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Operation Blue Santa 2008 Delivery Day

It may have been a balmy 69 degrees during a Blue Santa morning, but for thousands of children it felt more like Christmas Day – just a few days early.


ChalleNGe Academy Graduates Make It Against Odds

Despite hurricanes and life’s hard knocks, graduates of the Academy look forward to new challenges after graduating the 17 month program.


From the Country Club to the Drop Zone

Soldiers from the 143rd Infantry Detachment (Long Range Surveillance) celebrated the holiday season with a party followed by a jump at Camp Swift.

12 Field Maintenance Keeps Equipment Running For the personnel manning the maintenance shops that support south and central Texas, attention and accuracy are the cornerstones of their service.

14 Authorities Respond to Suspicious Package Add Camp Mabry to the growing list of embassies, military installations and a myriad of other agencies receiving suspicious packages through the U.S. mail on Wednesday.

18 NEW!

This Month in Military History

Look for a new and growing section dedicated to the month in military history.


January 2009

Cover: National Guard members’ children received bikes on December 20th courtesy of the Bikes for Goodness Sakes organization. (Photo by Cheryl Barbeau, Texas Military Forces Public Affairs.)

Guard, Reserve Employer Awards The Department of Defense agency Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve is accepting nominations for the 2009 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. Guard and Reserve members and their families are encouraged to nominate employers who have gone above and beyond in their support of military employees. For more information or to complete a nomination form, visit Employer Support Freedom Award website at Nominations are being accepted until Jan. 19, 2009.

Department of Defense Releases 2009 BAH Rates The Department of Defense released today the 2009 Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates. Military members will receive an average housing allowance increase of 6.9 percent when the new rates take effect, Jan. 1, 2009. Three components are included in the BAH computation: median current market rent; average utilities (including electricity, heat, and water/sewer) and average renter's insurance. Total housing costs are calculated for six housing profiles (based on dwelling type and number of bedrooms) in each military housing area. The BAH rates are then calculated for each pay grade, both with and without dependents. An estimated $17.4 billion will be paid to nearly 950,000 service members in 2009. An integral part of the BAH program is the provision of individual rate protection to all members. This assures that members who have made long-term commitments in the form of a lease or contract are not penalized if the area's housing costs decrease. In addition, the military services were recently authorized to pay for local moves for military members forced out of a rented home due to their landlord’s foreclosure. For more information, service members and their families should contact their installation housing office, or contact Military One Source at 1-800-342-9647, or . For more information on BAH, visit .

Humana Guard, Reserve Health Care Units Humana Military Healthcare Services (HMHS) created a dedicated service unit specifically for National Guard and Reserve members and their families in the South Region. The new service includes a toll-free number for beneficiaries, (877) 298-3408. This hotline provides direct access for Guard and Reserve members and their families to use when they have questions about their medical benefits or concerns relating to TRICARE Reserve Select.

Vol. 4, No. 1

January 2009

Gov. Rick Perry Commander in Chief Lt. Gen. (TX) Charles G. Rodriguez Adjutant General of Texas Col. William Meehan Public Affairs Officer Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada Public Affairs Chief Public Affairs Staff Capt. James Campbell Tech Sgt. Eric Wilson Sgt. Jennifer Atkinson Cheryl Barbeau Susan Ribeiro John Thibodeau Managing Editor Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada Design and Copy Editor Sgt. Jennifer D. Atkinson Contributing Writers and Photographers Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada Master Sgt. Brenda Benner Staff Sgt. Daniel Griego Staff Sgt. Jason Kendrick Sgt. Jennifer D. Atkinson Cheryl Barbeau

Missing VA Paperwork Protections The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced special procedures for processing claims from veterans, family members, and survivors whose applications for financial benefits from VA may have been mishandled by VA personnel. The special procedures cover missing documents submitted by a veteran or other applicant for VA benefits during the 18month period between April 14, 2007 and Oct. 14, 2008. Veterans and other applicants have until Nov. 17, 2009 to file previously submitted documents under these special procedures. For more information, call 1-800-827-1000 for assistance, or visit your local VA regional office.

National Resource Directory Launched The Department of Defense launched the National Resource Directory, a Web-based network of care coordinators, providers and support partners with resources for wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans, their families, families of the fallen and those who support them. The directory offers more than 10,000 medical and non-medical services and resources organized into six major categories: benefits and compensation; education, training and employment; family and caregiver support; health; housing and transportation; and services and resources. It also provides helpful checklists, Frequently Asked Questions, and connections to peer support groups. For more information, visit https://

Articles and photography are welcome and may be submitted to JFTX-PAO, P.O. Box 5218, Austin TX 78763-5218, or by e-mail to Deadline for submissions is the 10th day of the month for the issue of the following month. The Dispatch is a funded monthly newsletter published in the interest of the members of the Texas Military Forces. Contents of The Dispatch are not necessarily the official views of, or endorsed by, the Department of Defense, the National Guard Bureau, the State of Texas or the Adjutant General’s Department of Texas. Content is edited, prepared and provided by the Texas Joint Military Forces Public Affairs Office, Bldg. 10, 2200 W. 35th Street, Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas. 78703.

January 2009


New Commander-In-Chief Takes Office Capitol. After the President’s swearBy Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada ing-in, he will address the nation with the Inaugural Address. Texas Military Forces Public Affiars

Feinstein and Sen. Bob Bennett, courtesy of the Acting Architect, Stephen T. Ayers. The official website of PresidentElect Barack Obama, http:// newenergy states: “I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington… I’m asking you to believe in yours.”

CAMP MABRY, Austin, Texas (7 Dec, 2008) -- Next year this country will observe a historical event in the election of our first African American President.

The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) is responsible for the planning and is supported by the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee with among one of its duties the Inaugural Parade.

On 20 January, 2009, President Elect Barack Obama, will be able to drop the word “elect” from his title and assume the duties of commander in chief and 44th President of the United States.

The JCCIC kicked off the InauguFor more information and history ral preparations with a Nail Driving Cere- of the Inauguration Ceremonies, please mony on Sept. 24, 2008. It included cere- visit: monial hard hats for Chairman Dianne

As described on http:// President Lincoln and his Gettysburg Address served as the inspiration for the 56th Presidential Inaugural Swearing-In Ceremony and his words: “This nation shall have a new birth of freedom” is the cornerstone for the 2009 inaugural theme. A typical inauguration day consists of the morning worship service, a tradition started with President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933. President George W. Bush will accompany President-Elect Barack Obama during the procession to the Capitol for the swearing-in ceremony. Vice-President-Elect Joe Biden will recite the oath first followed by the inauguration of the President on the west front of the

