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Operation Crackdown Reaches Milestone

Since the mission’s inception in 1993 the Counter Drug Task Force’s (CDTF) Operation Crackdown has been on two week missions every quarter.


For Young Rappel Students, Practices Makes Perfect

Last week high school students demonstrated at Camp Swift that they too can rappel from high towers and complete a confidence course.


203 Miles of Trails and Tributes for TXMF Members

Running 203 miles from Gonzales to Houston seemed impossible at first, but a dedicated team with a driving sense of purpose made it happen – all for the memory of fallen Soldiers of the Texas Army National Guard.


Modern-day MacGuyvers Win Sustainment Award

Yankee Range is remote, wide open, flat, and dusty, no plumbing, no shade, and definitely not your typical office when it comes to the basics – like plumbing and drinking water. Creative thinking and go-to-it attitudes helped solve challenging problems.

14 Traumatic Brain Injury:

What Families Need to Know

Soldiers and families struggling with the after-effects of mild Traumatic Brain Injury may not understand what’s happening to themselves or a loved one. This guide gives information on the symptoms, and coping mechanisms.


April 2009

Cover- Operation Crackdown members tear down a dilapidated and abandoned building during an operation in Kingsville, Texas. (Texas Military Forces Photo by Cheryl Barbeau.)

AF to Release New Records System The Air Force Personnel Center will release the new Personnel Records Display Application (PRDA) in early April 2009. PRDA is an electronic viewer for the Automated Records Management System that provides a role-based function to allow commanders, supervisors, first sergeants and other approved positions access to view enlisted and officer personnel records in ARMS for the performance of their official duties. For more information on PRDA, contact your base Military Personnel Section's Customer Support Section, or visit the Personnel Services Delivery homepage and handbook by searching for "PSD Handbook" in the Ask AFPC website,

Army Rounds up Performers for Deployed The Army Entertainment Division is putting together a band to entertain deployed troops. Keyboard players, guitarists and drummers are needed -- along with vocalists and an audio technician -- to form an All-Army band that can play various genres of music. The band, USA Express, plans to begin playing gigs again this spring and summer. Applicants must be active-duty Soldiers and deployable Guard and Reserve Soldiers. Application instructions are available online at U.S.A. Express, recreation/entertainment/usaexpress/. For more information, contact USA Express Program Manager Cordell Hall at 703-806-3220, DSN 656-3220.

Army eTraining a 'One-stop-shop' The recently launched Army Training Network (ATN) website aims to become the one-stop-shop and information source for Army training. The ATN website has the most current training doctrine available, "Field Manual 7-0, Training for Full Spectrum Operations," published December 2008. Online "Training Management How-To" and "Training Solutions" in ATN replace the hardcopy FM 7-1, Battle Focused Training. ATN users have the capability to make recommendations for changes and submit training solutions from the field. An Army Knowledge Online user name and password or Common Access Card is required to access the ATN website. Find out more more at

Blue Star Families Survey The military advocacy group, Blue Star Families,, has created a survey to help elected officials understand the issues faced by military families. Blue Star Families asks that all military families complete this survey. The Military Family Issues Survey will be open for responses through March 31. The survey should take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. The White House and other national organizations want to address your issues, help them hear from you directly so they can better understand your needs and concerns. Take the Military Family Issues Survey online today at https://

Electronic Warfare Courses Available Immediate openings are available for the Army's premier training courses in Electronic Warfare. The courses will be conducted at Fort Sill, Okla., and are available to officers, warrant officers and enlisted personnel. The officer (FA29) course will run 11 weeks beginning June 29. The warrant officer (MOS 290A) course will run 16 weeks and the enlisted (MOS 29E) course will run 10 weeks, both courses beginning April 1. Interested Soldiers should contact the EW proponent, Maj. Michael A. Brock at DSN 552-9494 or commercial (913) 684-9494. Ms. Addie House can also be contacted at DSN 552-9459 or commercial (913) 684-9459 for information and registration.

Hotline for Vets Considering Suicide The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour, toll-free suicide hotline that is available to anyone experiencing a suicidal crisis. When an individual calls in, they will be able to speak with a professional who will refer the caller to the nearest crisis center and other mental health services. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit the National Suicide Prevention website at To ensure veterans with emotional crises have round-the-clock access to trained professionals, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) began operation of a national suicide prevention hotline for veterans. Veterans can call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press "1" to reach the VA hotline.

Vol. 4, No. 3

April 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 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 Maj. Steven Keihl Capt. Adam Collett 1st Lt. Adam J. Musil 1st Lt. Steve Pautz Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada Master Sgt. Brenda Benner Staff Sgt. Daniel Griego Staff Sgt. Jason Kendrick Spc. Mary B. McDaniel Cheryl Barbeau Tim Weitz Cadet Captain Raphael Erie

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.

April 2009


Milestone for Counterdrug Taskforce Crackdown Story and photos by Cheryl Barbeau Texas Military Forces Public Affairs KINGSVILLE, Texas- Since the mission’s inception in 1993 the Counter Drug Task Force’s (CDTF) Operation Crackdown has been on two week missions every quarter. A six member team has a predetermined list of structures to knockdown on each visit. Usually there are at least two dozen structures per visit. The mission this quarter was located in Kingsville, about three and a half hours southeast of Austin. After many years of executing these missions the CDTF team has it down. They know their roles, they know the possible problems whether it be water lines, electric power lines or a huge hive of bees. They are prepared. There is even a bit of tradition at each site. At each mission at least one nearby school is invited to watch the guardsmen in action. The school is usually so close to many of the structures that the kids have personal experience with what goes on inside these places, none of it is good.

Above- The proud Counter Drug Team that took down the 1,000 structure. Front row, left to right: Staff Sgt. Jim Levine, Staff Sgt. Carl White. Back Row, left to right Master Sgt. Marcus Wilkins, Sgt. Wayne Webber, Pfc. Alberto Martinez , and Technical Sgt. Rodney Blanton.

