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Volume 55

Number 1

Spring 2014

LEGISLATIVE............................ 10




2014 NGAT Minuteman Award Recipient, MG (Ret) Darren Owens

Mine was earned in Vietnam. By my dad. Barbara Q., USAA member

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98% based on member data from 2008–2012. Use of the term “member” or “membership” does not convey any eligibility rights for auto and property insurance products, or legal or ownership rights in USAA. Ownership rights are limited to eligible policyholders of United Services Automobile Association. “Honorably served” means a discharge type of “honorable.” Membership and product eligibility and underwriting restrictions apply and are subject to change. Eligible former dependents of USAA members may purchase auto or property insurance if the member obtained USAA auto or property insurance. Automobile insurance provided by United Services Automobile Association, USAA Casualty Insurance Company, USAA General Indemnity Company, Garrison Property and Casualty Insurance Company, USAA County Mutual Insurance Company, San Antonio, TX, and is available only to persons eligible for P&C group membership. Each company has sole financial responsibility for its own products. © 2014 USAA. 201814-0214

2014-15 Board of Directors President............................................................ Charles Chavers President-Elect.........................................................Daniel Quick Vice President........................................................... Kenn White Secretary/Treasurer..............................................Ashley Bloom Joint Forces Hqs............................. Michael Courade (Enlisted) TX ARNG.................................................. Terri Marshall (Officer) 176th Engr Bde.....................................Calvin Jenkins (Officer) 36th Infantry Division......................Kenneth Henry (Enlisted) 72nd IBCT......................................... Brian Hildebrand (Officer) 72nd IBCT.................................................Tony Carter (Enlisted) 56th IBCT..........................................................Jet Hays (Officer) 56th IBCT...................................................... Jim Horn (Enlisted) 36th CAB....................................................Bob Roark (Enlisted) 71st BfSB................................................. Patrick Harty (Officer) 36th Sustainment Bde ...............Murphy McCardell (Enlisted) 136th MEB..............................................John Crawson (Officer) HQ, TANG...........................................Michael Selheim (Enlisted) 136th AW...................................................Doug Clark (Enlisted) 147th RW....................................................Anita Blue (Enlisted) 149th FW.................................................. John Pollard (Officer) TX State Guard Rep......................Kristopher Krueger (Officer) Retired Rep - Region 1..................................................... Vacant Retired Rep - Region 2...........................................Jerry Horsley Retired Rep - Region 3.........................................Buck Allbright Family Readiness Rep...........................................Miguel Torres Executive Director.................................................... Ray Lindner

 Editors..........................................Theresa Billeck-Zuniga Laura Bianco Graphic Designer..........................................Kathy White Publisher...................................................Ames Printing Executive Director.........................................Ray Lindner



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NEWScontents 4 5 6 8 10 13 14 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 24 27 28 29 30 33 35 36 38 40

Letter from the President Members Spotlight Board of Directors Homecomings/Deployments Legislative Update Leadership Changes NGAT Conference Photos NGAT Awards Conference Survey Comments Retirees Scholarship Winners NGAT 2014 Conference Winners Military Records Membership Update Around the World with the Guard EANGUS/NGAUS Soldier/Airmen of the Year Best Warrior Competition Corporate Members Special Operations DET - Africa Best Ranger Competition Around Texas with the Guard TAPS/Corporate Members & Sponsors NGAT Planning Calendar

ON THE COVER (left side photos from top to bottom): MG William L. Smith, Assistant Adjutant General of Texas and Commander of the Texas Army National Guard, speaks to NGAT members during the NGAT Conference business sessions on the importance of supporting the association and staying informed about what is happening in the Guard. (Photo by SFC Daniel Griego) NGAT members wrestle an alligator at the Audie Murphy Warrant Officers Association hospitality room at the NGAT Conference. (Photo by SFC Daniel Griego) SPC Heather Shipley, a member of the 136th MEB, conducts weapons familiarization tasks during the Best Warrior Competition at Camp Swift, Texas, 7 Feb 2014. (Photos by SMSgt Elizabeth Gilbert) MAJ Sean Viera from the Special Operations Detachment - Africa J2 shop mentors African officers from Niger, Chad and Senegal during training operations in Niger, Africa. Right Side Photo: MG (Ret) Darren Owens poses for a photo with his grandson Ansen Hiser after being selected as the 2014 NGAT Minuteman Award Recipient. (Photo by Brigada D. Hiser) 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 TX 78710 AND ADDITIONAL OFFICES POSTMASTER SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO: NGAT NEWS, 3706 CRAWFORD AVENUE, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78731-6308 MEMBERS MAY EMAIL ADDRESS CHANGES TO: MEMBERSHIP@NGAT.ORG


President's Report The NGAT Conference in Houston was a celebration of 55 years of service in support of the men and women of the Texas Military Forces. Our association gathered together to discuss association activities and to be briefed on legislative actions of interest to the men and women of the Texas Army, Air and State Guard. The event was highlighted by an informative business session and our annual awards dinner. The dinner recognized not only deserving scholarship winners, but also our latest NGAT and Minuteman awardees. As the association continues to tweak our conference format, I ask that each of you let us know how we can make your conference experience better next year in Corpus Christi. Our business session painted a picture of an association on the brink of a major battle to protect Texas Army Guard assets. Our legislative briefs outlined the efforts of the Department of the Army to deactivate the 72 IBCT in Houston as part of this conflict. This fight will intensify in the months to come, and we will need everyone’s assistance in protecting our Texas assets. Additionally, a recent article stated that senior Pentagon officials believe that troops are willing to sacrifice pay and benefits in order to improve their training and equipment needs. The article continued to explain how these senior officials feel that the cost of funding military personnel is one of the root causes of the our defense budget woes. At the same time our counterparts in the Department of the Army are telling our elected officials that Guard forces need to be reduced to keep costs in check. What do these types of articles tell John and Jane Q Public? That the best way to solve our defense budget issues is to cut back the Guard. And this is simply not true. That is where our association comes into play. One of the primary purposes of a professional military association is to influence public policy in a direction favorable to the group’s membership. As your association, NGAT seeks to rally support or opposition to this type of legislation. As the voice of the Texas Military Forces, we seek to underscore and complement the voice of the TXMF leadership. However, our ability to leverage pressure depends on the sheer number of members we can stir to action. Again, I am asking each of you to continue to respond to NGAT Calls to Action and emails that we send to you on behalf of our soldiers and airmen. To ensure we can reach you, please update your email address with NGAT. Our success depends on staying in touch with you. Your new board of directors starts to work in May, and I am excited about the work we will do on your behalf. Get the word out. Tell your soldiers and airmen what we are doing for them. And take time to get personally involved with your NGAT director. We are all here for you and your personnel. Help us to grow our association. As always, I want to thank you for your continued support of NGAT. If there is anything I can do for you, let me know.

Update your email address at

Charles Chavers CMSgt, TANG President NGAT


Members of the NGAT Advisory Council (Past Presidents) met during the NGAT Conference to discuss association issues with the current president. In attendance right to left were CSM (Ret) Bill Abernathy (83-84), COL (Ret) Edmond Komandosky (81-82), current NGAT President CMSgt Charles Chavers and MSG (Ret) Theresa BilleckZuniga (06-07). (Photo by SSgt Mitchell Corbin) 




ROCK YOUR CAMO 5K FUN RUN CEO/Founder of the F7 Group, Cassaundra Melgar-C’De Baca (left), and NGAT staff members Stephanie Hinojosa (center) and Rebecca Hinojosa (right) participated in the Rock Your Camo 5K Fun Run at Camp Mabry hosted by the Texas Veterans Commission honoring Women Veterans. 