Remembering Pearl Harbor in the Heart of Texas FREDERICKSBURG, Texas (Dec. 7, 2008) – Texas Military Forces took a small but dramatic role in marking Pearl Harbor Day here with a flyover by four F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft of the 149th Fighter Wing, from San Antonio. The flyover took place at 12:25 p.m. Dec. 7 as part of a memorial service to honor Pearl Harbor survivors and their families in front of the Admiral Chester Nimitz Museum. The aircraft flew over in the Missing Man formation while Fredericksburg church bells rang simultaneously. “This was our chance to recognize those who gave so much so long ago so we can enjoy our Sundays in freedom,” said Col. John Nichols, 149th Fighter Wing commander, who led the flight. Pearl Harbor Day commemorates surprise attack on U.S. military forces in 1941 that precipitated America’s entry into World War II. The Pearl Harbor Survivors' Association selected Fredericksburg as the site for this year’s national convention – its 67th. Approximately 100 of the survivors participated in the 4


January 2009

“T-Patchers” help deliver Christmas to Austinites Story and photos by Master Sgt. Brenda Benner Texas Military Forces Public Affairs

AUSTIN, Texas – It may have been a balmy 69 degrees during a Blue Santa morning, but for thousands of children it felt more like Christmas Day – just a few days early. December 20th, the day before the official start of winter, was warmer and grayer than expected, but that didn’t spoil the spirits of approximately 65 Soldiers committed to spreading holiday cheer to those down on their luck. Texas Army National Guard Soldiers had a mission; to help the Operation Blue Santa (OBS) program deliver 3,500 orders of toys and holiday meals for Austin families in need. The OBS program, an Austin Christmas tradition; originated in the 1970s as a way to assist families during the holiday season. Since then, members of the Texas Army National Guard have helped the Austin Police Department spread cheer

and children as they visited nine house1st Lt. Tommy Loftis, commander of holds. Headquarters Company, 61st Engi“We really enjoyed it,” Garcia-Cain neer Brigade, is a 24-year OBS volunteer. explained. “To see the excited children He said nearly 80 percent of the Soldiers and the mothers getting emotional … it’s present this year were volunteering for the something special. “I think all the troops should volunteer for one year for the exfirst time. “We’ve committed our time and our perience. We’ll come back again next year.” resources,” said Loftis. “Our guys are door-to-door.

showing they care about their community. We’re taking care of our fellow man.”

For the past twelve years of her tenure, OBS staff member, Sonia Carrion, has Several Soldiers stayed behind at the watched the Airmen and the Soldiers of the Texas Military Forces volunteer during the OBS warehouse making sure the boxes program’s annual November toy donation were moved along in various stages and parade and mid December delivery weekalways ready for loading into a waiting line of cars and trucks that wrapped around end. She said hundreds of deliveries were made with the 22 Humvees and crews prothe block. Other Soldiers paired up in vided this year. Humvees for door-to- door deliveries. “The men and women of the National Pflugerville resident Spc. John Mays, Guard are unlike typical delivery voluna military policeman with the 136th Mateers in that they make multiple trips and neuver Enhancement Brigade, and a man stay here from 6 a.m. until late … as long of considerable faith, looked parents in the as there is still work to do,” said Carrion. eyes and offered sincere prayers for them “Besides deliveries, they pick up the toys when they told him their stories of unemfrom the fire stations and help us organize ployment and other hardships. As Mays the returns.” departed each house, it was evident he wished he could do more than deliver toys and food.

During typical delivery mornings the military Humvees line up bumper to bumper in an impressive convoy. By tradition, they are always the first out of the gate and onto the streets of Austin.

Staff Sgt. Amanda Roberts, also of Pflugerville, is a supply sergeant with C Company, Special Troops Battalion, 36th Infantry Division, and a returning Blue “They lead the pack,” Carrion said. Santa volunteer. For the past five years “After they roll out at 8 o’clock, the genshe and her family have made it a tradition eral public shows up to (fill their vehicles) to help deliver Christmas to others. and help us.”

“I truly love it,” said Roberts. “It’s This year, the Soldiers helped load awesome to see the little kids get happy turkeys for the OBS remote sites and prowhen we arrive. Just come here once, vided assistance with other early morning that’s all it takes,” she said of the volunteer snags encountered by the staff. experience. “They really came through for me at six Sgt. 1st Class Ann Garcia-Cain, from this morning,” Carrion said gratefully. the Texas Military Forces Joint Counter“We appreciate their yearly involvement.” drug Task Force, experienced her first Blue Santa delivery day with her husband Counter-clockwise, from top- 1st Lt. Stacy Rostorfer, of 1st Bn., 149th Avn., sends holiday packages down the ramp during OBS delivery day.

(From left to right) Staff Sgt. Gilbert Flores, Sgt. Kenneth Hernandez and Spc. Byron Echeverria, STB, 36th Inf. Div., load OBS packages for delivery. Sgt. 1st Class James “Jim” Johnson, 625th Signal Company, 136th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, delivers OBS packages door to door. January 2009



Concealed Carry; A Texas Girl is Equal to the Task Story and photos by Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada Texas Military Forces Public Affairs

Camp Swift, Austin, Texas (12 Dec, 2008) - A class full of students from diverse backgrounds assembled here Saturday to take advantage of a service offered by a State Guard member.

The streets did not run with blood and law abiding citizens did not suddenly go on murder sprees. As a matter of fact, if burglars and other nary-do-wells had been able to employ lobbyists, they would certainly have lobbied the legislature to defeat the bill.

Thirty students attended the Concealed Handgun Course to take advantage of the expert tutelage of a popular Texas girl, W01 Judith Baker, who made the two-day course educational and fun. The student body consisted of Army and Air National Guard personnel, State Guard members, officers, noncommissioned officers, wives, sons and daughters. Some had never shot a weapon in their lives, others would go to the range and shoot through the X in the middle of the target and keep on shooting through the same hole.

But Ms. Baker explained the definition of justified use of a weapon: “Stop, control or neutralize the other so as to eliminate the apprehension of a fear for life,” emphasizing that even when justified in using deadly force, the threat of being sued should not be underestimated. She said: “You also have to understand the consequences of carrying a weapon. It may result in an accidental shooting or even the fact that you could kill somebody.” After this sobering thought, she explained the range rules at Camp Swift the next day.

Handgun safety was paramount during the classroom portion of the course with a little history thrown in as well.

As predicted she ran a strictly controlled range and all students passed, albeit with differing results. Yours truly was probably the worst shot, but Brig. Gen. Jose Mayorga, Brandon Watkins, Carlos Ortiz, Benjamin Ortiz, Matthew Klinge, Juan Garza and Gilbert Debosque received a perfect shooting score. Brig. Gen. Peters’ daughter was by no means a slouch either as she calmly and expertly nailed the target in the chest with each shot.