A Student Council representative or straight A student receives the honor of giving the hand signal that says go ahead “knock it down”. All students on site receive a t-shirt that reminds Below left- Taking down Bronco’s bar in Kingsville. them of the mission and reminds them that others do care about their future and the current negative influences in their community. After Operation Crackdown comes through their neighborhood, their feel- was a little bittersweet for Sgt. Levine. ing of being safe on the way to and from school returns. Sergeant Levine has been with Counter Drug’s Operation The strong relationship this team has with each of the com- Crackdown since 2003. His last house with the Task Force is the munities helps tremendously with preparation and execution of their 1,000 house of the program. This particular structure was Bronco’s bar, one of several bars on the street. It became so unsafe that when mission. It is those relationships and time spent over the years that will be missed most by Staff Sgt Jim Levine. Kingsville, this time, the police were called to the area they automatically sent an ambulance too. While obvious reasons like returning feelings of safety are cause to celebrate the 1,000 structure milestone it was a little sad for those in the communities of Robstown, Corpus Christi and Kingsville to know this would be their last with Levine. Representatives from each of these communities came out on Feb 24 to celebrate the TXMF CDTF milestone and to bid farewell to Staff Sgt. Jim Levine. Handshakes, laughs, hugs and no less than five plaques given to Levine to show their appreciation for all that has done for their citizens through this program.. Even though he lives in Austin these city officials feel he is a part of their community. As Sgt. Levine moves on to his new post in Austin in Family Readiness ….the Operation Crackdown team will return to their home stations until May when they will move out again to continue improving neighborhoods across south Texas.

Until Every One Comes Home



April 2009

36th Infantry Division Soldier Awarded the Soldiers Medal Story and photo by 1st Lt. Adam Musil and admit that it is part of their job. And though this is an oversimplification of 36th Infantry Div. Public Affairs the personal courage and selfless service AUSTIN, TX— When asked about why from one displaying such attributes, techthey put their life in harms way, it is not nically, the self sacrifice of a properly uncommon for a Soldier to simply shrug trained Soldier should be expected. For Staff Sergeant Michael McNutt self sacrifice is more than a duty, it is a way of life. On June 30, 2007 Sergeant McNutt was serving as a volunteer for the New Boston Texas Fire Department. That night his team responded to a single vehicle accident. Upon Sergeant McNutt’s arrival, it was learned that the driver of the wrecked vehicle had fled into a nearby dense wooded area and was being pursued by local law enforcement officers. As the firefighters waited--in the woods--one police officer was overpowered by the suspect. The suspect stole the officer’s gun and moved deeper into the woods. Soon the cry, “officer down!” rang through the trees. Sergeant McNutt and other volunteer fire fighters ran to the aid of the downed officer. Sergeant McNutt and his fellow fire fighters carried the downed officer to a clearing where McNutt evaluated the officer’s injuries. Suddenly, the suspect fired

upon the firefighters and Sergeant McNutt. Risking their personnel safety, Sergeant McNutt and his team grabbed the injured officer and carried him from the clearing and to paramedics on the scene. At the request of paramedics, Sergeant McNutt assisted in the transport of the officer to the hospital. Sergeant McNutt later returned to the scene of the shooting and assisted the Sheriff’s Office in containing the suspect. “It was an honor to receive the award,” Sergeant McNutt said. “But I wasn’t trying for that. I just wanted to help.” For his actions that night, Sergeant McNutt was awarded the Soldier’s Medal for heroism. According to the citation, Sergeant McNutt distinguished himself in a heroic manner during a time of distress and confusion. Using his military and civilian training, he stabilized a violent situation in a timely manner. The Soldier’s Medal is awarded in peacetime for actions of heroism. Sergeant McNutt is currently assigned as the supply Sergeant for the 736 Maintenance Company in Gatesville, Texas.

Texas Guardsman Receives Battlefield Promotion BAGHDAD – Spc. Verna Oates (right), from Texarkana, Texas, serving with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 36th Infantry Division, MultiNational Division – Baghdad, is handed a framed copy of the Creed of the Non-Commissioned Officer from 1st Sgt. Ron Novio, senior enlisted leader for HHC, 56th IBCT during a promotion ceremony held at Camp Victory on Mar. 14. Sergeant Oates was promoted under the battle field promotion system which selects deserving Soldiers who are eligible for promotion to either sergeant or staff sergeant. Sergeant Oates served for 9 years on active duty with nearly 7 years in Germany. Following a break in service, Sergeant Oates joined the Texas National Guard in July of 2001 and is now serving in her second tour to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Kendrick 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 36th Inf. Div., MND-B) April 2009



For Young Rappel Students, Practice Makes Perfect By Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada Texas Military Forces Public Affairs

ual to

up the

Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas – (Mar 4, 2008) – when and if the right tutelage and leadership is provided and they are encouraged to explore their potential. Texas Army National Guard Soldiers provided the oversight and final training that started with the ROTC commander and lasted four days, culminating with the graduation of the jrROTC student body taking the final step over the edge supported only by their Swiss seats and two ropes. The Bastrop High school jrROTC program includes the opportunity for its students to visit Camp Swift in Bastrop, Texas and rappel from the same tower Soldiers use to perfect their training. They start on the much shorter and angled tower and graduate to the higher and straight tower. The first over the edge was the vice principal under the cheers of his students. Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Harper, one of the rappel masters, said: “The kids have been training for four days in the proper construction and wear of the Swiss seats, and are now going to demonstrate that they have full confidence in the rappel masters and themselves to decend from the tower.”

Above- A Bastrop High School JROTC student rappels down the tower at Camp Swift

When asked how he felt about going down the tower, one of the boys said: “I am ready and have the confidence,” and the girls were no less enthusiastic, when they replied: “we are at least as good as the boys.” It seemed there was no lack of healthy competition.

rope. The side of the rope is determined by the rappeller’s brake hand, i.e. whether the individual is left or right handed. Next the rappel master will lean over the tower and sound off with ‘On Rappel’”. He continued: “At this time the rappeller will lean over and make eye contact with the *belayman.

The 136th Regiment owns and operates the towers and obstacle course to conduct the high volume of Air Assault courses the State of Texas has to conduct. They are responsible for pre-air assault training and the non-commissioned officer of the Year competition. The rappel masters include Sgt. 1st Class Mark Dornbusch, Thomas Harper, Rudy Rosales, Arthur Ruiz, Staff Sgt. Davin Schultz and Sgt. Maj. Michael Granado (Bastrop Independent School District employee and Army Reservist).

He will then issue the following command: “Turn and face me and back up until the heels or your feet are over the edge of the tower and ease yourself into a good L-shaped position. At that point,” he continued it is up to the rappeller to obtain enough slack to ease themselves out into an L-shape and on the command of ‘GO’, the rappeller will grab the rope and throw his or her brake hand out at a 45-degree angle, watch over his or her shoulder and start the actual decent.”