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Each year the U.S. Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine recognizes the Top Black’s in the Military. In January they released their 2013 list and we are proud to announce that NGAT Life Members BG Lester Simpson made this prestigious list. BG Simpson was also nominated for the Black Engineer of the Year award, and although he did not win, he was still honored to be nominated. Guests and other nominees pictured left to right are BG Linda Singh, Assistant Adjutant General of Maryland; (NGAT Life Member) Lt Gen Joseph L. Lengyel, Vice Chief, National Guard Bureau; (NGAT Life Member) BG Lester Simpson, Assistant to the Director of the Army National Guard, Washington, D.C.; MG Errol R. Schwartz, Commanding General District of Columbia and Maj Gen Garry Dean, Deputy Chief of Staff Operations, Allied Joint Forces Command, Naples, Italy. 

RETIREMENT AWARD PRESENTED COL Lisa Hines (left), SGM (Ret) Becky Vlasak and COL Gina Seiler pose for a photo after a ceremony awarding SGM Vlask the Legion of Merit for her 28 years of military service. SGM (Ret) Vlasak retired from the Guard 31 Jan 2014, and she is currently serving as the Texas USPFO Deputy Comptroller for the Texas Army National Guard as a federal technician. 


The 136th Military Police Battalion recently got together for a dining out that was held in the Love Civic Center in Paris, Texas. The event was a way to build camaraderie among the battalion. Pictured above are Soldiers from the 712th Military Police Company in Houston, Texas that attended the event. 

149TH FIGHTER WING CONDUCTS RETIREMENT CEREMONY Honor Guard members of the 149th Fighter Wing fold an American flag during a retirement ceremony in honor of Col Thomas “Astro” C. Duke at Joint Base San Antonio in Lackland, Texas. in flight suits pictured left to right are Col Duke, a pilot assigned to the Headquarters, Texas Air National Guard at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas; Lt Gen Joseph L. Legyel, the Vice Chief of The National Guard Bureau; and Brig Gen (Ret) Charles M. Duke, Jr., a former NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration astronaut who landed on the moon as part of the Apollo 16 mission in 1972. Lengyel took personal time to attend the retirement of Col Duke, his former colleague from the 149th Fighter Wing, where they both previously flew the F-16 Fighting Falcon as instructor pilots. Additionally, Col Duke is Brig Gen Duke’s son. (Photo by SMSgt Mike Arellano) 

SOLDIERS BID FAREWELL TO BG HALL In a ceremony conducted 12 Feb 2014 at the Round Rock Armed Forces Reserve Center, Soldiers bid farewell to the former Commander of the 136th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, BG William “Bill” Hall. At the ceremony he was awarded The Order of Saint George for his years of dedicated service to the United States Armor Association and the Texas Army National Guard. He recently transferred to the Arizona Army National Guard where he will serve as the Land Component Commander. (Photo by SFC Daniel Griego) 

NGAT PAST PRESIDENT PROMOTED NGAT Past President COL Michele Voorhees (left) shakes hands with NGAT Past President MG James K. “Red” Brown (right), Commander of the 36th Infantry Division, while COL (Ret) Cindy Smith looks on following her promotion to Colonel. 


CMSgt Charles Chavers President

COL Daniel Quick

LTC Kenn White


Vice President

CPT Ashley Bloom Secretary-Treasurer

NGAT Outgoing Directors

SFC Ambrosio Aguilar

WOC Jeremy Amis

SFC Paula Daigle-Hutchins

LTC Les Edwards

SGM Ardis Harden

SSG (Ret) Stan Kitzman

Maj Ian Manire

CSM Todd Richardson

MSG Delmas Vandine

Maj Scott Wedel


Retired Rep Region I



56th IBCT



72nd IBCT

71st BfSB

72nd IBCT

176th ENGR BDE

136th CSB (ME)

136th AW

Thank You For Your Service!


CW4 Terri Marshall

MAJ Calvin Jenkins

MAJ Brian Hildebrand

CSM Tony Carter

LTC Jet Hays

CSM Jim Horn

1SG Bob Roark

MAJ Patrick Harty

LTC John Crawson

CMSgt Michael Selheim

ARNG, Non-Div

56th IBCT 36ID

176th EN BDE

36th CAB 36ID

72nd IBCT 36ID

71BfSB 36 ID

72nd IBCT 36ID

56th IBCT 36ID

136 MEB




SMSgt Doug Clark 136th AW






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Making Things Happen in the 36th Combat Aviation Brigade Members of the 454th Engineer Company stand at attention during a mobilization ceremony at the McNease Convention Center in San Angelo, Texas.

Original story & photos by PFC Shannon Gatta Leaders with the Texas Army National Guard, together with friends and family, said goodbye and good luck to members of 454th Engineer Company during a mobilization ceremony at the McNease Convention Center in San Angelo, Texas 19 Feb 2014. Approximately 100 soldiers are deploying to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to provide routeclearance missions with conveys and dismounted patrols in order to detect and interrogate buried roadside bombs and other explosive devices. Just one of a handful of route clearance mission teams within the entire National Guard and the only one within the Texas Army National Guard, this company has a dangerous mission to ensure the remainder of the forces can move freely around the battlefield. Along with the focused training that each individual has received for their military occupational specialty, all of the soldiers have been through various trainings to include gunnery, medical, combative, explosive and field training in the past few months to be well-prepared for any mission given. This deployment to Afghanistan will mark the first overseas mission for the San Angelo-based company and an opportunity to represent the state of Texas. The company will undergo further training at Fort Bliss in El Paso before leaving for Afghanistan this spring. COL James “Bo” Kenyon (right) returns the brigade colors to CSM Elizabeth Shockley (left) after assuming command of the 36th Combat Aviation Brigade at a ceremony held at the Armed Forces Reserve Center at Austin Bergstrom International Airport.(Photo by MSG (Ret) Theresa Billeck-Zuniga)



COL Jim Nugent, Chief of Staff for the 36th Infantry Division, pours “JP-8” into the traditional grog. Nugent recently deployed to the Middle East with the 36th CAB as the brigade S3. (Photo by SGT Mark Scovell)

Story by MAJ Randy Stillinger The 36th Combat Aviation Brigade of the Texas Army National Guard celebrated a very successful year with a Dining Out on 5 April 2014. The event also recognized the brigade’s significant role in the Global War on Terrorism since September 11th, 2001. The formal event capped a very busy day for the 36th CAB, starting with the uncasing of the colors following their recent return from the units deployment in Kuwait, and then followed by a Change of Command Ceremony where COL Rick Adams relinquished command to COL James “Bo” Kenyon. A retirement ceremony for COL Travis Richards was also held following the Change of Command. COL Richards served as the 36th CAB Commander (Rear) while the headquarters was deployed. The brigade headquarters and the 449th ASB deployed to Kuwait in April of 2013 and worked across the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Three separate companies from the 1-149th ARB and the 2-149th GSAB were also deployed to Afghanistan during the year. All units have since redeployed back to Texas.

The Commander of the 36th Infantry Division, MG James K. “Red” Brown (left) and Commander of the 36th Combat Aviation Brigade, COL Richard Adams (right) pin the Valorous Unit Award on the colors of Co B 1-149th ARB for their service during their recent deployment to Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan. The unit was originally awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation, but that award was upgraded to the Valorous Unit Award. (Photo by MAJ Randy Stillinger)


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Legislative Committee Report The NGAT Legislative Committee had a very busy year in FY1213, actively pursuing legislative goals at both the federal and state level. Several key legislative goals were secured, and NGAT members were also very active in communicating with our congressional delegation. ORGANIZATION The organization of the Legislative Committee includes the NGAT office staff, the Legislative Task Force, the Resolutions Committee, and the Email/Fax Brigade. The NGAT staff is responsible for organizing and pursuing a year-round legislative agenda, and supporting the activities of the other three components. The Legislative Task Force is comprised of volunteers who pay their own way to Washington, D.C. and partner with the leadership of the Texas National Guard in presenting the TAG priorities and initiatives to the Texas congressional delegation. The Resolutions Committee reviews resolutions submitted to the association by the TXMF, NGAUS, EANGUS, and industry for association endorsement. The Email/Fax Brigade responds to NGAT legislative alerts and directly lobbies members of Congress as constituents. The Texas National Guard has a Legislative Affairs Office whose mission is to coordinate legislative activities, develop legislative priorities, and to respond to congressional and state legislative enquiries. The office is headed by LTC Malcolm Warbrick, an NGAT life member. NGAT has a close working relationship with the staff, and we strive to achieve an integrated and focused legislative agenda. In addition to actively working with the Texas Military Forces, NGAT maintains a close working relationship with several key legislative partners. These include the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS), the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS), and the National Guard Bureau Office of Legislative Liaison (NGB-LL). We closely monitor the legislative work of other key military associations, including the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), and the Air Force Association (AFA). Finally, NGAT works closely with national and state veteran entities to ensure representation of Guard veterans. EMAIL/FAX BRIGADE NGAT members have been very responsive in writing to Congress in support of specific legislation. This past year, Texas ranked third in the nation in the number of messages sent to Congress through the NGAUS website, sending 13,199 messages, a slight decrease from the previous year. This year we are renewing our goal to generate over 18,000 messages. If only 1,500 of our members would commit to sending one message a month, we could reach this goal and hopefully achieve some notable legislative successes. Watch for email alerts or log-on to to keep informed.