To illustrate the unsubstantiated fear of some people toward concealed handgun license (CHL) holders, Ms. Baker cited statistics, demonstrating that the license holder is in the good guy/girl column. In 2001 there were zero kidnappings, one murder, zero robberies, nine sexual assaults, and five terroristic threats on the CHL holder’s side, while on the non-CHL side, 124 kidnappings, 157 murders, 1360 robberies, 1359 sexual asTo add insult to injury to a lesser shooter she confessed: saults, and 1229 terroristic threats were perpetrated against Texas “I have never shot this particular weapon before.” citizens. She said: “A good way to lose your license is to commit Each student left the course with a sense of accomplisha felony, class A or B misdemeanor, failure to display your CHL ment but more importantly with a better appreciation of what it when carrying, or failure to notify DPS of an address change. means to be responsible for a weapon and its safety. Thorough background checks are conducted by DPS and the FBI before the applicant receives his or her license, and she walked each student meticulously through the morass of paperwork while her husband did the fingerprinting and photography. Ms, Baker told the story of the Luby’s killing that arguably could have had a different outcome if one of the customers had been able to defend him or herself and others. She said: “On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, Doctor Susan Gratia Hupp met her parents in a Killeen Luby’s. She had carried a revolver illegally in her purse for years, but decided that day to leave the weapon in the trunk of her car. She lost both parents in a spray of bullets that day together with 23 other lives.” It is hard to say whether the tragedy could have been avoided or mitigated, but it compelled her to lobby for a Right to Carry law in Texas. She said: “the criminal will always have the upper hand, armed and ready, if we are not given the Right to Carry (RTC) and are left defenseless by our government.” The push in Texas started in 1991, was back on the ballot again in 1993 and finally in 1995 then Governor George W. Bush signed the 1995 Texas concealed carry bill.


January 2009

Maj. General Jose Mayorga, 36th Infantry Division Commander, shows off his shooting skills during the testing phase of the Concealed Carry class.

56th IBCT: Christmas in Iraq

Top row- Staff Sgt. Kenneth Rushing, Headquarters and Headquarters Company 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, holds up the camouflage patterned blanket he chose at the unit’s white elephant gift exchange and holiday celebration held on December 19th at Camp Victory in Baghdad. During the exchange, Rushing lost the blanket to another Soldier, only to claim another just like it later in the evening. Sgt. Francisco Medrano, Headquarters and Headquarters Company 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, holds up a ‘boy band’ CD for everyone to see. Sgt. Medrano received the CD during the white elephant gift exchange . Command Sgt. Major John Morgan, senior enlisted leader for 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, tries to get into the spirit of the season during the holiday party. Second and third rowsChief of Staff of the Army, Gen. George Casey, Jr. visits the 56th BCT in Iraq, to award the unit the battle streamer and coins. Gen. Casey affixes the Iraq Campaign streamer to the colors of the 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team while Col. Lee Henry, Commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. John Morgan III, senior enlisted leader, 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, watch on December 22 at Camp Victory in Baghdad. The brigade was awarded the streamer for participation in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005. Col. Henry previously had served as the battalion motor officer under the command of then Lt. Col. Casey in 1st Bn. 10th Inf. Regiment at Fort Carson, Colo. (All photos by Staff Sgt. Jason Kendrick, 56th IBCT Public Affairs.) January 2009 THE DISPATCH 7

Surviving Against The Odds; ChalleNGe Academy Graduation Story and photos by Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada Texas Military Forces Public Affairs

Just when seventy students of the Texas ChalleNGe Academy (Seaborne) thought the worst was over, life handed them not just one serious setback but three - yet on 20 Dec, 2008 they rejected defeat and persevered in a school nearly 570 miles away from home. The motto of the Texas ChalleNGe Academy was reclaiming the potential of young adults through education, training and volunteer service, but for class 2008-1 it was pure survival of the fittest. With wide grins, and a lot of pent up energy the students waited to finally don their gowns and caps and walk across a stage that 5-1/2 months earlier would have seemed utterly impossible. Class 2008-1 walked into the auditorium in their black and yellow gowns under a thunderous applause from the audience and they earned every clap and every tear trailing down a cheek of one of the parents. The Texas ChalleNGe Academy is funded by the National Guard Bureau and State of Texas. The program began in 1994 as an initiative of Texas A&M University at Galveston and incorporated into the National Guard Bureau’s National Youth ChalleNGe Program in July 1999, and is operated by the Texas National Guard. The program provides education, training, career development and service to 16-18 year old, at risk youth in Texas who have dropped out or are not performing well in high school. The Texas ChalleNGe


January 2009

Academy is now in its fourteenth year, however, this class faced something that no other class before them had to deal with. Texas saw a string of Hurricanes this year with Edouard leading the pack. On 5 August, 2008, the Houston/ Galveston, Louisiana and Texas Gulf Coast were hit by downgraded to tropicalstorm Edouard, but officials had already evacuated at-risk citizens including the Texas ChalleNGe student body off the Island of Galveston. The school was not damaged and the students returned. They had just barely settled back into a routine when Hurricane Gustav made staying in school too dangerous. Just before Sept 2, 2008, students went home again and the school was spared one more time. The staff heaved a sigh of relief but the school’s luck finally ran out when Hurricane IKE destroyed it on Sep 12, 2008. The students who had been sent home yet again were advised and parents were devastated - their dream for a son or daughter’s graduation seemed shattered. But the staff which had fought so valiantly to bring all these young people back time and again still had some fight in them. They found a facility in Sheffield Texas and with the aid of many they did the impossible. They opened the school, bussed the kids the 570 miles from their homes and rang the bell for classes to commence. Joel Chatelain, a graduate of the Texas ChalleNGe Academy, who finished Marine Boot camp only weeks ago, was present to see this class graduate. He said: “I had family troubles but I wanted to accomplish my dream of becoming a Marine. My mom found the program and I agreed that I had to start doing something different. My final push came when my mom kicked me out and I researched the program at a friend’s house. I felt at the time that it was the best thing I could do for myself and I went for it.” What is more, Private Chatelain is only 17 years old but was admitted to the Marines Corps because he was an emancipated minor. When asked what he would tell other troubled youths, he said: “If you want to accomplish your dreams, this is it. It opens your eyes with good people to mentor you.” Debbie Horak, whose son was

about to graduate said with tears in her eyes: “I learned about this program by accident and I had only two days to go through the process of registering my son, but I am so happy that I did. Please let me know how I can help to get the word out.” It is no wonder that the parents in this audience were happy. Eliu Rojas, Information Specialist and Recruiter for the program cited some terrible statistics to Jay Kimbrough, Chief of Staff to Governor Rick Perry, who delivered the Commencement Address. He said: “Every eight seconds a youngster in the United States drops out of high school – in Texas 119,000 drop out annually. We receive calls from parents who want to enroll their 9-10 year olds. This is a silent epidemic.” Mr. Kimbrough agreed and said that in his time there were undoubtedly youngsters who had their share of challenges: “I went to school with young offenders, but back then none of them ended up in alternative education. Nothing like this happened,” referring to the Texas ChalleNGe Academy. Mr. Kimbrough promised to introduce the program to the Texas Juvenile Justice Committees because he explained: “We need to draw attention to this. There is no immunity for anybody. Very often it hits too close to home.” Mr. Rojas agreed: “We had the son of a police chief and a three-star general here and both graduated.” Mr. Rojas added: “Our school is tough. It is our way or the Texas highway. The students are tested for drugs and there is absolutely no smoking, but we care (about the student.)” When it was finally time for the class speech by Stephen Crisp, he said: “We thought that we would never be able to finish – it seemed like nature itself was determined to stop us from graduating, but we survived.” Jay Kimbrough, a decorated Viet-