The sergeant major said: “We want to leave the kids with a memorable experience and the sincere desire to go on in life and be productive.”

Throughout this process he explained, the student is constantly critiqued and advised. Once the student is on the ground, the command “Get off my rope” is given which means that the student will start slapping the rope attached to the snaplink of his Swiss seat which in turn allows the rope to fall to the ground for the next person to decent.

Commander Joe Cave, who happens to also be a member of the Texas State Guard, said: “I don’t like to tout this as a recruiting event. We obviously like our ROTC students to be aware of, and interested in the military as much as possible, however, this is more than that. It gives these young men and women the confidence to do something outside of their comfort zone.” He added: “I happen to be Marine, but I stay impartial as to what branch of the service if any, these young people choose. They have to find what best suites them. “ In the meantime, the young people where getting ready for their decent. Commands like: “Sound off with your brake hand,” and “On Rappel” could be heard from the rappel masters. Sergeant Harper explained; “As the rappeller steps on top of the tower the sequence goes as follows: The rappel master will gain control of the rappeller and guide him or her to the location where they will hook the individ6


April 2009

There were sweaty palms, nervous giggles and a couple of possums, evidently a term used for an individual trying a new technique in going upside down, but overall the students mastered two things, trust in the rappel master and trust in themselves. Practice is like shampoo - apply, rinse, repeat. In this case the students, applied, practiced and repeated until they got it down. *A belayman must be a graduate of the Air Assault Course or Ranger Course and is positioned at the bottom of the tower.

436 Chemical Company Honored at George Washington Birthday Celebration Story and photo by Spc. Mary B. McDaniel

to transition from a Chemical Company into a unit ready to provide force protection. According to LAREDO, Texas — Acknowledged with Sergeant Saguada, the transition was diffistanding ovations here, the 112 George cult at times; but approximately two Washington Celebration was an event the months before they were set to mobilize, Soldiers of the 436 Chemical Company, 36 the unit had completed their required tasks Infantry Division will likely not soon for- and was ready for combat. get. On this day, the 436 Chemical ComSoldiers of the 436 Chemical Batpany was being honored for their bravery talion endured a tragic loss of a heroic and selfless service to their community and comrade, Sergeant Jamie Gonzalez, who their country. From the looks of the crowd, was killed in action when his vehicle hit a the success of this local unit came as no land mine. According to Sergeant Saguada surprise. The exceptional heroism of the the loss of a fellow Soldier had a great 436 chemical Company gives the commu- effect on the unit as a whole, but after a nity of Laredo something to be thankful brief mourning period, they refocused their for. attention on completing their mission. 36th Infantry Div. Public Affairs

In November 2007, the unit was deployed to Afghanistan, for a 12 month rotation. It was the unit’s first deployment overseas and for most of the Soldiers it was considered a time well spent. For Staff Sgt. Everado Sagauda it seemed to be an experience that will not be forgotten. “It was the biggest learning experiences that I have ever encountered in my 20 years of service,” said Sergeant Sagauda, 436 Chemical Company operations supervisor. Sergeant Saguada has been a member of the Texas National Guard for 20 years, he believes that it was frustrating at times, but once that was over it was smooth sailing. The unit performed ground Security Force operations for Camp Kabul, in Afghanistan.

families left behind is not forgotten. With the unit’s participation in the parade every year, this year’s parade was different from the rest. Sergeant Solis believes that the community is much more aware of the support that the unit gives to the community and the country. “I think the unit is more attached to the community now then when it use to be,” Sergeant Solis said. Other than the duties that they perform state side, like helping the city and supporting the fire department, the unit is recognizable now due to the deployment.

All in all, Executive Officer, Lieutenant Scott M. Goodman was impressed with the unit’s performance completing the mission. This was his first deployment and he considered it a great one.

When the state is alerted for missions like hurricane relief, the unit is the first to be called to duty. They are always prepared for anything that comes their way. But when they were called for the 436 to deploy overseas it put them on the map for recognition.

“The unit did an amazing job”, Lieutenant Scott Goodman said of his unit’s performance. But it wasn’t until the commemoration at the George Washington parade that made Lieutenant Goodman realize just how amazing the unit did. The community showed there support to the 436 Chemical Company for all that they have accomplished.

“This deployment just puts the icing on the cake,” Sergeant Saguada said. The community acknowledges the service that the unit has provided for the country. Their courage and service surely gave the crowd a reason to out to those soldiers who marched in the parade in a dress right dress formation, “we love you, and “we thank you”and“a job well done.

With the sense of patriotism from “We are truly grateful for the supthe community, it made the walk in the port from the families of the soldiers and parade more memorable to the Soldiers. the community,” Lieutenant Goodman, acting unit commander, said without hesitation when asked how it felt to be recognized by the community.

Sergeant Saguada was a little surprised with the change of the mission that the unit Other than previous George would be performing, and that is where the Washington parades, this one seemed to be complexity came into play. the memorable to readiness NCO, Sergeant “Soldiers had to be redirected and 1st Class, Luis Solis. He has been with the trained for the mission that was given,” Texas National Guard for 10 years. Sergeant Saguada said. “My main mission was to help In just a short period of time, the with the support of the families while the unit underwent an intense training in order Soldiers were deployed.” Sergeant Solis said. The fact that some of the family members didn’t speak English, made it easier for them to go to Solis and ask for help instead of going elsewhere.

Sergeant Solis explains the difficulty of some family member coping with the strain of handling things at home. When support was greatly needed, Solis was there to help anyway he could. Nevertheless, his dedication and support to the

Left- Soldiers from 436 Chemical Company show their appreciation by handing out treats to the children of Laredo. Above- Lieutenant Scott Goodman, acting 436th Chemical Co. commander and Sergeant 1st Class Everado Saguada return a smile and a wave to the community. April 2009



