Story by: Warrant Officer Malana Nall 

Posted: June 30, 2015

Pfc. Justin Stanton, 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard, carries cases of ready-to-eat meals for residents of Brazoria County
PFC Justin Stanton, 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard, carries cases of ready-to-eat meals for residents of Brazoria County during a points of distribution exercise at Alvin Community College, Alvin, Texas, June 27, 2015.  Distributing food, water, and ice to residents is a mission essential task for the Texas State Guard during an emergency. (Texas State Guard photo by Capt. Shawn James/Released)

HOUSTON, Texas – Joint training benefits the Texas State Guard and the local management and residents so in the event of a real emergency, every-one will be able to respond effectively and provide assistance to those in need. In the spirit of cooperation, education and training, the Texas State Guard 8th Regiment, 447th Air Support Group 5th Air Wing, 2nd Battalion Texas Medical Brigade and Corps of Engineers partnered with the Brazoria County Office of Emergency Management and the Fort Bend Community to run a hurricane evacuation and sheltering exercise June 25th through June 28th. Armories in Angleton, Rosenberg and Houston, Texas served as bases of operations. 

Troops mustered at the Westheimer Armory, Houston, TX, to receive safety and mission briefings before heading to their duty assignments. During the exercise, soldiers assigned to Angleton broke into two groups. One proceeded to the Lake Jackson Civic Center, Lake Jackson, TX while the other went to the Pearland Recreation Center in Pearland to conduct mock evacuations of Brazoria County residents. The exercise utilized the Brazoria County All Hazard Response Network, a system similar to the Evacuation and Tracking Network used by the state to track evacuees throughout the process. 

The 8th Regiments also conducted a mock mass casualty incident at the Lake Jackson Civic Center. Soldiers assigned to the Rosenberg armory, in Rosenberg, Texas, set up a temporary daytime only shelter at the First Assembly of God Church in Rosenberg, for residents escaping rising flood waters. The local volunteer organization, Helping Hands, which helped cleaned homes damaged by the recent Memorial Day flooding, assisted by acting as evacuees. 

As the exercise moved into it’s third day, the 8th Regiment set up and operated points of distribution on the campus of Alvin Community College in Alvin and at the Rosenberg Civic Center in Fort Bend County for local residents who were without electricity and in need of food, water and ice.

Texas State Guard officers 1st Lt. Carl Mathews, 447th Support Group, 5th Air Wing, and Capt. Joseph Conte, 8th Regiment,   review the emergency operations command information board at the 8th Regiment tactical operations command center
Texas State Guard officers 1st Lt. Carl Mathews, 447th Support Group, 5th Air Wing, and Capt. Joseph Conte, 8th Regiment, 
review the emergency operations command information board at the 8th Regiment tactical operations command center during 8th 
Regiment annual training at the Westheimer Armory in Houston, Texas, June 26, 2015.  This information provides the Texas 
emergency management system real time updates to the Texas State Guard during an emergency.  (Texas State Guard photo by Warrant Officer Malana Nall/Released)

At the same time, Corps of Engineers used this training as an opportunity to inspect local roads, bridges and levees for damage from the recent rains and river flooding.

Volunteers from both counties assisted with the exercises by becoming role players to enhance the complexity and realism of the training.

A real world event, solar flares disrupted radio communications with the tactical operations center. Command Sgt. Maj. John Marshall immediately assisted with re-establishing communications. Marshall was very proud of how the soldiers responded. “They were very quick to find a solution to the problem,” he stated. 

The 8th Regiment used local caterers to provide meals for the troops and in the process added over $14,000 of financial stimulus to the local communities according to financial officer Chief Warrant Officer 2 Gregory Murray. 

This annual training was an outstanding opportunity for the soldiers and airmen of the Texas State Guard to sharpen their skills and abilities to help their fellow Texans during an emergency.