LEGISLATIVE TASK FORCE ACTIVITIES FEDERAL: At the federal level, most activity has been centered around trying to forestall the Army’s proposed cuts to Guard force structure and transfer of Guard combat aviation assets to the active force. Last fall, NGAT hosted a Congressional Staff Appreciation reception, which was well attended by both members and staff. In January, Executive Director Ray Lindner attended the NGAUS Legislative Workshop, where various force structure strategies were discussed. In February 2014, NGAT hosted another Congressional Staff Appreciation reception to reach out to our new members of Congress and their staffs, as well as our returning delegation and staffs. We will return to Washington, D.C. in late spring in conjunction with a proposed visit by TXMF leadership to meet again with members and staff. At that time, we will host another legislative reception for the Texas delegation. STATE: During and immediately following last year’s conference, we were heavily engaged in countering university-coordinated attacks on the Hazlewood Act. While we were successful in defending these important educational benefits, we expect a new fight in the upcoming 2015 session. Executive Director Ray Lindner was selected by the Texas Veterans Commission to sit on the Hazlewood Rule Making Committee, which met thru the fall and into late February, where Lindner worked to draft the rules to implement the legislative language. LEGISLATIVE WEBSITE The NGAT legislative website continues to be the primary means of keeping you informed of critical legislation. We maintain it in-house and depend heavily on utilizing links to other legislative partners’ websites to keep you informed (they have paid staff to follow legislation). We have now added Cap Wiz to our website to make the process of corresponding with legislators simpler and more accessible to all. In practice, we will continue to route you to either the NGAUS or EANGUS website for national issues, but will draft our own for Texas-related issues and state legislative issues.

On Thursday, 20 Feb 2014 The Texas Military Forces held a celebration in honor of African American History Month. Texas State Representative Dawnna Dukes was one of the guest speakers that proved to be not only educational but also an emotional experience that encouraged the teachings of Civil Rights. Following the event, she greeted Soldiers and Airmen in attendance.

Support H.R. 3930, the National Commission on the Structure of the Army Act of 2014 The new budget proposed by the administration includes severe cuts to the National Guard. In its fiscal 2015 budget submission to Congress, the Army is proposing an end strength of 315,000 troops for the Army National Guard, down from its current 350,000, and the transfer of much of the Army Guard’s helicopter fleet to the active-component force. The Army’s plan removes all AH-64 Apaches and half of the UH-72 Lakotas, along with other aircraft, replacing them with older UH-60 Black Hawks for a net loss of more than 100 aircraft for the Army Guard. The Texas National Guard stands to lose force structure and combat aviation assets under this plan. Immediate steps must be taken to prevent this legislation from passing.

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Ask your representative to support H.R. 3930, the National Commission on the Structure of the Army Act of 2014, that forms a commission to study the Army’s force structure, prevents the transfer of Army Guard aircraft and stops the reduction of the force’s end strength. Visit for more information.

Message from the Adjutant General Regarding Proposed Force Structure Changes to the TXARNG Recently, General Grass, Chief of NGB, notified me of potential reductions in the force structure of the TXARNG; specifically, NGB’s proposal calls for the deactivation of the Headquarters of the 72 IBCT in Houston. This proposed change is by no means final at this time. This potential reduction has come about because of our nation’s ongoing struggle to balance our national defense with reduced resources. My staff continues to work closely with NGB to find the best solution to meet the needs of our state and our nation while ensuring the best care, training, and equipment for our Soldiers. Rest assured that we will vigorously pursue the best opportunities for our organization and our people. I encourage everyone to become educated regarding the challenges that face our organization, our military, and our nation. Professional organizations such as the National Guard Association of Texas (, Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the U.S. (www., and the National Guard Association of the United States ( can provide more information on pending legislation. I encourage members of our Texas Army National Guard family to exercise their hard-earned rights and participate in the American political process. You have both earned and paid for those rights, and I am supportive of your efforts to participate to the maximum possible extent. As we work through these challenges, I will ensure that each member of our team is informed of the latest developments. Please rely only on official information that is sent through command channels. Similarly, please send any questions back up through those same command channels. As our leadership works through this process, it is essential that all Soldiers continue to do the outstanding work that has become the hallmark of our organization. As always, we stand ready to support the citizens of our state and nation, both at home and abroad. JOHN F. NICHOLS Major General, TXANG Adjutant General

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Leticia Van de Putte, Texas State Senate, (left), thanks SPC Desiree Staffeldt, 36th Combat Aviation Brigade, for her service during the “Rock Your Camo” event supporting Texas veterans at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, 8 Mar 2014. (Photo by CPT Martha Nigrelle)


NGAT LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES The politically charged atmosphere in Washington and the continued effects of sequestration and budget cutting continues to challenge our association in its attempts to move forward on many of our legislative priorities, many of which are holdovers from previous years. Sequestration, involuntary furlough of technicians, and the recent attempt to reduce COLA for retirees have kept us in a defensive posture. The current threat to Army Guard force structure is very serious as is the Army’s attempt to strip the Guard of its combat aviation assets. In this environment, our emphasis remains to avert and avoid any immediate threat to mission and force structure brought about in a move by the active force to use the Guard as a bill-payer. We are committed to enabling the Adjutant General and the two components to do what is necessary to meet the daily evolving challenges. Meanwhile, we are seeing threats to existing benefits at both the federal and state level. Please be ready to respond to any call for action that we send out; it is critical that we demonstrate wide-spread support to oppose military benefit changes that are inconsistent with service career sacrifices.

In addition to supporting the federal and state initiatives of the Adjutant General, NGAT is pursuing the following priorities for our members:




TRICARE: Avert 27% Medicare/TRICARE payment cut and fix statutory formula to improve access to care. Protect against disproportional increases in TRICARE fees. Provide TRICARE Prime coverage to all drilling Guard members.

Total Force GI Bill: Raise GI Bill educational benefit rates to cover at least the average cost of a public college education and allow accrual of benefits for reservists who serve multiple tours of active duty up to 36 months.

Pre-Tax Childcare Expenses: Allow Guard families to pay childcare expenses on a pretax basis.

Pre-Tax TRICARE Payments: Allow uniformed services retiree beneficiaries, their family members, and survivors to pay TRICARE enrollment fees and supplemental insurance premiums using pre-tax dollars.


Dental: Provide all Guardsmen coverage under the TRICARE Dental Program (TDP) to include an annual dental examination at no cost to the member and full payment by the TDP of any dental treatment needed to bring the member into a Dental Class 1 or 2. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Assistance: Fully fund PTSD/TBI care and research initiatives. Partner with health care entities to seek funding for community-based programs that mitigate, treat, and help overcome the damage of service family post traumatic stress disorder.

