TXSG Team Wins First Place In 2009 Texas Adjutant General’s Combat Pistol Sustainment Exercise Competition

TXSG Team Wins First Place In 2009 Texas Adjutant General’s Combat Pistol Sustainment Exercise Competition
MAJ J. Michael Spraggins, PAO, TXSG TMF
2009/05/07

The QRT 19RGMT Team with their certificates pictured (L-R) SFC Dan Dzivi, SFC Mark Sliger MAJ Barry Hobbs, SGT Admir Pasalic and 1SGT Booth (not pictured).Photo by QRT 8RGMT TXSG TMF
The QRT 19RGMT Team with their certificates pictured (L-R) SFC Dan Dzivi, SFC Mark Sliger MAJ Barry Hobbs, SGT Admir Pasalic and 1SGT Booth (not pictured).Photo by QRT 8RGMT TXSG TMF

Camp Swift, Bastrop Texas - The Texas State Guard (TXSG) took top honors winning both the individual and the team combat pistol events on a rainy and cold weekend recently at Camp Swift. High pistol shooter was SSG Daniel Ernest, who won the competition last year. High team was 19th QRT (SFC Dzivi, SFC Sliger, SGT Pasaic, 1SGT Booth, MAJ Hobbs (19th QRT Commander). High Novice: 1LT Bornwell, 8th QRT, TXSG.

19TH QRT scores in the Individual category were: Hobbs Barry R. - 604, Sligar, Mark W. - 736, Dzivi, Daniel R. - 586, Pasalic, Admir - 527. Team score was 3141.

TXSG shooters were awarded four out of the eight coveted Governor’s Twenty tabs that were awarded. The TXSG citizen – soldiers awarded the Governor’s Twenty tab were SSG Ernest, 2LT George, 1LT Bornwell and SFC Sliger.

A total of 42 personnel participated in this year’s event. Second and third placed teams were the 136th AW TXANG.

The Texas State Guard is one of the three branches of the Texas Military Forces. However it operates a little different than the Texas Army and Air Nation Guard. The individual TXSG soldiers must pay for all, uniforms, equipment, ammunition, travel and training expenses out of their own pocket and only draw a small stipend from the State of Texas when they are activated by the Governor for State Active Duty (SAD).

The TXSG mission as a branch of the Texas Military Forces is to provide mission-ready military forces to assist State and Local authorities in times of state emergencies, with homeland security and community service through Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA). To augment the other two branches of the Texas Military Forces, the Texas Army National Guard and Texas Air National Guard as force multipliers.

Texas Maritime Regiment Swearing-In Ceremony

Texas Maritime Regiment Swearing-In Ceremony
PO1 George Monnat Jr., PAO, 2nd BN TMAR TXSG TMF
2009/05/06

(L-R) SCPO Westberry, PO1 Lee, being sworn into the TMAR by CDR Cave, BGen BodischPhoto by WO1 George Monnat TMAR TXSG TMF
(L-R) SCPO Westberry, PO1 Lee, being sworn into the TMAR by CDR Cave, BGen Bodisch Photo by WO1 George Monnat TMAR TXSG TMF

New Braunfels, Texas - As one of his first acts as Commander of the Texas Maritime Regiment (TMAR) of the Texas State Guard (TXSG), Brigadier General Robert “Duke” Bodisch swore in the two newest members of TMAR’s Second Battalion (2nd Bn). The ceremony occurred inside the 2nd Bn’s monthly drill facilities, the National Guard armory in New Braunfels, in the early afternoon. BGen Bodisch and 2nd Bn’s Commanding Officer, Commander Joe Cave swore in Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO) Brad Westberry and Petty Officer First Class (PO1) Miriam Lee.

SCPO(SW/AW) Brad Westberry grew up in Bulverde, Texas and joined the Navy right after high school where he spent the next twenty-six years and retired as a Senior Chief Damage Controlman. His last assignment before retirement was as the Command Senior Chief and senior DC instructor at the Center for Naval Engineering Learning Site, Ingleside, Texas. He is currently employed by the State Fire Marshal’s Office. He and his wife Pat reside in Ingleside.