nam veteran, said during his commencement address: “I want to send a special thanks to the Texas Military Forces and bring you greeting from Governor Rick Perry.” He joked: “It takes a lot to take me off my motorcycle on a Saturday,” but continued on a more serious note when he said: “I could not pass up this opportunity to be with you tonight.” He asked the staff members and volunteers to stand up to be recognized and added: “You know what graduates? They do this because they care. You are our future. You are what we fight for. We have to do better for you, like this program has done.” He then asked if the students knew the formal definition for the word commencement and he said that his favorite description was The act or process of being brought into existence or start. He said: “You start a new journey tonight. Heck you had a journey just to get here. We thank you for your commitment through the storms. The phrase a child’s life at risk does not mean it is lost and you exemplify that. You now have all the tools at your disposal. You have overcome You are winners. It was a privilege to see you graduate today.” Patti Trimingham and daughter Kelly Crisp could not agree more. She said her son Stephen Crisp was bored in school and thought he knew enough not to finish. She said: “I took Stephen to orientation, but he continued to get into more trouble. Fortunately one day he said:’I want to go to Seaborne.’ I don’t know why he made that decision, I am just happy he did. Look at him now, he is the Cadet of

the Cycle.” When asked whether she was happy to relate to her brother, Kelly said with a smile: “I don’t think girls ever relate to boys especially when the boy happens to be your brother, but he is a different person. There is no more conflict.” Corey Aaron, 19 and one of the graduates said: “My mom Yolanda found the program. When asked whether the program was tough, he said: “I guess it was somewhat tough, but it was worth it.” He added that he was going to join the Army with a scheduled January boot camp. Col. Tony West, Commander Texas Military Forces Joint Counterdrug Task Force, administered the Oath of Enlistment to six youngsters who chose the military as a career opportunity. Program Director Mr. Michael Weir, who gave the closing remarks became visibly moved when he told the graduates: “You are dismissed.” To learn more about the program and eligibility please visit website: http:// or http:// To call the academy: (409) 939-3772 or (409) 741-7143. According to the National guard Youth ChalleNGE Program website: —Over 70% of 2005 ChalleNGe graduates received their high school diploma or GED —Over 57% Joined the work force —12.3% Joined the military —26.7% Continued their education —Program participants have donated

Opposite page-Left-Private Joel Chatelain entered the Marines after he graduated from the Texas ChalleNGe Academy and finished boot camp on 5 Dec, 2008. Right- Some of the students could not help themselves from belting out a heartfelt Hooah! Above left- A female ChalleNGe Academy graduate receives her diploma and a handshake. Above right- Col. Tony West, Commander Texas Military Forces Joint Counterdrug Task Force administered the Oath of Enlistment to six graduates. nearly 5 million hours of community service during the program’s 14-year duration —Programs have awarded graduates over 40,000 academic credentials since 1993 —Nearly 70,000 teens have graduated as of December 2006; Over 170,000 have applied. States With Youth ChalleNGe Programs: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

January 2009 THE DISPATCH 9

Christmas Comes Early for over 500 Children of Texas Military Forces By Cheryl Barbeau

quality bike, a customTexas Military Forces Public Affairs fitted helmet by a bike shop pro, and a bike safety lesSparked by the success son. Tricycles, bikes with trainof this past July 4th ‘s event ing wheels, and “big kid” bikes where Bikes for Goodness Sake came in pink, purple, blue and (BFGS) gave 52 children brand black, even some with new bikes and helmets, they “sparklies” and flames. Someexpanded this holiday season to thing for all ages and tastes. ten more sites across Texas. Mark Smith, Executive BFGS and bike shops in Dallas, Director of BFGS said, “We Fort Worth, Temple, Austin, believe that a bike is a small but San Antonio, Houston, Lubpowerful symbol for freedom. bock, El Paso, Laredo, Weslaco, A bike gives the opportunity for and Corpus Christi donated to a child to experience the freeover 550 children of deployed dom that their parents’ are fightTexas Military Forces members. ing for. We aim to honor and Saturday, December 20th was the day set aside in each area for the stateside parent to pick up the bike for their children. Each child, whose ages ranged between 3 and 13, received a brand new bike-shop-

bring awareness of the sacrifice that these children make in support of their loved ones serving our Country.” Bikes For Goodness Sake’s (BFGS) mission is to

provide Bicycle Shop quality bikes to children of deployed, or about to deploy, military parents for the purpose of promoting health and joy for all children in the way that only a bicycle can. If you would like more information on this organization please visit

Marie’s smile says it all… Look at me and my new tricycle! Marie’s brother was so excited about his bike he crawled in the car with it. As Marie’s mom tried to coax him out, 3 year old Marie took off again on her tricycle in the opposite direction. Mom’s next hurdle? How to keep the kids from trying to sleep with the new bikes?

Texas Guardsmen Execute Non-standard Missions Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Jason Kendrick

that are being executed can be described as ‘non56th IBCT PAO, 36th Inf. Div., MND-B standard’. This means that they are not doing things BAGHDAD – Arrowhead Soldiers of the that we are normally trained to do; specifi56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team are cally Soldiers who are working outside of executing a variety of mission throughout their military occupational specialty. the country of Iraq. Many of the missions “This is the first time I have worked in a non-standard job. It is different and everything is non-doctrinal and requires a lot of thinking outside of the box. You cannot find the answer in a Field Manual or army regulation,” said Maj. Robert Criffield. Maj. Criffield supervises the day to day operations of the Access Control Office. Their function is to validate any civilian personnel wishing to gain access to the Victory Base Complex. The process by which they accomplish this is lengthy and thorough. It has multiple quality checks to ensure that all documentation is accurate and complete. “By the time a packet gets to me it has been checked at least three times for accuracy and that it is complete. I do the last quality control check to make sure that Master Sgt. Penny Patrick, HHC, everything is right before sending it out for 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, final processing,” Criffield explained. checks an exception to policy reThe work towards granting personquest to ensure quality control. nel access to Victory Base does not start 10 THE DISPATCH

January 2009

and end with Access Control. The Force Protection office has some serious play as well. Master Sgt. Penny Patrick works in the Force Protection cell as the Policy Non-Commissioned Officer. Master Sgt. Patrick’s Military Occupational Specialty is in the maintenance field; turning wrenches. Sitting behind a desk and reviewing corps policy is not how he envisioned his deployment, but he understands the importance of the job he is doing. “As the policy Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO), I handle anyone that comes in wanting an exception to policy. The policy is in place for a reason, so I have to carefully review any request for an exception,” said Master Sgt. Patrick. The corps policy lists several prohibited items that personnel coming onto the base are not allowed to posses while on Camp Victory. However, sometimes those items might be necessary for them to do their job. “One of the most common exception requests I see are for items on the prohibited items list. For example, if a tape measure were prohibited, a carpenter working on a building or something where he needed the tape measure would need to get the exception to policy, “Patrick explained.

