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Founded 1959 | Volume 57 | Number 4 | Winter 2017







Holidays in the Guard

NGAT Conference Information

2016-17 Board of Directors President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . President-Elect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Vice-President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Secretary-Treasurer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Joint Forces HQs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ARNG Troops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36th ID . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72nd IBCT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72nd IBCT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56th IBCT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56th IBCT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36th Sustainment Bde . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36th CAB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176th Engr Bde . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71st BfSB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136th MEB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . HQ, TANG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149th FW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147th RW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136th AW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . TX State Guard Rep . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Retired Rep – Region I . . . . . . . . . . . . Retired Rep – Region II . . . . . . . . . . . . Retired Rep – Region III . . . . . . . . . . . Family Readiness Rep . . . . . . . . . . . . . Executive Director (Interim) . . . . . . . .

Kenn White Vacant Tony Carter Brian Hildebrand Christopher McKeag Tyra Swanson Mike Wallace Brian Hildebrand Richard Sublett Jet Hays Mark Horn Toni Savely Bob Roark Jimmy Leonard Patrick Harty Daniel Greigo Michael Selheim Albert Cardenas Leonor Milton Doug Clark Richard Chamberlain Priscilla Leger Vacant Randy Ransom Scott Kingsley Theresa Billeck-Zuniga

Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Copy Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Graphic Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Publisher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Theresa Billeck-Zuniga Bailey Buckingham Aus-Tex Printing & Mailing

NGAT NEWS 3706 Crawford Ave Austin, TX 78731 512-454-7300 1-800-252-NGAT (6428)







President’s Report


Member Spotlight


Legislative Update




TXMD Hall of Honor


Leadership Changes



Around the World with the Guard


Salute to Retirees


Holidays in the Guard


Bylaw Changes/36th ID Dining Out


Around Texas with the Guard


NGAT Conference Information


NGAT Conference Breakout Sessions


TAPS/Corporate Sponsors


NGAT Planning Calendar


NGAT Home Page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NGAT EMAIL Meeting and Marketing Director—Rob Casias . . Insurance Director—Kathy Gallatin . . . . . . . . . Membership . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NGAT News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

NGAT News (usps 015-752) published quarterly by the National Guard Association of Texas, 3706 Crawford Avenue, Austin, Texas 78731-6308.


Periodicals postage paid at Austin, Texas 78710 and additional offices. POSTMASTER SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO: NGAT News, 3706 Crawford Avenue, Austin, Texas 78731-6308 MEMBERS MAY EMAIL ADDRESS CHANGES TO: W i n t e r 2 0 1 7 H N a t i o n a l G u a r d A s s o c i a t i o n o f Te x a s |


PRESIDENT’S REPORT NGAT is proud to welcome our two newest employees. MSgt (Ret) Scott Wade joined the NGAT team in November. He served in the U.S. Air Force and completed his military service on active duty with the Illinois Air National Guard. He will serve as the NGAT Office Manager and the Membership Assistant. Heather Weatherby joined the NGAT team in December and hails from west Texas and is very interested in the insurance field and will serve as the NGAT Insurance Assistant. Feel free to stop by the office and say hi and meet our new staff members.

MSGT (RET) SCOTT WADE Membership Assistant NGAT Office Manager

HEATHER WEATHERBY Insurance Assistant

DON’T MISS STEDMAN GRAHAM AT THE NGAT CONFERENCE According to Stedham Graham, 6.5 billion people don’t know who they are. While many may associate Graham’s name with his life partner, Oprah Winfrey, he is a man who stands well on his own. Graham is a veteran of the U.S. Army, an educator, author of eleven books, successful businessman, and noted speaker. Join us at the NGAT Conference Awards dinner and learn from Mr Graham how to move from follower to leader, how to create and realize your vision, and how your actions can transform your life.

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Our Annual conference is just around the corner and I am excited about the great format this year. This year, during our business session, our committee chairs will brief by exception. This

provides additional opportunities during the business session to host other informative content and shorten the overall length of the business session to allow more time for the breakout sessions. We will also be rolling out our very first NGAT App. A big shout out to EANGUS for their assistance with this process. The app is finished and has been sent to Apple and Google Play Stores awaiting approval. I’m hoping that by the time you are reading this, it is already available and installed on your phone. We are very close to making a final decision on the full time executive director position. The process was originally off to a good start, but then got delayed. I want to give huge praises to the HR committee and Theresa Billeck-Zuniga for the overwhelming task to get us to this point. I am hopeful that we can have a new director hired in time for the annual conference. We had over 89 applicants apply for the position and through a screening process, have narrowed the choices down to twelve. The HR committee is reviewing these finalists and we should be scheduling interviews with the top three over the next several weeks.   I want to emphasize that this is YOUR organization. I ask you to consider serving on a committee. We have done a good job keeping some of our committees active and engaged, but that’s because those serving on these committees are passionate about NGAT and want to make a difference. We are looking for more members with a passion for NGAT. Please consider serving. At most, this is a quarterly commitment with an opportunity to make a difference in your association.  As you know, this year, we need to fill the president-elect position. During the business session we will take nominations and vote on the new president-elect. The person filling this role will begin leading the organization in the next couple of years and I ask as you consider people to nominate for that role, you ensure that they are fully committed to that role. I feel very strongly that serving on NGAT (or any board of directors) is a calling and the president-elect position needs to be someone who genuinely wants to continue to make a difference for the NGAT members.   Finally, we have gone through some very significant changes over this past year.  Part of those changes was taking a really in-depth look at our bylaws. As a result, we will be submitting recommendations for changes to the members to vote on during the business session.  In accordance with the bylaws, we will post the proposed changes on the NGAT website at no later than February 15, 2017. We encourage your feedback and questions prior to voting on the proposed changes at the Saturday business session.  Most changes are simple updates bringing our bylaws current with the operational environment of the Texas Military Department, other changes are a result from recommendations from our Attorney. I want your feedback and any questions or concerns you may have regarding the proposed changes. Thank you again for your service and support to this organization. I will see you in San Antonio!

