Texas Military Forces help residents of the Rio Grande Valley recover after hurricane Dolly 

Texas military forces help residents of the Rio Grande Valley recover after hurricane Dolly
Texas Military Forces by First Sgt. Lek Mateo, Standing Joint Interagency Task Force
2008/07/28

Sgt. Eliberto R. Cavazos, the Texas State Guard and also a resident of Raymondville, Texas help distribute water and snacks to hurricane Dolly victims and volunteers at the local high school that was used as a point of distribution site Jul. 25.Photo by Texas Military Forces by First Sgt. Lek Mateo, Standing Joint Interagency Task Force
Sgt. Eliberto R. Cavazos, the Texas State Guard and also a resident of Raymondville, Texas help distribute water and snacks to hurricane Dolly victims and volunteers at the local high school that was used as a point of distribution site Jul. 25.Photo by Texas Military Forces by First Sgt. Lek Mateo, Standing Joint Interagency Task Force

RAYMONDVILLE, Texas (Jul. 25, 2008) — Residents of Rio Grande Valley are still feeling the effects of Hurricane Dolly after the second Atlantic hurricane of the 2008 season tore through south Texas Jul. 23 with damaging wind and torrential rain.

Remnants of the Category 2 hurricane could still be felt as severe flooding in several coastal cities displaced several hundred families whose homes were destroyed or made inaccessible.

Several thousand people were without electricity at the height of the storm due to downed power lines but utility companies from all over the state are working tirelessly to restore service.

Over 736 members of the Texas Military Forces comprising of the Texas Air National Guard, Army National Guard and Texas State Guard joined forces with local, state and federal emergency responders in a massive relief operation to help the traumatized and devastated communities recover.

The military effort under the command of the Standing Joint Interagency Task Force assisted the state’s Texas Task Force 1 with search and rescue. They also established and manned fourteen shelter sites that were distribution points for free packaged food, bottled water and ice available to anyone that needed assistance.

Task force commander, Col. John Nichols of the Texas Air National Guard’s 149th Fighter Wing in San Antonio, acknowledged that this is definitely a joint organization and that he is proud to lead all three components of the Texas Military Forces that are involved with this mission.

“This is truly Texans helping Texans and we are ready for this kind of contingency operation,” said Nichols.

Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz, who represents the district impacted by the storm, visited one of the point-of-distribution sites to see the relief effort first hand.

The Congressman stated that it was great to see the community come together to overcome this crisis and knows that everyone will rebound. This cooperative spirit he added represents the best of the Rio Grande Valley.

He also commended the countless volunteers, especially the servicemen and woman who came to assist the people of south Texas.

“I want to thank all the military members who were activated and removed from their jobs and their family to come and help,” said Solomon. “This shows their dedication and their loyalty to the state and the community and we appreciate that.”

Sgt. 1st Class Eliberto Cavazos of the Texas State Guard and a resident of Raymondville, Texas rode the storm out at the local high school with several members of his unit.

The retired city employee said that it was great to be able to work together as a team with his counterparts in the Army and Air National Guard and together show the community in which he lives in that the Texas military forces can do the job at hand.

“We’ve received a lot of thanks for coming here and helping from the people in my neighborhood and that they are truly very grateful. That makes me very proud to be able to serve in uniform,” Cavazos stated.

Sharon Stanton, who has been out of power for three days since Dolly struck, waited patiently for hours in her car until she reached the front of the line where several Guardsman and civilian volunteers quickly loaded her car with precious water and ice.

The resident of La Feria, Texas said that she knew that relief was on the way when she started seeing convoys of large green National Guard Humvees and trucks arriving in her town hours after Dolly struck.

“The National Guard pretty much has got it together and they know what they’re doing and that assures me that things are going to get better,” Stanton exclaimed.

Monday, July 28, 2008 1:52:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard

Texas State Guard Fields 200 personnel for Hurricane Dolly 

Texas State Guard fields 200 personnel for Hurricane Dolly
COL Robert Miller
2008/07/26

TXSG personnel engaged in forklift operations supporting recovery from the effects of Hurricane Dolly in Welasco, Texas.Photo by CPT Michael Spaggins, JMTF Public Affairs Officer
TXSG personnel engaged in forklift operations supporting recovery from the effects of Hurricane Dolly in Welasco, Texas.Photo by CPT Michael Spaggins, JMTF Public Affairs Officer

The Texas State Guard has deployed approximately 200 personnel to the Texas valley in support of Hurricane Dolly. Elements of the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 8th, and 19th Regiments, Texas Maritime Regiment, and the Air Division are manning shelters in several cities to support the local emergency management organizations.