PO1(SW) Miriam Lee grew up in Houston, TX and joined the Navy right after high school where she spent twenty years

Foreground (L-R) BGen Bodisch, SCPO Westberry, PO1 Lee, making the commitment to serve Texas in times of State and Local emergencies.Photo by WO1 George Monnat TMAR TXSG TMF
Foreground (L-R) BGen Bodisch, SCPO Westberry, PO1 Lee, making the commitment to serve Texas in times of State and Local emergencies.Photo by WO1 George Monnat TMAR TXSG TMF

retiring as a PO1 Electronic Technician. Her last assignment was as an instructor of the AN/SPS-67(V)1&3 Radar System at Center for Surface Combat Systems, Norfolk, VA. After retiring, she worked in Admiral Lotring’s staff as a Data Analyst for the Navy’s Accessions Programs in Great Lakes, IL. She relocated to Texas and is now a full time student at Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, a junior, majoring in Management Information Systems.

The Texas State Guard Maritime Regiment was created on November 1st, 2007 as the maritime branch of the TXSG. It consists of retired and honorably discharged members of the United States Coast Guard, United States Marines, and United States Navy as well as non-prior-service volunteers.

The mission of TMAR is to provide the Governor of the State of Texas and the Adjutant General of Texas with, highly trained, mission-ready military personal for Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA), for operations in the maritime, littoral, and riverine environments in support of Homeland Defense and in response to man-made or natural disasters.

MAJ J. Michael Spraggins contributed to this story

Kids participate in Firefighter Challenge

 

Courtesy Story

With a furrowed brow and tired arms, he carries the fire hose over his shoulder across the line. Once across, he picks up a mallet and begins to pound away at a forced entry simulator. Tired but relentless, the next task brings the individual to a mannequin rescue scene, wherein his strength is tested as he carries the body to safety. Finally, he must extinguish a simulated fire with the precise aim of a powerful pressure hose. Successfully completing the tasks, he greets his family as they praise and cheer for him. This three-year old has just completed the Kid's Firefighter Challenge.

The 2009 American Heroes Celebration at Camp Mabry welcomed dozens of uniformed departments and organizations to show off their service to the community. The Austin Fire Department warmly embraced the youth of the event by putting on a small-scale version of their annual service competition, the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge.

"It's actually a competition that we train for quite a bit," said Scott M. Bartell, lieutenant for Engine 1 of the Austin Fire Department. "It's a fun thing for the kids to see what we do."

Showcasing the American Fire Service while promoting physical fitness for children, the Kid's Firefighter Challenge takes participants through four of the rigorous trials of the real competition.

"[The Firefighter Challenge] was developed as an assessment tool for fire departments," said Bartell. "It simulates our firefighting activities."

The children's version includes a fire hose carry, the Keiser block, which simulates forcible entry, victim rescue with the aid of a mannequin, and a fire hose drag and spray. The adult counterpart additionally includes wear of the full SCOTT Air-Pak breaking apparatus and climbing a five-story tower.

"I like the hammer because I liked to move the big block," said Elizabeth W. Schiesser, 10. "I would like to do it again because I had a fun time."

Jim Key, retired Austin Fire Department captain and coach for the AFD Firefighter Challenge Team, has been working with the competition since its conception more than 15 years ago.

"We brought some of the toys we play with on a daily basis that represent firefighting," said Key. "We want kids to have a good day."

"I like spraying the hose because it's like pulling a trigger on a gun," said Jack H. Waters, 5.

In addition to giving youths the opportunity to perform real firefighter activities, the Kid's Firefighter Challenge also educates children on fire safety, home evacuation during a fire and other safety topics. As an outreach program, it stimulates children to take an active role in their family's fire plan and engages them with related competitions such as fire safety posters and essay contests.

This year's national-level competition for the Firefighter Combat Challenge takes place in Dallas in October with the world competition following in November in Las Vegas.

Search and Rescue Dogs Find Receptive Audience

 

Courtesy Story

Camp Mabry's American Heroes Celebration this year brought together diverse groups of people from various backgrounds and professions. Uniquely suited to feature a massive gathering of departments and organizations, the weekend-long event combined the related efforts of two offices that have never before worked together, the Austin Police Department Search and Rescue Dog Team and the Travis County Sherriff's Office Dog Team.

