Changing of Command builds on TXSG Success

Changing Of Command Builds On TXSG Success
MAJ Michael Quinn Sullivan, PAO, TXSG

Photo of Commanding General Ray Peters (Center) promoted Manuel Rodriguez, left, to Brigadier General and Deputy Commanding General, Army. Rodriguez takes over from retiring BG Victor Ortiz (right).
Commanding General Ray Peters (center) promoted Manuel Rodriguez, left, to Brigadier General and Deputy Commanding General, Army. Rodriguez takes over from retiring BG Victor Ortiz (right).

AUSTIN - A new commander of the Texas State Guard’s army component took charge today as the state’s defense support soldiers expressed gratitude to retiring Brig. Gen. Victor Ortiz.

Serving as Deputy Commander (Army) of the Texas State Guard since 2006, Ortiz said he was proud of the achievements of the men and women he has served alongside.

“They have truly exemplified the spirit of Texas,” said Ortiz. “It has been an absolute honor serving with them. This is what our country is all about.”

More than 2,000 men and women actively service in the Texas State Guard, with two-thirds of them in the Army component. The other sections of the Texas State Guard are the Air Division, Maritime Regiment and Medical Brigade. The TXSG, commanded by Maj. Gen. Ray Peters, is part of the Texas Military Forces, which includes the Army National Guard and Air National Guard.

After retiring from the United States Army National Guard, Ortiz entered the Texas State Guard in August of 2005 as commander of the 1st Civil Affairs Regiment. His entry was a baptism by hurricane; Katrina hit on Sept. 8, 2005, resulting in the largest activation of the TXSG in modern history.

Having been commissioned into the Army in 1969, Ortiz served in Vietnam as a fire direction officer and executive officer. He entered the Texas Army National Guard in 1979, holding numerous leadership positions, including Commander of the Joint Task Force Safe Boarder (Military Observer Mission Ecuador and Peru and Commander 49th Armored Division Artillery.

Ortiz described the Texas State Guard as “a great way to serve your community.”

Brig. Gen. Ortiz works as a volunteer with the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve. He and his wife Martha have two grown sons, two grandchildren.

Replacing Ortiz as the Deputy Commander (Army) is Manuel Rodriguez, recently confirmed as a brigadier general by the Texas Senate. Retired from the United States Army, Rodriguez – like Ortiz – was introduced to the Texas State Guard by a friend.

“I couldn’t believe what I saw,” said Rodriguez of his first visit to a training weekend. “The men and women serving in the state guard ask for nothing, but give a whole lot to Texas, and want to do the right thing. I had to be a part of that.”

He joined in March 2006, serving first as commander of the 2nd Civil Affairs Regiment, and later as the headquarters personnel officer.

Rodriguez was commissioned in 1983 upon graduation from the University of Southern Mississippi, and found himself posted first at Fort Hood. During his career, the Army had him in Germany, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, among other assignments. Primarily an intelligence officer, he retired from active duty in 2005. He and his wife own a ranch outside Copperas Cove. He has a college-age son, two grown daughters and a granddaughter.

Rodriguez said he was honored to take command from Ortiz.

“He has led with his heart, putting the soldiers first in everything he has done,” said Rodriguez. “I look forward to building on his successful work.”

Gen. Peters, presiding over Sunday’s ceremony at Camp Mabry, said both Ortiz and Rodriguez represent the kind of strong, hands-on leadership the state guard has been cultivating.

“As we continue to grow and mature organizationally, Gen. Rodriguez’s emphasis on training will enhance the esprit de corps that Gen. Ortiz has embodied.”