Taylor, Texas - Everyone remembers where they were

LTC Cendy Antley, PAO, TXSG 2nd Regiment

Photo of NYFD FiretruckTAYLOR, Texas – Everyone remembers where they were on certain days in history. September 11, 2001 is no different. Twelve years later, three soldiers from the Texas State Guard answered the call to participate in a special event.

CPL Timothy Godwin, SFC D. DeWayne Philpott (shown walking beside Rescue 4) and 1LT Henry Burton with the 2nd Regiment, and 3rd Battalion participated in the annual Patriot Day Parade remembering those who lost their lives on 9/11. They were honored by being asked to walk alongside the only surviving NYFD fire truck from ground zero on that fateful day. NYFD Rescue 4 was one of the emergency vehicles initially responding to the disaster and was later pieced together from other trucks which were at the scene. The truck travels the country in honor of the precious lives lost.

These soldiers responded to this event with little notice and left with an abundance of honor and pride.

Brigadier General and Deputy Assistant Adjutant General Texas Army National Guard

Posted on: 28-Sept-13

Photo of EventBrigadier General and Deputy Assistant Adjutant General Texas Army National Guard Orlando Salinas presented Petty Officer First Class Eva Joy Evans, Content Specialist with the Professional Military Education team and Adjunct Instructor Captain Ryan O'Connor with his command coin in honor of their outstanding service to the State of Texas, Texas Military Forces and the Texas State Guard today in a ceremony at Camp Mabry.  LTC Kathryn Allen, officer in charge of professional education stated, "these two members of my team distinguished themselves with hard work and professional excellence and they much deserved the recognition."

4th Regiment BOT Conducts Land Navigation Training

Story by: CW2 Janet Schmelzer, 4th Regiment Public Affairs Officer

Posted: 22-SEP-13

FORT WORTH, TX--During the second phase of the 4th Regiment Basic Orientation Training, soldiers from the 4th and 19th Regiments and the DFW-TMB experienced hands-on training for the skills required for Land Navigation near Lake Worth on Saturday, September 21, 2013.

Team One with Instructor SGT Michael Corso included from the 4th Regiment PV2 David Anderson and PV2 Daniel Winchester and from the 19th Regiment PV2 Armando Rizo and PV2 Bradley Abell. Team Two with Instructor SGT Dennis Burks included from the 4th Regiment PFC John Gugel and 19th Regiment PFC Samuel Pettyjohn, PFC Ronny Bannister, and PFC Hunter Becker. Team Three with Instructor SGT Martin Joseph included 4th Regiment PFC Anthony Rose, DFW-TMB 2LT Jonathan Fisk, and 19th Regiment PFC James Coburn.

Following classroom instruction on Land Navigation, each team proceeded to the field exercise. Each team received the coordinates for their first targets. The soldiers plotted their course using the tools of Land Navigation-- compass, maps, pencils, and protractor. Then they moved in the direction of the first target through tall grasses, heavy brush and cactus. Each team received coordinates for 4 additional targets over a two-kilometer course. The teams also practiced radio communications with the command post to confirm arrival at each target and receive new coordinates for the next target.

Team One. Photo by CW2 Janet Schmelzer, Public Affairs Officer, 4th Regiment
Team One. Photo by CW2 Janet Schmelzer, Public Affairs Officer, 4th Regiment
Team Two. Photo by CW2 Janet Schmelzer, Public Affairs Officer, 4th Regiment
Team Two. Photo by CW2 Janet Schmelzer, Public Affairs Officer, 4th Regiment
Team Three. Photo by CW2 Janet Schmelzer, Public Affairs Officer, 4th Regiment
Team Three. Photo by CW2 Janet Schmelzer, Public Affairs Officer, 4th Regiment


Texas Army National Guard’s Camp Bowie and Brownwood grow together

Lt. Col. Jamey Creek, Training Center Garrison Command manager and officer in charge- Camp Bowie, Texas Army National Guard, center, Brownwood resident and Camp Bowie neighbor Phil Richey, left, and Del Albright, Ffire chief and emergency management coordinator, City of Brownwood, Texas, right, overlook a hill on the north side of Camp Bowie after discussing business, May 16, 2013
Lt. Col. Jamey Creek, Training Center Garrison Command manager and officer in charge- Camp Bowie, Texas Army National Guard, center, Brownwood resident and Camp Bowie neighbor Phil Richey, left, and Del Albright, Fire chief and emergency management coordinator, City of Brownwood, Texas, right, overlook a hill on the north side of Camp Bowie after discussing business, May 16, 2013. As the Camp Bowie Training Center manager, Creek is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the 9,000-acre land, as well as meeting with various local, county and state officials and concerned citizens. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Laura L. Lopez).

