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Vans to Help Veteran-Students Go The Distance

Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric K. Shinseki, today announced further outreach to Veteranstudents eligible for a special emergency payment of their education benefits. Veterans can now apply online beginning Oct. 2. Veteran-students can also request courtesy transportation to VA regional benefits offices.


36th Sustainment Brigade Takes Command

Soldiers and Shieks alike gathered at Contingency Operating Base Adder for a Transfer of Authority between Texas National Guard’s 36th Sustainment Brigade and Kansas National Guard’s 287th Sustainment Brigade on September 19th in Tallil, Iraq.


36th Inf. Div, British Train Together

The 3rd Battalion, 144th Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division, welcomed British troops of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment (1R Anglian) in support of Operation Glow Worm for two weeks of vigorous and intense training.


TXANG Talks Shop with Armenia Counterpart

Texas Air National Guard Public Affairs specialist Master Sgt. Gregory Ripps interviews Col. Daniel Balayan, commander of the Military Aviation Institute during a visit to Armenia.

13 36th Inf. Div. Remembers the Fallen in Italy This May a 65th Anniversary Ceremony took place in Sant’ Angelo to honor those who sacrificed their lives during the Rapido River attack and the Italian Campaign. Veterans came together from each allied army to commemorate those men who defended the freedom of Italy. 2 THE DISPATCH

October 2009

Cover- Texas Army National Guard Sgt. Hoa Pham, of Haltom City, runs for cover during urban operations tactics training in England. He is a member of Dallas-based Company C, 3rd Battalion, 144th Infantry. (Photo by Master Sgt. Brenda Benner, Texas Military Forces Public Affairs)

New Army Wounded Warrior Website The U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program launched a redesigned website and blog as part of the program's realignment under the Army's Warrior Transition Command. The new U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program website at and the AW2 Blog at are designed to provide robust information and updates on how AW2 is fulfilling its mission of providing personalized support to severely wounded, injured, and ill Soldiers, veterans, and their families. For more information about the Army Wounded Warrior Program, visit the Army Wounded Warrior Program website or call 1-800237-1336 toll-free.

New 'Real Warriors' Message Board The Real Warriors Campaign, sponsored by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE), recently launched its new Real Warriors Message Boards live on the Real Warriors Campaign website at http:// Servicemembers, veterans, military families, and health care professional are encouraged to use the campaign's message boards to connect with one another and share news, information, and insights on psychological health concerns and traumatic brain injury. For more information, visit the Real Warriors Campaign site.

Call for Veterans' Photographs The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and FedEx Office recently hosted the launch of The National Call for Photos campaign. This campaign will gather images of the more than 58,000 men and women whose names are on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The FedEx Office will use its locations across the country to help in gathering photos. The fund's latest initiative is The Education Center at The Wall whose exhibits will photographs of people whose names are on The Wall, a selection of the more than 100,000 items that have been left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, a timeline of key military events of the Vietnam War, and a history of the memorial. For more information, visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund website at or telephone 1-866-990-WALL (9255).

Operation Paperback

Vol. 4, No. 10

October 2009

Gov. Rick Perry Commander in Chief Maj. Gen. Jose S. Mayorga Adjutant General of Texas Col. William Meehan Public Affairs Officer Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada Public Affairs Chief Public Affairs Staff Staff Sgt. Eric Wilson Sgt. Jennifer Atkinson Sgt. Malcolm McClendon Spc. Maria Moy Cheryl Barbeau John Thibodeau Managing Editor Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada Design and Copy Editor Sgt. Jennifer D. Atkinson Contributing Writers and Photographers Col. William Meehan Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada Master Sgt. Brenda Benner Sgt. 1st Class Tad Browning Master Sgt. Gregory Ripps Spc. Mary B. McDonald

Operation Paperback collects gently used books and sends them to American troops deployed overseas. Since 1999, they have shipped over 950,000 books to locations around the globe. Operation Paperback is a non-profit organization incorporated in the State of Pennsylvania. As a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, donations to the organization are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. For more information, go to

Army Warns Against Scams Officials with the Army Continuing Education System caution that some civilian organizations are taking advantage of uninformed Soldiers. In fact, some civilian companies use the Veterans Affairs logo and military images on their websites to induce Soldiers to pay up front for education counseling or advocacy. The Army's Continuing Education System sponsors Army education centers worldwide, providing education-counseling services free-of-charge to Soldiers and their families. To find the nearest AEC, visit

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.