Early Retirement: Credit all post-9/11 active duty service toward Guard early retirement. Reduce the age a retired Guardsman can receive military retirement pay by one year for every two years served after 20 years. Duty Points: Remove the annual limit on inactive duty points that can be applied to retirement. Title 32 Benefits Parity: Eliminate the lack of benefits parity between duty performed under Title 10 (federal authority) and Title 32 (state authority) by allowing military service under Title 32 to be creditable for the same purposes as military service under Title 10.

Employment Program: Fund skill-building and employment programs for spouse and family members.

OTHER Veteran Status: Secure veteran status for National Guard members entitled to reserve retirement pay. Employer Tax Credit: Authorize federal dollar-for-dollar tax credits to employers who make up negative salary differentials of their deployed Guard and Reserve employees. Provide employers a tax credit for compensation paid during the period employees are performing service as members of the Ready Reserve or the National Guard.






Protect Hazelwood educational benefits from universities' attempts to limit or eliminate.

Restore $1,000,000 to the biennium budget for tuition assistance for the Texas Military Forces.

Require a percentage of the Texas Veteran’s Commission’s Fund for Veteran’s Assistance to be earmarked for members of the Texas National Guard.



Texas Military Forces Leadership Changes

Brig Gen Brian C. Newby

Guard Advisor to the U.S. Air Force Deputy Judge Advocate General at the Pentagon

COL Jim Nugent

Chief of Staff, 36th ID

BG (TX) David Cohen

COL (P) Richard J. Noriega

COL James Kenyon

Dep Cmd Gen, Support 36th ID

Commander 36th Combat Aviation Brigade

BG (TX) Robert J. Bodisch

BG (TX) Jake Betty

Deputy Commander TXSG Garrison

Commander, TXSG Army Component

Maj Gen John F. Nichols, the Adjutant General of Texas (left), administers the oath of office to Maj Gen Kenneth W. Wisian, Deputy Adjutant General and the Commander of the Texas Air National Guard, at Wisian’s promotion ceremony held at the Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas, 4 Apr 2014.

Commander, TXSG Medical Brigade


55th Annual NGAT Conference Visit and select “2014 NGAT Conference” to download the NGAT Conference Program, view photos from the conference, and play the NGAT Taps video honoring those we have lost this past year.




Mark you calendar r s join us a to t th 56th Ann e ual NGAT Co nference , 13 - 15 M arch 201 5 Omni Co rpus Chri sti


2014 NGAT MINUTEMAN AWARD MG (Ret) Darren Owens

MG (Ret) Darren Owens served forty years in the Armed Forces of his country, culminating in his assignment as the J4 for the National Guard Bureau, where he served as the primary advisor to the Chief, NGB for all joint logistics matters to include supply, maintenance, transportation, acquisition logistics, installation/facility and environmental issues. His service was marked by a commitment to excellence, a concern for soldiers, and a proven leadership. General Owens has long been an active and committed supporter of the National Guard Association of Texas. He joined NGAT as a lieutenant and became a Life Member in February 1984. In 1989 he was elected to the board of directors, and served there for two years. He served numerous years on the Awards Committee, giving that committee continuity and wise counsel. General Owens was an active member of the NGAT Legislative Task Force, traveling to Washington, D.C. to lobby the Texas congressional delegation for force structure, equipment, facilities, and personnel benefits. He has also been a strong supporter of the National Guard Association of the United States, attending several national conferences. General Owens’ distinguished service to both the Texas Military Forces and the National Guard Association of Texas uniquely qualifies him for the honor of being named the recipient of the 2014 NGAT Minuteman Award.

NGAT President’s award

NGAT President CMSgt Charles Chavers (left) presents past president LTC Justin Perryman with the NGAT President’s Award. LTC Perryman served as NGAT President from 2011-2013, but was deployed last year and unable to accept his award. (Photos by SFC Daniel Griego) 16



2014 ngat jose navarro AWARD TSgt Klaus Riel

TSgt Klaus Riel was awarded the NGAT Jose Navarro Award in recognition of his outstanding service to the National Guard Association of Texas and the Texas National Guard. TSgt Riel has served over 33 years in the Texas Air National Guard and is currently assigned to the 147th Reconnaissance Wing Ellington Field. TSgt Riel became a NGAT Life Member in 1989 and became more involved in the association in 2006, following his NGAT sponsorship to attend the EANGUS National Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Following that conference, he became an avid supporter of both associations, joining as a member and attending the annual conferences of each association. TSgt Riel has worked as a volunteer at multiple NGAT conferences, serving on the welcome party, registration, silent auction and the awards dinner. He also worked as a transportation coordinator at the 132nd Annual Conference of the National Guard Association of the United States held in Austin in August 2010. TSgt Riel’s unselfish service and dedication to the National Guard Association of Texas uniquely qualifies him for the Jose Navarro Award.

Conference Survey Comments 2014 Rating Work Session „ NGAT Breakfast/Business Session 4.34/5.0 Social Functions „ Sports/Activities 4.58/5.0 „ Welcome Party 4.51/5.0 „ Spouse Luncheon 4.17/5.0 „ Awards Dinner 4.68/5.0 Professional Breakouts (average of all) 4.11/5.0 Exhibit Hall „ Visit the Exhibit Hall? 86.6% of respondents YES „ Exhibit Hall rating 4.33/5.0 Silent Auction „ Did you bid in the Silent Auction? 47.0% of respondents YES „ Silent Auction 4.41/5.0 Time/Family Issues „ Enough family/spouse time 93.8% of respondents YES „ Family friendly 81.4% of respondents YES 94.8% of respondents YES „ Family friendly (those who brought children) NGAT Perceptions „ Is NGAT managed well? 99.8% of respondents YES „ Is NGAT properly focused? 99.2% of respondents YES „ Does NGAT speak for your interests? 99.8% of respondents YES Conference was a good value? 93.2% YES Do you plan to attend next year? 95.1% YES ¡ ¡ ¡ ¡

What we take away: The conference is an important networking event Expand breakout offerings - personal and professional More spouse and retiree oriented activities/breakouts Do a better job of informing early about activities

* Data based on 378 responses received during/after the conference





Here is a current photo taken 11 Apr 2014 at Fort Benning, GA during the Best Ranger Competition of CSM (Ret) Jim Broyles with LTG (Ret) David E. Grange Jr. LTG (Ret) Grange is who the Best Ranger Competition was named after some 31 years ago. 

COL Travis Richards and his wife Shelley are all smiles at the end of his retirement ceremony. During his ceremony COL Richards was awarded the Texas Federal Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and was inducted into the Order of St Michael. COL Richards retires from the Guard with 30 years of military service. 

136th Silver Eagles Approximately 85 members of their 350-member organization met at the Admiral Hotel (Arlington, TX) on March 1st for their annual 136th Silver Eagles luncheon and business meeting. 

Does anyone recognize this staff sergeant from a photo taken on May 8, 1975 in Ft Stewart, GA? We do! It’s CSM (Ret) Jim Broyles. 

NGAT NEEDS YOUR HELP Although NGAT is your voice at the State Capitol and on Capitol Hill, we continue to only be as strong as you, our members, allow us to be. How can you help? Being a member of NGAT is a big start. Telling other retirees to join can help the association continue to grow. Join the NGAT legislative brigade and help us send letters to Congress when they mean the most. Your voice and membership is our legislative clout. Many military retirees assume that their retiree benefits and entitlements are set in stone. Sadly, this is far from true. The GI Bill, TRICARE health care options and even how military retirements are calculated are all being examined as “fat” to be trimmed as a result of the current budget situation. Lawmakers have a range of options for cutting spending and increasing revenues to rein in the government’s current trillion-dollar deficit, and all plans include cuts and/or changes to military benefits. Despite the recent reversal of a planned one-percent cut to the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) increase for military retirees 62 years of age and younger, which was set to take effect in 2015 as part of the December budget agreement passed by Congress, this will not stop future cuts from effecting military retirees.




