Story by: Warrant Officer Malana Nall
Posted: November 2, 2015
HOUSTON - For almost thirty years the Texas State Guard has provided logistical, operational, and medical support to the Wings Over Houston Airshow. Working alongside the Commemorative Air Force and local law enforcement, soldiers from the Texas State Guard Army Component 8th Regiment, 447th Air Wing, Maritime Regiment 2nd Battalion, and Medical Brigade 2nd Battalion guided visitors through entrance and exit gates, supplied information on airshow venues, and offered other assistance to ensure that the 50,000 visitors had an enjoyable time at Ellington Field, Houston, October 17-18, 2015.
This community event allowed the soldiers to hone their mission-essential skills, such as shelter management, food and water distribution, radio communications, and medical support. Soldiers practiced working together in a joint operation with different units of the Texas State Guard. These skills are necessary to support residents and local communities during a disaster or emergency, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding.
Soldiers had a great time, too. They handed out candy and ear plugs. They set up a recruiting tent in front of the 447th Air Wing communications trailer, where children enjoyed trying on Texas State Guard caps, boots, and equipment belts.
Two 8th Regiment soldiers, Staff Sgt. Cheryl Lemmings and Sgt. Sasha Shepard, volunteered to escort children from the Make-A-Wish Foundation to a VIP tent to watch the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds practice that day. Lemmings and Shepard spent time meeting the children and their parents and answering questions about the Texas State Guard.
Col. Edwin Grantham, commander, 8th Regiment, explained that "the job here is part of our support to civil authorities. We want Texans to have a high confidence level in our ability to take care of them when called upon. We take great pride in what we do for Texas residents and events like the airshow allow us to practice our mission skills."
Wings Over Houston is one of the top airshows in the country and attracts visitors from around the world. Featured were the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, who are known for their aerial acrobatics in F-16 Fighting Falcons, as well as Breitling Jet Team, "Tora, Tora, Tora" air re-enactors, and the U. S. Navy F-18 Super Hornet.