Camp Mabry Welcomes State Representatives for Texas Legislative Tour Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel Griego 100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment Each odd-numbered year, the Texas Legislature convenes for 140 days. During this time, the House of Representatives and the Senate for the state discuss matters of agriculture, public health, transportation and other important issues of state governing. For the Texas Military Forces, this assembly presents a model opportunity to highlight the needs of its services and present its case for an enhanced budget. On the morning of March 17, 2009, Camp Mabry welcomed state dignitaries and legislatures in an open house of the missions, roles and responsibilities of the Texas Military Forces. Called the “Texas Legislative Tour,” this biennial event is the second demonstration put on by Camp Mabry for a convening legislature. The mission here was to “showcase to the legislatures our domestic operations and the adjutant general’s legislative Maj. Gen. Joe Mayorga, Texas Adjutant General, budgetary items,” said 1st Lt. Smiley A. Garcia, Legislative LNO stands with Texas Representative Dan Flynn of for the state. House District #2. Dan Flynn, State Representative for Texas District 2, initiated family, we take care of our own.” and organized this year’s events for Camp Mabry. “We can get people involved in the legislature so that they have firsthand Care and service were prominent themes throughout the knowledge of what’s going on out here and how important it is to tour. Staff Sgt. Alfonso G. Garcia, survey team chief for the Civil the state,” he said. Service Team of FEMA Region 6, described to the visitors deMr. Flynn, whose office sent out the invitations for the tour, also tails about CST responsibilities and how best to help servicemembers. serves in the Texas Military Forces as a Lt. Cmdr. in the Texas State Guard Maritime Regiment. Having worked with Brig. Gen. “Our main mission is to take care of our soldiers, to make sure Raymond C. Peters, the Deputy Commanding General – Plans their welfare is taken care of and that their future is taken care of and Staff Operations for the Texas State Guard, Mr. Flynn has an as well,” said Sergeant Garcia. “But we have to give our soldiers inside perspective of the unique needs and goals facing the armed the proper tools to meet those goals. Tools like the Texas Tuition forces that he can present to his legislative colleagues. Assistance Program that we need to give our troops in order for These needs include special funding to support domestic them to succeed in the world outside the uniform.” operations such as natural disaster relief, servicemember training “I though it was a great opportunity to learn more about the Joint and personnel support for the brave men and women serving in Operations Center and the mission of our guard forces,” said the Texas Military Forces. State Representative Chris Turner of the 17th District of Texas. “We want to make sure that we’re taking care of our guardsmen “As a member of the Defense & Veterans’ Affairs Committee of and getting them the right kind of care as close to home as possi- the house, I wanted to learn more about all this.” ble,” said Air Guard Col. Connie C. McNabb, state surgeon and For the Texas Military Forces, this opportunity to address budgetsenior medical officer for the state. “This care system is very ary concerns directly to its legislative representatives serves as responsive and robust,” said Colonel McNabb, discussing the much more than a meet and greet. For this session and future state health services. “We’ve run about 1400 cases through and sessions ahead, it’s a means to convey to our government the have an excess of 350 cases we’re handling right now. Guard is most pressing aspects of our operational needs.

IED Hunters Honored CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – Spc. Justin Hayse, a native of Indianapolis, Ind., receives the Army Commendation Medal on Feb. 3. Hayse’s quick thinking helped positively find and indentify an improvised explosive device. Hayse is with the 836th Engineer Company, 890th Engineer Battalion, 225th Engineer Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad. “We try to find them before they find us. Hours can be long, but the success rate for everyone has just climbed the ladder a little higher because we’ve done our part to assure that the streets of Baghdad are safe by removing potential threats,” he said. 8 THE DISPATCH

April 2009

203 strenuous miles of “Trails & Tributes” Story by Master Sgt. Brenda Benner Texas Military Forces Public Affairs

203-mile mission together was very rewarding.

CAMP MABRY, Texas – Running 203 miles from Gonzales to Houston seemed impossible at first, but a dedicated team with a driving sense of purpose made it happen – all for the memory of fallen Soldiers of the Texas Army National Guard.

“Throughout the whole time, people were taking pictures of our vans and thanking us for our service,” said Torres, who personally ran 22 miles for the cause. “Governor (Rick) Perry saw us in Houston and asked to have his picture taken with us and the van … that was a nice surprise.”

A dozen selfless Soldiers from Joint Force Texas formed their “Trails & Tributes” team for the 2nd annual Texas Independence Relay during March 7-8. The relay celebrates the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico in 1836. Ten runners and two drivers methodically conquered the 203-mile course that was divided into 40 legs of various distances. Each runner was responsible for four legs. The drivers went back and forth along the entire route supporting the enormous logistical task of providing a “sleeping” van and an “active” van for two days. The JFTX Soldiers proudly displayed their guidons during the team runs at the Gonzalez starting point and during the final phase at the San Jacinto Monument where thousands of spectators were present. They also wore custom-made Tshirts with the name of each fallen Soldier printed on the back.

Master Sgt. Michael B. Sullivan, one of three team members from the J-7 Joint Training staff, is proudly the oldest member of the team at the ripe age of 48. He estimates he ran 21 miles while supporting the cause. “We really wanted to represent our Texas Military Forces and their sacrifices by dedicating the run to them,” said Sullivan. “During my last leg when I was really tired, remembering those Soldiers inspired me to continue on.”

“I was in the middle of no where,” Prieto recalled. “I just watched the blinking lights ahead in the distance. Prieto agreed that 203 miles is a long way to go, but she said people along the roadside and outside their homes on the route helped motivate everyone. “We finished the relay in less than 32 ½ hours … that’s better than we expected.” Sullivan emphasized that joining the team is not about running six-minute miles, but rather keeping a steady pace. The team hopes to gain a few additional members for next year’s relay event. “All we ask is that you do the best you can,” advised Sullivan. “There’s no stress, no pressure … just complete your portion. If someone my age can do it, then others who are younger can too.”

Delaney said next year’s fundraising activities will include car washes, Running from sunrise to sundown bake sales and selling updated T-shirts. and beyond for the purpose of honoring Anyone interested in joining the others is itself an inspiration. team or helping raise money, please conStaff Sgt. Daisy Prieto, a person- tact Staff Sgt. Toni Delaney at nel services sergeant with JFTX, who ran or call (512) approximately 17 miles, said her night run 782-6255. at 2 a.m. across the Brazos River was very peaceful, in fact, “too peaceful.”