So where do we start: • If you have not received an email from NGAT, send your email to us at • If you are not receiving your NGAT News Magazine by email or snail mail, contact our office or email • Tell us about job opportunities and internships that exist in your company, community, or city so we can share that with other Guardsmen that may be looking for employment. • Do you have friends that are retired from the Guard? Ask them if they are a member of NGAT! • Are you on Facebook? If yes, then like our page and stay connected to current issues. • Send us photos, articles and information for the NGAT News Magazine and the NGAT News Nuggets that may be of interest to other retirees. • Tell us about Guard get-togethers in your area, even if it’s just a small group. Let us help get the word out to others about your get-together or reunions.




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DONATE TO THE NGAT EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION The National Guard Association of Texas Educational Foundation has several endowments honoring former members of the Texas Military Forces. Anyone who wishes to donate to any of these endowments or to create one of your own should contact NGAT at 512-454-7300 or mail their donation directly to the Educational Foundation ( NGATEF, 3706 Crawford Ave, Austin, TX 78731-6308). All donations are greatly appreciated.


55th ANNUAL NGAT CONFERENCE WINNERS The following are the winners of the competitions held during the 55th Annual NGAT Conference:


Males 1st Place - 1SG Reece William 2nd Place - COL (Ret) Bruce Postma 3rd Place - WOC Jeremy Amis Females 1st Place - CPT Amanda Tooke 2nd Place - MAJ Erika Besser 3rd Place - SFC Kerry Goering


1st Place Mathew Rathsack LTC Timothy Redhair LTC Williams Richards John Mahan 2nd Place COL (P) Patrick Hamilton COL Robert Crow MAJ Gabe Simonds CPT Derek Ruschhaupt 3rd Place Col Kurt Leslie Lt Col Larry Werbiski Maj Derek Weaver Maj (Ret) Mike Menard Longest Drive - CPT Derek Ruschhaupt Closest to the Pin - CSM (Ret) Randy Ransom

TEXAS HOLD’EM TOURNAMENT 1st Place - CSM Juan Casillas 2nd Place - CPT David Pattillo 3rd Place - CPT David Wakashige

(Photos by SFC Daniel Griego, MSG (Ret) Theresa Billeck-Zuniga & Melissa Bright) 20



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NGAT SILENT AUCTION RAISED $8,853.00 10-year-auction total is $64,204 Thanks to all our donators and bidders.

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3/28/14 2:05 PM

By Dean Hiza, Army Soldier Records Branch Many retirees are familiar with accessing their Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs) through the Army Human Resources Command’s My Record portal. An alternative method for accessing them is through eBenefits, a web portal operated jointly by the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense. eBenefits provides 24/7, secure access to the OMPFs of retirees who served after 31 Mar 1996. Retirees must have a Premium (Level 2) DS Logon account to access their OMPFs through eBenefits. Retirees can start the free DS Logon account by registering through the eBenefits website at or at the DS Logon site at Click the “Register” button. Through eBenefits, retirees can retrieve a specific document or their entire OMPF. There is generally a delay of up to two hours between requesting documents and viewing or downloading them. Emails inform retirees when the documents are ready for viewing/downloading. Retirees who are unable to access their OMPFs electronically through eBenefits, who retired before April 1, 1996, or next of kin of a deceased retiree may obtain free copies of a DD Form 214 and/or OMPF by submitting a signed Standard Form 180 (Request Pertaining to Military Records). For more information, including where to submit your request for records, refer to the U.S. Army Human Resources Command’s web Scan this code to view the link article at or call (888) ARMYHRC (888-276-9472). to the U.S. Army Human Resources Command’s web article.


[Membership_updatE] Annual membership has increased since last year but remains abysmal. At the end of February 2013, just prior to last year’s Annual Conference, we had 222 active annual members, 80 retired/former Guard annual members, and 35 TXSG annual members, totaling 337 annual members. This year, as of the end of February, we have 291 active annual members, 111 retired/ former Guard annual members, and 103 TXSG annual members, totaling 505 annual members. We do get a considerable number of people who renew their dues during the annual conference, so current numbers may be slightly higher. Currently, our life membership stands at 30,028 compared to 30,625 in February of last year. However, in general our life membership base is very old, so we lose a considerable number every year due to death. This past year, we lost 2.5% of our life members to death. Our new life membership numbers have picked

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up again after a slack year following two years of very strong growth. Last fiscal year, we had 94 new life members. So far this fiscal year, we have added 119 new life members. Our membership in national organizations remains poor overall. In NGAUS, our membership percentage remains the worst in the nation. Last year, we had only 59 active members and 167 retired life members. In EANGUS, our membership has improved slightly. At the end of 2013, we had 420 members, compared to 386 at the end of 2012. Texas ranked 28/54 in total members, but 50/54 in percentage of force who were members. We encourage all NGAT members to assist us in expanding membership to the next generation of Guard soldiers and airmen.

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Wondering why you've stopped receiving your NGAT News magazine in the mail? We started publishing a digital edition of the magazine, in addition to the printed copy, two years ago. A notice was published in several magazine editions, requesting you to contact us if you still wanted to continue to receive the magazine by regular mail. Stay in touch with what's going on with NGAT. If you are not receiving your NGAT News magazine by email or regular mail, contact us today! 512-454-7300

How much protection does your family need?


Beyond paying for the funeral, there are many expenses that are overlooked. NGAT Life Insurance can help you plan ahead so your family isn't left with tough financial decisions.


NGAT offers two excellent policies to help you cover all the expenses for your family.


• While in the Guard, take out the group term life insurance policy. It is payroll deductible and affordable even after leaving the Guard. You may keep this policy until age 65. This policy usually pays within 24 hours of a death. It acts as an interim policy to provide funds for the funeral and family until SGLI proceeds are received. • Enroll in the whole life policy, for members aged 18 to 65, with coverage ranging from $2,500 to $100,000. Whole life insurance lasts the rest of your life, the premium remains the same and it accrues cash value.




TSgt Anthony Truesdale (left), TSgt Jacob Morales (center), and TSgt Donald Trevathan (right), members of the 149th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, loads an inert BDU-50 on an F-16 Fighting Falcon at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, AZ during the Cornet Cactus exercise that provides realistic deployment experience for F-16 student pilots. (Photo by SSgt Jonathan Snyder)

On 23 Mar 2014 personnel from the Texas Army National Guard 71st TIOG, 101st IO Group participated in the 25th Anniversary Bataan Death March held in White Sands Missile Range, NM. Over 6,200 participants registered at this event. Pictured in the bottom row left to right: SGT Rene Cervantes, 1LT Bergitta Hawkins and SSG Jorge Palomo. Back row left to right: SFC Arturo Cabello, CPT Jason Olivet and SPC Christopher Chupka.

RLD with

Chilean Air Force Capt Javier Salinas (left), Commandos, 6th Squadron, 4th Aviation Brigade, Chilean Air Force, briefs MG William “Len” Smith (center), Deputy Adjutant General and the Commander of the Texas Army National Guard; and CSM Richard Milford (right), Senior Enlisted Advisor, Texas Army National Guard, on the capabilities of his unit at the brigade’s air base in southern Chile, March 27, 2014. (Photo by SFC Malcolm McClendon)

1LT Raymond Alsept of the 454th EN Co holds an after-action review with Route Clearance Platoon Two following the success of their Base Defense exercise at McGregor base Camp in Chaparral, NM. The 454th EN Co is there training for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. (Photo by PFC Shannon Gatta)

COL Doug O’Connell, Commander, Special Operations Detachment - Africa poses for a photo with African children in Niger, Africa.




Members of Joint Task Force 136 (Maneuver Enhancement Brigade) conduct the second phase of their 2014 Homeland Response Force external evaluation at Camp Gruber, OK. The exercise tests their response times, support capabilities and interagency cooperation, which certifies the unit to conduct emergency response operations throughout FEMA Region VI for another three years. (Photo by SFC Daniel Griego)

the TEXAS NATIONAL GUARD TSgt Erica Darnel, an optometrist specialist from the 136th Medical Group, examines patients’ eyes during exercise Cajun Care at Abbeville, LA, 25 Feb to 6 March 2014. Approximately 120 Navy and Air National Guard medical professionals provided medical, dental and optometry care to area residents.