Kenn White LTC, TXARNG NGAT President

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Watch our future unfold at #futureofngat



CAVALRY REGIMENT NAMES JACK KNIGHT RECIPIENTS Cavalry Regiment Medal of Honor recipient, 1LT Jack Knight is the quintessential Cavalryman. Like many before and after him, he rose to the challenge of taking charge when his team needed him most. One of the newest traditions within the Regiment is the establishment of a Jack Knight Award. Recipients of this award are selected by their peers as most capable to rise to the challenge of the next highest rank. During this year’s Regimental Ball, the Cavalry Regiment had the honor of awarding 1LT Christopher McCormick (left) and SGT Remington Hale (right) as recipients of the Jack Knight Award. H

FINAL ROLL CALL FOR SPC ROWAN WINDHAM SPC Rowan Windham joined the Texas Army National Guard, March 27, 2015 at the age of 8, during an honorary enlistment ceremony at Camp Mabry. Already a trooper, he was awarded the military occupational specialties of Cavalry Scout and Apache Pilot, assigned to the 124th Cavalry Regiment and the THE ADJUTANT GENERAL OF TEXAS, MAJ 1-149th Attack Reconnaissance GEN JOHN F. NICHOLS chats with SPC Rowan Battalion. Windham on March 27, 2015 following his enlistment ceremony. SPC Windham spent his entire ten years of life fighting serious health issues and on his most recent deployment to the Seattle Children’s Hospital underwent two consecutive stem cell transplants. A native Texan, SPC Windham was an avid artist, thespian, video gamer, lego builder, chef, Bigfoot fan and philanthropist who touched the lives of thousands around the world. His service was defined by his positive outlook and larger than life spirit. He is survived by his father Brian, his mother Carrie, his sister Zoe, his brother Ian and numerous family members, friends and battle buddies across the country. H

RECRUITING COMMAND NAMES STAFF SUPPORT MEMBER OF THE YEAR During the recent Texas Army National Guard Recruiting Command annual awards dinner, NGAT Life Member, SFC Lachelle Robinson (center) received the award for “Staff Support Member of the Year FY16.” Also pictured left to right are Commander of the TXARNG Recruiting & Retention Command, LTC Jim Carney; Assistant Deputy/Adjutant General – Army, BG Tracy Norris; CSM John Hoxie and CSM Kristopher Dyer. H

CANDLELIGHT VIGIL FOR LOST PILOTS OF 1-149TH ATTACK RECONNAISSANCE BATTALION On January 14, hundreds of servicemen and women, friends and family and the soldiers of the 1-149 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, gathered in a hanger at Ellington Field in Houston to mourn the loss of CW3 Dustin Lee Mortenson and CW2 Lucas Lowe, who died when their AH-64 helicopter crashed into Galveston Bay on Dec. 28, 2016. Mortenson was a maintenance test pilot, and Lowe was an AH-64D pilot who graduated from Flight School weeks before the crash. Though Mortenson and Lowe were unknown to many of those involved in the rescue and recovery efforts following the crash, they came to the vigil. Whether because of dedication, esprit de corps, or perhaps in solidarity for the loss of good people, they came. The Coast Guard, state and local police, strangers, friends and relatives; they all came to share grief, but also to celebrate the lives, service and sacrifices of Mortenson and Lowe — husbands, fathers and veterans. H W i n t e r 2 0 1 7 H N a t i o n a l G u a r d A s s o c i a t i o n o f Te x a s |


LEGISLATIVE UPDATE THE NATIONAL GUARD ASSOCIATION OF TEXAS IS COMMITTED TO HELPING FURTHER THE LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES OF THE TEXAS MILITARY DEPARTMENT. As the Texas legislature convenes in their biannual assembly, the session will be filled with discussion and debates over legislation and possible changes both major and minor to the operations of the Texas government. NGAT supports the Texas Military Department priorities for our Guardsmen - People First, Relevant & Ready, Communicate & Partner. This year partnership with the Texas Military Department will be the key for NGAT as we realign our support to assist the Texas Guard with their legislative priorities. At the federal level, we are being vigilant to identify any assaults on military benefits. We will visit Washington DC in February to meet with our state delegation and ensure that they are equipped and prepared to defend the Guard’s interests. At the state level, we will continue to support efforts by the TAG to increase funding to the State Tuition Reimbursement Program and to protect the integrity of the Hazelwood Act. We encourage you to get involved during the legislative session, and you can do that by ensuring that we have a correct civilian email address in our membership files. Please send your updated email address to With your help, we can make this a successful legislative session both in Austin and Washington DC. H

THE TXARNG DOMESTIC OPERATIONS TASK FORCE hosted an annual Legislative Day for State and Federal officials and their staff at Camp Mabry in Austin, TX. The event gave elected officials the opportunity to experience the response capabilities of the National Guard and learn how Citizen soldiers train to respond to domestic emergencies.