During three separate demonstrations on Saturday, these teams came together to educate and entertain the public on the challenges, rewards and techniques of working with trained dogs.

"We start training our dogs the minute we get them," said Matthew W. McDermott, K-9 team head for the Austin Police Department's Search and Rescue Team. "Training is simply a matter of rewarding the [behavior] you want to keep and ignoring the stuff that you don't."

Though a part of the Austin Police Department and found within the 15-man Search and Rescue Team, the three-man K-9 team is not made up of police officers.

"We're an all volunteer team," said McDermott. "We're not sworn officers."

Contrastingly, the officers of the Travis County Sherriff's Office use their dogs in official police situations.

"My dogs are bomb dogs," said Jo A. Carson, a K-9 handler with the county office. "We also search for suspects who may have committed criminal acts."

The demonstration included the APD office describing training techniques and taking the audience step by step through the reinforcement process. McDermott led his Golden Retriever, Ruby, through search games and recognition exercises to highlight the dog's refined skills.

The county office followed with a discipline presentation about how obedient and focused the police dogs are. Darren Jennings, dressed in a protective suit, allowed Hutch, a German Shepherd, to subdue him as he played the role of a suspect. With perfect accuracy, Hutch subdued Jennings on command and immediately let go when the "suspect" began obeying the orders of the enforcing officer, Mike Stanley. True to training, the dog's actions never threaten the life of the suspect, they only serve to detain the individual.

Often misperceived as a violent attack dog, police dogs rarely engage their targets with biting or clawing. The handlers of both offices train their dogs especially for tracking, taking advantage of dogs' naturally heightened sense of smell.

A fan delight by children and adults alike, the search and rescue dog demonstrations brought to the American Heroes celebration a wonderful glimpse into specialized law enforcement.

Vietnam Reenactment Brings Memories, History to Life

 

Story by Sgt. Jennifer Atkinson

While a wide grassy field and a cedar tree "jungle" may be far from the humid jungles of Vietnam, for many visitors to the American Heroes Celebration here April 19, the reenacted ambush was a glimpse into the pages of history, both personal experience and a war some have only read about.

Because of the treatment they received when coming home, "a lot of the veterans retreated with indifference, and sometimes, hostility," said Jeff Hunt, Director of the Texas Military Forces Museum on Camp Mabry and member of G Company Living History Detachment. 

"I haven't talked about it much with my family," said Michael Williams, a Vietnam veteran from Pflugerville, Texas, but "this gave my kids a chance to see a little bit of what it was like there. Not a lot of what it was like, thank God, but a little bit."

For Glen Villoz, from Georgetown, Texas, telling stories of the men like Williams is why he participates in the reenactments. "Instead of coming home heroes, [the Soldiers] were generally shunned," he said, but as the population of Vietnam veterans ages, "they want their story told." 

"What these guys went through when they were 18 or 20," said Villoz, "they never wanted to talk about that stuff with their families." His goal is to make sure these Soldiers are remembered for their contribution to history, not just that they were part of an unpopular war. 

These Soldiers' "service and sacrifice was equal to any other veteran in any other war," said Hunt, but Vietnam was the first war Americans really got to see happen in front of them." "They sat down to dinner...and it was right there." Because of the amount of media coverage, he said, "history can be skewed." 

"Vietnam gets referred to a lot," said Hunt, and it is important to educate people about the causes and effects of the war. Ignoring what happened there isn't the answer, he said, because "if we ignore it, lessons aren't learned and we [as a society] tend to repeat mistakes."

Gabe Ramirez, a resident of Austin originally from Mendocino, Calif., fought in Vietnam, and his son has deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

"Iraq isn't Vietnam," said Ramirez. "My son's war isn't mine, but I want our story told. Maybe I don't like what I remember, maybe I miss my buddies, but I want people to know what we did, and what our war was really like. This is a good place to start."

North Texas State Guard Unit deployed by Governor Perry to assist in aftermath of wildfires

North Texas State Guard Unit Deployed by Governor Perry to Assist in Aftermath of Wildfires
SGT George Garriott, PAO NCO 4RGMT CA TXSG TMF
2009/04/16
Texas States Guardsmen from the 4th Civil Affairs Regiment, Texas State Guard (TXSG) located in Denton, Decatur and Fort Worth, Texas had an eventful Easter holiday weekend due to the devastation caused by a recent string of wild fires in Montague, Jacksboro and Cook counties, where over 100 homes were destroyed.