 Story by: Laura Lopez

 CAMP BOWIE, Texas – It is a training site that dates back to World War II, where soldiers with the Texas Army National  Guard’s 36th Infantry Division completed training before landing on the beaches of Normandy in 1944. The, then-5,000  plus acres of Camp Bowie, in Brownwood, Texas, was acquired by the Texas Military Forces in 1949, with the southern  portion of the now almost 9,000-acre site added in 1993 and 1994.

 One of four major Texas Army National Guard training centers, a part of the state’s Training Center Garrison Command,  Camp Bowie employs 32 full-time federal and state employees and is responsible for ensuring mobilization and unit-  training requirements are met year-round for the more than 25,000 men and women that make up the Texas Military  Forces. 

 “My sole purpose in life is to provide adequate facilities for those units to train,” said Lt. Col. Jamey Creek, the camp’s  manager and officer-in-charge. “That includes billeting, multiple live-fire ranges, digital training aides, land navigation,  maneuver space and roadside bomb [and] route clearance defeat lanes necessary for them to meet their qualification  requirements.” 

 Training more than 419,000 service members and other local emergency and first responders since 2006, records  indicate Camp Bowie usage averages almost 70,000 people a year. For the 38,000 residents living in the city of  Brownwood and Brown County, each and every person in the Texas National Guard is more than just a visitor.

 “You could say they are our family because we are such a small community,” said Sunni Modawell, the tourism manager  for the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce. “Everybody knows everyone else and over time you know their  spouses, you know their children – so essentially they are our family.” 

 In addition to the Army Guard, other components of the Texas Military Forces regularly conduct training at the facility. In  fact, for the past 10 years, the volunteer Texas State Guard has held their two-week annual training encampment at Camp Bowie and says the location and staff makes for a positive experience.

"Camp Bowie is a great resource," said Brig. Gen. Charles Miller, the Texas State Guard's chief of staff, in Austin. "We've found its location to be ideal for our members and its facilities and environment perfect for training, plus the staff there is always accommodating and extremely professional.”

A place where many residents say it is not uncommon to see military vehicles driving throughout town or to run into a handful of service members at local establishments, one longtime Camp Bowie neighbor, with his own ties to the Texas National Guard, said his relationship with the training site has been a good one focused on mutual respect and understanding.

“If I have to listen to helicopters and 50-caliber machine guns, and that helps out, then I am OK with it. You have to look at the big picture,” said Phil Richey of Brownwood, a resident who lives near Camp Bowie’s northern perimeter. “I think these folks here [in Brownwood] realize that the soldiers are providing a service here and if we are going to remain number one in the world we have to have a well-trained Army.”

A training site host to disaster and emergency preparedness exercises where they combine local, state and federal agencies aimed at sharing best practices, Creek said Camp Bowie also supports training requests from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Texas Forest Service, to name a few.

According to the Brownwood Fire Department, the relationship with the Texas Army National Guard (or Texas Military Forces) has not only strengthened the region’s mutual aid agreement, but has been instrumental in expanding their training capabilities. 

“As a result of the Texas National Guard allowing us to place our mobile fire training trailer on their property we can better serve our residents through continuous training,” said Del Albright, Brownwood’s fire chief and emergency management coordinator. “Without their support, our mobile fire training trailer would be just a piece of equipment we couldn’t use.” 

For Creek, he said it is his principled beliefs in personal communication and strong relationships that enable him to keep many issues concerning the nearby neighbors from escalating, even when unfavorable circumstances arise.

“In 2006, when a wildfire got out of control in less than ideal conditions and jumped the fence, I had some minor property damage,” Richey said. “Lt. Col. Creek was instrumental in ensuring I got some financial relief.” 