Elements of the 4th Air Wing and the 19th Regiment are supporting communications regiments in San Antonio at the Joint Inter Agency Task Force (JIATF) and at various locations in the Texas valley.

As the shelter mission draws down some of the Texas State Guard will switch to Point of Distribution (POD) missions, assisting local residents with food, ice and cleaning supplies to help recover from the effects of Hurricane Dolly.

Saturday, July 26, 2008 1:53:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard

Texas National Guard begins clean-up operations in south Texas 

Texas National Guard begins clean-up operations in south Texas
Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada And First Sgt. Lek Mateo
2008/07/24

Sgt. Marc Jones (left) of the Texas Army National Guard’s Standing Joint Interagency Task Force (SJIATF) and Staff Sgt. Gonzalo Roman of Texas Air National Guard 149th Fighter Wing at San Antonio Emergency Operation Center as Hurricane Dolly moves westward towards south Texas Aug. 23. The Category 2 hurricane that is the first of the 2008 Atlantic Hurricane season severely damaged the coastal cities Brownsville and South Padre Island with strong winds and heavy flooding. (Texas Military Forces by First Sgt. Lek Mateo, 100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)
Sgt. Marc Jones (left) of the Texas Army National Guard’s Standing Joint Interagency Task Force (SJIATF) and Staff Sgt. Gonzalo Roman of Texas Air National Guard 149th Fighter Wing at San Antonio Emergency Operation Center as Hurricane Dolly moves westward towards south Texas Aug. 23. The Category 2 hurricane that is the first of the 2008 Atlantic Hurricane season severely damaged the coastal cities Brownsville and South Padre Island with strong winds and heavy flooding. (Texas Military Forces by First Sgt. Lek Mateo, 100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

CAMP MABRY, Texas – Dolly may only be a Category I hurricane, but Texas Gov. Rick Perry and the state’s Division of Emergency Management did not take any chances that Dolly would be as harmless as her name might imply.

The governor declared several South Texas counties disaster areas and activated the Texas National Guard to ensure that in the words of Lt. Gen. Charles Rodriguez, the Adjutant General of Texas: “The stuff gets to the people who need it, and people get where they need to be.”

Currently, 600 Guardsmen are activated in support of civil authorities, but that number may increase to 1,200 if necessary. These Guardsmen along with members of the Texas State Guard joined state and local emergency first responders as the first Atlantic hurricane of the 2008 season barreled down on the coast of Texas and Mexico yesterday.

Hurricane Dolly slammed into South Padre Island, Texas at about 1:00 p.m. CST. The Category 1 hurricane brought heavy rain and strong winds of 100 miles-per-hour with gusts estimated to be over 120 miles-per-hour as she swept into the Rio Grande Valley dumping more than 12 inches of rain in some areas.

Today, Guard members are spread out across southern Texas from Austin to Brownsville. The teams are focused initially on establishing mass care strike teams. Texas Guardsmen will go into the affected areas and look for citizens who might need safe passage or re-supply those who are sheltering in place.

Eventually, these same teams will establish stationary points of distribution and co-locate with FEMA at familiar landmarks.

Local incident commanders will dictate what type of support the Texas Guardsmen will provide, but typically personnel will support Red Cross with shelter management, perform search and rescue missions with Texas Task Force One, and provide communications support with “Big Blue,” a full communications package on wheels. Other satellite equipment has also been deployed.

Search and rescue teams are standing by in Kingsville, Texas with about 225 personnel and 75 high profile vehicles from a ground transportation company. Personnel and equipment will move into the affected areas as soon as it safe.

Aviation assets available include three UH60 Blackhawks, in Austin and two in San Antonio, as well as one OH-58. Under an Emergency Management Assistant Compact, the Louisiana Army National Guard also has flown in two Blackhawks to assist where necessary.

State officials took the lessons learned from Hurricane Dean when about 4,700 Guardsmen and State Guard members were mobilized in August 2007 for the Category 5 hurricane, which missed the United States and devastated the coast of northern Mexico.

For Dolly, Guard leaders prestaged personnel, equipment, aircraft and high-water tactical vehicles in Austin, Houston and San Antonio, so that they can quickly be deployed to the impacted areas.

