event to be a joint-service competition, but care  has been taken “to ensure it was going to be compatible, a level-playing field,” said O’Gorman.

 “For the past two years, we’ve had some of our command chiefs sit on the boards,” O’Gorman said. “This year, we’re  fully integrated. We ensured they are in the cadre, and we have eight [Air Guard] competitors running.”

 Chief Master Sgt. Denise Jelinski-Hall, senior enlisted adviser to the chief of the National Guard Bureau, located at the  Pentagon in Arlington, Va., was on-hand to view the joint-service activities.

 “One of the many benefits that I’m seeing is soldiers and airmen competing side-by-side, getting to know one another,”  said Jelinski-Hall. “This is important, so when there’s a state natural disaster, a flood, fire or a tornado, they already  know each other.”

 The competition’s challenges included: a 6-mile road march; an obstacle course; the use of combat arms; a land  navigation exercise; proficiency in various warrior tasks; writing an essay; and appearing before a board that reviewed  their personal appearance, military bearing and knowledge.

O’Gorman said the Air Guard members came from “all different backgrounds and specialties.”

“So far, we’ve seen some great competitiveness,” O’Gorman said. “We’ve also started seeing the camaraderie that we knew would foster out of this event. We’re all one.”

The Texas Air Guard chief’s assessment was affirmed by an Army Guard participant.

The joint-service nature “benefits the competitors, because you all come along together,” said Spc. Cynthia Chavez, a member of the Texas Army National Guard’s 949th Brigade Support Battalion in El Paso. “I’ve learned a lot from the Air Force that I did not know – we’re all ‘one fight, one team.’ It’s motivating.”

O’Gorman said he sees the joint-service training continuing to build in the future.

“This is what we want to do, this is more of what we want to showcase in our state,” O’Gorman said. “It’s the Texas Military Forces theme, that we’re all one in the uniform.”

Senior NGB enlisted chief visits Texas Guardsmen, views joint-service competition

Chief Master Sgt. Denise Jelinski-Hall, senior enlisted adviser to the chief of the National Guard Bureau, watches a member of the Texas Air National Guard demonstrate the disassembly process for a M249 Squad Automatic Weapon at Camp Swift, near Bastrop, Texas, Feb. 9, 2013.
Chief Master Sgt. Denise Jelinski-Hall, senior enlisted adviser to the chief of the National Guard Bureau, watches a member of the Texas Air National Guard demonstrate the disassembly process for a M249 Squad Automatic Weapon at Camp Swift, near Bastrop, Texas, Feb. 9, 2013. Jelinski-Hall was attending the Texas Military Forces Best Warrior Competition, which included participants from the Texas Army and Air National Guards. (National Guard photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Phil Fountain / Released)
  Story by: Staff Sgt. Phil Fountain
 
 CAMP SWIFT, Texas – The senior enlisted adviser to the chief of the National Guard Bureau, located at the Pentagon in  Arlington, Va., visited with soldiers and airmen of the Texas Military Forces during an official visit to the state, Feb. 8-9.

 Chief Master Sgt. Denise Jelinski-Hall, a Minnesota native and previous Hawaii National Guard senior enlisted leader,  spent two-days viewing the Texas Military Forces’ joint-service “Best Warrior Competition,” which took place at the Texas  Army National Guard’s Camp Swift, near Bastrop, Texas.

 Enlisted members of the Texas Army and Air National Guard participated in a three-daylong event, where they were  required to negotiate physical and mental challenges, said Command Sgt. Major Bradley C. Brandt, senior enlisted  adviser for the Texas Military Forces.

 “This year, we have the Air Guard integrated with the Army Guard doing this competition,” Brandt said. “We have eight Air  Guardsmen, 20 Army Guardsmen out here doing various events. It’s just a great competition all together, good  camaraderie going around and good morale.”

 Challenges included: a six-mile road march, an obstacle course, the use of combat arms, a land navigation exercise,  proficiency in various warrior tasks, writing an essay and appearing before a board that reviewed their personal  appearance, military bearing and knowledge.

 “One of the many benefits that I’m seeing is soldiers and airmen competing side-by-side, getting to know one another,”  said Jelinski-Hall. “This is important, so when there’s a state natural disaster, a flood, fire or a tornado, they already  know each other.”

 In addition to watching the activities, Jelinski-Hall said she enjoys visiting with soldiers and airmen in the states and  providing feedback to Army Gen. Frank Grass, chief of the National Guard Bureau and member of the Joint Chiefs of  Staff.