An F-16 Fighting Falcon, assigned to the 149th Fighter Wing, prepares for an air refueling operation with a KC-135 Stratotanker, assigned to the 9th Air Refueling Squadron based at Travis Air Force Base, CA, over the Pacific Ocean, en route to Santiago, Chile, March 30, 2014. (Photo by SMSgt Mike Arellano)

30 paratroopers from the 1-143rd IN Rgmt (Airborne) proudly display their Italian Parachutist Wings that they earned while participating in the Foreign Wing Exchange with Italian Forces and 17th Psychological Operations Battalion (POB) (USAR) at Camp Bullis, Texas.

Members of 1-141st IN conduct lane and mortar fire training on Camp Bullis in San Antonio, Texas.

Six of the seven TXARNG flight surgeons and aeromedical physician assistants board a Guard C-12 at Fort Rucker, AL after attending an Army Aeromedical Conference. Pictured left to right: 1LT Kevin Murphy (1-149 ARB), CPT (P) Trent Renfrow (MEDCMD), MAJ Scott Bier (1-149 ARB), CPT Angela Todd (2-149 ARB), COL (Ret) John Drobnica, and LTC Dianne Sherrill (MEDCMD). This photo was taken on COL Drobnica’s retirement day after 30 years of service in the Army.

Congratulations to CW2 Lisa Buckley (right) of HQ & SPT CO (DIV) and CW3 Michael Long (left) of Rec & Ret Cmd on their completion of the 2014 Boston Marathon. CW2 Buckley completed the marathon in 3:38:06 running a 8:20 pace mile, and CW3 Long completed the marathon in 4:16:48 running a 9:48 pace mile.


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The Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS)

EANGUS 43rd Annual Conference ”We Got Your Back” Phoenix, AZ August 10-14, 2014 Join us at the 43rd Annual EANGUS Conference in Phoenix, AZ. Things are different in the desert. The sky is bigger. The stars are brighter. The sunsets stop you in your tracks. America’s sixthlargest city still has real cowboys and rugged mountains and the kind of cactus most people see only in cartoons. Phoenix is the gateway to the Grand Canyon, and its history is a testament to the spirit of puebloans, ranchers, miners, and visionaries. The Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport is located in the middle of the Phoenix area, less than ten minutes from downtown. Additional information about the conference is currently not available. Watch the NGAT website under the “EANGUS Conference” tab for hotel and conference information to be posted. This conference gives you an excellent opportunity to see just how enlisted personnel of all ranks work together to foster change. EANGUS is the largest enlisted reserve component association, and the only association that represents only National Guard enlisted men and women. For all enlisted personnel. EANGUS membership is included in the NGAT Annual Membership. Therefore, you get two memberships for the price of one. EANGUS’ Annual Membership fee for enlisted NGAT life members is $11.00 per year. Visit the NGAT website to join EANGUS today.


136th ANNUAL NGAUS CONFERENCE Chicago, Illinois August 22-25, 2014 Make plans to attend the 136th Annual NGAUS Conference in Chicago, IL. The “Windy City” is the third most populous city in the United States where the city skyscrapers overlook a bustling downtown highlighted by sparkling lakefronts. From Tony Award-winning theaters to renowned music venues, all attendees will have the chance to enjoy some of the activities. Chicago’s unique blend of global attractions and local charm makes visiting Chicago an unforgettable experience. All conference hotels are located on the famed Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue. The Magnificent Mile is Chicago’s version of the Champs-Elysées: a grand wide boulevard with exclusive shops, museums, restaurants, and ritzy hotels. During the day you’ll hear from guest speakers from the Pentagon and Congress, learn about the state of the Army and Air Guard and discover the latest products and services in the largest defense industry trade show that caters to the National Guard. At the conference you will enjoy the Governors Reception at the Field Museum, which is considered one of the finest natural history museums in the U.S., play in the NGAUS Golf Tournament at the Harborside International Golf Course, or enjoy the Fun Run that offers a view of the Lake Shore. There is something for everyone in the Windy City. You may want to catch a Cubs game at Wrigley Field during your conference stay. The Cubs will be hosting the San Francisco Giants (Aug. 19-20) and the Baltimore Orioles (Aug. 22-24). NGAUS includes nearly 45,000 current and former Guard officers. Visit the “NGAUS Conference” tab on the NGAT website for information on NGAUS membership, conference hotels, and conference registration.


ARMY NATIONAL GUARD best warrior OF THE YEAR Soldier of the Year SPC Samuel Ellison Intel & Sustain Co, HHB Div


NCO of the Year SGT Mark Adame

texas military forces 2014 joint best warrior Maj Gen John F. Nichols (left), the Adjutant General of Texas, and CSM Bradley Brandt (right), Senior Enlisted Leader, Texas Military Forces, pose for a picture with SGT Mark Adame/162nd Area Support Medical Company (center left) and SrA Kevin C. Hannah/136th Airlift Wing/MXS (center right), the NCO and junior enlisted winners in this years’ Texas Military Forces Joint Best Warrior Competition at an awards ceremony held inside the Texas Military Forces Museum on Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas, April 11, 2014. The ceremony was in honor of all the Texas Airmen and Soldiers that participated in this year’s Best Warrior Competition. (Photo by John Thibodeau).

162nd Area Support Medical Company

Jr. Enlisted Best Warrior Runner-up SPC Alfredo Lugo

runner Up 294TH QM CO

NCO Best Warrior Runner-up SGT Jason Wallingford


air NATIONAL GUARD best warrior OF THE YEAR Jr. Enlisted Best Warrior SrA Mark Hannah


136th Airlift Wing/MXS

NCO Best Warrior TSgt David Escamilla

149th Security Forces Squadron

RUNNER UP BEST JUNIOR ENLISTED (There was only one Jr. Enlisted competitor - no runner up)


runner Up

NCO Best Warrior Runner-up SSgt Juan Moreno


First Sergeant of the Year MSgt Mark Lara

TEXAS STATE GUARD The Senior Enlisted Advisor for the Texas State Guard, CSM (TX) Stephen Bell (left) is pictured with the Texas State Guard Junior Enlisted of the Year, SPC (TX) (now SGT) Christopher Gano (center) and Texas State Guard Senior NCO of the Year SSG (TX) (now SFC) Matt Allan (right). Both Soldiers are members of the Texas State Guard 2nd Regiment. (Photo by PO1 Thomas Morin)




149th Fighter Wing

(Pictured Left to Right) Senior NCO of the Year MSgt Joseph Ashwood, 111th Reconnaissance Squadron NCO of the Year MSgt Fernando Morales, 204th Security Forces Squadron Honor Guard Member of the Year TSgt Louis Soriano, 149th Fighter Wing Airmen of the Year SSgt Darren L. Storer, 204th Security Forces Squadron Junior Officer of the Year Capt Christopher Harrigan, 136th Airlift Wing

TEXAS NATIONAL GUARD SOLDIERS AND AIRMEN COMPETE FOR TITLE OF BEST WARRIOR The overcast sky, chilly temperature and intermittent precipitation did not dampen the excitement among soldiers and airmen as they lined up for a ruck march during the Texas Military Forces’ Joint Best Warrior Competition held at Camp Swift near Austin, Texas, 6-8 Feb 2014. Twenty-seven competitors from Army and Air National Guard units across Texas participated in the annual three-day event to determine who was the most physically and mentally fit between junior enlisted Soldiers, Airmen and non-commissioned officers. Carrying a 35-pound rucksack and a M4 rifle for six miles was just one of several demanding tasks the competitors completed. Other competition components included: weapons qualification, land navigation, a service dress uniform appearance review board, a written essay, confidence course, and a mystery event. All aspects of the competition were designed to test competitors’ endurance and composure. “It’s really tough,” said SPC Heather Shipley from 136th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. “It’s a learning experience more than anything. I know what I need to go home and work on definitely.” This competition provided a valuable opportunity for members of the Texas Air and Army National Guard to showcase their abilities in a joint environment. The physical and mental challenges the competitors faced culminated with the confidence course and the mystery event. The confidence course is eight structures in a horseshoe format across a quarter-mile distance. In between each object, participants were required to perform various exercises in order to advance to the next obstacle. The final “mystery” event presented a unique challenge for the already mentally, physically and emotionally taxed soldiers and airmen. With a design similar to the obstacle course run, competitors had to complete a variety of physically challenging activities between marksmanship tasks using four different weapons. During the competition, soldiers and airmen applied prior training, demonstrated their physical and mental capabilities and pushed themselves to their limits to meet and overcome each challenge. The two top-scoring NCOs and junior enlisted from the Army National Guard will continue on to a regional competition to be held later this year.