Surveillance From The Country Club To The Drop Zone By Master Sgt. Brenda Benner Texas Military Forces Public Affairs AUSTIN, Texas – December 5-7 was no typical weekend for the “T-Patchers” of the143rd Infantry Detachment (Long Range Surveillance). Infantrymen dressed in their finest uniforms adorned with Airborne and Ranger tabs, Combat Infantryman and Parachutist Badges, enjoyed a holiday meal with their spouses and comrades. The very next morning they were executing one of their favorite missions – jumping from a UH-60 Black Hawk. Within twelve hours the 36th Infantry Division Soldiers transformed from sharply dressed gentlemen at the Point Venture Country Club to dirt-dusted infantrymen landing - and sometimes tumbling - into the powdered dirt and dead grass of Camp Swift’s Blackwell drop zone. They had drastically changed their uniforms, just as their unit had changed its designation the night before.

tempo unit with so many groups on the go. “Our unit members are from all over the state, so it’s not easy for all of us to get together,” explained Julie Aubin, the commander’s wife and the unit’s Family Readiness Group Leader for the past year. “It’s a chance for the guys to get dressed up and have a date with their wives. This gathering is a wonderful way to meet face-to-face, otherwise, I stay in touch through e-mails and help the wives with my resource contacts.” The following day, family members were invited to observe the unit’s Camp Swift airborne training from an observation tower next to the drop zone. Making the trip from Houston, Norma Quinones, wife of Staff Sgt. Mario Quinones, said the long weekend was the perfect opportunity for her to spend more time with him before his departure to Afghanistan.

“He’s been jumping for approximately 17 years … today is a special day because it’s jump number sixty-five, so he finally gets The unit’s holiday dinner was highlighted by a reflagging ceremony commemo- his master jump wings and I’ll be here to watch,” she said proudly. rating the unit’s transformation from the 143rd LRS to C Company (LRS), 3rd SquadJill Flanigan, wife of Staff Sgt. James ron, 124th Cavalry Regiment. The out-going Flanigan, said although she has watched her and cherished 143rd LRS guidon was passed husband’s jumps before, she stated she to soon-deploying 1st Platoon members who wanted to see his last pre-deployment jump. will take it to Afghanistan when they replace Their 13-year-old son, Darian, released a the other LRS Soldiers from their unit. large helium-filled balloon from the center of “This transformation is beneficial for us because now we have the capability to grow to a company size element,” said Capt. Wade Aubin, the LRS commander. “We’ll now fall under a reconnaissance and surveillance squadron with two troops of scouts and our unit working together to provide intelligence for higher headquarters.”

the drop zone helping the airborne infantrymen determine wind characteristics before the initial jump.

“I’d (encourage) other spouses to watch whenever they can,” said Mrs. Flanigan. “It’s a lot of fun and we are close enough to see the action. It wasn’t until I started watching his jumps and seeing how The formal dinner was also an op- he falls that I understood what he was talking about when he returned (from training weekportunity for new unit members to meet the ends). It makes me happy to come out here seasoned veterans and their spouses before Top- Airborne infantrymen from the and support him because he loves what he another platoon leaves for deployment. It newly designated C Company (LRS), does … it’s important.” was a family “reunion” of sorts, but with 3rd Squadron, 124th Cavalry Regimany first-time encounters; typical for a high In a matter of weeks the “Tment trained at Camp Swift under the Patcher” infantrymen will temporarily leave watchful eyes of family members. their families, but as a few of their wives Above- Lt. Col. Brian Stevens (left), mentioned, it’s not their “first rodeo” performing the role of a single parent. Most of the commander of 3rd Squadron, 124th Cavalry Regiment presents the them have previous deployment experience and are as tough and resourceful as their hus- new guidon to Capt. Wade Aubin, as the 143rd LRS is reflagged as C Combands. pany (LRS), 3-124th Cav. Rgmt. “The guys in this unit are very closeLeft- Spouses Jill Flanigan (left) and knit,” said Mrs. Aubin. “It’s important that their wives know that they also have another Norma Quinones watch their husbands from the observation tower. family to count on - we’re their Army family.” January 2009


Field Maintenance Shops Keep Equipment Up and Running Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Daniel Griego

deployment ready.

100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

The journey that a faulty piece takes toward The arms technician balances the repair is thorough and complex. With pistol delicately in her hand. With precise safety and security on the line, no chances care, she disassembles the piece and began are taken and no corners are cut. her detailed work to correct its fault. DisThe first step begins at the unit tractions are not an option for this Soldier; level. The unit representative takes the her labor requires unshakable focus. Her duty means more than the mere operation defective equipment to their local Field of equipment; it means someone’s life. She Maintenance Shop (FMS), the first-line teams that service the units of a given inunderstands all too well a that a servicestallation or lower organization level. member relies on this equipment for his life. “We support 32 DODAACS,” said Sgt. Hector T. Pinon, a technician For the personnel manning the maintenance shops that support south and with FMS #4. “We support all of Camp Mabry to 10/20 standards,” or fully miscentral Texas, attention and accuracy are sion capable. DODAACS are a class code the cornerstones of their service. From weapons and tools to vehicles and machin- relating to a unit’s supply needs. ery, the shops responsible for area units With each mechanic responsible ensure that all equipment which passes for roughly 50 pieces of equipment, the through their doors will return to its owner troops of FMS #4 recognize the need for a fully functional, efficient system. When the FMS receives an item, the team begins work right away to correct its deficiency. If the shop has the necessary part on hand, turnaround can immediately follow its correction. If the part requires special ordering, two days to a week later, the FMS can return the repaired piece to its home unit. Throughout this repair, a Command Maintenance Evaluation Team (COMET) reviews the work and procedures with regular inspections. The inspection team augments and works with the service team, rather than as an opposing force in the way of the technicians.

higher echelon facility, the Combined Support Maintenance Shop (CSMS). Augmenting the duties of the local FMSes, CSMSes perform functions not possible with the limited resources of their smaller counterparts. “We have specialty shops the FMS shops are not equipped with,” said Maj. M. Raymond Cooper, the assistant superintendent of Camp Mabry’s CSMS #2. “We can fabricate or repair almost anything made out of metal, wood or plastic.” The two maintenance levels work closely together in a cohesive union of efficiency and organization. The priority, invariably, stays on the Soldiers and making them mission-ready. CSMS #2, a pioneer of maintenance capabilities, boasts many services available to their coverage area, which stretches across all of south Texas and most of central Texas. Its 81 technicians operate the 10 sections of service ranging from painting and welding to lock smith functions and radiation management. Its 32 bays cover 91,000 square feet, featuring state of the art equipment. “This is one of three facilities with capabilities of this caliber,” said Maj. Cooper. The shop also features a unique $100K environmentally-sound paint system donated by the State Environmental Office, two SRS-50 solvent distillation units and an armament section with over 1200 weapons.