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SUPREME COURT LETS STAND TEXAS VETERANS TUITION AID PROGRAM IN EARLY JANUARY, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand an appeals court ruling that upholds a much-watched Texas program that promises free college educations to military veterans if they lived in the state when they enlisted. The Hazelwood Act passed by the Legislature in 1923 waives public state university tuition for honorably discharged veterans who enlisted in the military while residing in Texas. A lawsuit sought to include tuition exemption for every veteran who moves to Texas, which would be cost prohibitive and runs contrary to the legislative intent of the Hazlewood Act. State lawmakers expanded the program in 2009 to include the veterans’ children. Veterans also qualified if they entered military service at a Texas installation. “The recent announcement by the U.S. Supreme Court helps ensure the Hazlewood Act’s financial future and means Texas will continue to provide an important benefit to veterans who put their lives at risk to protect our freedoms.” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. H


TEXAS RANKS LAST IN MEMBERSHIP IN NGAUS NGAUS IS THE NATIONAL GUARD ASSOCIATION OF THE UNITED STATES. The strength of NGAUS has also been its united membership with state associations. As the voice of the National Guard on Capitol Hill, NGAUS provides a path by which National Guard officers can elevate their local concerns to a national and influential audience in Washington, DC. Did you know that Texas NGAUS membership numbers continue to be the lowest of the 54 states and territories? Clearly we are not doing our part to support an organization that continues to support us despite our low membership numbers. Without the unified support of NGAUS we may not have been successful in achieving some of these goals: • Extended TRICARE coverage for “Gray Area” retirees • Doubled from 90 to 180 days the time a Reserve Component member is covered under TRICARE Prime prior to mobilization • Prohibition on the transfer of AH-64 Apache aircraft in FY 2015 • Prohibition on cancellation or modification of avionics modernization program for C-130 aircraft • Veterans status for National Guard retirees If you are a National Guard officer, please rethink your decision to become a member of NGAUS. By not participating through membership, Texas is sending the message that we are content in letting all the other states and territories carry our weight; however, this thinking is not representative of Texas, nor of Texans. Your membership at the state and national level really makes a difference. If you are a retired life member of NGAT, life membership in NGAUS is only $125.00. For more information on membership visit H

ON APRIL 1, 2017 NGAUS WILL HAVE A NEW PRESIDENT running its day-to-day operations. The NGAUS board of directors recently selected BG (Ret) J. Roy Robinson of Mississippi to be the association’s next president. He will succeed MG (Ret) Gus Hargett, who will step down in April. Robinson will begin his transition in February. The NGAUS president serves as the association’s chief executive officer. The position has daily responsibility for the 28-member NGAUS Washington staff, the NGAUS Insurance Trust and the National Guard Educational Foundation (NGEF). He will also serve as the association’s point man on Capitol Hill. Robinson, a retired Army Guard officer, is the executive director of the National Guard Association of Mississippi. He recently retired from the Mississippi Army National Guard after more than 30 years in uniform. His last assignment was as the Assistant Adjutant General-Army. Over the course of his career, he commanded troops at multiple levels, including the 150th Combat Engineer Battalion in Iraq in 2005. H

H EANGUS UPDATE H EANGUS IS MOVING TO THE NGAUS BUILDING RECENTLY NGAT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MSG (Ret) Theresa Billeck-Zuniga and SFC Charles Weissenborn attended the EANGUS Mid-Winter Conference in Natchez, MS. During the conference NGAT was able to finalize an app that will be rolled out prior to our upcoming state conference thanks to the assistance of EANGUS President CMSgt (Ret) John Harris. Are you looking for a way to support both NGAT & EANGUS? If so, here is an easy way to support both organizations. Go to usaa. com/eangus and sign up for the EANGUS credit card. You will still be eligible for all your reward points, competitive rates and USAA’s legendary customer service. Plus, by getting this card NGAT & EANGUS will receive financial support for their sponsorship of this program. It’s a win-win for all organizations and we hope that you will sign up for a card today.

During the conference, EANGUS reported that effective December 31, 2016 the EANGUS building in Alexandria, VA had been sold and the EANGUS staff had moved entirely out of the building. In March of 2017, EANGUS will call the National Guard Memorial Building at 1 Massachusetts Ave in Washington D.C., their new home. This move comes at the calling of their membership in 2015, and after a year’s worth of work by the EANGUS Executive Council. They are eager to get started working and thank their new neighbor, the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS), who generously provided the space at a more than reasonable rate. Great things are coming to EANGUS and your partnership in membership is the key. Don’t miss out. Join EANGUS today. For more information on membership visit H W i n t e r 2 0 1 7 H N a t i o n a l G u a r d A s s o c i a t i o n o f Te x a s |


NOMINATIONS NOW BEING ACCEPTED FOR THE TEXAS MILITARY DEPARTMENT HALL OF HONOR THE TEXAS MILITARY DEPARTMENT HALL OF HONOR was established in 1981 as a means of recognizing outstanding service and leadership of individuals while serving as members of the Texas Military Department (TMD) in a state or federal status. Please help us honor our trailblazers by submitting nominations for induction. The criteria for nominees are as follows: • Any former member of the TMD, civilian or military, living or deceased • Former military nominees must have received an honorable discharge • Both civilian and former military nominees must have retired or left the ranks of the TMD at least three (3) years prior to the nomination date The service(s) or deed(s) of the nominated individual must have been of such magnitude to reflect great credit upon the TMD. Nominees must have made an extraordinary and positive difference in the continual transformation of the Texas Military, changing the outlook and focus of the organization and/or shaping the organizational environment for the future The service(s) or deed(s) of the nominee must have been performed while serving in or employed by the TMD Nomination packets must be submitted no later than March 1, 2017 to the Texas Military Department Hall of Honor Committee (NGTX-CDS), at P.O. Box 5218, Austin, TX 78763-5218 or online at the following link: https://tmd. Submissions must include all of the following documents: 1. Typed narrative summary of the nominee’s achievements and contributions 2. A completed TMD Hall of Honor Nomination Submission Form 3. 8x10 photograph — will be used for display if needed. Inductees will be selected from all nominations by the Texas Military Department Hall of Honor Committee and notifications will be sent 30 days prior to the induction ceremony. Narratives may not exceed five (5) pages total, excluding discharge papers for other supporting documentation. Narratives will cover the nominee’s actions/ achievements and how they enhanced the image of the TMD. Because the narrative will be used as part of the enshrinement into the Hall of Honor, special attention should be given to providing a thorough and well-written nomination narrative. H