A resident of Brownwood for nearly 40 years, Richey said the one downside of having Camp Bowie against his property line is the dust created by the dirt road that serves as a firebreak between the properties. Quick to compliment Camp Bowie management for their concern and willingness to find solutions to mitigate the problem, Richey said he is optimistic about the outcome.

“I don’t expect it to be not completely dusty, but you hate to look over and see dust 100 feet in the air,” he said.

From serving the residents of this small town in west-central Texas, those with the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce said the Texas National Guard’s impact extends beyond providing a piece of mind and building relationships.

“I can’t imagine any aspect of our community without Camp Bowie,” Modawell said. 

In 2012, Brownwood Chamber of Commerce’s economic impact reports show direct visitor spending totaled $50.4 million, and local sales tax receipts equaled more than $1 million. 

In addition to providing state-of-the-art training facilities and simulators to enhance the readiness of the Texas Army National Guard, Creek said he hopes to continue expanding the area’s mutual aid agreement and maintain positive working relationships with the citizens of Brownwood and various local, state and federal agencies and said their support could not be better.

“Support from this community is amazing. It’s an incredible feeling to know we are supported that much,” he said.

The Texas Army National Guard’s other training centers include Camp Swift, near Bastrop, in central Texas, Fort Wolters in Mineral Wells, west of Fort Worth, and Fort Maxey in Powderly, northeast of Dallas, near the Texas-Oklahoma border.




Texas National Guard recycling, it benefits you … and your unit?

Kenneth Zunker stands in front of recycling trailers at the Texas Military Forces recycling facility on Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas.
Kenneth Zunker stands in front of recycling trailers at the Texas Military Forces recycling facility on Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas. Zunker, the manager of the recycling center, hopes to use recycling trailers to help increase the reach of the recycling program throughout Texas. Based in Austin, the program serves service members at more than 100 locations throughout the state. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Mary Jo Snavely)

 Story by: Capt. Martha Nigrelle


 CAMP MABRY, Texas – Reduce, reuse, recycle – most people recognize this mantra, words that promote a greener tomorrow. But according to retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 Ken Zunker, these are more than just words; they are words to live by. 

 Zunker, recycling operations coordinator and manager for the Texas Military Forces (TXMF) Qualified Recycling Program, works as a part of a four-man operation that currently serves TXMF locations across Texas. Although the recycling efforts had already been started, the program was not qualified by the National Guard Bureau until 2010. In 2011, Zunker came on and by 2012 TXMF opened its first dedicated recycling facility.

 “Reuse is part of recycling” - he stated, indicating that it applies to both TXMF and the surrounding communities. When  the old 51st Street Armory, which was located near the Austin/Bergstrom International Airport, closed in May 2012,  service members recycled 893 tons of refuse. Within that pile were 24 small desks. Camp Mabry’s program does not  currently recycle wood, but that did not stop Zunker from finding a way to recycle those desks.

 After coordinating with the Texas Army National Guard’s Youth Services Program located at Camp Mabry, Zunker found a home for each desk.

 The desks were in excellent condition and exactly the right size for children, said Bob Hankins, the Child and Youth Program Lead for TXMF.

Hankins said he reached out to the Austin Independent School District and discovered that Barrington Elementary School had been given a portable classroom, but did not yet have the funding to fully furnish the classroom. According to Hankins, he worked with Zunker to ensure Barrington Elementary received all 24 desks, further enabling the school’s teaching abilities.

Since that day, Zunker and Hankins said they have worked together in an effort to benefit the families of both the service members and the local community. 

“He will stop by my office with a bunch of recycled gift bags wanting to know if we can find a use for them,” said Hankins. “He does little things like that and it has helped lots and lots of kids. If I get a request for something, like tables, we will tell Ken and he will keep an eye out for that item.”

Zunker stated that the recycling crew often fills special requests of these types. One of his most common requests is boxes from people who are moving. If given at least a week’s notice, Zunker said the crew will set aside large boxes for anyone who asks.
Zunker said he believes in reusing as much as possible, always looking for someone who might benefit from the items that are dropped off at the recycle center.

“It feels good to be able to help others,” he said.

Zunker retired from the Texas Army National Guard in 2008. He served as a maintenance chief for 37 and a half years - as a Soldier, then as a civil servant.

After being retired for six months, Zunker said he was “bored stiff and tired of talking to the dog.” Zunker went on stating that during this time he accepted a position in supply with the Texas Military Forces Combined Support Maintenance Shop in Saginaw. It was there that Zunker caught the recycle bug.

