Texas State Guard Deploying for Annual Training

Texas State Guard Deploying for Annual Training
MAJ Michael Quinn Sullivan, PAO, TXSG
2012/06/21
BROWNWOOD, Texas – Beginning Thursday, June 21, members of the Texas State Guard will participate in annual training exercises at Camp Bowie ahead of the hurricane and wild-fire seasons. Units from around the state will take part in a simulated disaster, ensuring the TXSG is ready to provide relief services as requested by the state’s civil authorities.

“Annual training this year will focus on ensuring our units are ready to offer support services in response to a civil disaster,” said Maj. Gen. Raymond Peters, commanding general of the TXSG. “Entering hurricane season, Texans expect the Texas State Guard to be trained and ready to go when called, as we done so many times in recent years. Our motto is ‘Texans serving Texans,’ and annual training makes sure we’re able to do just that.”

Guardsmen from the Army and Air components will each spend four days at Camp Bowie, a Texas Military Forces training center located in west central Texas near the cities of Brownwood and Early. Training activities planned for TXSG personnel include the Texas Emergency Tracking Network (TETN), the National Incident Management System, mass care operations, wide area damage assessment, global positioning system operations, first aid, land navigation, radio communications and command post operations among other activities.

Annual training takes part in two iterations, June 21-24 and June 28-July 1, with roughly half of the TXSG participating in each session. The units also drill monthly at armories around the state.

The TXSG’s Maritime Regiment conducted annual training last month at Camp Swift near Bastrop.

More than two-thirds of the TXSG’s soldiers serve in the Army Component, and those men and women will therefore make up the bulk of the force participating in training.

“Our TXSG soldiers are true volunteers who take time from their jobs and families to train and serve,” said Brig. Gen. Manuel “Tony” Rodriguez, the Army Component commander. “These men and women train year-round, without pay and providing their own equipment, to successfully accomplish whatever missions they’re given. With the tremendous support of our families, neighbors and employers, the state guard can be ready to move.”

In recent years the TXSG has been called to active duty for nine hurricanes (Katrina, Rita, Dean, Humberto, Dolly, Eduard, Gustav, Ike, and Alex), severe flooding in Marble Falls in 2007, and the 2011 wildfires in central Texas. TXSG is also the lead military component for Operation Lone Star in the Rio Grande Valley, the state’s largest annual medical emergency preparedness mission.

The Texas State Guard is one of three branches of the Texas Military Forces (TXMF), operating under the command of the Adjutant General of Texas and the Governor as Commander-in-Chief of all state military forces. The TXMF includes the Texas Army National Guard and the Texas Air National Guard.

The mission of the Texas State Guard (TXSG) is to provide mission-ready military forces to assist state and local authorities in times of state emergencies; to conduct homeland security and community service activities under the umbrella of Defense Support to Civil Authorities; and to augment the Texas Army National Guard and Texas Air National Guard as required.

Headquartered at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, the TXSG functions as an organized state militia under the authority of Title 32 of the U.S. Code and Chapter 431 of the Texas Government Code.

Texas Military Forces demonstrates strength at State Response Activation Exercise

Texas Governor Rick Perry visits with Senior Master Sgt. Jonathan Karlin of Joint Force Headquarters J6, Friday, June 1, 2012 during the Texas Department of Emergency Management State Response Activation Exercise at the South Terminal of Austin Bergstrom International Airport. The Texas Military Forces was just one of the many state agencies and partners showcasing their capabilities to the Governor and other statewide leaders in preparation of the 2012 Hurricane Season.
Texas Governor Rick Perry visits with Senior Master Sgt. Jonathan Karlin of Joint Force Headquarters J6, Friday, June 1, 2012 during the Texas Department of Emergency Management State Response Activation Exercise at the South Terminal of Austin Bergstrom International Airport. The Texas Military Forces was just one of the many state agencies and partners showcasing their capabilities to the Governor and other statewide leaders in preparation of the 2012 Hurricane Season.

 

 Story by Laura Lopez

 AUSTIN, Texas - As the official first day of the Atlantic Hurricane Season kicked off on Friday, June 1, 2012, members of  the Texas Military Forces participated in the Texas Division of Emergency Management State Response Activation  Exercise and Showcase at the South Terminal of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Austin, Texas. 

 “This is critical. A lot of the state agencies don’t often get a chance to work together,” said Lt. Col. Peyton Randolph,  Operations Officers, 2nd Reg., Texas State Guard. “You’ll see on the terminal ramp they are all integrating their  communication and emergency operations and actually getting to know each other and work together before the  emergency happens.”

 An exercise designed to increase public awareness, identify agency capabilities and assets, improve resource and interagency familiarization, as well as identify space utilization for base camp operations, Texas Governor Rick Perry joined Chief Nim Kidd, Assistant Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety and Chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management for a tour and briefing of the various agencies and equipment. With Perry proclaiming May 27- June 2, 2012 as Hurricane Preparedness Week in Texas, it was during his speech that he encouraged all Texans to prepare for an emergency or disaster.

“We are blessed to be coming off a relatively quiet hurricane season,” said Perry “[However], we know that its not a matter of if another major hurricane is going to hit us, it’s a matter of when.”