Staff Sgt. Toni Delaney, one of the team’s co-captains said choosing dependable team members was a key factor since weeks of prior planning are necessary. “We wanted Soldiers who took (pride) in their physical fitness and were passionate about what we were doing,” said Delaney. “We paid the $1,000 registration fee ourselves and used money from donations and fundraising to cover daily expenses such as food and (temporary onsite) shower services.” The team’s two vans were covered with photos of previously and currently deployed Soldiers as well as those lost while supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Sgt. Luis Torres, a personnel liai- The “Trails & Tributes” team celebrates their 203-mile accomplishment at the San Jacinto Monument in Houston. (Team courtesy photo) son for the Joint Operations Center, said making new friends and accomplishing the April 2009


136th Airlift Wing Delivers Much Needed Water Story and photos by Master Sgt. Brenda Benner Texas Military Forces Public Affairs

CAMP SWIFT, Texas – It’s not often that water comes from the sky in drought-stricken Central Texas and most certainly not from 55-gallon barrels tethered to 26-foot wide parachutes. But, during the afternoon of Feb. 28 there was an exception as hundreds of gallons of water transformed the powder dry dirt at the Blackwell drop zone into four large mud puddles. Texas Air National Guard members from the 136th Airlift Wing performed four aerial drops of Containerized Delivery Systems (CDS) from C-130 aircraft from various altitudes. The airmen, based at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, also known as Carswell Field, said it was their first time dropping cargo over Camp Swift. They stated that the smaller than usual drop zone was no particular challenge to them – and neither were the gusty winds.

Army National Guard Capt. William Hermann, of the Airborne and Special Operations office, was the drop zone safety officer for the mission. He said the sustained surface winds were approximately 15 knots with gusts as high as 30 knots. Before dropping the cargo of water-laden barrels, air crews tossed out “wind dummies” during their first pass to collect wind data. “The navigators determine the release points based on the readings from the dummies so the pilots can aim as closely as possible to the (orange) point of impact V-panels,” Captain Hermann explained.

After the last drop was completed, Denton resident Airman 1st Class Luke Robinson and fellow members of the 136th Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS) recovered the improvised cargo The high winds that caused the packs. Some were 200 to 300 yards away cancellation of parachuting Airborne Sol- from one another which made for a very diers were still within acceptable range slow, yet bumpy ride along the undulating for the mid-weight CDS mission since field of dried weeds. each cargo pack ranged from 700 to 1300 “They are loaded with water for pounds. Each one was made of four large added weight in order to see how they barrels strapped on a cushioned base. behave on the way down,” explained Airman Robinson. “We drain out all of the water before loading them onto the trucks.”

Left- The 136th Air Wing performed cargo drops at Camp Swift during a very windy Feb. 28. Above- Airman 1st Class Kenneth Milon, an air transportation specialist from the 136th Logistical Readiness Squadron, recovers a parachute following a cargo drop mis-

drops. The training value is really for the air crews, the loadmasters and navigators who need their qualifications … who need the flying time.”

For one unlucky Airman, that meant boots soaked in mud up to their tops – along with splashes of the newly liquefied drop zone on his uniform.

When not recovering cargo at rural drop zones, 136th LRS members are usually very busy at Carswell Field during their drill weekends. They specialize in Master Sgt. Charlie Robinson, of loading and off-loading aircraft cargo with small forklifts or huge 25-Kilo loadAllen, is the unit career advisor for the ers. They also process TDY passengers. 136th LRS. He and his crew members from the Air Terminal Operations section If the Central Texas drought consaid they hope to return to the Blackwell tinues throughout the summer, perhaps drop zone since it is mowed and void of the parched weeds of Blackwell drop zone obstacles such as bushes and small trees will get another desperate drink courtesy they encounter near Mineral Wells. of another 136th Airlift Wing cargo train“It’s not often we get to work with Army personnel, so maybe this is a start,” said Sergeant Robinson in reference to Capt. Hermann.

ing mission. It’s precious water.

Camp Swift will welcome it via any delivery method possible. Even from “Our portion of the mission is the barrels falling from the sky. same no matter where they make the 10 THE DISPATCH

April 2009

Modern-day MacGuyvers Win Sustainability Award Story by Cheryl Barbeau Texas Military Forces Public Affairs

and came up with a solution to one of their many challenges. The solution; build a covered parking area with rain gutters to collect the rainfall. This covered three issues; lack of shade a, lack of water and the ability to paint the roof as a safety zone. One might say sure – easy enough let’s go to Home Depot and get started. It is not that easy – supplies have to be budgeted and paid for and this was not the case.

The Texas Military Forces Environmental Policy is designed to assist us with stewardship of the environment, meeting our sustainability goals and improving our results. Our policy commitments will help us develop and maintain operating processes and practices that will optimize training lands and our ability to meet our It just so happens that one of the team members, SMSgt. mission readiness requirements for current and future national deMark Green, had a talent for “squeezing blood from a turnip” when fense needs. it came to finding funding sources. Master Sgt. Ronald Austin says Quite resourceful and responsible. The JFTX “If there was money to be found he could smell it and find it.” Sustainability Team thought it would be a good idea to create an Once funded, the additional task of building the structure award for Sustainability Issues; showcase the good ideas and stimubegun. All that was needed now was welding, carpentry, and engilate interest in others to do the same. neering skills. Check, team members have that too. The structure is Those assigned to Yankee Range in south Texas are ahead built so rainwater comes off the roof from two directions into one of the curve on this issue. The range has multiple creative, cost efjuncture into an eight inch pipe which then flows into a 3,000 gallon fective and time saving solutions to challenges they come across day tank. When this tank reaches a certain level it begins to pump into to day. These solutions are not mandated by anyone, they are initilarger tanks. The range has an 8,000 gallon storage tank on hand ated by those who work there every week and believe in their misplus a 5,000 gal tank to be added. When the tanks are full the system shuts down. It is these tanks that provide water for the toilets and sion. water to extinguish the fires, both everyday necessities. There are Their duty location is approximately 70-100 miles from future plans to replace the existing gutters with larger ones so more their homes in the San Antonio area Everyday eight National Guard rainwater can be collected. members make their way to Yankee Range to do their job of assisting the 149th FW with training.

One of the things that set these guardsmen apart, besides their resourcefulness, is their willingness to always look for an opportunity to improve processes and conditions. Congratulations to Texas Military Forces’ first place Sustainability Award winners.

The site is perfect for the training missions but not so inspiring for those assigned there. Yankee Range is remote, wide open, flat, and dusty, no plumbing, no shade, and definitely not your typical office when it comes to the basics – like plumbing and drinkWatch future editions of the Dispatch for more innovations from this group of talented individuals. Visit TKO and the Sustaining water. ability Award link for more information on how to enter your project The safety briefing filled in the description of the place and to see what others are doing in this area. where the visuals left off: Watch for errant deer, cows and snakes, No hunting on breaks, watch for hunters before flights and bring them in, make sure gates close behind you....landowners don’t like their animals socializing across property lines and no souvenir shopping for spent ammo – could be live. (Not to mention, getting bit by a rattlesnake is no fun.) “It takes a special person to work at a range everyday – well, that far away, “ says TSgt. Quiles “ We are always trying to keep the people happy and looking for ways to improve the working environment so we are doing more than just looking forward to going home for the day” While this team can be credited with many innovations on this range the one they received the award for is Rainwater Collection in support their mission.