“I noticed all of this scrap metal lying around,” said Zunker. “I figured I could recycle it, but wasn’t sure how to. So I did the research and found out how to (within regulation) recycle and sell it.”

Zunker’s experience prompted him to apply for the recycle coordinator position that he now holds. 

“One of my goals, and it might happen next year, is to be able to give 25 dollars per service member to the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation account each year,” said Zunker. 

According to the Department of Defense, the Qualified Recycling Program is a cost beneficial recycling program that follows strict regulations. Specific guidance on how to sell recycled products for a price is outlined.

Based on regulations, money made from the recycled products will first cover all of the program’s expenses. The remaining funds are then split between pollution prevention projects, for example, purchasing spill kits for any unit in need, and the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation account, to be used for any morale or welfare activity.

“We are already spending money to dispose of waste,” said Leon McCowan, the Resource Conservation Recovery Act Manager for TXMF. “Why not spend that same money to recycle as much as possible, and then get a little money back?”

According to the program’s financial reports, the recycle program has made over 20 thousand dollars so far this year. With the new brass deformer, a machine that crunches brass casings, the recycle crew can now recycle brass, which, according to Zunker, could triple the amount the program brings in each year. 

“We take almost anything, we are about landfill diversion,” said Zunker.

Although most people probably think of paper, plastic and cardboard when they see the green and blue recycle bins, Zunker said the facility can recycle much more than that. On top of the normal recyclables one might think of, Camp Mabry’s recycling center also accepts old cell phones, rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries, compact disks, old floppy disks, any kind of wiring or cable, used ink cartridges and anything made of metal.

This past spring the recycle program was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s South Central Federal Green Challenge in the waste category. TXMF was awarded with a Federal Green Challenge award recognizing the dramatic decrease in the amount of waste disposed, resulting from the dramatic increase of recycling.

According to the 2011 facility recycle tracker, 222 tons were recycled; in 2012, 311 tons were recycled. The amount continues to increase, so far this year over 1,000 tons have been recycled.

“[Zunker] came in and grabbed the bull by the horns,” McCowan said. “Where we are now is because of his innovation and integrity. He has made this program visible and by making it visible it stays on people’s minds.” 

Additional program reports show more than 100 TXMF locations are recycling used oil and scrap metal, but 27 of these spots have a more developed recycle program set up. Zunker’s goal is to expand the program to reach every unit. One of his ideas, to help expand the program, is to supply units with a recycling trailer, giving each unit the ability to drop off a full trailer at any TXMF recycling hub.

“Mr. Zunker had to be the backbone of this program. When he started he was by himself, but now it has become a real team effort. State Maintenance, many others from [the Construction and Facilities Management Office] and definitely service members have provided their assistance when possible. The success of this program could not have been done without the hard work of the entire team,” said McCowan. 

It seems that everywhere Zunker goes, people both like and respect him. He is often seen smiling and saying hello to people as he walks by. He might even stop to ensure you are recycling your empty ink cartridges.

Hankins said he especially likes the energy that Zunker brings to the recycle program, adding,
“He is a guy with the passion to create a self-sustaining program that will benefit every person in the Texas Military Forces, not just Camp Mabry.” 

For more information, on the TXMF Recycling Program or to get started on recycling at your TXMF location, contact Ken Zunker or Maj. (Ret.) Penny Chencharick, the TXMF Recycling Plans Coordinator, at (512) 782-6838 or (512) 782-6683.

Austin-Governor Rick Perry has reappointed Major General (TX) Manuel 'Tony' Rodriguez

Posted on: 03-Sept-13

Austin-Governor Rick Perry has reappointed Major General (TX) Manuel 'Tony' Rodriguez to the position of Commander, Texas State Guard effective 01 Sept 2013.  In speaking of the reappointment, Major General Rodriguez said, "I am honored that the Governor and General Nichols have confidence in my leadership and I am pleased to be able to continue to serve with the soldiers, airman and maritime members of the Texas State Guard which I believe are the finest State Defense Force in the Nation." 