New Sesame St. Military Family Website

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.

Sesame Street Workshop launched a user-friendly website for military families called Sesame Street Family Connections. It's like a Facebook site for kids, offering families and friends a child-centered, online space to foster communication. With a Web cam, families and friends can record video messages to share with their loved one, and, of course, their loved one can send a video message back. Elmo and Rosita occupy the website to offer a free, childfriendly, 24/7 way for separated families to stay in touch. The Connections site is part of Sesame Street's "Talk, Listen, Connect" initiative for military families. For more information, visit Sesame Street's Talk, Listen, Connect webpage at initiatives/emotion/tlc

October 2009


Vans to Help Veteran-Students Go the Distance Department of Veterans Affairs Press Release

WASHINGTON – Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki today announced further outreach to Veteran-students eligible for a special emergency payment of their education benefits. Veterans can now apply online beginning Oct. 2. Veteran-students can also request courtesy transportation to VA regional benefits offices. “Our Veterans went the extra mile for their country,” Shinseki said. “One of our top priorities in transforming VA is to be, first and foremost, the advocate for Veterans.” Last week Shinseki announced that on Friday, Oct. 2, VA’s 57 regional benefits offices will begin providing on-the-spot emergency payments up to $3,000 to students who have applied for their education benefits but who have not yet received a government payment. Citing the distance many Veterans would have to travel to apply in person at a VA benefits office, Shinseki announced Veterans can also apply online at, starting Oct. 2. The online application will guide Veterans through the process to supply needed information. Shinseki noted that online applicants will receive their emergency payments through the mail after processing. “VA is adapting to meet the financial needs of our Veteranstudents who are on campus,” Shinseki said. “They should be focusing on their studies, not worrying about financial difficulties.” Students without their own transportation can also request free van service, provided by volunteers, to carry them to the nearest benefits office. To obtain this service, Veterans would have to call their nearest VA medical center and ask for the “Volunteer Transportation Coordinator.” Transportation will be on a firstcome, first-served, space-available basis. Veterans can find a map and list of medical centers at

cials suggest students check their mail boxes and banking accounts before leaving home, since some Veterans will find their checks have already arrived. VA would like to recognize the volunteers and Veterans Service Organizations for partnering with the Department to ensure that Veterans’ needs are met. The emergency checks are an advance on each student’s education benefits, and the amount will be deducted from future benefits payments. Checks will be written at the regional offices for Veterans who bring a photo ID and evidence of their enrollment. VA officials emphasize that $3,000 is the maximum payment, with many Veterans receiving smaller payments based upon their likely monthly education benefits. A map and list of the participating VA regional benefits offices is available on the Internet at . The most updated information regarding VA issuing emergency checks will be available at VA’s web site starting Oct. 1.

Applications from approximately 25,000 Veterans are currently being processed for Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefit payments Whether traveling by personal vehicle or volunteer van, VA offi- to students or schools.



October 2009

October 2009



36th Sustainment Brigade Takes Command 13th Sustainment Cmd. (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

Contingency Operating Base Adder, Tallil, Iraq – Soldiers and Shieks alike gathered at Contingency Operating Base Adder for a Transfer of Authority between Texas National Guard’s 36th Sustainment Brigade and Kansas National Guard’s 287th Sustainment Brigade on September 19th in Tallil, Iraq.

The 36th Sustainment Brigade’s mission will follow what the 287th has done over the course of the last 9 months as coalition forces continue to draw down and the Iraqi people continue to manage their own affairs. “As we begin our responsible drawdown we need to understand how to withdraw our forces and our equipment in a responsible manner while still partnering with the Iraqi population,” said Colonel Ryan.