When Commander LtCol. Ken Sheppard was asked what Sustainability means to him he replied, “For me, to me it (Sustainability) is about providing seamless operation for the pilots. The best thing for us is that pilots can come down here and complete their mission and go home and have no basic awareness of what it took to get that completed, to pull that mission off. That to me is seamless if we can do that in a cost effective manner and with the best amount of resources and best use of manpower then so be it – I think it is what we have worked very hard to accomplish. So anything to support the 149th so they can fly, fight and win and they can do that without any interruptions whatsoever then to me we have had a good day.”

In the beginning this team had to truck in water for everyday needs; restroom, drinking and for fighting those occasional fires that occur at training sites like this. Try to imagine leaving your office everyday simply to get water – in massive amounts - just to do your job. And while you are spending hours on the road to get this water, tasks back at the site are still waiting for you to return and be completed. The average rainfall in the area is 25-30 inches per year. If collected this would equal ten to twenty gallons of water in six – eight months. Imagine the amount of time that could be saved if the water is on site. So these 21st Century MacGyvers put their heads together April 2009


Stand in the Door! Living History Detachment Members Go Airborne! Story and photos by Tim Weitz TXMF Living History Det. Members of the Texas Military Forces Living History Detachment (G Company) have a reputation for delivering a living history experience that both civilians and military personnel can appreciate. To help them refine their abilities to accurately interpret the World War II history of the Texas Military Forces, they actively seek out training of all kinds; immersing themselves in tactical maneuvers and period correct exercises in an ongoing effort to better understand the individual human elements of history as well as the more shared, communal aspects. During the weekend of February 21-22, thirty members of the detachment assembled at Camp Mabry for an intensive training weekend that included everything from close order drill to bayonet practice. This past January, two G Company regulars took recreating World War II training and living history to new heights --- literally. G Company veterans, Jeff McDonald and Tim Weitz, recently went through the rigors of airborne training that culminated in five jumps in two days from a WWII C-47. Mr. McDonald and Mr. Weitz are the first G Company members to graduate from the Airborne Academy of the WWII Airborne Demonstration Team (WWII ADT). After eight months of overall physical conditioning, they drove five and half hours to the Oklahoma headquarters of the WWII ADT to become part of the Winter Class of 2009.

ating from the school in January, they’ve now returned to the ranks of G Company with enthusiastic reports, a few tall tales, and a vision of G Company with wings. The WWII ADT is headquartered in a WWII-era hanger on the outskirts of the small town of Frederick, Oklahoma. Parked inside are two C47aircraft including one combat veteran that flew in two areas of operations. Outside the hanger is the flight line, drag training field, and the much maligned but essential Parachute Landing Fall Pit. The latter is most commonly known as the “PLF Pit” or simply “the Pit.” The pre-jump course consisted of seven jam-packed days of 60 plus hours of classroom instruction, PLF practice, and practical exercises that broke the mind-boggling process of stepping out of a plane in flight into manageable portions.

Their reports to G Company members have emphasized how extraordinarily good the ADT training was and how the espirit de corps was exemplary among the students and the team members. Both report being tremendously moved by the emotional support received from WWII airborne veterans who wrote motivational inscriptions on the interior bulkhead of Boogie Baby and the support from those who were present to offer constant encouragement before and after each jump. Some veterans even rode along and cheered them on as they exited the airplane. Both men admit that it is hard to adequately describe the cold pre-dawn hours getting ready for the first jumps or the feeling of being chuted-up in the plane with a blood red sun creeping over the horizon.

They will tell you that words can’t quite capture the feeling as the plane warms up At the end of the train- and the sticks of rookie jumpers ing, those students who passed peer out at one another from the the written, practical, and emer- shadows cast by their helmet gency procedures testing evoluThey will tell you that tions advanced to the actual there is nothing quite like hearjump phase. The remaining ing the command, “Stand in the students moved on to step out Door!” They will also concede of a C-47 traveling 125 mph at that they were humbled by the an altitude of 1500 feet. experience in light of what the The jumps were mass combat veterans went through exit jumps of two sticks of jumpers per lift. Future team members stepped out the door of the C-47 “Boogie Baby” using round chutes and wearing WWII uniforms, boots, and helmets.

and the overwhelming challenges beyond just exiting the plane that those men undeniably faced. They will also tell you that it’s not for everyone, but if it is something you have ever had an interest in doing, you will not be disappointed. The WWII Airborne Demonstration Team is based on the War Bond Demonstration Teams created in April of 1945 at the request of the U.S. Treasury Department. It is a non-profit organization intended to serve veterans by living up to its motto of “Remember, Honor, Serve.” Privately funded and run by volunteers, the WWII ADT is known as one of the best precision parachute teams in the world and routinely makes demonstration jumps throughout the United States and internationally. A commemorative jump for Operation Market Garden is scheduled to take place in Holland this coming September. For more information, go to or contact Tim Weitz or Jeff McDonald who now volunteer as team members in the group’s Public Affairs Office. They can be reached at 512.322.9202 or by email to or

After completing five jumps in less than 36 hours, the Winter Class of 2009 formed up in the hanger during a weekend open house. In a formal Once there, they went ceremony, basic parachutist jump wings were awarded and through ten-days of barracks life (including latrine duty, boot pinned on by WWII airborne polishing, and KP) and under- veterans with “a little special Jumpers hit the ground in the drop zone after making went intensive training that was help” from the Parachute a jump at the Airborne Academy of the WWII Airborne virtually non-stop. After gradu- School Commander. Demonstration Team. 12 THE DISPATCH

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Conflict Resolution Without Losing Your Cool scriptions of these five styles.