Members of the Texas State Guard deployed at the request of its Commander in Chief, the Governor of Texas to team up with the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Texas Baptist Men and the Texas Animal Health Commission to name few who were among the 19 organizations in Montague County, offering assistance at the Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster Assistance Center (VOADAC).

Many families across the counties were still in shock, trying to sort out how to begin cleanup and rebuilding of their homes. The flames were undiscriminating; others were even less fortunate having lost everything they had to the wind swept flames.

The sight of the Texas State Guard men and women being there rendering assistance and aid in time of need was emotional for many. Frazzled, lost or in need of assistance, they came from various areas, what some have described as a “different planet, scorched and devastated, total despair”.

All of Texas can not help but to stand tall and be proud of these citizen – soldiers who sacrificed their personal time with their families at Easter to answer the call for help from fellow Texans in times of need. “The true meaning of the State Guard’s motto “Texans Serving Texas”.

The Texas State Guard is oldest of three branches of the Military Forces of the State of Texas, reporting to the Governor of Texas and the Adjutant General. The other two Branches are the Army and Air Guard.

TXSG has units throughout the State of Texas, providing Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) by maintaining a highly trained, mission-ready, military force, providing services to state and local authorities in times of State Emergencies and Homeland Security throughout Texas;

MAJ J. Michael Spraggins contributed to this story

"THIS IS AN EXERCISE... THIS IS AN EXERCISE" - Disaster Assessment Exercise

“THIS IS AN EXERCISE ... THIS IS AN EXERCISE” - Disaster Assessment Exercise
MAJ J. Michael Spraggins, TXSG Public Affairs
2009/03/31
 

Chaplin Fair, Brownwood City Councileman Steven Ray Brownwood Regional Medical Center and CPT Spratt Assistant Exercise Director.Photo by MAJ J. Michael Spraggins, TXSG Public Affairs
Chaplin Fair, Brownwood City Councileman Steven Ray Brownwood Regional Medical Center and CPT Spratt Assistant Exercise Director.Photo by MAJ J. Michael Spraggins, TXSG Public Affairs

This is an exercise .... this is an exercise, are the first words that will be heard and the last, for any Mock Disaster communications radio / telephone traffic during three days in May in Brown and Comanche County, which includes the City of Brownwood, and City of Early.

A Planning session was held on 19 March, for the Disaster Assessment Exercise sponsored by the Texas State Guard (TXSG) and the Brownwood / Brown County Local Government and Columbia Regional Geospatial Service Center.

CPT Robert Spratt, HQ J3 TXSG, who lives in the Brownwood area, is OIC of the exercise. Chaplin (CPT) Dave Fair, HQ TXSG, also of Brownwood, and City Councilman, working with CPT Spratt, they were instrumental in insuring wide spread participation of local and regional governmental and non government organizations (NGO). In addition National Guard Civil Support Team Six -HAZMAT will participate in the disaster drill.

CPT Spratt is credited with completing and producing the comprehensive Disaster Assessment Exercise Plan, incorporating requirements set forth by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP).

The TXSG will be supporting this exercise with five GPS trained Damage Assessment Teams, Communications, Command Center staff and three TXSG Texas Medical Brigade medical aid teams supporting the teams in the field.

CPT Spratt, OIC and Charles Ashton of the Columbia Regional Geospatial Center REGIONAL, brief disaster drill players.Photo by MAJ J. Michael Spraggins, TXSG Public Affairs
CPT Spratt, OIC and Charles Ashton of the Columbia Regional Geospatial Center REGIONAL, brief disaster drill players.Photo by MAJ J. Michael Spraggins, TXSG Public Affairs

The purpose of this exercise is to measure and validate performance of participants’ capabilities and their associated critical tasks.

  • Emergency Operations Center Management
  • Communications
  • Emergency Public Information and Warning
  • Triage and Pre-Hospital Treatment
  • Medical Surge
  • Mass Care (Sheltering, Feeding, and Related Services)
  • Wide Area Damage Assessment (GPS)

The TXSG will be assessing its capability and adequacy of plans for responding to and conducting Wide Area Damage Assessments. This includes land navigation, establishing waypoints and a GPS network.