Now on his second deployment, Colonel Ryan knows that the road ahead will be a challenge and is confident that the The transfer started months ago for mission will be a success. the 36th SB as they trained for the mission “I see the Iraqi security forces meeting our convoys, ahead. The ceremony is a culmination of events leading to the they're on time and they're leading us through the cities,” said successful completion of the 287th SB mission and the transfer to the 36th SB to continue with the mission and to begin a responsi- Colonel Ryan. “The Iraqi police have taken charge and actually have not asked us back into the cities. The progress is there. The ble drawdown of forces in Iraq. local tribes are able to begin to have stability,” he added. “It’s a ceremony that represents the casing of the colors With the Transfer of Authority complete, Colonel Ryan for one unit for doing a successful mission and going home,” ended his speech by ensuring Brig. Gen. Paul Wentz, 13th Expestated 36th SB commander, Col. Sean Ryan. “We uncased our colors to show that we are here ready to support the mission. We ditionary Support Command commander, that the unit is ready to now control all logistics for the southern half of Iraq. It’s been a perform its mission. “The 36th SB is equipped, manned, trained, long road to get here. Today we actually take charge and we own and ready to provide a relenting sustainment operation, distribution management, life support activities, human resource and the mission to support the customers,” Colonel Ryan added. financial management to our supported customers in the entire The 287th SB departed having accomplished their logis- Multi-National Division South area of operations. Never losing tics mission through team-work and close ties with the local focus on partnering, by, with, and through the Iraqi people. We Iraqis. Col. Robert Schmitt, 287th SB commander commented have studied and fully comprehend the challenges and end-state during the ceremony about the significance that his unit has had requirements for responsible drawdown and force re-posturing, during its deployment. “We have a lot to be proud of in the we are ready,” said Colonel Ryan. 287th. The Soldiers that have worked for us have done an awe“To all present, Task Force Rawhide has entered the net, some job”, said Colonel Schmitt. “We had an immense logistics we are prepared, and motivated to "Head 'em Up and Move 'em mission which covered basically from Kuwait all the way north to Baghdad. Eighty percent of the fuel and eighty percent of our Out". Thank you, shukran,” said Ryan. rations basically come through our brigade and through our hubs at Cedar and Adder, he added.” The 287th SB was responsible for more than 30 nightly convoys, delivering more than three million gallons of fuel, 15 million bottles of water, and drove over three million miles in support of the warfighter and contractors throughout southern Iraq. “Every Soldier in our brigade and in the brigade headquarters has a right to be very proud for all of these achievements because we were a team. A great team, all the way from the cook in the mess hall to the signal soldier repairing the crew system,” said Colonel Schmitt. Key leaders from around southern Iraq were in attendance to support the change in military leadership. “Through our relationship with the local community I think that we can have a pretty good understanding,” said Colonel Schmitt, “I believe that they have more freedoms than they have ever had before. As I travel the roads of Southern Iraq, I see construction everywhere, going up route TAMPA I see schools being built, some of which we helped with and some which are being done by Iraqis. Lots of construction, lots of commerce. The country is coming back and coming back well and I think that is something we should be proud of.” 6


October 2009

Command Sgt. Major Elizabeth Shockley and Col. Sean Ryan with the 36th Sustainment Brigade uncase the brigade's colors during a transfer of authority ceremony with the 287th SB on September 19th in COB Adder, Iraq (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Tad Browning)

149th Civil Engineering Squadron: Rebuilding in Armenia By Master Sgt. Gregory Ripps 149th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