By Maj. Steve Keihl Behavioral Health Team A few months ago I made the mistake of turning on the TV for some afternoon entertainment. I was home from work early and happened upon one of those talk shows highlighting combative relationships. The episode I caught a glimpse of discussed the topic of cheating on your spouse with her sister. After a brief conversation on the part of the unfaithful husband who admitted to having sex with his wife’s sister, a complete street brawl erupted. First off, it was the spouse and the sister screaming profanities at each other and trying to break through security so they could beat the pulp out of one another. Moments later, the two “ladies” turned their attention upon the unfaithful husband and then attempted to rip him to shreds. The whole conflict lasted for what seemed like an eternity and then (luckily for me) a commercial interrupted the ruckus. I sat on my sofa speechless, shaking my head in disbelief, and began contemplating the whole topic of interpersonal conflict. Hmmmmmmm. Okay, so we all have to deal with conflict. It is an inevitable part of life. Everyone who relates to anyone else for any length of time will eventually find something to argue about. The issue is not IF we will have conflict, but HOW we will deal with it when it arises. First off, we must toss out some of the common myths that are often associated with conflict. For example, conflict is NOT a sign of a poor relationship but a reality in all relationships. Conflict often elicits emotional responses such as anger… and anger is not always negative or destructive.

Evade (avoid) – some people choose to duck conflict at all costs. They may avoid discussing issues, change the subject, or even avoid contact with people whom conflict is evident. This is NOT a healthy style of conflict resolution. Camouflage (mask) – Soldiers know how to use cammo. We disguise ourselves in order to blend in with the environment around us. Some people do the same thing with conflict. The attempt to fit in and they often mask their true feelings, thoughts, or even beliefs. This is NOT a healthy style of conflict resolution. Surrender (give in) – some individuals wave the white flag of surrender whenever any conflict begins. They allow the other person to “win” no matter what. They give in rather than engage. This is NOT a healthy style of conflict resolution. Fight (win or loose) – some people demand a fight. These people believe that there must be a winner and a loser with regard to every conflict. These people often violate the “rules of engagement” in interpersonal conflict because winning is their primary objective. This is NOT a health style of conflict resolution. Treaty (compromise) – Okay, so you guessed it, this is the healthy style of conflict resolution. Compromise requires active listening, understanding, empathy, and genuine concern for others. It requires a willingness to discuss options. It requires both give and take, and focuses on finding solutions that lead to peace NOT ones that clarify who won and who lost.

So, which style of conflict resolution is the most common in your world? Do you tend to evade? Camouflage? Surrender? Fight? Or are you open to developing a treaty and reaching a compromise? If so, you will need to learn to stay calm, focus on the problem and not the person, listen, listen, listen, listen, and listen some more. Conflict resolution is possible. In order to address interpersonal conflict, we must remember that conflict is a NORMAL reality in a world where peo- Doing so is a choice. Every person can make such a choice. ple are diverse. Conflicts can be caused by differences in personIf you would like assistance in dealing with conflict, developing effective conflict resolution skills, or dealing with a ality, opinion, culture, misinformation, etc. There are primarily five different styles of conflict reso- specific conflict, please feel free to contact the Behavioral Health lution. Four are basically unhealthy and one is healthy. My crea- Team. We would be happy to assist! For the record… we will tive mind enabled me to come up with some tactical/military de- NOT agree to participate in an afternoon talk show! Another reality is that conflict will NOT take care of itself if you just avoid or ignore it. One more… conflict does not always require resolution, sometimes people can agree to disagree peacefully.

Support the troops! Donate blood through the armed forces blood program. Donation centers at ft. hood, ft. sam Houston and lackland air force base. Donate today! 16 THE DISPATCH

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VFW Helps With A Bit O’ the Green in Houston Capt. Adam Collett with the 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team assists with VFW Post 8790's participation in the St. Patrick's Day Parade by passing out flags in Houston, Texas, Saturday, March 14, 2009. The post recently designated the 72nd IBCT as its adopted unit. (Photo/Texas Army National Guard, Andrea King)

Civil Air Patrol: Pegasus Squadron Flies High at Competition It goes without saying that the Pegasus Color Guard had worked exCivil Air Patrol Pegasus Squadron tremely hard towards reaching this goal and will be working even harder as they CAMP MABRY, AUSTIN, TX – prepare themselves for the work to come. They did it again! All eyes were on the In fact, Pegasus' Team ComPegasus Composite Squadron Color Guard mander C/MSgt Austin Lowry said, “It (CG) as they surpassed last year’s stanfeels great that we have some of the best dards at the 2009 Texas Wing Cadet Com- cadets in the wing, who are also willing to petition, here on March 9. dedicate 8 hours a week in order to reach Story by Cadet Capt. Raphael Erie

Emotions of both participants and supporters ran high as there were only three contestants: the Pegasus, Lackland and Sheldon Color Guard teams. With only three teams competing, the stakes were much higher, as the color guard judges scrutinized each team, paying much more attention to minute details.

our goal.” Guided by Maj. J.D. Draper, the following cadets trained extremely hard for this event: Cadet Master Sgt. Austin Lowery, Commander and American flag bearer, Cadet Chief Master Sgt. David Hamman, American flag guard, Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Aaron Harold, Organizational flag bearer, Cadet Sr. Airman Hannah Disreali, Organizational flag guard, Cadet Technical Sgt. Ali Pautz, Alternate.

never have forgotten the memories and friendships created during the long practice days. The many hours of arduous training prepared them for the event well, but the team members now understand even better that this competition was not just about winning, but also about having fun. Without a doubt, this coming May, the Pegasus Color Guard will definitely give it their all when they represent Texas Wing at the Southwest Region Competition in Oklahoma.

Both Lackland and Sheldon Cadet Squadrons competed fiercely, and should definitely be commended on their hard work. However, in the end, the Pegasus Composite Squadron Color Guard came up number one by placing first in the following events: · Knowledge Bowl, written exam, outdoor practical examination, and one mile run. The Pegasus CG team members also won several individual awards: Outstanding Team Captain – Cadet Master Sgt. Austin Lowery, Fleet Foot Award – Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Aaron Harold, Highest Written Exam Score – Cadet Chief Master Sgt. David Hamman and Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Aaron Harold. Even if the Pegasus Composite Squadron Color Guard had not taken 1st place overall, its members surely would

All photos: The Pegasus Composite Squadron Color Guard displays its good form and excellent training, executing the moves required of a color guard while standing and on the march, as well as rending honors with the flag. (Civil Air Patrol photos by 1st Lt. Steven Pautz.) April 2009 THE DISPATCH 17