Below are the top scores per event. All Warriors were graded on a total-point merit system.

Physical Category Event

Best NCO / Jr. Enlisted Score

6 Mile Ruck March

NCO – SGT Garza, Gabriel (00:56:24) Jr. Enl. – PFC McCluskey, Tyler (1:08:00)

Mystery Event

NCO – TSgt Escamilla, David (7:34) Jr. Enl. – SrA Hannah, Kevin (10:39)

Obstacle Course

NCO – SGT Garza, Gabriel (11:35) Jr. Enl. – PFC McCluskey, Tyler (14:07)

Skill Category Event

Best NCO / Jr. Enlisted Score

M4 Qualification

NCO – SGT Wallingford, Jason (39 of 40) Jr. Enl. – SPC Morse, Trevor (36 of 40)

Day/Night Land Nav.

NCO – SGT Wallingford, Jason (70 min.) Jr. Enl. – SPC Lugo, Alfredo (61 min.)

Warrior Task Training NCO – SSgt Marrero, Jose (8 of 10) Jr. Enl. – 4 Way Tie (6 of 10) (PFC McCluskey, SPC Ellison, SPC Holloway, SPC Shipley) Intellect Category Event

Best NCO / Jr. Enlisted Score


NCO – SSG Pulido, Joseph (47.33) Jr. Enl. – SPC Ellison, Samuel (46.33)

Appearance Board

NCO – SSgt Hudson, Walter (218.75) Jr. Enl. – SrA Hannah, Kevin (209)


2014-2015 NGAT CORPORATE Gold DRS Humana Government Business - TRICARE LiteFighter Veterans United Home Loans Silver ADS, Inc Darley Defense DHS Technologies Force Protector Gear, LLC Harris Corporation Rocky W.L. Gore & Associates Bronze AAR Mobility Systems AM General, LLC American Military University Benchmade The Boeing Company Defenshield, Inc ESS Laser Shot Leatherman Tool Group, Inc

MetLife/TRICARE Dental Program Mobile Concepts by Scotty Patriot Taxiway Industries Strategic Systems, Inc USAMM, LLC W.W. Williams Logistics Waldorf College Western Shelter Systems Wiley X, Inc

NGAT salutes our generous sponsors and corporate members who have contributed so much to our success over the years. 30



MEMBERS & SPONSORS CORPORATE MEMBERS AIRGO/MulePAC ARG Tactical, LLC BBVA Compass Bank Chemax Corporation Emergent BioSolutions Healthcare Protective Products Group FAAC, Inc GEICO HeliBasket, LLC High Ground Gear Leupold & Stevens, Inc Pelican Products Princeton Tech Stanley Black & Decker Tatitlek Corporation Tetra Tech/Med & Hunt Joint Venture The College of Health Care Professionals Transhield, Inc Triumph Engine Control Systems Universtiy of Phoenix USAA, Military Affairs

Thank You! Please take time to visit their website links located on the NGAT home page.


TEXAS SPECIAL OPS SUPPORT U.S. COUNTERTERRORISM EFFORTS IN AFRICA Texas Army National Guard Special Operators recently returned from a month-long mission to Africa where they worked to bolster the counterterrorism capabilities in the northwest region of the continent. Special Operations Detachment – Africa (Airborne), one of the newest units in the Texas Army National Guard, deployed from mid-February to mid-March to Niger, Africa, serving as the overall command and control headquarters for the U.S. Africa Command’s FLINTLOCK exercise. This premier exercise was designed to help build the counterterrorism capacity of African partner-countries. Special Operations forces from eight African countries and 11 Western European countries participated in the event that was performed in four locations across Niger. Building partner capacity is a key tenant in the war on terror. Special Operations forces, like SOD-A, routinely work to bolster abilities of partner countries so they are able to defend their borders from terrorist activity and attacks. Proliferation of Al-Qaeda-linked extremist groups in the area presented real-world threats to troops who trained, mentored and advised partner nations in command and control, airborne operations and small unit tactics. The annual joint exercise, hosted by Special Operations CommandAfrica since 2005, is a multifaceted, multinational training that consists of airdrops of equipment and personnel, live fire exercises, long-range patrolling and support, mission planning and control at the operational level, and humanitarian relief operations that provide medical and dental care to the local populace. SOD-A officers also mentored African officers, and the detachment conducted a unique airborne operation involving jumpers from all four U.S. military services, European parachutists, and jumpmasters from Niger. At the conclusion of the parachute jump, SOD-A members were awarded Nigerien Jump Wings. SOD-A executed an Airborne mission with Jump Masters from Niger and Jumpers from the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, as well as Jumpers from Italy and France.

The SOD-A team posing with their African and European counterparts on the airfield in Niamey, Niger.


GRANT AWARDED TVC - FUNDS FOR VETERANS’ ASSISTANCE The Texas National Guard Family Support Foundation (TXNGFSF) was awarded a Texas Veterans Commission, Fund for Veterans’ Assistance Grant to provide: • Emergency Financial Assistance (i.e. housing, utilities, childcare, etc.) • Financial Counseling Services • TRICARE medical/dental insurance premiums and/or copays

Eligible recipients are: • Army & Air Service Members • Dependents of Service Members • Spouse of Deceased Service Members

For more information, contact: Brent Green, Family Assistance Center Coordinator

Luann Barron, State Family Program-Administrative Assistant

Visit us at “This program is made possible by a grant from the Texas Veterans Commission Fund for Veterans’ Assistance. The Fund for Veterans’ Assistance provides grants to organizations serving veterans and their families.”




Msg broyles finishes in 11th place in best ranger competitioN

MSG Broyles maneuvers through an obstacle at the Best Ranger Competition.

MSG Broyles (TX) (right) and SSG Friedlein (PA) (left) give it all they got as they come to the finish line and complete the 2014 Best Ranger Competition.

The 31st Annual Best Ranger Competition, held 11-13 Apr 2014 at Fort Benning, GA, determines the armed forces’ best of the best two-man team. This year’s winners were 2LT Michael Rose and 2LT John Bergman. Of the original 50 teams to begin the competition, only 26 made it into the final day of competition. 18 teams were eliminated due to medical reasons and six teams didn’t make it after the first night following the foot-march event. Four National Guard teams started and finished the competition. The Texas Army National Guard was represented by MSG Jason Broyles of the 1-143rd INF Rgmt. He was teamed with SSG Erich Friedlein, a member of Co A 1-110th INF Rgmt, Pennsylvania Army National Guard. These two Soldiers gave 100% throughout the entire competition and finished in 11th place. Another National Guard team of CPT Robert Killian (CO) and 1LT Nicholas Plocar (WI) finished the competition in an impressive 2nd place. The three-day Best Ranger Competition has been compared to Ironman and Eco-Challenge competitions. The competition challenges two-man Ranger teams in events that test their physical conditioning, Ranger skills and team strategies. The events are purposely scheduled back-to-back and around the clock for 60 hours, allowing little time for rest and meals. The teams covered more than 75 miles over the three-day competition, facing physical and mental challenges with very little time to eat or sleep. They fired weapons, completed extensive road marches of near marathon distances, completed a navigation course, conducted Ranger task-skills and conducted parachute jumps to determine the best Ranger team in the Army.