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Winter 2017


BG Tracy Norris Deputy Adjutant General Army

Brig Gen (TX) Johann “John” Kinsey Texas State Guard Air Component Commander

COL Ronald W. Burkett II Commander 36th Combat Aviation Brigade

Lt. Col. Gerald “Bo” Robinson Commander 149th Force Support Squadron

LTC (P) Michael J. Hunt Commander 71st EMIB

BG Charles “Chuck” Aris, 36th Infantry Division Assistant Division Commander of Support, is presented with a Brigadier General one-star flag from his son, Matthew, during a promotion ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, at Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas. BG Aris has been selected to deploy to Afghanistan as the Commander of the Train, Advise, Assist Command — South during the 36th Infantry Division’s second command rotation in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. (Photo by SFC Michael Leslie)

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NGAT Loses one of its Founders

Scholarship Deadline is February 17, 2017

IT IS WITH DEEP SADNESS that the National Guard Association of Texas announces the passing of CW4 (Ret) Harold D. Loftis on December 30, 2016. CW4 Loftis was there when NGAT was founded and a group of warrant officers got together and decided there needed to be an organization that was the voice of the Soldiers and Airmen who served in the Texas Guard. Harold not only served as the early scribe for NGAT, he also assumed the responsibility for accounting for the resources of the Association, a responsibility he held for over 40 years. He gave not only of himself, but of his family. His wife Billie, worked for NGAT for over 18 years as the Insurance Director, and for the past 30 years his daughter Kathy Gallatin has served as the NGAT Insurance Director. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Loftis family during this time of loss. H

THE NATIONAL GUARD ASSOCIATION OF TEXAS EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION (NGATEF) is still accepting application for their annual scholarship competition. Educational grants for attendance at a college or university will be awarded to Active or Life Members of NGAT and/or their spouses, sons, or daughters. All eligible candidates are encouraged to apply.

The NGAT App is here! Look for it in your Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Download it and get connected to NGAT and its members.

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The deadline for receipt of all applications is February 17, 2017 in the NGAT office. For more information visit H

Check Out the Education Fair at the NGAT Conference THE EDUCATION & INCENTIVES OFFICE will host an Education Fair to provide a venue to connect Texas Military Department Service Members with institutions of higher learning in pursuit of their education and career goals. Don’t miss the education update class, Saturday, April 1, 2017 during the NGAT Conference where they will present information on the Hazelwood Act and the transfer of those benefits. H

GEICO welcomes NGAT members to the 58th Annual Convention.

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Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states or all GEICO companies. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. GEICO Gecko ©1999-2017. © 2017 GEICO



SSG DAVID PIERCE (LEFT) OF THE TXARNG SAFETY & OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH OFFICE was recently recognized as a Certified Accident Investigator at the NGB Safety & Standardization Conference in Norman, OK. SSG Pierce is the only Soldier in the TXARNG to receive this certification and one of the 1st in the nation.



COL GEORGE W. HOLT, COMMANDER, 136TH AIRLIFT WING (center left) and other O-6 representatives from all five branches of the armed services, pose for a photo with Taya Kyle (center right), wife of the late “American Sniper” Chris Kyle, following her acceptance of the Great American Patriot Award on behalf of her late husband during the 2016 Armed Forces Bowl half-time segment on Dec. 23, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.

MEMBERS OF 1-124TH CAV RGMT, TEAM KNIGHT, take a break during their arduous journey towards earning the title of Best Scout Squad at the Army National Guard Warrior Training Center in Ft. Benning, GA in order to qualify for entry into the 2017 Gainey Cup Competition.

MSGT TRACY POTTS, a member of the 149th Operations Group, showcases the aircrew flight equipment on display to a group visiting JBSA-Lackland, Texas.

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SGT KAYCI LANDES, WITH THE 1ST CAVALRY DIVISION, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, poses with her family following her graduation as the first female cavalry scout on Nov. 17, 2016. Texas Army National Guard’s 3rd Battalion 136th Regional Training Institute trained and graduated Landes during a rigorous 20-day course at Fort Hood. (Photo by SGT Elizabeth Pena)



T H E CHIEF OF THE NATIONAL GUARD BUREAU, GENERAL JOSEPH L. LENGYEL (center) stops for a photo with COL (CH) John Laing (left) of the Texas Army National Guard and LTC John Crawson (right) of the 636th Spt Bn prior to a celebrations held in honor of the National Guard’s 380th Birthday at the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, PA.

SANTA MADE A STOP IN AFGHANISTAN to visit with members of the 36th Infantry Division. Pictured left to right are LTC Jose D. Rivera, COL Tom Hansbarger, Santa and COL James Pleasant.


