|On Friday, March 16, 2012, Texas Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols speaks to members of the Central Texas Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America, in Killeen, about the role of the Texas Military Forces in both federal and state missions. During the presentation, Nichols explained how members of the Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air National Guard and the Texas State Guard come together to serve the citizens of Texas through search and rescue missions, evacuation support and shelter management.
Reaching out and strengthening ties
Story by Laura Lopez
KILLEEN, Texas – Just an hour north of Austin, members of the Killeen Heights Rotary Club and the Central Texas Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America received a special visit from Texas Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols on March 16, 2012.
Nichols illustrated the role of the Texas Military Forces in both state and federal missions, and explained how the Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air National Guard and the Texas State Guard operate as a joint force. From performing search and rescue missions, evacuation and re-entry support and providing shelter and mass care management, one message was prevalent.
“We are citizen-soldiers from all over the state of Texas here to help our citizens in times of need or disasters,” said Nichols. “When you get out there and help them get off their roof, get them out of the water; there is no greater feeling than helping our citizens.”
With the wildfires in Bastrop and other counties throughout the state, more recent examples of circumstances in which the Texas Military Forces was called in for support, Nichols emphasized that the organization is simply a small piece of the puzzle providing assistance in conjunction with other interagency partners. While our aviators dropped more than two million gallons of water out of helicopters in treacherous conditions, our role was secondary to that of the Texas Parks and Wildlife organization.
“During the Bastrop fires we had 600 firefighters from around the nation at Camp Swift, with members from our forces helping to coordinate shelter” said Nichols.
Jim Bondi, president elect for the Killeen Heights Rotary Club stated that, “This presentation reminds us all of the contributions the National Guard provides the state, and us close to Fort Hood, and also shows how organizations partner together and the importance of the citizens of Texas.”
Although the mission of the Texas Military Forces is to provide the governor and the president with ready and fully trained forces, Nichols’ goal is to also build and strengthen relationships not only with the residents of Killeen and Fort Hood, but the communities across the state.
Friday, March 16, 2012 9:55:00 AM