Photos by Lindsay Broyles & Mark Vitz

MSG Broyles (front) and SSG Friedlein (back) head to their next checkpoint after completing their Spot Jump at the Fryar Drop Zone.

Congratulations to Team #33 MSG Jason Broyles (TX) (left) and SSG Erich Friedlein (PA) (right). RANGERS LEAD THE WAY!


WASHINGTON BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION MG (TX) Manuel A. Rodriguez VII, Commanding General, Texas State Guard (right), and General A. Solorzano, representing the Mexican Military, meet at the 2014 Washington Birthday Celebration Association’s International Bridge Ceremony in Laredo, TX, 22 Feb 2014. The ceremony serves as the official welcome between officials and dignitaries from Mexico and the United States by exchanging “abrazos” or hugs, symbolizing the goodwill between the two nations. (Photo by SFC Malcolm McClendon) 

NGB SENIOR ENLISTED LEADER VISITS CAMP MABRY National Guard Bureau Senior Enlisted Leader, CCMSgt Mitchell Brush, takes time to meet CMSgt Shawna Woods, Operations Superintendent, Texas Air National Guard, after his Town Hall meeting held at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, 9 Feb 2014. Brush discussed the value the National Guard brings to the nation, both abroad and at home, and the importance of looking out for each other to help reduce the numbers of suicide within the ranks. (Photo by SFC Malcolm McClendon) 


Texas State, Army, and Air National Guardsmen participate in the sniper portion of the 2014 “Governor’s 20” shooting competition held at Camp Swift. The “Governor’s 20” competition is an annual event testing service members’ skills with the rifle, pistol, sniper rifle, and light machine gun. This portion of the four-part shooting match involves snipers shooting traditional silhouette targets. An additional challenge comes in the form of a poker match where snipers had to shoot through playing cards as they chose their hand to score the most points. The competitors work in two-man teams; one as sniper and one as spotter who helps the sniper perfect his aim before trading roles. Top shooters will continue on to a national shooting competition held in Arkansas later this year. (Photo by SGT Suzanne Carter) 


147TH RW MEDICAL GROUP TEST READINESS Members of the 147th Reconnaissance Wing Medical Group treat a simulated victim of a mass casualty event during an Operational Readiness Exercise April 4, 2014 at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Houston, TX. The scenario tested the Medical Group’s readiness and efficiency to respond to a real world event. 

Members of 1-141 IN BN ran 200 miles from Gonzales, TX to Houston’s San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Park on March 29, 2014 in commemoration of Texas Independence. The Unit carries the Campaign Streamers Alamo and San Jacinto signifying the 1-141 IN lineage and participation in those battles. The 10-member team triumphantly crossed the finish line together the next day roughly 29 1/2 hours later. Pictured back-row, left to right are: SFC Nate Canales, SSG Jonathan Gillis, CPT Jose A. Perez (NGAT Member), SFC Adam Martinez, and MAJ Jose Reyes (NGAT Member). Front row left to right are SGT Jeff Hearty, SSG Jason Perdue, LTC Ross Davis (NGAT Life Member), SGT Terrell Davenport, and MAJ David Burger (NGAT Life Member). 

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AVIATORS TRAIN WITH CIVILIAN COUNTERPARTS SGT Kevin McLaughlin, 36th Combat Aviation Brigade, lowers a member of Texas Task Force-1 into a tree line as part of a combined training event between the 36th Combat Aviation Brigade and Texas Task Force-1. The units trained on search and extraction techniques used during hurricanes and other natural disasters. (Photo by CPT Adam J. Musil) 

Eighteen Soldiers from the 36th Combat Aviation Brigade received the Army Aviation Association of America’s Order of St. Michael at the Brigade’s Dining Out. Order of Saint Michael is intended to recognize individuals who have contributed significantly to the promotion of Army Aviation in ways that stand out in the eyes of the recipient’s seniors, subordinates, and peers. (Photo by SGT Mark Scovell) 

STILL GOING STRONG AFTER ARMY MARATHON On March 2, 2014 four members of the 249th Transportation Company participated in the Army Marathon in Temple, Texas. The “Road Hogs” that participated and completed the 26-mile run were CPT George Strable, SFC Christi Stephens, SPC Elizabeth Harrell, and SPC Chad Taylor. At the completion of the run they still had enough energy to conduct a promotion ceremony. As seen on the left, CPT George Strable (left), Commander 249th Trans Co, pins the new rank on SFC Christi Stephens (center), 249th Trans Co Readiness NCO, with the assistance of her husband Jason Stephens (right). 

JROTC CADETS VISIT THE 149TH FIGHTER WING TSgt Arsenio Garza, a member of the 149th Fighter Wing, visits with Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets at Joint Base San Antonio - Lackland, Texas, 1 Mar 2014. The cadets are enrolled at Benjamin O. Davis Junior/Senior High School, within the Aldine Independent School District, in Houston, and received a tour of the wing. (Photo TSgt Phil Fountain) 

Support your Brigade or Wing by joining NGAT. Winners will be selected in the following categories:  Brigade/Wing with the highest percentage total membership  Brigade/Wing with greatest percentage increase in total membership from the previous year  Brigade/Wing with highest number of new members during the year Each winner will be awarded two free nights in a hospitality room for the 2015 NGAT conference and a trophy to be passed amongst the winners from year to year.


TAPS Mr. Frank D. Alvarado, Life Member #8992, Retired, San Antonio

Mr. Henry G. Hefner, Life Member #815, Retired, Llano

SSG Garrett Staats, Retired, Fredericksburg

Mr. Michael A. Houston, Retired, Dallas

SGT Tony A. Tadlock, Life Member #12161, Retired, Amarillo

MSG Jack J. Litofsky, Life Member #10370, Retired, San Antonio

Mr. Gary L. Bolin, Life Member #1383, Retired, Roland AR

CMSgt James C. Vercher, Life Member #1893, Retired, Prophetstown IL

SGT Jerry R. Lockridge, Life Member #13313, Retired, Bowie

CW3 Wilbert G. Carriere, Life Member #6567, Retired, Cortez CO

MSgt James E. “Sonny” Wahrenberger, Life Member #218, Retired, Houston

COL Kelly R. McAdams, Life Member #42, Retired, Austin

MSG Bobby J Coonrod, Life Member #19226, Retired, Denton

*SSG Charles L. Wilson, Life Member #25323, Retired, Bronson

SGT Norman E. Nicholson, Life Member #19563, Retired, Paris

PV1 Timothy Dovel, Team 4 RSP, Fort Worth 1SG Lavon Freeman, Life Member #17024, Retired, Dallas Mr. Lawrence W. Formolo, Life Member #14516, Retired, Smiley

MSgt Jesse J. Witte, Life Member #6213, Retired, San Antonio

MSgt Charles W Piel, Life Member #6064, Retired, Pearland

MSgt John H. Zimmermann, Life Member #126, Retired, Trinity

BG Grady Matt Roberts, Life Member #1025, Retired, Austin

*Had NGAT Life Insurance Policy

If you are aware of the passing of a current or former National Guard member, please notify us by phone, a letter to our office, or by email at

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


NGAT PLANNING CALENDAR (As of 30 April 2014)

2014 19-23 May

NGAT Legislative Visit, Washington D.C.



Memorial Day (NGAT Office Closed)



U.S. Army Birthday/Flag Day

16-18 Jun

NGAT Executive Committee Meeting, Austin



Independence Day (NGAT Office Closed)



NGAT Board Meeting, Austin



EANGUS Conference, Phoenix, AZ

22-25 Aug

NGAUS Conference, Chicago, IL



Labor Day (NGAT Office Closed)



Patriot Day



NGAT Board Meeting, Austin



Columbus Day (NGAT Office Closed)



Veteran’s Day (NGAT Office Closed)

NGAT News Magazine - Spring 2014  

NGAT News is the official magazine of the National Guard Association of Texas.

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