H LTG TIMOTHY J KADAVY (left), Director of the Army National Guard recently visited with Task Force Chaos and former member of the NGAT Board of Directors, LTC Calvin Jenkins (right) in Kuwait. During the visit some of the Soldiers were able to participate in a town hall meeting and ask important questions about the Texas engineer mission. SOLDIERS FROM THE 176TH ENGINEER BRIGADE, also known as Task Force Chaos, built the steel frame of a two-story modular unit on Jan. 11, 2017, which will have the capacity to hold 160 individuals with 20 climate controlled rooms on each floor at Camp Redleg in Southwest Asia.

MAJ GEN JOHN NICHOLS, the Adjutant General of Texas, left; CSM Mark Weedon, senior enlisted leader, Texas National Guard, second from left; and General Joseph Lengyel, fourth from right, chief, National Guard Bureau, with members of the 36th Infantry Division, during a Thanksgiving Day troop visit, in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Nov. 24, 2016. (Photo by SFC Jim Greenhill)

MEMBERS OF THE 36TH ID (FWD) TAAC-S COMMAND TEAM send holiday greeting from Afghanistan. W i n t e r 2 0 1 7 H N a t i o n a l G u a r d A s s o c i a t i o n o f Te x a s |


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RETIRED RESERVE AND NATIONAL GUARD FINALLY GET “VETERAN” STATUS Retired National Guardsmen and Reservists will be granted veteran status for the first time, following Presidential approval of a much-haggled bill. President Barack Obama signed the provision into law as part of a larger package on veterans’ benefits. Until now, Guard and Reserve personnel were considered veterans only if they served in a federalized capacity for more than 179 days other than training. Even a national guardsmen or reservist who attended regular training and drill for two decades, but never was federalized, could not claim to be a veteran. Now, Guard and Reserve members will be recognized as veterans if they serve honorably for 20 years, but who did not meet the requisite requirements of time in Title 10 status during their career to earn veteran status — one of our association’s longtime legislative resolutions and a topic near and dear to our members.

Current and former Texas Guardsmen along with family and friends recently gathered to honor MG William L. Smith, Deputy Adjutant General — Texas Army National Guard at his retirement ceremony at Camp Mabry. During the ceremony MG Smith (left) received the Texas Superior Service Medal from Maj Gen John F. Nichols (right), the Adjutant General of Texas for his 30 years of honorable service. He was also awarded the Army’s Distinguished Service Medal for his exceptionally meritorious service in high positions of great importance along with numerous other awards. MG Smith is a Life Member of NGAT and a former President of the Association. H (Photo by SGT Elizabeth Pena)

1136TH INFANTRY DETACHMENT REUNION PLANNED All past members and support personnel to the 1136th Infantry Detachment (Pathfinder) are invited to attend a reunion scheduled to be held April 21-23, 2017 in Austin, Texas. Our last reunion held in April of 2015 was a success with three generations of pathfinders attending the reunion ranging from veterans of the Vietnam and Cold War eras to present day pathfinders still fighting terror in the Middle East. For more information about the event, please contact the reunion organizers via phone, text or email. Roberto Chavira, 512-917-6351, Mark Erwin, 512-750-6028,

The status change does not provide an increase in veterans’ benefits. It does, however, offer pride of identity. For so long, Guard and Reservists have known they have served, but they haven’t known if they can call themselves veterans. The new definition adds a measure of cache to troops who have found themselves on the receiving end of inter-component derision. Active duty forces traditionally have referred to Guard and Reservists as “weekend warriors,” because they live civilian lives and serve one weekend a month for drill, plus additional time for annual training. H

FINAL FLIGHT After 32 years of service COL James Kenyon prepares to take off in a UH-64D Apache Attack Helicopter during his final flight as commander of the 36th Combat Aviation Brigade. H W i n t e r 2 0 1 7 H N a t i o n a l G u a r d A s s o c i a t i o n o f Te x a s |



HOLIDAYS IN THE GUARD H REYNOLDS & REYNOLDS GIVE BACK TO THE GUARD Reynolds & Reynolds hosted their 6th annual bike build in northwest Houston. Volunteers from the company joined forces with members of the 147th Reconnaissance Wing and local community to assemble bikes to be given as gifts to children of unit members in the 147th RW. Thanks to the generosity of Reynolds & Reynolds and the local community, 103 children’s bicycles were donated to children of Airmen in the unit. Reynolds & Reynolds is a provider of automotive retailing solutions for car dealers and automakers in the U.S., Canada, U.K., and Europe. H



Santa and members of the Texas Air National Guard command staff pose for a photo after serving holiday treats to service members during a holiday Hot Cocoa Bar at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas. H (Photo by SGT Elizabeth Pena)

Members of the 36th Infantry Division casually wait for Santa in Afghanistan. Pictured left to right are CW3 Frank Hinnant, CW4 Robin Anderson and MAJ Jane Callahan. H

TOY SOLDIERS ON A MISSION When members of the Texas State Guard put their mind to a task, they really get into it. SSG (TX) Eric Walden and SSG (TX) Damon Williams turned themselves into real life toy soldiers to bring attention to their mission of collecting toys for the Texas State Guard — Young Heroes of the Guard toy drive during the holidays. H



Paratroopers from 1st Battalion (Airborne) 143rd Infantry Regiment support Operation Blue Santa in Austin, TX. This community outreach program helps collect and distribute toys to families across the area with local law enforcement agencies. H

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Texas servicemen and women in the National Guard deployed to the southern border received a special visit from Governor Greg Abbott days before Christmas in the Weslaco Armory. Abbott was visiting the border in solidarity with the National Guard he’s deployed for over two years now. H H Winter 2017

ciation of Texas National Guard Asso 731 ue Austin, Texas 78 3706 Crawford Aven T GA 2-N -25 1-800 (512) 454-7300 (TX) 3 80 7-6 46 2) (51 X: FA January 26, 2017 endee