 “It gives me the opportunity to get a pulse check at the individual soldier and airmen level and share their feedback with  senior leadership,” Jelinski-Hall said. “Each state has different successes and challenges.”

 She said leaders at all levels should be proactive in getting to know their fellow service members. They need to know what resources are available to help them, whether on-duty or in their private life.

“We need to ensure that we’re doing all we can to let the soldiers, airmen and families know that we care about them,” Jelinski-Hall said. “No matter what the challenge might be, the National Guard has a tool or resource to assist. We need to encourage them to come forward, so we can help them be successful in all aspects of their life.”

4th and 19th Regiments Sharpen Skills in Major Training Exercise

Story by: CPT Esperanza Meza, PAO, 19th Regiment and CW2 Janet Schmelzer, PAO, 4th Regiment

2013/02/08

“Training side-by-side with the 19th, our sister regiment in Dallas, and the DFW Medical Group is something we've needed to do for quite a while,” COL Howard N. Palmer, Jr., commander of the 4th Regiment, observed. “It gives us the opportunity to trade best practices, standardize our operations, and to develop professional relationships with the soldiers with whom we may serve in the future. When we are called to state active duty, the training partnership we have now will translate into better service to the citizens of Texas. That's what we're all about.”PFC Rachel Carmickle, 4th Civil Affairs Regiment, rappels from a climbing tower at the Tarleton Challenge Course during the joint exercise of the 4th and 19th Civil Affairs Regiments at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, on January 11-13, 2013.Photo by PFC Ryan Stephens, TXSG STEPHENVILLE, Texas-- A total of 175 soldiers from the Texas State Guard (TXSG) 4th and 19th Civil Affairs Regiments participated in a joint exercise and training at Tarleton State University (TSU) and Stephenville, Texas, on January 11-13, 2013, as if they were being deployed for a tornado. As part of the joint exercise, the DFW Medical Response Group, TXSG Medical Brigade, provided medical support.

PFC Rachel Carmickle, 4th Civil Affairs Regiment, rappels from a climbing tower at the Tarleton Challenge Course during the joint exercise of the 4th and 19th Civil Affairs Regiments at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, on January 11-13, 2013.Photo by PFC Ryan Stephens, TXSG
PFC Rachel Carmickle, 4th Civil Affairs Regiment, rappels from a climbing tower at the Tarleton Challenge Course during the joint exercise of the 4th and 19th Civil Affairs Regiments at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, on January 11-13, 2013.Photo by PFC Ryan Stephens, TXSG

COL Robert Hastings, commander of 19th Regiment, viewed the weekend as “a multi-faceted exercise that accomplished a number of goals, all directly supporting our mission and Mission Essential Tasks (METL). The ropes and water safety training was intended to build self-confidence and camaraderie. When people accomplish things that they think are impossible, they grow the self-confidence to take on even more difficult tasks.”

The first training mission was to conduct Wide Area Damage Assessment on the TSU campus and in areas of Stephenville including downtown, two city parks, and the local high school. Twenty-five TXSG teams were sent out into target areas to find articles which represented people, clothing, downed electrical lines, and other hazards caused by the tornado. When hazards and persons were located, each team called in the GPS coordinates to the Tactical Operation Center (TOC).

The next day with gusting winds, 26-degree wind chill, and cloudy skies, soldiers braved winter weather to conduct a Search and Rescue mission near Stephenville at the Hunewell Ranch, a 1200-acre area covered with wooded thickets, scrub brush and bottom land. The mission was to find Boy Scouts who had gotten lost during the tornado.

MAJ Wendell Sadler, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 4th Regiment, planned the entire weekend of training. SSG Richard Schilling, Assistant S3, 4th Regiment, along with QRT soldiers from both regiments, set up the high value items, such as rocks, ribbons, campfires, clothing, trash bags, and water bottles, so that the soldiers could track the boys. Both regiments set up separate, fully-operational TOCs on the ranch under very sparse conditions, with the 4th Regiment in an old metal barn with a tractor and the 19th Regiment in an empty storage POD.

During the weekend, soldiers also participated in Water Survival training at the TSU pool. With the TSU ROTC assessing each survival technique, TXSG troops trained to tread water for 5 minutes, remove Load Bearing Equipment before surfacing, and utilize their ACU trousers as flotation devices. On the TSU Challenge Course, soldiers practiced problem solving, team building, and communication skills on both high and low ropes activities.