“We support about 180 to 200 The 15 Soldiers of FMS #4 serunits right now,” said Sgt. F. Yvonne Gonvice a total of 645 rolling stock vehicles, to zales, an aviation support technician. include HMMWVs, two-and-a-half ton With such a wide range of functrucks, cargo trailers and support vehicles. tions, cross-training represents an essential Maintenance crews, like many component to succeeding as a shop emfull-time Guardsmen, work as technicians, ployee. which means they serve as contracted ci“I do pretty much everything and vilians who still wear their uniforms to work. “Nothing would happen if it were- stuff that I’ve never done in my life I’m learning now,” said Spc. George E. Gracia, n’t for the Soldiers/employees,” said Sgt. who mans seven of the 10 sections. “It’s 1st Class Matthew A. Matzen, NCOIC of FMS #4. “They’re the ones that make eve- been a large learning experience.” rything work, I just guide them.” The skill and precision required to FMS personnel work tirelessly to service equipment meant to save the lives of Soldiers remain foremost in the mind of service and accommodate their units. When a job requires specialized attention, each technician. Never forgetting their role, these servicemembers exercise the however, the FMS directs the order to a 12 THE DISPATCH

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greatest care in their duty. “It gives you a sense of pride,” said Spc. Andrea L. Newby, an armament technician at CSMS #2. “You really have to do a good job. Its people’s lives. It makes you take your job very seriously.”

bers use equipment that will invariably require service. No unit would function were not for these dedicated support crews. “The shop is a reflection of the Texas National Guard,” said Maj. Cooper. “Its employees are responding to transformation, adapting, developing new operating procedures to face a new environment.”

At the heart of any CSMS lies the committed team of inspectors, upholding the standards for all serviceable equipment. Opposite page left- Sgt. David L. “The guys that come to this shop Pierce, from CSMS #2, performs here are the best of the best,” said Lt. Col. maintenance work on a piece of farm equipment. James R. Cook, production manager for CSMS #2. “They’ve proven in their fields Top right- Andrea L. Newby, an and that’s how they end up inspectors. armament technician with CSMS They inspect and certify the work of other #2, performs a service check on a mechanics.” newly repaired pistol. Production control, via the FMS, stands as the support behind the support, keeping the ship sailing smoothly. “We are the first and last place customers go,” said Staff Sgt. Joan M. Nesvold, the senior production controller.

Bottom right- Sgt. Hector T. Pinon, a maintenance technician with FMS #4, repairs a faulty vehicle piece Below- Sgt. Pinon, works on an HMMWV.

Coordinating the work orders, administrative duties, and communication with their FMSes, this team efficiently orchestrates the busy cycles of traffic and equipment control. Quite simply, the crews manning unit maintenance shops work for the Soldier . From artillery and infantrymen to cooks and truck drivers, all servicemem-

Equipment Repair– How It Gets To CSMS

January 2009


Authorities Respond To Suspicious Package on Camp Mabry Story by Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada

When the APD Bomb Squad arrived it immediately deployed a robot into the “hot” zone to retrieve the packages and Texas Military Forces Public Affairs place them in front of X-Ray equipment also located inside the cordoned off area. The viewing APD officer was at a remote and Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas (17 Dec, 2008) - Add Camp Mabry to the growing list of embassies, military installations and safe distance. The X-Rays revealed CDs or DVDs held together a myriad of other agencies receiving suspicious packages through by paperclips. The robot was directed to a decontamination area where it washed its “hands” in a bleach solution before returning the U.S. Mail on Wednesday. to the vehicle that had brought it. The robot expertly maneuvered Under the oversight of the FBI, the APD Bomb Squad th and the 6 Civil Support Team responded to a request to remove sidewalks and sand traps and the operator never left the safety of his vehicle. and analyze two suspicious packages received by the Armed Next the 6th CST, comprised of 22 active duty Soldiers Forces Reserve Center. and Airmen, donned their protective gear to assess the packages Prior to the FBI and Bomb Squad’s arrival at Camp for biological, chemical or radiological material. Team members Mabry, the packages had been over packed by personnel in the th mailroom and subsequently removed by experts from the 6 CST usually deploy within one-hour’s notice, but since the “threat” was basically in their backyard, responded within minutes. team. The packages were deposited in a grassy area far enough They operate as a State asset under the command and control of away from buildings and people until the FBI and APD Bomb Squad arrived. The area was cordoned off and personnel move- the State Governor, but provide direct support to civilian incident incident commander. ment in the area restricted. A list of personnel who initially han- commanders. In this case, the FBI was the th Equipped with monitoring equipment, 6 CST members addled the packages was gathered to maintain a vigilant eye on posvanced on the packages, reported initial field findings and readsible delayed reactions. ings and were cleared to transport the material to the mobile lab The WMD 6th Civil Support Team assisting the APD standing by. and FBI, is one of 55 teams stationed across the nation and is a Sgt. Eric Lebeaux, a self-confessed newby, SPC Robert rapidly deployable, full-time active duty Army and Air National Delano and Sgt. Reggie Book, three of the 6th CST members Guard unit available to respond to incidents involving possible weapons of mass destruction, as well as other disasters and catas- donned their level C suits under the direction of Capt. Mike Tortrophes. The team represents both federal and state governments res, the team leader. Lt. Col. (Doc) Samuel West monitored their by providing support to local emergency responders and has been vital signs. Capt. Torres briefed his team on weather conditions and hydration. He said: “The packages do not appear to contain training for the “real thing” in many different cities throughout an explosives hazard, but any suspicious packages received the country.


January 2009

through the mail should be considered dangerous and definitely should be investigated.” He added: “We have not detected signs and symptoms in the individuals who have handled the packages, but you are directed to collect the samples and deliver them to the lab in accordance with standard operating procedures. The FBI has instructed that the packages are manipulated with forceps to maintain the integrity of the evidence and chain of custody.” He reported to his team that officer John Buell from the APD would take care of evidentiary sealing and over packs. He reminded the team of safety and to use proper hand signals if there was a communications loss. SFC Jose Calderon briefed the team that there were no signs of radioactive exposure, reminded the men of possible trip hazards with all the wires and equipment snaking through the area and limited visibility in the suits. The last thing said to the team was “button up, and lets roll.” The Mobile Analytical Lab System (MALS) was utilized to perform the analysis of the packages. The MALS is based on a gas chromatograph mass spectrometer system able to identify 125,000 organic substances. This system comprised of Multi-tube Thermal Description Unit (MTDU), along with chemical analysis computer hardware and software is mounted together with a Bio-Level III

