|Texas Adjutant General Air Force Maj. Gen. John Nichols addresses attendees at the National Guard Association of Texas Conference in Corpus Christi, March 25. The TAG discussed his vision to put soldiers, airmen, families and civilians first in his remarks.
Story by Spc. Suzanne Carter
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Plaques and engraved, Texas-shaped crystal awards neatly lined the table. Each one represented the sacrifice, dedication, and hard work of service members and their families over the past year or longer. They convey gratitude and respect from senior leadership, who are proud of the personnel without whom the military could never succeed.
U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. John Nichols, the Texas adjutant general, presented the awards to Family Readiness volunteers and the winners of the TAG Performance Excellence Competition, March 25, at the opening ceremony of the 52nd National Guard Association of Texas Conference in Corpus Christi.
Company through brigade-level commanders from across the state participated in the TAGPEC. Captains, majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels wrote self-assessments that examined seven areas of their organizations such as leadership and social responsibility; strategic planning; customer knowledge; measurement, analysis and improvement; motivation and safety; emergency preparedness and results.
U.S. Army Maj. Tyra Swanson from the Office of Performance Optimization at Joint Forces Headquarters said the self- assessments help commanders establish a baseline for their unit performance and point toward improvements they can make.
"In an era like this with constrained resources," Swanson said, "using those resources and moneys effectively is really important. If we can get rid of mission creepers, then we can focus our efforts on what's important: defining our mission and getting the organization to accomplish that mission."
The TAGPEC highlights two categories of command level for award, from captain and major to lieutenant colonel and colonel.
At the captain and major level, Army Capt. Gregory Brown and Delta Forward Support Company earned 1st place. The TAG awarded Army Capt. Terrance Tysall and the 672 Engineer Detachment 2nd place.
At the lieutenant colonel and colonel level, Army Lt. Col. Michelle Bryant and the 536 Brigade Support Battalion earned 1st place, Air Force Lt. Col Leslie Kurt and the 147th Maintenance Group earned 2nd and Air Force Col. Kevin Turnbo and the 254th Combat Communications Group earned 3rd.
Nichols also presented State Family Program Volunteer Awards for a variety of achievements. The awards recognized volunteers for five or ten years of volunteer service with Family Readiness Groups, outstanding FRG leadership and the consistent support they provide for troops at home and while deployed.
Tammorrow Constantine, who received the Silver Service Award for ten years of volunteering, said she got her whole family involved in supporting the Texas Military Forces.
"I found that it's easier to get through deployments if you stay involved," she said, "instead of sitting at home feeling sorry for yourself."
Nichols also recognized Katherine Boynton, Jason Cowan and Matthew Constantine as exemplary young volunteers for their service in support of Texas Military Forces Youth during the past year.
The recognition and prestige of these awards, from both the TAGPEC and the State Family Program, deliver a sense of appreciation and acknowledgement to the recipients. Though, even without the accolades, their work would continue as each contributor works toward a purpose greater than themselves. They work with and for an organization esteemed in history and accomplishment.
"It feels good to support the troops," said Jason Cowan, Friendship Award recipient. "I don't really deserve an award for it because I'm just doing what I feel I should do."