Dolly meets Big Blue
Texas Military Forces by CPT J. Michel Spraggins, Texas State Guard, Texas Military Forces Public Affairs
2008/07/31

Big Blue sets up H- E-B parking lot in Weslaco Texas in response to hurricane Dolly.Photo by Photo by CPT.J. Michael Spraggins Texas State Guard, Texas Military Forces PAO
Big Blue sets up H- E-B parking lot in Weslaco Texas in response to hurricane Dolly.Photo by Photo by CPT.J. Michael Spraggins Texas State Guard, Texas Military Forces PAO

WESLACO, Texas (July 21, 2008) - The Weatherman on TV first talked about the tropical depression, then the tropical storm and finally about the full blown hurricane named Dolly off the coast of Mexico, rushing towards Texas.

Big Blue was standing by ready to meet Dolly if she made landfall anywhere in south Texas.

Big Blue is a highly sophisticated state of the art, mobile, self-powered, go-anywhere, set-up anywhere, totally-self contained, command center used to providing instant communications among the State Operations Center, shelter sites and first responders in times of state emergencies.

Blue is manned by Texas State Guardsmen, Chief Master Sergeant James Short of the 436th Air Support Group of the Texas State Guard; the NCOIC of the unit manning Blue stated that “the guardsmen had been training for just such an event.”

Texas State Guardsmen man the communications equipment in Big Blue, to support the Texas Military Forces helping with recovery in the Rio Grand Valley area.Photo by Photo by CPT.J. Michael Spraggins Texas State Guard, Texas Military Forces PAO
Texas State Guardsmen man the communications equipment in Big Blue, to support the Texas Military Forces helping with recovery in the Rio Grand Valley area.Photo by Photo by CPT.J. Michael Spraggins Texas State Guard, Texas Military Forces PAO

The Texas State Guard has been doing intense training to be ready to provide Defense Support to Civilian Authorities (DSCA) in providing communications support, evacuation shelter management, Points of Distribution (POD), medical and chaplain assistance for when Mother Nature unleashes her wrath, in this case in the form of hurricane Dolly.

Airmen of the 436th Air Support Group, 4th Air Wing of the Texas State Guard part of the Texas Military Forces, raise the antenna.Photo by Photo by CPT.J. Michael Spraggins Texas State Guard, Texas Military Forces PAO
Airmen of the 436th Air Support Group, 4th Air Wing of the Texas State Guard part of the Texas Military Forces, raise the antenna.Photo by Photo by CPT.J. Michael Spraggins Texas State Guard, Texas Military Forces PAO

The Texas State Guard is the oldest of the three branches of the Texas Military Forces, with the other two being the Army and Air Guard and can trace its history to serving Texas to before the Alamo. The State Guard is made up of 6 Army Regiments, 2 Air Wings, Medical Brigade and Maritime Regiment. The State Guard can only be deployed outside of Texas only under the direct authority of the Governor.

Operation Dolly is the Texas Military Forces DSCA in form of manning evacuation shelters and PODs and Big Blue was there when Dolly arrived in Brownsville, Harlingen and the surrounding counties. The Chief said “reliable communications is absolutely critical in times of emergencies and Blue and its team met the challenge”