“This is Texas, so our approach is to lean into the problem and stage the necessary personnel, equipment and resources so they can move into the affected area as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Perry said.

Perry commended the Texas military forces, state and local emergency disaster teams who quickly mobilized and responded to the crisis.

“As we always do in the toughest time, we are seeing Texans, being Texans, helping their neighbors, putting others’ needs above their own and heading toward the trouble and not away.”

Thursday, July 24, 2008 1:56:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard

Guard helping Texans hit by Hurricane Dolly 

Guard helping Texans hit by Hurricane Dolly
Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada
2008/07/24

Members of the Texas Army and Air National Guard and Texas State Guard unload supplies to prepare for rescue and relief efforts in response to Hurricane Dolly next to the Emergency Operations Center at Brooks City-Base in San Antonio, Texas July 23. Photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Elisabeth A. Matulewicz
Members of the Texas Army and Air National Guard and Texas State Guard unload supplies to prepare for rescue and relief efforts in response to Hurricane Dolly next to the Emergency Operations Center at Brooks City-Base in San Antonio, Texas July 23. Photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Elisabeth A. Matulewicz

CAMP MABRY, Texas (Army News Service, July 24, 2008) - Hurricane Dolly hit the Texas coast Wednesday with devastating winds and torrential rain, prompting Gov. Rick Perry to declare several southern counties disaster areas and call out the National Guard.

Currently 700 Texas military forces are activated in support of civil authorities, but that number may increase to 1,200 if necessary, officials said.

Lt. Gen Charles Rodriguez, Texas adjutant general, said the troops will ensure “stuff gets to the people who need it, and get people where they need to be.”

Military personnel are spread out across Texas from Austin to Brownsville and places in between. The teams are focused initially on establishing mass care strike teams, officials said. They explained that the teams will go out into areas hit by the hurricane and look for folks who might need safe passage or re-supply those who are sheltering in place. Eventually these same teams will establish stationary points of distribution, officials said, and typically co-locate with FEMA.

Local incident commanders will dictate as to what type of support Texas military forces will provide, but typically personnel support Red Cross with shelter management, perform search and rescue missions with Texas Task Force One, and provide communications support with “Big Blue,” a full communications package on wheels. Other satellite equipment has also been deployed.

Three shelters in Brownsville, Texas, have been staffed and are now operational at Hana High School, Porter High School and Pace High School. Shelters have also been established in the Texas communities of San Benito, La Joya, Raymondville, Edcouch, Harlingen, and Edinburgh.

Search and rescue teams are standing by in Kingsville with about 225 personnel and 75 high-profile vehicles and a ground transportation company. Personnel and equipment will move into the affected areas as soon as it is safe for people and equipment, officials said.

Aviation is standing by with three UH-60 Black Hawks in Austin and two in San Antonio as well as one OH-58. Under the Emergency Management Assistant Compact agreements signed between governors, the Louisiana Army National Guard has flown in a couple of Black Hawks to assist where necessary.

If and when the Texas Army National Guard helicopters are called to conduct search and rescue missions, they will not only have the Guard aviators and crew aboard, but Texas Task Force 1 members as well.

Marking its 10th anniversary last year, Texas Task Force 1 was established after the Oklahoma City bombing of the Murrah Federal Building, which officials said demonstrated a need for search and rescue team that is “wheels up” or at the point of departure within four hours.

Depending on who calls them into action, the team may be either a state or federal asset and its sponsoring agency is Texas A & M University.

D.J. Walker and Craig Smith, emergency medical technicians for the Austin fire department, and Dennis Lavasseur, an EMT from the Houston fire department, are on “Dolly detail.” They are swift-water rescue-qualified and will support the Texas Army National Guard crews during search and rescue missions .

Each team member’s ID card contains information on their expertise, said Craig, and after logging in, “the system will respond with information: `there are vacancies for you, can you respond?’”

“We are usually called up for a month at a time,” he said. For employers, “it is a win-win situation because the day-to-day employer gains back a fully qualified and trained employee,” after all is said and done.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008 1:55:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard

500 Sheltered from Dolly in San Benito 

500 sheltered from Dolly in San Benito
KRGV-TV, NEWSCHANNEL 5 - Welasco
2008/07/23
SAN BENITO - Some 500 South Texas residents fleeing Hurricane Dolly’s heavy rains and high winds are housed in this city’s hurricane shelter, with the number expected to climb throughout the morning.