“Why don’t Americans learn Armenian?” she asks. “Because we are lazy,” I answer. “We always expect to find someone who can understand English wherever we go.” YEREVAN, Armenia (Aug. 10, 2009) — The task is Anush soon returns to translating between the principal one of many here for the 149th Civil Engineer Squadron. and the site project officer, Capt. Vince Salazar. Anush’s eyes Tech. Sgt. Michael Meras slides the two by six-inch become big when she listens to what is being said. Her job isn’t boards into place, aligns a straight edge and with a pencil scores easy. She must relay the principal’s wishes to the captain and the boards where they will be cut. then relay his explanations of what can be done and how, if it “I’m mostly eye-balling it,” he says, answering my un- can be done. The bench work is one item on the “can do” list. asked question. Sergeant Meras jumped right into this one. The objective is to make new bench seats along a zigI am trying to help. Not having the skills or training of zagging brick wall in an area next to the nursery where other the other CEs, I can’t do much to help most of them in their civil engineers (CEs) are extensively rehabilitating some rooms. tasks. But today I brought my gloves and steel-toed boots and The original benches have rotted or broken away, leaving only borrowed a hard hat. So following reasonable safety precautions, traces. Rusty iron bolts and nuts remain in their brownish brack- I can at least hold and carry boards. After all, it’s for the kids. ets, silent guardians to a shady spot along an irregular walkway. Consideration for the children who are brought to this The brackets are bent and must be straightened. nursery (which Americans would probably call a day-care cenThe task to replace the benches is among a myriad of ter) is what drives Sergeant Meras and the other CEs on this site, tasks the nursery’s principal, Nelly Mixailovna, wants comI dare say, more than the training experience or wider Armenianpleted. She speaks through Anush Ghaxaryan, a young, striking American relations. university student. She says she was asked to serve as interpreter The children here range in age from 18 months to 6-1/2 because “they heard I could speak English.” She tells me she years. Their parents bring them early in the morning and pick found English easy to learn and likes to write short stories in them up in the afternoon. They are confined to parts of the buildEnglish. ing where the CEs aren’t working, but when their parents’ escort them past us, they catch peeks of us and what we are doing. While adults eye us guardedly, the children’s eyes dance when they see us. Sergeant Meras works fast. Measuring. Marking. Carrying. Cutting. Carrying back. Checking the fit. He seems wound up tighter than most of us; he is always moving. We have to carry the boards to the generator that powers the saw. He can be talkative at other times, but with the noise from the generator and the power saw and our own ear protection, he directs me with signals that indicate put those boards there, hold this board here, etc. I feel like I am racing to keep up. Then our bus arrives. It’s time to put things away and pack our own things to take back to where we are billeted at night. My duties take me elsewhere the next morning. Later, when I return to the site, the new benches by the wall are finished. Others have helped. I take it upon myself to pick up small pieces of metal, glass and sharp stones I notice in the immediate area. More items keep appearing, and I find my little job is bigger than I thought. I sift the dirt, gravel and patches of grass with gloved fingers. I end up also pulling a few weeds and sweeping the walkways … for the kids. Sergeant Meras surveys the bench work and the setting with silent satisfaction. Few people know or are likely to know who fixed up this tiny piece of the world. The 149th CEs don’t Tech. Sgt. Michael Meras of the 149th Civil Engineer (CEs) Squadron checks measurements on a two-by-six that will brand their work like many units do. We don’t get to see the rebecome part of a bench seat. He and others refurbished action of the children the results of this particular task. We can benches along a garden wall at a nursery in Yerevan, Arme- only imagine children climbing on the benches more than sitting nia, during the first two weeks of August. Forty-five CEs on them. We know they will less likely hurt themselves – except and four other Air National Guardsmen from the 149th that children always find a way to hurt themselves. And we hope Fighter Wing, at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, some of tem will think kindly of Texans and Americans. As with Texas deployed to Yerevan to complete an Expeditionary all the other tasks the CEs complete on this deployment, they Medical Service facility and work on humanitarian assisleave things better than they found them. tance projects. (Texas Military Forces photo by Tech. Sgt. Rene Castillo) October 2009



WHAT’S ALL THE “RUCK-US” ABOUT? Story and photo by Col. William Meehan

No bats to be seen at this pre-dawn moment, just our column grinding out another mile. Heading into the home stretch now, cutting past the rail thin fellow at the Texas Rowing Center who yelled “hey dudes, doing 20 miles today”? We’re seeing Austin, Texas (Sep. 15, 2009) – “Runner”! The call came from out of the dark, 13 rows back, warning the rest of us to keep the highway lights now and know we’ve marched nearly five miles path open. It was 5:30 in the morning when the 26 Soldiers, Air- before most folks have had their second cup of coffee. Here in the back of the column, we hear rumors 12 miles are in our fumen and a lone, tough civilian employee of the Texas Military Forces assembled on the north bank of Austin’s Lady Bird Lake ture. to “ruck march” 4.87 miles. Chaplain (Col.) Rob Ewing prepared our way with a prayer for a safe training event. I found myself praying to keep up with the pace set by MG Jose S. Mayorga, the Adjutant General of Texas. “We do this to keep fit, to be deployable and to be healthy for our families”, Maj. Gen. Jose S. Mayorga said, just before he led the column on its mission. We crossed over the dark lake on wooden bridge, with the Austin downtown cityscape illuminating our way. Blinking red lights on the prows of team rowing boats marked them as they glided over the lake like long narrow water bugs. Our column turned east at a brisk clip, each of us aware that a misstep could jostle the person following or even worse, twist an ankle and have to be carried out. We marched on, startling joggers who called out “you rock” and “thanks for your service”. I’m betting that having a military column appear out of the gloom in downtown Austin must have been a surprise to the many who run this trail. As we crossed over the Congress Avenue Bridge, blazing spotlights on Maj. Gen. Jose S. Mayorga leads the way through early morning darkness during the ruck march through Austin. the Texas Capitol Dome speared the darkness. Texas Military Forces Public Affairs