Some of the participants at the planning session were:

  • TXSG COL Kissel, COL C. Miller, COL R. Miller, COL Watkins, MAJ Spraggins, CPT Hollands, CW4 Sanchez
  • TXANG MAJ Creek, CPT. Robert Nash, Camp Bowie
  • Columbia Regional Geospatial Service Center (CRGSC)
  • West Central Texas Council of Government (WCTCOG)
  • Brown County Officials, City of Brownwood Officials, Comanche County Officials
  • Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Brownwood Regional Medical Center / Guardian EMS
  • Howard Payne University

Robert D. Gaylor NCO Academy recognized by Texas Military Forces

Robert D. Gaylor NCO Academy recognized by Texas Military Forces
Chief Master Sgt. Norm King, TXMF Public Affairs
2009/02/27

Brig. Gen. Bob Cheeseman (right), Texas State Guard Air Division commander, presents the Texas Meritorious Unit Award to Chief Master Sgt. Albert McGowan, Robert D. Gaylor NCO Academy Commandant. The academy was recognized for offering a comprehensive and professional program tailored to the needs of the Texas State Guard NCO Corps.Photo by Robbin Cresswell
Brig. Gen. Bob Cheeseman (right), Texas State Guard Air Division commander, presents the Texas Meritorious Unit Award to Chief Master Sgt. Albert McGowan, Robert D. Gaylor NCO Academy Commandant. The academy was recognized for offering a comprehensive and professional program tailored to the needs of the Texas State Guard NCO Corps.Photo by Robbin Cresswell

Brig. Gen. Bob Cheeseman, the Texas State Guard Air Division Commander, recently presented the Texas Meritorious Unit Award to Chief Master Sgt. Albert McGowan, Robert D. Gaylor NCO Academy Commandant, and his instructors.

Academy instructors and staff have supported the Airmen and Soldiers of the Texas State Guard by voluntarily offering both an NCO and Senior NCO Professional Development Course of Instruction since 2002. The courses, presented each summer, are a comprehensive and professional program tailored to the needs of the Texas State Guard NCO Corps.

The courses include an advanced reading list requirement and four full days of instruction over two intense weekends. More than 200 Texas State Guard NCOs have been trained in the last seven years.

This professional training has paid great dividends in advancing the NCO Corps of the Texas State Guard helping them to more easily interface with their counterparts in the Texas Army and Air National Guard. The training provided to the Texas State Guard has been a voluntary, community service effort by the academy’s faculty on their off-duty time and at no cost to the Texas State Guard or the Air Force.

Soldiers to Use GPS Next Hurricane Season

Soldiers to Use GPS Next Hurricane Season
Ashlea Sigman
2009/02/07

Texas State Guard, 2nd Battalion, 8th Regiment soldiers train with GPS devices to be used during hurricane season.Photo by KBTX - News - Bryan / College Station Texas
Texas State Guard, 2nd Battalion, 8th Regiment soldiers train with GPS devices to be used during hurricane season.Photo by KBTX - News - Bryan / College Station Texas

GPS devices are becoming more and more common. Now, the Texas Military will be using them after a disaster.

The 2nd Battalion, 8th regiment of the Texas State Guard, based in Bryan, trained at Lick Creek Park in College Station Saturday.

Working with a program developed by the Columbia Geospatial Center, the soldiers learned how to better respond after natural disasters, using GPS.

“Like downed power line or injured personnel or hazardous waste and when we’re done making all of our points, we can upload it to a computer and then print it on a map so emergency responders can see exact spots where the problem areas are,” said Lt. Joseph Ferguson.

The technology was used by a small group after Hurricane Ike, and will be more widely used this coming hurricane season.

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Texas State Guard Graduates New Recruits

Texas State Guard Graduates New Recruits
KTBC - Fox 7 News - Austin
2009/01/31

AUSTIN (my FOX Austin) -- The Texas State Guardsman welcomed 12 new recruits on Saturday during a graduation ceremony. They also accepted a donation of GPS units from Wal-Mart that will help the guardsmen during disaster response.