Several dignitaries participated with the regiments during the weekend. In attendance were TXSG Chief of Staff BG Charles Miller, Stephenville Mayor Kenny Weldon (U.S. Air Force Colonel, retired), Stephenville Fire Chief Jimmy Chew, Tarleton State University President Dr. F. Dominic Dottavio, Robert Comacho (Ombudsman for Congressman Roger Williams, Texas 25th Congressional District), and Donnie Bryant, embedded reporter for the Stephenville Empire-Tribune.

Gov. Perry Reappoints Nichols as Adjutant General of Texas

Gov. Rick Perry has reappointed Major Gen. John F. Nichols of Spring Branch as Adjutant General of Texas for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2015. The adjutant general is commander of the Texas Military Forces, and subordinate only to the governor in matters pertaining to the Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air National Guard and Texas State Guard." 

Gov. Perry Activates State Resources as Winter Storm Threatens Texas Panhandle

"Gov. Rick Perry has activated Texas Military Forces (TXMF) personnel and equipment as a severe winter storm threatens communities in the Texas Panhandle. These resources will be used to provide assistance as necessary on roadways as the storm makes its way across the region." (Click title for the complete release from the Office of the Governor)

Texas Air Guardsman returns as NGB vice chief, learns Army Guard operations

Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, vice chief of the National Guard Bureau, receives training from Sgt. 1st Class Kyle York, a member of the Texas Army National Guard, on a M249 Squad Automatic Weapon during a visit to Camp Swift, near Bastrop, Texas, Jan. 23, 2013.
Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, vice chief of the National Guard Bureau, receives training from Sgt. 1st Class Kyle York, a member of the Texas Army National Guard, on a M249 Squad Automatic Weapon during a visit to Camp Swift, near Bastrop, Texas, Jan. 23, 2013. Lengyel is visiting Texas to learn more about Army operations. (National Guard Photo by Staff Sgt. Phil Fountain/Released)
 Story by: Staff Sgt. Phil Fountain
 
 CAMP MABRY, Texas - The vice chief of the National Guard Bureau toured several Texas Army National Guard facilities  during an official visit to the state, Jan. 21-24.

 Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, of San Antonio, a member of the Texas Air National Guard, returned to the Lone Star State as  the second-in-command at the U.S. National Guard's headquarters, located in Arlington, Va., to learn more about Army  National Guard operations.

 Lengyel, a command pilot with more than 3,000 flying hours, mostly in the F-16 Fighting Falcon, began his military career  after completing the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at North Texas State University (now the University of North  Texas), in Denton.

 His Texas Air National Guard experience includes previous leadership positions at the 149th Fighter Wing,  headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio - Lackland.

 His current position, Vice Chief, National Guard Bureau, was created in 2012, when the position of Chief, National Guard  Bureau, was included as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lengyel said.

 "We're going through the process of informing everybody about the new position of vice chief and what it does," Lengyel said. "We're trying to put the lanes in the road on where it is I can best support the chief, in his new role on the JCS."

Lengyel said that he has been empowered to run the day-to-day operations of the National Guard Bureau, on behalf of the chief. This frees up the chief, Army Gen. Frank J. Grass, to work more at the strategic level.

"Part of my portfolio is the process of the administration of all the people and the resources that are in the NGB," Lengyel said. "I'm working closely with the directors of the Army Guard and the Air Guard, to make sure we have a synchronized National Guard Bureau effort."

The three-star general officer said he is adjusting to his new role in the joint-service environment.

"Although we're one National Guard, we have an 'Army Way' and an 'Air Way,'" he said. "It's important that I understand both."

During the four-day visit to Central Texas, Lengyel was briefed on the state's joint domestic operations capabilities and the Texas Army National Guard's 36th Infantry Division, headquartered here, and its subordinate units. Additionally, he visited two armories, one in Round Rock and another in Taylor, facilities at Camp Swift, in Bastrop, and the Austin-Bergstrom Flight Facility, in Austin.

"We're honored that Lt. Gen. Lengyel came to Texas to review Army Guard operations," said Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, The Adjutant General of Texas. "It's always great to be able to showcase the capabilities and relevance the Texas Military Forces provide to the state and nation."

"There will be ongoing conversations," Nichols said. "I'm proud to have worked with him here in Texas, and look forward to continuing our relationship in his new role."

Throughout his orientations, the vice chief viewed diverse types of Army Guard units, and saw how they can operate in wartime and homeland defense missions.

"It's great to be back in Texas. I'm honored to serve in Washington, but it sure is good to come home," Lengyel said.