glove box, Fluorescent Microscope and other sophisticated laboratory equipment in a temperature-controlled vehicle with self-contained power generating capacity. The Bio-Level III glove box is located on the side of the vehicle, and is a lab-in-a-box inside the main laboratory on wheels. Technicians can do a preliminary analysis of the material inside the box before introducing the suspected packages to the main laboratory, avoiding contamination of people and equipment. As it turned out there was no threat of contamination and the FBI, APD and CST rapped it up around 7 p.m. and determined the packages to be non-hazardous. At no time were Camp Mabry personnel or neighboring homes in danger because evacuation orders would have been issued. Two other military facilities in Texas received similar packages. One was delivered to the 149th Fighter Wing mail room at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio and the other was found at the 136th Airlift Wing in Fort Worth. These packages were analyzed in similar fashion and determined to be non-hazardous as well. Col. Jet Hays, Commander 6th Civil Support Team said: “This was an excellent exercise with an element of urgency because we did not know for sure

that this would be harmless. We thank our FBI and APD partners for their quick response and excellent coordination with our team.” At bottom, from left to right: "Wrapping it up" is not just an axiom. The 6th CST members are literally wrapped up at the hands and feet to prevent contaminants from leaking into their protective suits. "Newby" Sgt. Eric Lebeaux is being wrapped up by Staff Sgt. David Kuykendall before handling the suspicious material. SPC Robert Delano receives the same treatment as Sgt Eric Lebeaux before entering the "hot" zone. The team is ready to enter, seen here are from left to right SPC Robert Delano and Sgt Reggie Book with Sgt Eric Lebeaux seen from the back. Two members from the Bomb Squad enter the area with the 6th CST Team to photograph the packages for evidentiary purposes and preserve the chain of custody. (Photos by Sgt. Jennifer D. Atkinson.)

January 2009 THE DISPATCH 15

Respected rigger advanced from “layout Louie” to “sky god” Tucked away near Camp Mabry’s northern edge is Texas Military Forces Public Affairs the Parachute Packing Maintenance Shop (PPMS) where a dedicated rigger and his various crews have had their fellow paratroopers’ lives in their hands every single day – every day for the past three decades. By Master Sgt. Brenda Benner

The PPMS has been “home” and the precious domain of the most experienced skydiver/parachute rigger the Texas Army National Guard has ever known.

jumpmaster course after that. I will miss him.” After presenting the revered rigger with the Legion of Merit at a recent retirement party and roast honoring his selfless service, Maj. Gen. John T. Furlow, the Assistant Adjutant General of Texas, said Dunlap’s significant contributions were largely unknown by the Texas Military Forces at large, but not to those in the airborne community. He made the PPMS more efficient and mentored paratroopers, riggers and jumpmasters as their skill levels progressed.

“Airborne Soldiers and other customers of the PPMS know the attention to detail and the technical competence of those working in Sgt. 1st Class Mark Dunlap, a parachute rigger, master para- this shop,” said the general. “It’s very reassuring to those jumping chutist, jumpmaster and long-time supervisor of the PPMS, is rethe parachutes, including myself. More than 30,000 parachute sysgarded by many as the subject matter expert for all things “airborne tems packed here have been used by our Soldiers during sergeant operations” related. When it comes to technical aspects, aerodynam- Dunlap’s tenure and there was never a malfunction that resulted in a ics and the interpretation of regulations, many confessed that he was death.” the first person they called. Besides his technical expertise with parachutes, General FurAs his fourth decade of military service slowly approached, Dunlap decided it was time to pack his military parachute one final time. He officially retires January 2009.

low also stated it was Dunlap’s planning foresight that helped develop and stand up the newly formed 294th QM Co.

That adrenaline rush has continued for nearly 40 years for the airborne Soldier known affectionately as “sky god.”

possible from the old rigger’s vast ocean of knowledge.

“One of the reasons we (TXMF) have an increased footprint in His decorated airborne career began at Fort Benning in 1968 the airborne community is because of him,” the general stated. when he jumped from a C-119 Flying Boxcar. After his tour in Viet- “He’s now handed the torch to the next generation.” nam with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, during which he was awarded The next generation. No senior non-commissioned offithe Bronze Star, Dunlap joined the TXARNG when he was merely cer’s mission is complete without the infusion of a high-spirited pri25 years old. vate to influence in the twilight of one’s career. “I knew right then I had gotten a hold of something that was For “sky god” it’s Pfc. Erica Urrutia, a new full-time rigger at really exciting,” Dunlap recalled. “I couldn’t get over the adrenaline the PPMS since July. She admits her mission is overwhelming at rush of jumping.” times. She’s a sponge attempting to soak up as much information as

Dunlap said he earned his “sky god” nickname during the 1980s from his buddies at G Company, 143rd Infantry Detachment when he was performing numerous civilian skydives. As expected, the rumors “got out of control” he said with amusement. As the years passed, the moniker, usually reserved as a term of ridicule or jealousy among the skydiving community, evolved into a genuinely respectful nickname for the incredibly experienced paratrooper.

“I’ve learned so much from sergeant (Bobby) Garcia and sergeant Dunlap in just a few months,” said Urrutia. “Sergeant Dunlap lets me do more than just pack parachutes. He gave me ‘hands on’ experience in the maintenance shop to learn about the sewing machines. He’s teaching me the basics about all types of things and even gave me the responsibility of training a junior private about parachute maneuvering skills when we jump.”

Urrutia said it means a lot to her knowing that someone of “I couldn’t break them of the habit of saying it,” Dunlap chuck- Dunlap’s stature has faith in her abilities. She wants to make him led. proud. As of late November 2008 he has accumulated more than 1,546 civilian skydives and approximately 250-280 military jumps. He plans on making many more civilian skydives because the thrill is always there. “He might be the only Vietnam veteran still on jump status today,” said Capt. William “Rusty” Weedman, former commander of the 294th Quartermaster Company (Airborne), 36th Infantry Division for which Dunlap was the acting first sergeant. “That says a lot about his character and his passion for rigging. He’s going to be irreplaceable because he’s provided such great support for our customers for the past 30 years. He’s the type of guy who never wanted praise; he just wanted to be a rigger. He’s done an outstanding job keeping airborne Soldiers (and Airmen) safe.” Sgt. 1st Class Roy Rangel, the current first sergeant of the 294th QM Co. said he first met Dunlap during 1975. “We were ‘layout Louies’ for about two years until it was our turn for school,” Rangel explained. “We laid out parachutes on the packing tables for the qualified riggers who were actually packing Sgt. 1st Class Mark Dunlap collects his chute after his them. We were classmates for both the rigger school in 1977 and the final jump at Camp Swift. 16 THE DISPATCH

January 2009

“Someday, I’ll be older and much more experienced than now,” she said. “I’ll really miss him and I’ll never forget. I enjoy coming to work because he keeps every day interesting. I think … I hope, that he’ll always remember me for the things I’ve said and done. I’m the stereotype of the crazy little private that keeps him on his toes.” Dunlap, who knows a lot about exit doors, is not waiting until the last possible second to hit his next target. He retires early at 58 years “young.”

it,” explained Dunlap. “I ride everywhere. It’s almost 11 miles round-trip every day for work.”