“Once the winds and rain pick up as people awaken, we will see more people coming in,” said Emergency Management Coordinator Orlando Garcia. The National Weather Service is predicting continued heavy rains with accumulations ranging from six to 10 inches. At 5 a.m. maximum sustained winds were near 85 mph.

San Benito High School, at 450 South Oscar Williams Road, is the site for the shelter that is being staffed by the Texas State Guard, 1st Battalion, 1st Regiment. Personnel from the City Of San Benito, San Benito School District, both entities’ police and fire departments, and Pro-Medic EMS, along with the 12-member military contingent are serving as the shelter managing team. Capacity for the facility which includes the practice gymnasium and band hall, is about 900, Garcia said.

The Governor’s Division of Emergency Management sent the Texas State Guard to San Benito due to the high number of occupants seeking shelter from the hurricane.

“This is a state resource that was sent when they were notified of the high number of people housed in the shelter,” Garcia said.

The mayor opened the San Benito Emergency Operations Center at City Hall, 485 N. Sam Houston, on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Operations Center is staffed by city employees monitoring the storm. Among those onsite were Mayor Joe H. Hernandez, Commissioner Jack Garcia, City Manager Victor G. Trevino, as well as 15 city workers and Emergency Medical Technician Lorne Dilelio. San Benito residents may contact local Emergency Management officials at 956-361-EVAC or 956-361-3822.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008 1:57:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard

Standing guard 

Standing guard
Candace Cooksey Fulton - Brownwood Bulletin
2008/06/01

Guard members rehearse setting up a “shade structure.” The camo netting significantly cools an area even in the hottest sun allowing guard members to set up a command post or temporary office in even the most barren terrains.
Guard members rehearse setting up a “shade structure.” The camo netting significantly cools an area even in the hottest sun allowing guard members to set up a command post or temporary office in even the most barren terrains.

They are the Texas State Guard, a force bigger than just about anything else among Texas’ bragging rights.

Thirteen hundred strong, and working under the mantra of “Texans serving Texas,” the state guard is the go-to force for hurricanes or disasters. The guard’s abilities range from setting up and maintaining communications in a crisis center, to administering emergency medical care and treatment; to evacuation assistance and shelter set up. Whatever the nature of the disaster, be it flood, fire or tornado, plane crash or terrorist attack, the state guard’s purpose is to stabilize in the aftermath.

In a rotation of three four-day training sessions held recently, the majority of the force has been at Camp Bowie, which, by general agreement seems to be an ideal place for the troops to gather and train. “Brownwood has good weather, good terrain and good air space,” said Col. Paul Tressa, retired military, who joined the guard about two years ago. “Brownwood’s good to the guard. People here seem really supportive and we enjoy it. At the same time, we’re making a fairly significant impact in town.”.

The last of the three four-day training sessions, scheduled to end Monday, has been attended by about 260 men and women. Though recent legislation has allowed the State Guard members to be paid about $100 for their four days, the money won’t cover the gas for the round-trip travel for the majority. Besides the travel expense, members buy their own uniforms, and in the event they get a call, they’ll need to supply their own gear and provisions to go wherever, for however long.

The Texas State Guard is one of three branches of the military forces of the state of Texas, all of which report to the Texas Adjutant General. Army and Air Guard or the other two branches. Unlike the Texas Army National Guard, the state guard cannot be federalized.

“We are the governor’s force, that he knows he can call on,” explained Capt. J. Michael Spraggins.

Call on for . . . ?

The list is extensive. The state guard assists local authorities in state and local emergencies; shelter management; medical services; volunteer coordination; legal support; communications; and chaplain services. And Spraggins said, if the list is not growing, it is at least expanding.

Certain chores that might have once fallen under the Army National Guard’s umbrella are getting picked up by the state force.

“With National Guard people deployed, we’re asked to pick up some of the slack at home,” Spraggins said.

Or as another for instance, when a problem arose distributing rabies prevention pellets for foxes and wolves in the wild, the Texas State Guard was able to help facilitate the distribution.

Guard members range in age from 18 to 70, and in fact among the group training this weekend, there’s a grandfather/granddaughter combination. Most members have day jobs. Spraggins is a banker, but there are CPAs, doctors, lawyers, police officers, nurses and business people in the fold.

“Some have been in the military, and they’re just not ready to give up the uniform,” said Stressa. “They like it, they like the social atmosphere and the military way of life.”

“Some are looking for some excitement, a not-necessarily ordinary experience and can’t or don’t feel like they can commit to the military armed forces because of family,” added Spraggins.

