Texas State Guard perform community service at Wings over Houston Air Show

Story and photos by: Warrant Officer Malana Nall

8th Regiment, Texas State Guard

Col. Edwin Grantham, Commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. John Marshall, Senior Enlisted Advisor, 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard, present a regimental challenge coin to World War II veteran Col. Richard “Dick” Cole, during a ceremony at the 32nd Annual Wings over Houston Air Show at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Houston, Oct. 22-23, 2016.   Cole is the last surviving member of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders and was co-pilot to Gen. Doolittle during the famous raid on Tokyo during World War II.  (Texas State Guard photo by Warrant Officer Malana Nall)
Col. Edwin Grantham, Commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. John Marshall, Senior Enlisted Advisor, 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard, present a regimental challenge coin to World War II veteran Col. Richard “Dick” Cole, during a ceremony at the 32nd Annual Wings over Houston Air Show at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Houston, Oct. 22-23, 2016.   Cole is the last surviving member of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders and was co-pilot to Gen. Doolittle during the famous raid on Tokyo during World War II.  (Texas State Guard photo by Warrant Officer Malana Nall) 

HOUSTON- As citizen-guardsmen, the Texas State Guard is known for its volunteerism and putting others first, with support to the Wings over Houston Air Show at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Houston, Oct. 22-23, 2016, a prime example of serving in their own communities. 

For 32 years members from the 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard, have provided event organizers with logistical support. This year, volunteers provided information and directions to a record-breaking 50,000 visitors.  

“Because of our participation at the air show, many Texans got to see firsthand a well-trained Texas State Guard, as we assisted the thousands of visitors.  Our troops demonstrated professionalism and courtesy as they guided visitors to the many air show venues,” said Col. Edwin Grantham, Commander, 8th Regiment. “Wings over Houston gives the Texas State Guard a real-world opportunity to apply our communications and logistical skills; which are necessary skills when we are called upon to assist our fellow Texans in an emergency.” 

For one volunteer this annual air show remains a favorite community service project.

“It always exciting to see the planes and talk to all the visitors and introduce them to the Texas State Guard,” said Staff Sgt. Troy Charleville, 3rd Battalion, 8th Regiment.

During a ceremony at the air show, Col. Grantham and Command Sgt. Maj. John Marshall, 8th Regiment Senior Enlisted Advisor, presented a regimental challenge coin to Col. Richard “Dick” Cole, the last surviving member of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders and co-pilot to Gen. Doolittle during the famous raid on Tokyo during World War II.  

“It was a privilege to meet such a legendary pilot and hear his firsthand account of such a pivotal event in the war. There was not enough time in the day to hear about his service to our country,” said Marshall. “It is something I won’t forget.”

According to event organizers, the Wings over Houston Air Show is one of the largest in the United States. For 2016, the main attraction was the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.  The event also showcased vintage World War II aircraft.