runs correctly, the next Soldier can step into a leadership slot and keep the organization leaning forward. I’ve always tried to instruct people in such a manner so they would know Dunlap’s near future is “out West” as much, if not more, than I do. If I’ve done where he’ll attend a bicycle mechanics my job correctly, there shouldn’t be a hiccup course in Oregon for two months, then perwhen I leave. The only thing they should form a 12 to 18-month apprenticeship, beginmiss is my effervescent personality; everyning with six months in Utah. thing else should be totally replaceable.” “I’ll repair not only bicycles, but Wise words from an extremely anything that’s human-powered,” Dunlap humble man. said proudly. He said he’ll use his new skills to refine his own three-wheeled contraption. General Furlow’s genuine senti“Then I’ll head to the Midwest area so I can ments paralleled those given by the many be closer to my siblings while I’m a bike presenters during the retirement party. mechanic.” “I’m not sure how I can ever say

“My philosophy is simple,” he explained. “We don’t know from day to day if we’re going to have the next day. I have a lot more years behind me than I have in front “Sky god’s” plan is to be mobile of me so I want to get going during the auand “go bare bones” as he calls it, while tumn of my life.” RVing full-time with his Australian Cattle Some may wonder what could pos- dog, Latte. “Of course I’ll have a laptop and sibly pull Dunlap away from rigging. Surbring many of my favorite pictures with me,” prisingly to those who don’t know him, he said. Dunlap is an avid cyclist. So much so that he As he spoke of life on the road, has relied on leg power instead of a car for Dunlap put his military career into perspecthe past eight years. He said he was inspired tive. by Lance Armstrong’s first Tour de France “When we think of ourselves as victory and decided to buy a bicycle. professional Soldiers, we should always re“He kept winning and winning and I member that we are all dispensable,” he said started riding more and more for the fun of convincingly. “If a military organization

goodbye,” the general said. “I’m proud to call you my friend. We recognize your incredible selfless service and know you did it without acclaim … without interest in higher rank. We appreciate all you have done for the Texas National Guard. We won’t be able to replace you because you are truly a oneof-a-kind individual.” Happy trails, “sky god.” May your skies be forever blue, your parachute always full and life’s landings always soft. You will be missed terribly our rigger friend. Of this you can be sure – ALWAYS.

Three Years Later, G-RAP Proven Winner for National Guard The Army National Guard has recruit-ed its 80,000th soldier through the Guard Recruiting Assistance Program (G- R A P ) , which celebrates its third anniversary this month. The milestone recruit was signed up on Dec. 9. Lt. Gen. Clyde A. Vaughn, director of the Army National Guard, visited Frankfort, Ky., this week to mark the anniversary of the program. He was joined by representatives from the five states that were part of the pilot G-RAP in December 2005 - Kentucky, Missouri, North Dakota , Iowa and West Virginia.

responsible for the Bluegrass State’s recruiting success. “We are Kentucky’s hometown defense force, and with resources like the Guard Recruiting Assistance Program, we will continue to grow and be ready for whatev-er the future may bring,” he said. The active Army and Army Reserve have created their own versions of G-RAP. For more information, contact your local recruiter.

Vaughn said G-RAP was a revolutionary change to the recruiting efforts of the Army Guard and credits it with helping make today’s Guard the best in its 372-year history. “We get stronger every day based on the very program that we put into place here,” he said. “It stands at the very root of the success that we’ve had in the last three years.” Under G- R A P, soldiers are paid up to $2,000 for every new soldier they bring into the Army Guard. The first $1,000 is paid when the recruit signs up. They get the final payment of $1,000 when the recruit goes to basic training. A full $2,000 is paid for signing on prior- service Soldiers. Since the inception of the program, the Army Guard has boosted its overall strength to 363,000 soldiers. Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, the adjutant general of Kentucky, said G-RAP is January 2009 THE DISPATCH 17

Servicemen MIA From Vietnam War are Identified The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the group remains of six U.S. servicemen, missing from the Vietnam War, are soon to be buried with full military honors. They are Maj. Bernard L. Bucher, of Eureka, Ill.; Maj. John L. McElroy, of Eminence, Ky.; 1st Lt. Stephen C. Moreland, of Los Angeles; and Staff Sgt. Frank M. Hepler, of Glenside, Pa., all U.S. Air Force. These men will be buried as a group on Dec. 18 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. Two other servicemen, who were individually identified in October 2007, are also represented in this group. They are Capt. Warren R. Orr Jr., U.S. Army, of Kewanee, Ill., and Airman 1st Class George W. Long, U.S. Air Force, of Medicine Lodge, Kan. Representatives from the Air Force and the Army mortuary offices met with the next-of-kin of these men to explain the recovery and identification process and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the secretary of the Air Force and the secretary of the Army. On May 12, 1968, these men were on board a C-130 Hercules evacuating Vietnamese citizens from the Kham Duc Special Forces Camp near Da Nang, South Vietnam. While taking off, the crew reported taking heavy enemy ground fire. A forward air controller flying in the area reported seeing the plane explode in mid-air soon after leaving the runway. In 1986 and 1991, U.S. officials received remains and identification tags from sources claiming they belonged to men from this incident. Scientific analysis revealed they were not American remains, but it was believed the Vietnamese sources knew where the crash site was located. In 1993, a joint/U.S.-Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), traveled to Kham Duc and interviewed four local citizens concerning the incident. They led the team to the crash site and turned over remains and identification tags they had recovered in 1983 while looking for scrap metal. During this visit, the team recovered human remains and aircraft wreckage at the site. In 1994, another joint team excavated the crash site and recovered remains, pieces of life-support equipment, crew-related gear and personal effects. JPAC scientists used forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence in the identification of the remains. For additional information on the DOD’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at or call (703) 699-1169.

This Month in Military History: January 1803 -Determined to begin the American exploration of the vast mysterious regions of the Far West, President Thomas Jefferson sends a special confidential message to Congress asking for money to fund the journey of Lewis and Clark. 1835 - In the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol, President Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, survives the first attempt against the life of a U.S. president. 1863 - Union General Ambrose Burnside's Army of the Potomac begins an offensive against General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia that quickly bogs down as several days of heavy rain turn the roads of Virginia into a muddy quagmire. 1942 - Top Nazis met at Grossen-Wannsee, outside Berlin, and there formulated the infamous "Final Solution" to the Jewish question. 1946 - An American soldier accepts the surrender of about 20 Japanese soldiers who only discovered that the war was over by reading it in the newspaper. 1950 - Mary T. Sproul commissioned as first female doctor in Navy 1981 - Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president as 52 American hostages boarded a plane in Tehran and headed toward freedom. Iran released 52 Americans held hostage for 444 days, minutes after the presidency had passed from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan. 2003 - US military officials announce that they are sending a force of about 37,000 soldiers to the Persian Gulf region. This takes the number of US troops ordered to deploy to around 125,000. 18 THE DISPATCH

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January 2009 THE DISPATCH 19

A graduate of the ChalleNGe Academy looks forward to the future. (Photo by Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada, Texas Military Forces)

January 2009 THE DISPATCH 20

2009 January, The Dispatch