Commentary by CW2 Janet Schmelzer, 4th Regiment, PAO
AUSTIN, Texas – The Army Component Command of the Texas State Guard has a new commander and a new general, Brig. Gen. Howard N. Palmer, Jr.
Maj. Gen. Jake Betty, Commander, Texas State Guard, promoted Palmer to the rank of brigadier general and formally handed over the Army Component to Palmer at a ceremony held at Camp Mabry in Austin, March 28, 2015.
Palmer will command almost 1,000 state guardsmen, assigned to six civil affairs regiments, located across the state.
"I couldn't be more honored, or more humbled, by the opportunity to lead one of the premier organizations of this type in the United States," said Palmer. "With my mentors' support and the support of the officers, NCOs, and enlisted members of the Army Component, we're going to continue moving forward as an organization with a culture and a strategy of continuous improvement."
Palmer was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Louisiana Army National Guard after completing the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program at Louisiana College in 1980 and ended his federal service as a lieutenant colonel in the Texas Army National Guard in 2008. His active duty assignments include a deployment to Bosnia for Operation Joint Forge, in 2000, Operation Noble Eagle II, in 2003 and Operation Jump Start supporting border operations in Texas, from 2006-2008. He is a graduate of the Field Artillery School Officer Basic Course, Field Artillery School Cannon Battery Officer Course, Field Artillery School Officer Advanced Course, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, Command and General Staff College-Graduate and Field Artillery Pre-Command Course.
Palmer also received The State of Texas Outstanding Service Medal for exemplary service in the military forces of Texas during the ceremony. Palmer's highest awards for military service are the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Army Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, and Army Achievement Medal with four oak leaf clusters, as well as various other state and federal ribbons.
Palmer joined the Texas State Guard at the rank of Colonel in 2008, most recently serving as the commander of the 4th Regiment.
Palmer holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and History from Louisiana College-Pineville, Pineville, Louisiana, and a Masters of Art in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University-Commerce in Commerce. He is an Assistant Principal at Denton High School in Denton. He is married to Dr. Mary "Beth" Palmer. They have a son, 1st Lt. Howard N. Palmer, III, US Air Force, and daughter-in-law Julia C. Palmer.