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nual NGAT SUBJECT: 58th An

Conference Update

l Guard rence of the Nationa the 58th Annual Confe alk in at erw you Riv ing am see ndh to Wy rd r - 1 Apr 2017 at the We are looking forwa Ma ase 31 Ple on . d alk hel erw be l Riv wil that d at the Wyndham Association of Texas The hotel rate is ence events will be hel fer 36. con -85 st 764 Mo . 66xas 1-8 Te g lin San Antonio, hotel by cal prior to ations directly with the ke your reservations make your hotel reserv modations. Please ma om acc e ubl /do gle sin $121.00 plus tax for d room rate. receive the discounte 17 February 2017 to istered and 7. Be sure to get reg ed until March 1, 201 something for ept ly acc tru be is l wil ere ns Th Conference registratio to attendees this year. le ilab ava nts eve al ion check out the many opt everyone. “Be you need to help you tools and information l wil the you you e e giv hop I to t is tha e d enc akout sessions planne Our goal at the confer bre want al to ion ng ept goi exc e not som have ns on page 21. You are Extraordinary.� We ws a thing or for the breakout sessio kno m ails aha det Gr . the am all ah out attend. Check aker, Stedman Gr ga ner and our guest spe where without hearin to miss the awards din hard for him to go any ers on it's mb all, me er aft our to son ak per spe l sa Winfrey. Graham wil two about what define rah o Op wh h wit ine ip def rsh me partne ngs in our life to better mention of his longti how we can change thi and y nar rdi rao ext how we can be we are. In accordance with urday, April 1, 2017. will take place on Sat n posing minor sio pro ses are ss ors ine ect bus The NGAT NGAT Board of Dir the s, nges will be posted law By cha AT aw byl NG ed Article XVII of the content of the propos e Th s. aw byl the 7. to s 201 administrative change later than February 15, ( not on the NGAT website tive you to our new Execu ence and introducing fer con the at you Look forward to seeing Director.

NGAT AWARD NOMINATIONS BEING ACCEPTED The NGAT Awards Program is designed to recognize NGAT members, members of the Texas Military Department, government officials, and organizations for heroic actions, outstanding achievements, and periods of meritorious service to the Texas Military Department and the National Guard Association of Texas. The deadline for receipt of all award recommendations is February 28, 2017 in the NGAT office. Complete submission requirements and criteria are available at H

ga Theresa Billeck-Zuni Interim Executive Director -

TAPS FOR THE T-PATCHERS NEWSLETTER AND 36TH INFANTRY DIVISION ASSOCIATION With so many NGAT members who have served in the 36th Infantry Division, we felt it was important to let you know that the 36th Infantry Division Association recently published their last T-Patcher newsletter. Due to mounting cost, the Board and their membership determined that, although they hung in there as long as they could, they must reluctantly disband the 36th Infantry Division Association. They will no longer be accepting dues, donations, or subscriptions. The 36th Infantry Division Association was started in 1946 by WWII veterans of the Division. Thank you to all who have supported them over the years. H

W i n t e r 2 0 1 7 H N a t i o n a l G u a r d A s s o c i a t i o n o f Te x a s |





After four years of planning and construction, the 36th Infantry Division has officially cut the ribbon on the new Mabry Intelligence Readiness Center at Camp Mabry on Dec. 4, 2016. The facility allows the division’s “Arrowhead” soldiers to provide critical intelligence support to missions all over the world.

said MG Lester Simpson, 36th Infantry Division Commanding General. MG Simpson explained that the facility is the first ever intelligence support to wartime efforts in Afghanistan from a National Guard home station. The facility has a wide range of skill sets to include, human, geographic and signals intelligence and a fusion center to gather information and build actionable intelligence products for soldiers overseas. H

The division currently has the headquarters element for the Train, Advise and Assist CommandSouth deployed to southern Afghanistan supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel where they partner with the Afghanistan National Security Forces. However, due to limitations on the number of forward deployed soldiers allowed in theater, the division had to become creative on how to provide meaningful intelligence capabilities to the mobilized soldiers. “This facility allows soldiers to conduct intelligence operations in a safer, more efficient and cost effective environment to our own Arrowhead soldiers, 8,000 miles away in Afghanistan,”


On November 19, 2016, the Texas State Guard 2nd Battalion, 9th Civil Affairs Regiment swore in 13 new recruits breaking the previous record in the Texas State Guard (TXSG) of 10. The recruiters of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Civil Affairs Regiment have been hard at work in an effort to increase the manpower and capabilities of the TXSG. Recruiters have been setting up tables at job fairs, speaking to university students, and responding to the many inquiries of people curious about the TXSG. The reasons and motivations for recruits to join the TXSG and put on a uniform are as varied as the number of people whom have joined. Some join because they want to make a change in their life or to impact the lives of others and yet some wish to serve their community. For more information about the TXSG visit


Texas Guardsmen from the 1st Battalion (Airborne) 143rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, conducted a simulated airfield seizure during Operation Aztec, Nov. 17-19, 2016, near San Antonio, Texas. Operation Aztec is one of the first major collective training events under the 173rd Airborne Brigade. H (Photo by SGT Elizabeth Pena) 18 | N a t i o n a l G u a r d A s s o c i a t i o n o f T e x a s

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Pictured above are the newly enlisted members of the TXSG: Back left to right: SPC (TX) Vincent Roach, SGT (TX) Jered Holder, SPC (TX) Carlos Lopez-Lopez, PV2 (TX) Burchfield, SPC (TX) Andrews, PV2 (TX) Terry Davidson, and PV2 (TX) Ryan Davidson. Front left to right: SPC (TX) Dax Verleye, SPC (TX) Samuel Cavalier, PV2 (TX) Robin Shafer, PV2 (TX) Wyatt Verleye, SPC (TX) Patrick Emler, and SPC (TX) Joseph Hastings. H (Photo by CSM (TX) CSM Charles Sumner)

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CONFERENCE INFORMATION H at the 58th Annual NGAT conference that will be held 31 March-1 April 2017 at the Wyndham Riverwalk Hotel, San Antonio, Texas. Our theme will cover conference topics that touch on making our organization extraordinary, make our association extraordinary, and make our members extraordinary. REGISTRATION (ONLINE REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN) All attendees must pay the registration fee. Registration fee is $15.00 per person.