Members of the Texas State Guard viewed the exercise as an opportunity to employ the Texas Emergency Tracking Network; a State-directed evacuee and resource tracking system for emergency response operations that uses Radio Frequency Identification. Through the use of bar-coded wristbands and tags, the State Guard can monitor evacuees and his or her belongings from the time of their enrollment at transportation hubs through their sheltering and the return home, helping to keep families together and easily reconnect if separated. 

“It’s exercises like this that allow us to be able to handle what is going to be thrown in our path, whether it be a natural disaster or a man-made disaster,” said Kidd.

A common fixture in the skies, throughout the state, during the massive wildfire season of 2011, the Texas Army National Guard displayed a variety of different helicopters that included the UH-60 Black Hawk, CH-47 Chinook and UH-72 Lakota. Other equipment and personnel partaking in the showcase allowed the Army National Guard to highlight some of its communications capabilities and other specialized emergency resources.

One of eight C-130 Hercules aircraft owned by the Texas Air National Guard was on display at the showcase and has worked over 110 hurricane support missions coordinating movement of over 540 tons of cargo and over 870 passengers since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“Having the ability to move patients and ambulatory individuals very quickly can only be done by those aircraft [referring to the C-130 Hercules in his background] and having them right here in the state of Texas, which is where the vast majority of naturals disasters with broad impact, like a hurricane, are going to be is crucial,” said Perry. 

As Perry took the time to personally thank many of those emergency responders often in harms way, those hosting the exercise added that in the past five months there has been a State Operations Center exercise (not at the center), four regional hurricane workshops, a DPS and TxDot staged a full-scale exercise to contraflow I-37 stressing that a successful response is a three-legged stool.

“It has to be a first responder, a group of local emergency responders dedicated to making good decisions; it has to a media that gets that message to the public and it has to be a public that will trust the media and trust the elected and first responders,” said Kidd. 

Representatives from the American Red Cross, Texas Forest Service, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas Animal Health Commission, Public Works Response Team, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas Engineering Extension Service, Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Task Force 1, the Salvation Army, the Civil Air Patrol and the Veterinary Emergency Team also participated in the exercise on June 1. 

The 2012 hurricane season officially runs from June 1- Nov. 30, 2012. For more information about disaster preparedness, visit the Texas Prepares website at www.texasprepares.org.

Texas State Guard Officer Candidate School Graduates New Cohort of Junior Officers

Texas State Guard Officer Candidate School Graduates New Cohort of Junior Officers
MAJ Michael Quinn Sullivan, PAO, TXSG
2012/05/21
AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas State Guard (TXSG) has ten new junior officers who were recently commissioned following their graduation from Officer Candidate School (OCS) on May 6, 2012.

“I’m proud of these new officers who have proven their mettle in this very demanding course,” said Maj. Gen. Raymond Peters, commanding general of the Texas State Guard. “They have rightfully earned the insignia we pinned on their uniforms today. I have no doubt they will make Texas proud as well as they return to their units as new leaders.”

The TXSG OCS was launched in 2011 as a new program of instruction designed to train and develop junior officers for service in the TXSG. The instruction, exercises and experiences all focus on the TXSG and its unique mission to provide trained and ready military forces to assist state and local authorities in times of state emergencies and to augment the Texas Army National Guard and Texas Air National Guard as required.

“The TXSG OCS program has been completely redone to provide our junior officers the leadership and mission skills they will need to lead TXSG troops in the missions and environment where we serve,” said Col. Thomas Hamilton, OCS commander. “It’s by design a challenging, stressful course that not everyone can complete.”

During the six-month course, the candidates each completed eighteen graded exams, seven or more graded leadership roles, six research projects, and passed three Army Physical Fitness Tests. They successfully completed both the Air Assault Confidence Course at Camp Swift and the Leadership Reaction Course at Fort Hood. And in preparation for their assignment as leaders in the TXSG, they completed all TXSG-required FEMA training as well as all requirements of the TXSG Officer Basic Course. It is estimated that the candidates completed at least 500 hours of off-duty study and preparation as part of the program.

A number of the graduates were recognized for their achievements in the course.

2d Lt. H. Lee Burton of the TXSG’s 2d Regiment headquartered in Austin was recognized as the honor graduate, earning the Maj. Gen. Raymond C. Peters Distinguished Honor Graduate Award.

2d Lt. Robert Williamson of the TXSG’s 8th Regiment headquartered in Houston was presented the National Guard Association of Texas Leadership Excellence Award.

2d Lt. Lance R. Herrington also of the 8th Regiment was presented the Bell Helicopter Academic Excellence Award.

The Physical Fitness Awards for the highest scoring male and female candidates on the physical fitness test were earned by 2d Lt. H. Lee Burton and 2d Lt. Joanna K. C. Kearns of the 2d Regiment.

The remaining graduates were 2d Lt. Leland Burns, 2d Lt. Brian Faure, 2d Lt. Peggy Gutierrez, 2d Lt. Lance Herrington, 2d Lt. James Lumpkin, 2d Lt. Michael Meadors, and Ens. Joe Tillman.

“In addition to the leadership and mission skills they developed in the course,” Col. Hamilton added, “they learned to appreciate the value of trust and comradery forged during the crucible of shared hardships, sacrifice, anxiety, stress and even some measure of fear. These lessons will serve them well when they are called to lead others in times of hardship.”

The next OCS Class is scheduled to begin on Sept. 28, 2012. Interested TXSG personnel should contact their unit personnel officer for application information. Applications are due to TXSG HQ no later than Aug. 3, 2012.