This is Major General Rodriguez's second one year term as Commander of the Texas State Guard and follows a distinguished career in the United States Army.  MG Rodriguez is a graduate of the US Army Airborne School, the US Army Air Assault School, the Armor Officer Basic Course (Cavalry track), the Military Intelligence Officer's Advanced Course, the US Army Combined Arms and Services Staff School, the US Army Command & General Staff Officer School, and US Army School of Advanced Military Studies. His civilian education includes a Bachelor of Science in History, a Master’s degree in Military Arts and Sciences and a Master’s degree in Public Administration.

The Texas State Guard is one of three components 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, the Texas State Guard and the Texas Air National Guard.

19th Regiment(CA) recently honored the Service

Posted on: 29-Aug-13
Photo of GroupThe 19th Regiment(CA) recently honored the Service, Leadership and Dedication of LTC Barry Hobbs their Executive Officer and CSM Mike Burtenshaw their Regimental CSM in a Service in Dallas with a presentation of swords for a job well done and as fine examples of Texans helping Texans.

Perry signs 'Chris Kyle Bill,' allows military experience for Texas state licenses

Texas Gov. Rick Perry visits with Taya Kyle, wife of slain Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, following the signing of Senate Bill 162 at the Texas State Capitol, in Austin, Texas, Aug. 28, 2013.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry visits with Taya Kyle, wife of slain Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, following the signing of Senate Bill 162 at the Texas State Capitol, in Austin, Texas, Aug. 28, 2013. Senate Bill 162 has been called the "Chris Kyle Bill" because it recognizes the achievements of service members with special operations training, by allowing them credit toward state law enforcement licenses. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Phil Fountain)

Story by: Staff Sgt. Phil Fountain


 AUSTIN, Texas – In a ceremony at the Texas State Capitol, Gov. Rick Perry signed Senate Bill 162, which was passed by  the 83rd Texas Legislature to address employment challenges facing military service members, recently separated  veterans and their spouses.

 The bipartisan legislation requires state agencies that issue occupational licenses to recognize substantially equivalent  licenses issued by other jurisdictions – including the armed forces – and provide an expedited licensure process for  these individuals.

 “The unemployment rate among veterans is one of the highest in the United States,” said state Rep. Dan Flynn of Van  (HD-2), who sponsored the bill in the Texas House. “Considering the sacrifices they made for our country, it is imperative  we help their transition to civilian life by giving them credit for the hard work and training they have accomplished in the  military.”

 Flynn, a U.S. Army veteran who also serves as a commander in the Texas State Guard’s Maritime Regiment, worked with  state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio (SD-26), who chairs the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs and Military  Installations, to develop the legislation.

 “After our heroes fight for us, they should not then have to fight for a job when they get back home,” Van de Putte said.

 Until now, military training was not recognized by the state of Texas, for licensure purposes.

 “Too often, service members and their spouses must wait too long for licensing in fields in which they already have substantial experience,” Van de Putte said. “This law will put them on the fast-track for an occupational license, but also will require them to come into full compliance with Texas’ licensing requirements within a year.”

Additionally, SB 162 is also known as the “Chris Kyle Bill,” named after the former Navy SEAL and author who was slain earlier this year, and recognizes the achievements of service members with special operations training. Kyle’s wife, Taya, was on-hand at the signing ceremony.

“I appreciate the sacrifices these many brave special operators have made,” Flynn said, “and I hope that by incorporating these changes into current Texas law we can honor the legacy of Chris Kyle and the many like him.”

The legislation grants these veterans credit toward the issuance of a basic police officer’s license. Additional training and a certification test is still required to receive the license.

“If a soldier can dodge IEDs in Iraq or Afghanistan while driving a semi, they can drive safely on I-35 or I-30 without having to be trained again,” Flynn said.

It’s possible that this type of legislation will now be pursued throughout the country, as Van de Putte and Flynn co-chair the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Task Force on Military and Veterans Affairs.

“We hope this legislation will serve as a model for all states,” Flynn said, “and we look forward to continuing to work with the Department of Defense to find new and better ways to show our appreciation to veterans as the return home.”

SGT John Gately instructing a class at Camp Mabry

Posted on: 24-Aug-2013

SGT John Gately instructing a class at Camp Mabry during August drill, on how administrate the new TXSG website. Units will be working to establish new websites for their components and units and more information will be available soon.

Photo of SGT Gately presenting the new websitePhoto of class