• Regular Registration fee is $125 and closes on 1 March 2017. (The deadline for meal packages is 1 March 2017. After this date, meals must be purchased individually, as available.) • A $25 late fee will be added to all registrations received after 1 March 2017. • All cancellation requests must be received in the NGAT office prior to 10 February 2017.


• Wyndham Riverwalk Hotel, 111 E. Pecan Street, San Antonio, TX 78205. • Make your reservations directly with the hotel at: 1-866-764-8536. Make sure to identify yourself as a member of the National Guard Association of Texas. • Hotel rate: $121 single/double plus tax per night. • Hotel reservations can also be made online at the NGAT website. (NGAT cannot guarantee rooms after 17 February 2017) Check website for overflow hotel.

in Afghanistan. The tour is limited to 40 participants, so attendees will be accepted on a first-come-first-served basis. San Antonio River Cruise — You will cruise along the San Antonio river and pass under the Market Street Bridge, cruise pass River Center Mall along with other river attractions and sites while learning of their history. Wine Tasting — Sip, savor, relax and enjoy some exquisite Texas wines at our wine tasting. Spirits Tasting — Enjoy a classic cocktail: “Bourbon” It’s important to know Bourbon is whiskey but not all whiskey is Bourbon. Come learn a little about the history and production of Bourbon and learn about the ways to enjoy this classic cocktail. License to Carry Certification — A License To Carry class will be held Friday morning of the NGAT conference. The class will provide the required 4 hours of instruction as mandated by the State of Texas and a written test. You must bring certification of your shooting with you to the class. (Check website for more information) Sisters Grimm Ghost Tour — Participants will be guided throughout one of the nation’s oldest cities and your guide will tell you the history and ghost stories no soul dare to tell.


NGAT Business Session: Business Casual. NGAT Dinner: Army — C  lass A/Service Dress/Mess Dress Air - Mess Dress/ Service Dress. Civilians — Business Suit/ Evening Formal Wear. Spouses — After-Five Attire.


Golf Tournament at Fort Sam Houston Golf Course — Shotgun, Florida scramble with low net/low gross competition. The golf tournament is open to both registered and non-registered attendees of the conference. Registration includes green fee, cart, continental breakfast, lunch, and award plaques. The annual 5K Fun Run/Walk at Brackenridge Park — Come enjoy a leisure run/walk on Friday morning. The registration fee includes wicking t-shirt and refreshments. 14th Annual Silent Auction — Bid on over 200 auction items and take advantage of some great bargains on gift baskets, jewelry, weekend getaways, and tickets to music, sports and other entertainment venues. Donations for the auction are always accepted at the NGAT office. Tour of the San Antonio Missions — Tour of the four southernmost Spanish colonial missions — Concepcion, San Jose, San Juan and Espada. The missions along with the Alamo have been named a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO). Tour the Center for the Intrepid — This center is a state of the art rehabilitation facility that treats amputees and burn victims. It is located next to the San Antonio Military Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston. It was specifically built to provide care for United States servicemen and women who have served in military operations in the Iraq War and the War 20 | N a t i o n a l G u a r d A s s o c i a t i o n o f T e x a s

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NGAT Welcome Party Reception with Geeks Who Drink — The Welcome Party reception menu includes pasta and Kobe beef slider stations with all the trimmings and ice cold refreshments. So you think you are a trivia buff? Join your friends for some laughs and friendly competition in military trivia and movies. Bring the whole family with you and enjoy an evening with friends at the reception that will also include a board game room for all you gamers. You can also catch a river taxi after the reception and explore the Friday night festivities along the San Antonio Riverwalk. Enjoy a leisurely lunch at the Spouses Luncheon on Saturday at the Tower of the Americas. Marine Sergeant Major (Ret) Chermaine Harrell will be the guest speaker. She was a military spouse herself, and is an Associate Dean with National University. Registration fee includes lunch, entertainment and prizes. Saturday Dinner — Dinner presentations include an extraordinary speaker STEADMAN GRAHAM who will help your understand your leadership identity. NGAT will also present the Minuteman and Scholarship awards. After dinner, guests will have the opportunity to visit hospitality suites. Hospitality Suites will be located at the hotel and units will compete for the “Best Suite” award. The NGAT Social Lounge — Visit and mingle with friends in a more conversation-friendly environment. Enjoy a delicious breakfast, fellowship and prayer during the NGAT Prayer Breakfast on Sunday morning.