“And there are those, who know they can do something, who want to do something, who aren’t ready to retire, but possibly could retire. There are those, Texans, who want to serve, and see the state guard as a way to serve Texas.”

Sunday, June 1, 2008 1:58:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard

Members of the Texas State Guard Arrive at Camp Bowie for training 

Members of Texas State Guard arrive at Camp Bowie for training
Gene Deason - Brownwood Bulletin 
2008/05/24

Brownwood Mayor Bert Massey, right, welcomes Maj. Gen. Christopher J. Powers, commanding general of the Texas State Guard, to Brownwood Friday during a reception at Adams Street Community Center. More than 200 members of the Texas State Guard will be training at Camp Bowie over the next two weeks. Photo by Gene Deason
Brownwood Mayor Bert Massey, right, welcomes Maj. Gen. Christopher J. Powers, commanding general of the Texas State Guard, to Brownwood Friday during a reception at Adams Street Community Center. More than 200 members of the Texas State Guard will be training at Camp Bowie over the next two weeks.
Photo by Gene Deason

Business and civic leaders from Brownwood and Early welcomed approximately 20 command staff from the Texas State Guard at a reception Friday afternoon as preparations were made for two weeks of drills at the Camp Bowie Training Facility.

“We in Brownwood do realize that we enjoy the freedoms we enjoy in this country because of those who are willing to serve in the armed forces,” Brownwood Mayor Bert Massey said during remarks offered at the casual gathering. “It’s especially significant that you’re in the place where the 36th Infantry Division mobilized at the start of World War II, and it’s a great facility where you’re training in order to be ready to answer the call when emergencies strike.”

Massey said the complex is here because of the efforts of the late Groner Pitts, a businessman who served in the National Guard and became what Massey described as the greatest civic booster any community could ever have. “Groner did love Camp Bowie and the military and the Guard,” Massey said.

Maj. Gen. Christopher J. Powers, commanding general of the Texas State Guard, said Guard members will be rotating in and out of Camp Bowie in coming days, and invited community leaders to visit.

“We thank you for your wonderful welcome,” Powers said.

Powers received his commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 1969 after graduating from St. Mary’s University. He left active duty and joined the Texas National Guard in 1973, where he remained until retirement in 2000. During those 27 years he served as commander of two field artillery battalions, director of logistics 111th Area Support Group, and division artillery commander 49th Armored Division Task Force Texas. He joined the Texas State Guard in 2000 and served as commander of the 1st Brigade in the Texas State Guard from 2002 to 2003, when he was assigned as deputy commander.

The Texas State Guard is one of three branches of the military forces of the State of Texas, reporting to The Texas adjutant general. The other two branches are the Texas Army National Guard, and Texas Air National Guard. The Texas State Guard is a state military force that assists Texas civil authorities in times of Texas state emergencies and in ongoing support of local communities.

Saturday, May 24, 2008 2:00:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard

TXSG GIS/GPS Training 

TXSG GIS/GPS Training
Various
2008/05/15

TXSG soldiers participate in GIS/GPS training Photo by KCDB, NewsChannel 11, Lubbock, Texas
TXSG soldiers participate in GIS/GPS training
Photo by KCDB, NewsChannel 11, Lubbock, Texas

The TXSG in conjunction with the Columbia Regional Geospatial Service Center (CRGSC) is conducting Geospatial (GIS) / Global Positing System GPS training at four colleges around the state.

COL Charles Miller Plans and Operations for the TXSG stated the intended goal was for the TXSG to provide military support to civilian authorities in times of State Emergencies, with 50 Damage Assessment Teams.

The three – soldier Teams will be proficient in the use of GIS/GPS systems to assist local officials in determining the precise location of damage structures to assist local responders and local authorities.

Dr. McDonald of the GRGSC said think of it as training in the use of Smart Maps (GIS), for planning of evacuation before an event and the location of damaged bridges and structures after the event.

For more information click on the following links for several television reports and stories.