An Open Letter From Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki March 16, 2009- My name is Ric Shinseki, and I am a Veteran. For me, serving as Secretary of Veterans Affairs is a noble calling. It provides me the opportunity to give back to those who served with and for me during my 38 years in uniform and those on whose shoulders we all stood as we grew up in the profession of arms. The Department of Veterans Affairs has a solemn responsibility to all of you, today and in the future, as more Veterans join our ranks and enroll to secure the benefits and services they have earned. I am fully committed to fulfilling President Obama’s vision for transforming our department so that it will be well-positioned to perform this duty even better during the 21st Century. We welcome the assistance and advice of our Veterans Service Organizations, other government departments and agencies, Congress, and all VA stakeholders as we move forward, ethically and transparently, so that Veterans and citizens can understand our efforts. Creating that vision for transforming the VA into a 21st Century organization requires a comprehensive review of our department. We approach that review understanding that Veterans are central to everything VA does. We know that results count, that the department will be measured by what we do, not what we promise, and that our best days as an organization supporting Veterans are ahead of us. We will fulfill President Lincoln’s charge to care for “. . . him, who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan . . .” by redesigning and reengineering ourselves for the future. Transforming any institution is supremely challenging; I know this from my own experience in leading large, proud, complex, and high-performing organizations through change. But the best organizations must be prepared to meet the challenging times, evolving technology and, most importantly, evolving needs of clients. Historically, organizations that are unwilling or unable to change soon find themselves irrelevant. You and your needs are not irrelevant. Veterans are our clients, and delivering the highest quality care and services in a timely, consistent and fair manner is a VA responsibility. I take that responsibility seriously and have charged all of the department’s employees for their best efforts and support every day to meet our obligations to you. Our path forward is challenging, but the President and Congress support us. They have asked us to do this well—for you. Veterans are our sole reason for existence and our number one priority—bar none. I look forward to working together with all VA employees to transform our department into an organization that reflects the change and commitment our country expects and our Veterans deserve. Thank you, and God bless our military, our Veterans, and our Nation. Signed: Eric K. Shinseki

The VA Wants You - To Join Its Workforce The Department of Veterans Affairs is contacting severely injured veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan about coming to work at the VA. The VA's Veterans Employment Coordination Service has already been in touch with 2,300 such veterans, of whom 600 have expressed interest in employment at the department. The current workforce at VA is 30 percent veterans, the second highest rate among cabinet departments after the Defense Department. Nearly 8 percent of VA employees are service-connected disabled veterans. 18 THE DISPATCH

April 2009

But VA Secretary Dr. James B. Peake wants to increase that percentage. "I am proud of this effort," he said in a press release from the VA. "VA knows the true quality of our men and women, and we should be a leader in employing them." The coordination service was established one year ago to recruit veterans to the VA workforce, especially those seriously injured in the current wars. It has nine regional coordinators working with local facility human resources offices across the country not only to reach out to potential job candidates, but to ensure that

local managers know about special authorities available to hire veterans. For example, qualified disabled veterans rated as having a 30 percent or more service-connected disability can be hired noncompetitively. "Our team is spreading the message that VA is hiring, and we want to hire disabled veterans," said Dennis O. May, director of VA's Veterans Employment Coordination Service. VA coordinators participate in military career fairs and transition briefings and partner with veterans organizations.

Guard Families Eligible for Child Care Subsidy National Guard families are eligible for a child care subsidy during a family member's deployment. The National Guard Bureau is reminding its members of the subsidy that went into effect about five years ago. Mike Conner, chief of program services for the bureau's Family Program Office, said the Guard program grew out of one designed for active component members. "There was an increased need for child care on the (military) installation," he said. "When the (wartime) deployments occurred, the day care centers on the installations were already at the peak. This made it even higher and the stress just increased." This prompted a change to the program to allow active component families to receive a stipend to use off-post child care providers. Guard and Reserve members were later made eligible

as long as they were on Title 10 status. "If you are deployed in Title 10 status and your spouse is either working or in school fulltime, you are eligible for a child care subsidy," Conner said. Recently, those on Title 32 active orders were added to the eligibility list. The subsidy program is coordinated through the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, which approves applications and determines the amount paid as part of the subsidy, which varies based on a number of factors, not including rank. So far, more than 1,100 Guard members have taken advantage of the program. For more information, visit the Guard's Family Program Web site at or call 1-888642-2799.

10 Tax Tips for Veterans: Strategies That Can Help Some strategies can help you lower your taxes, sometimes by thousands of dollars. Some help you save time and money when preparing your tax return. Other strategies help you avoid costly penalties and interest for both federal and state taxes. All in all, these 10 steps will lower your blood pressure while keeping more money in your pocket. Consider the following: Contribute to Retirement Accounts Make a Last-Minute Estimated Payment

Organize Your Records Find the Right Forms Itemize Don't Shy Away From a Home Office Deduction Provide Dependent Taxpayer IDs on Your Return File and Pay on Time File Electronically Decide If You Need Help For more information, visit the IRS website at

This Month in Military History: April April 9, 1865- Company M of Hood’s Texas Brigade was assigned a position one mile from Appomattox Court House. "We fought and marched seven days, reaching Appomattox Court House on April 9th, 1865. . . The Federals in great numbers surrounded us and surrender was inevitable. Only six of the old company remained to surrender at Appomattox. . . A few of the boys had returned home during the war maimed and crippled and a few were in Federal prisons, but the great majority had been laid to rest in soldiers' graves.� [50-D. H. Hamilton, Sergeant, Company M, 1st Texas, V.I.C.S.A., History of Company M, First Texas Volunteer Infantry, Hood's Brigade, Longstreet's Corps, Army of the Confederate States of America, (no publisher or city listed), as earned the hard way. The April 14th surrender ceremonies marked the formal end of Hood's Texas Brigade, and the Army of Northern Virginia. The Brigade became legend. The men still had to get home. The trip began with a twenty mile walk the next day[51] -- the old habit of long marches was hard to break: "During the war the Texans fighting in Hood's Brigade earned a reputation as prolific foragers." The brigade would also gain a reputation as one of the best brigades, if not the best, in the Confederate Army. The reputation was earned the hard way. [50-]

General John Bell Hood had a reputation for bravery that bordered on recklessness.

April 13, 1943- The 36th Infantry Division landed in North Africa, 13 April 1943, and trained at Arzew and Rabat. It first saw action, 9 September 1943, when it landed by sea at Paestum on the Gulf of Salerno against intense German opposition. The Germans launched counterattacks on September 12-14, but the 36th repulsed them with the aid of air support and naval gunfire, and advanced slowly, securing the area from Agropoli to Altavilla. April 2009 THE DISPATCH 19

April 2009 THE DISPATCH 20

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