Texas State Guard 8th Regiment Partners with Local Emergency Agencies During 2016 Annual Training
Story by: Warrant Officer Malana Nall, PAO, 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard
Posted: March 3, 2016
HOUSTON - The 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard, partnered with the 447th Air Support Group, 5th Air Wing, Texas State Guard, the Galveston County (Tex.) Office of Emergency Management, the American Red Cross, and Texas Search and Rescue (TEXSAR) during annual training in Galveston, Texas, and at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Houston, Texas, February 25-28, 2016. The Texas State Guard conducts annual training to provide soldiers with the skills necessary to assist Texans during an emergency or disaster.
The first exercise was a search and rescue after simulated helicopter crash with three people on board. In coordination with Galveston County emergency management and TEXSAR, approximately 150 troops assembled on Pelican Island (Galveston County) to traverse 300 acres of chal-lenging terrain that included water, deep mud, and thickets as well as snakes and feral hogs.
“This training is very important during an emergency or disaster when searching for and rescuing victims needs to be accomplished quickly, thoroughly, and efficiently,” stated Lt. Col. Gerry Levesque, Operations Officer, 8th Regiment.
The troops conducted a grid search to locate the downed aircraft and passengers. Upon finding the crash site and rescuing the injured, they carried out a line search to find any debris from the crash.
“The members of the 8th Regiment demonstrated their versatility and competency as they worked through the different layers of the exercise,” observed Laura Norman, TEXSAR Gulf Coast Team Leader. “The Texas State Guard is an incredible resource to the State of Texas and TEXSAR is honored to serve alongside these dedicated individuals.”
The Texas State Guard is also trained to provide water, food, and other necessities to communities when a disaster, such as a hurricane, has occurred.
On Galveston Island, 8th Regiment soldiers practiced this service by setting up two water distribution points. They handed out bottles of water, donated by the local HEB food store, to Galveston residents, who volunteered to assist with the exercise.
At Ellington Field soldiers trained on mass care shelter management, another important service
that the Texas State Guard provides during an emergency or disaster. Airmen from the 447th Air Support Group instructed the 8th Regiment on how to set up a shelter. Simulating a shelter operation, soldiers set up an in processing section where guests register and receive information about the shelter, a dining section, guest sleeping quarters with cots, and a medical unit with an isolation area.
Donald Sanford, American Red Cross representative, observed the shelter operations. “I knew coming in that the Texas State Guard was well trained in the area of shelter management, and we at the Red Cross are extremely proud to work alongside with the Texas State Guard. I know that no matter what the situation might be, the soldiers of the Texas State Guard have the training and talent to get the job done.”
Col. Edwin A. “Buddy” Grantham, Commander, 8th Regiment, was pleased with the annual training. “I am proud of the soldiers in my command. They each have individual skills and working together as a team with the skills practiced during the past few days will allow them to take care of each other and the people of Texas during an emergency or disaster. This training exemplifies our motto of ‘Texans Serving Texas.’”