Texas’ Best Kept Secret - The Texas State Guard (KCDB, NewsChannel 11, Lubbock, Texas)

Thursday, May 15, 2008 2:01:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard

Texas State Guard dominates Combat Pistol Competition 

Texas State Guard dominates Combat Pistol Competition
LTC Donald Tryce, NGTX
2008/04/01

2008 Adjutant General’s Combat Pistol Competition. Top Gun - SSG Daniel Ernest, Texas State Guard, 1st Place Overall Photo by COL Bob Kissel TXSG
2008 Adjutant General’s Combat Pistol Competition. Top Gun - SSG Daniel Ernest, Texas State Guard, 1st Place Overall
Photo by COL Bob Kissel TXSG

When the 2008 Adjutant General’s Combat Pistol Competition took place at Camp Swift, Texas, March 1 and 2, a record-breaking number of 85 competitors fought for the title of "top gun" for pistol. This was also the first year that the Texas State Guard (TXSG) participated in this competition. Also, Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at San Antonio ROTC participated in this competition.

After the smoke cleared, Staff Sgt. Daniel Ernest, 1st Regiment, TXSG, claimed not only high new shooter but also high over all. Second place was won by 1st Sgt. Shawn Clary, CST BN. while third place went to COL David Patten TX Med Cmd. In team competition, the TXSG QRT#1 took first place while second place went to 136th Airlift Wing and third was earned by 19th Regiment Team B, TXSG.

Eight Governor’s Twenty Tabs were awarded to the top eight pistol competitors. This award is presented to the top eight rifle, top eight pistol, top two light machine gun and top two snipers annually. Awardees this year were Sergeant Earnest, Sergeant Clary, Col. David Patten of the Texas Medical Command, 2nd Lt. Douglas George of the TXSG, Capt. Joe Lewis of the 39th Regiment, TXSG, Cpl. Sean Mounger of the 19th Regiment, TXSG, Master Sgt. Archie Darr, 136th Regiment, TXSG, and Maj. John Conley of the 71st Information Operations Group.

1st Place Team (9mm Pistol) 1st Quick Reaction Team, 1st Civil Affairs Regiment Adjutant General’s 27th Annual Combat Pistol Match (1QRT Members, Second from Left: 2LT Bendele, CPL Davila and SSG Earnest) Photo by COL Bob Kissel TXSG
1st Place Team (9mm Pistol) 1st Quick Reaction Team, 1st Civil Affairs Regiment Adjutant General’s 27th Annual Combat Pistol Match (1QRT Members, Second from Left: 2LT Bendele, CPL Davila and SSG Earnest)
Photo by COL Bob Kissel TXSG

Combat pistol competitors engage targets from 15 to 25 meters utilizing both supported and unsupported firing positions. Competitors are also required to perform rapid reloading from all positions. Additional information regarding the Texas Military Forces marksmanship program is available at www.txmarks.org.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008 2:03:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard

Life Saving Actions by TXSG, TMB Officer, Meritorious Service Ribbon Awarded 

Life Saving Actions by TXSG, TMB Officer, Meritorious Service Ribbon Awarded
2LT Tom Goff, TMB, TXSG, TXMF
2008/03/26

Maj. Roger Vertrees of the TMB receiving Meritorious Service Ribbon from Capt. Alec Ross Photo by 2LT Tom Goff
Maj. Roger Vertrees of the TMB receiving Meritorious Service Ribbon from Capt. Alec Ross
Photo by 2LT Tom Goff

Maj. Roger Vertrees has been awarded the Meritorious Service Ribbon by the Texas State Guard in award ceremonies conducted recently. The award was presented to Maj. Vertrees for his display of professional and heroic behavior on April 1, 2007 in response to a frantic call for medical help from his neighbor. He clearly set himself above his peers by taking action over and above what would normally be expected in a medical emergency. The award was presented to him by Capt. Alec Ross, the executive officer of the Galveston Company of the Texas Medical Brigade. Vertee is also a University of Texas Medical Branch Faculty Member.

At the request of a neighbor, Maj. Vertrees arrived to help his neighbor place an adult daughter in bed after the daughter suffered an epileptic seizure. When Vertrees noted that the woman was not responding to her diabetic medication, he also called 911 for emergency services. While waiting for emergency services to arrive, the woman’s heart stopped. Vertrees then started performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but noticed that her airway was blocked. When no standard method of clearing the airway worked, he then sucked the contents blocking the airway and restored her breathing, thus saving the woman’s life. It was the act of risking his own health by aspirating the contents of the woman’s nasal passage that earned him the award.

Maj. Vertrees’ quick thinking and actions were well beyond what is normally expected of a medical responder. The woman’s mother, a registered nurse, was present during the event and credits Maj. Vertrees with saving her daughters life. The rescued woman is now doing well and is listed for a kidney transplant.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 2:05:00 PM Categories: Texas State Guard