For more information visit the NGAT website at



DON’T MISS THESE BREAKOUT SESSIONS AT THE NGAT CONFERENCE How to Maximize Sign up for this breakout session and learn how to you can use Linkedin as a powerful tool to promote yourself or your business. All attendees get a free professional headshot portrait. Sara Helmy founded Tribu in 2011 at the age of 22 and is much more fast pace with her marketing skills than she was at cross-country back in the day. She delights in working on fabulous new projects or chasing exciting and bold opportunities. She also enjoys collaborating with her talented tribe, is a newlywed, and loves to watch movies with her dog Rainy. Tribu focuses on progressive marketing strategies (mostly online) that are loved by today’s consumers. They hate spam too! Oh yeah, and they also like to design epic stuff. H

10 Things Every Guard Member Should Know About the Law Do single people really need a will? What are my options if the police accuse me of driving while intoxicated? Can I sue my civilian employer for making me work overtime to make up for Guard drill? How can I get an Attorney to work for free? This session will equip participants with some basic knowledge to avoid or mitigate legal issues. Attorney and NGAT Life Member Doug O’Connell will present some common sense strategies to deal with the most frequent legal issues facing Guardsmen. He routinely assists Soldiers and Airmen sort out legal issues, and when necessary, represents them in Court. H Join us as a six-member panel speaks with Texas Military Department Company grade officers about their future growth as an officer in the Texas Military Department. Brigade and Battalion Commanders will answer questions and give insightful career advice. This symposium is only open to company grade officers only. H

License to Carry Certification A License To Carry class will be held Friday morning of the NGAT conference. The class will provide the required 4 hours of instruction as mandated by the State of Texas and a written test. You must bring certification of your shooting with you to the class. (Check website for more information.) There is no fee for this class but you must sign up for the class because seats are limited. H

Spouses Luncheon Join us at the NGAT Spouse Luncheon at the Tower of the Americas where you can learn and share in the experiences and challenges with being a Military Spouse. Retired Marine Sergeant Major Chermaine Harrell was a military spouse herself, and is an Associate Dean with National University. She is active with other military spouse organizations and has been a guest speaker on many topics related to military spouses. She has children in college and has lived the life as a military spouse. H


OSHA General Industry Course The OSHA 10-Hour General Industry Course provides employees and employers broad awareness on recognizing and preventing hazards in the workplace. Students will be introduced to OSHA policies, procedures and standards as well as general industry safety and health principles and work practices covered in the 29 CFR Part 1910. Attention Air National Guard: this course is for you! Upon successful completion of the course, students will receive an OSHA 10-Hour completion card. To register, visit http://www.ngat-osha. H

For more information visit the NGAT website at W i n t e r 2 0 1 7 H N a t i o n a l G u a r d A s s o c i a t i o n o f Te x a s |


H TAPS H As of 1/24/17

SGT Jose G. Alvarado, Retired, San Angelo

SSG Taylor McKeown, Retired, Vaughn MT

MSG Elias Argumaniz, Life Member #1256, Retired, Denton

Mr. Albert F. Metz, Life Member #15446, Retired, Manchaca

*SFC Abel Cuellar Jr., Life Member #17544, Retired, Pharr

*SGT Irwin J. Nepomuceno, A CO 3-141ST INF RGMT, Edinburg

MSgt Abel P. Escamilla, Life Member #19120, Retired, San Antonio

CSM John Jay Peterson, Life Member #14297, Retired, El Paso

SGT Raymond E. Garcia, Retired, San Antonio

MSgt Charles J. Schmidt Jr., Life Member #8369, Retired, Dade City, FL

TSgt Pedro R. Gonzales, Life Member #14957, Retired, San Antonio

Mr. Thomas F. Sipes, Life Member #2458, Retired, Marshall

Linda D. Jackson, Former NGAT Employee

SFC Kurt H. Von Quintus, Life Member #3104, Retired, Austin

**SPC Timothy Johnson, 249th Finance Detachment, Austin

**SGT Calvin A. Williams, CO A 449th ASB (FWD), San Antonio

MSG Melvin T. Lamar, Life Member #22478, Retired, Bedford

SPC Rowan Windham (9 years old), Honorary Member of the Texas Army National Guard, San Antonio

MAJ Axel M. Larsen, Life Member #18421, Retired, League City CW4 Harold D. Loftis, Life Member #486, Retired, Austin — One of NGAT Founders **MAJ Ethan A. Lowe, HHBN, 36th Infantry Division, Waco

CSM Charles W. Wristen, Life Member #1054, Retired, Abilene SMSgt Refugio “Yogi” Ybarra, Life Member #2938, Retired, San Antonio

*/**CW2 Lucas M. Lowe, 1-149th 36th CAB, Liberty LTC John M. McCormick, Life Member #12433, Retired, Elgin **CW3 Dustin L. Mortenson, 1-149th ARB, 36th CAB, Webster Mr. James D. Murff, Life Member #2996, Retired, the Woodlands COL Marion “Dean” Murray, Life Member #1935, Arlington SGT Ralph D. McConnell, Life Member #16094, Retired, Burleson

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National Guard Association of Texas 3706 Crawford Avenue Austin, Texas 78731-6308

PLANNING CALENDAR (As of 30 January 2017)

2017 6


NGAT Board Meeting, Austin



President’s Day (NGAT Office Closed)



NGAT Board Meeting, San Antonio

31 Mar-1 Apr

58th Annual NGAT Conference, San Antonio



NGAT Conference Recovery (NGAT Office Closed)



Good Friday (Easter Holiday Observed)


May NGAT Board Meeting, Austin


May Memorial Day (NGAT Office Closed)



U.S. Army Birthday/Flag Day



Independence Day (NGAT Office Closed)



NGAT Board Meeting, Austin



EANGUS Conference, Reno, NV



NGAUS Conference, Louisville, KY

NGAT Winter 2017 News  

The official magazine of the National Guard Association of Texas.

NGAT Winter 2017 News  

The official magazine of the National Guard Association of Texas.