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Why should I call the Lifeline? The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour, toll-free suicide prevention service available to anyone in suicidal crisis. If you need help, please dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You will be routed to the closest possible crisis center in your area. With more than 130 crisis centers across the country, our mission is to provide immediate assistance to anyone seeking mental health services. Call for yourself, or someone you care about. Your call is free and confidential. Para obtener asistencia en español durante las 24 horas, llame al 1-888628-9454. From immediate suicidal crisis to information about mental health, crisis centers in our network are equiped to take a wide range of calls. Some of the reasons to call 1-800-273-TALK are listed below.

• • • •


October 2009

Call to speak with someone who cares. Call if you feel you might be in danger of hurting yourself. Call to find referrals to mental health services in your area. Call to speak to a crisis worker about someone you're concerned about.

In Laredo: Virtual Training for Future Combat Story and photo by Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada

are the days that the Guard served as a strategic reserve.

Congressman Cuellar thanked the Soldiers for their service and joked, “Some Texas Military Forces Public Affairs of these Soldiers may have taken more LAREDO, Texas – While the The Soldiers of the 436th Chemi- tortillas than they were supposed to,” but country paid tribute to the men and women cal Company here in Laredo typify an op- soon became serious and said: “To our who lost their lives on that fateful day in state and local law enforcement – Thank erational National Guard unit as they reSeptember, others assembled here, to unyou! It is so important that we all work cently served well and returned from Afveil training equipment that has become together. I am excited about what we will ghanistan. More than half of these Solessential to Soldiers and Law Enforcement diers have served multiple tours in Iraq and start doing here and what we will continue Officers in the aftermath. Afghanistan. The combat simulator which to do here. “What a great day, good morning we will unveil here today is a tremendous We brought in an $ 800,000 stateresource to our Soldiers and area law enladies and gentlemen, Congressman of-the-art simulator because while it is Cuellar,” said Brig. Gen. Joyce Stevens, appropriate to honor our men and women forcement partners.” Commander Texas Army National Guard. in uniform and thank them for their service She then introduced U.S. Con“What a fitting day on the 8th anniversary gressman Henry Cuellar: “It is with great we also have to make sure that they reof 9/11 to be here at the Texas Army Naceive the right equipment. pleasure that I introduce the man who tional Guard Laredo Armory with Conmade this simulator and training facility Today’s unveiling of the mobile gressman Cuellar and our distinguished possible. Congressman Cuellar has served firing range unit is a testament to what we guests to unveil a combat simulator and the state of Texas for over 20 years as a want to do which is to work as teams so mobile firing range that will enable our Texas State Legislator, Texas Secretary of that we may provide better security during great Texas warriors and our law enforcean act of violence or even an act of terrorState and now U.S. Congressman. ment partners to hone their weapon skills Congressman Cuellar has traveled ism. This self-contained mobile firing and become more proficient in their duties. to Iraq, Afghanistan and Germany visiting range allows for our Soldiers and law enThe events of September 11, forcement officers to train for the different our troops and has fought his own cam2001,” she continued: “forever changed scenarios. Equally important is that our paign to provide tools and support for our Nation. No one knows that better than Texas Soldiers.” local Soldiers and local law enforcement the Citizen Soldiers and families of the officers do not have to travel long disThe Congressman who is known tances to practice their target shooting. Texas Army National Guard who have for bringing the most important food group The time saved is what otherwise would willingly stepped forward to protect our freedom and secure our safety. Long gone - tortillas - to the troops in Iraq received a have been time away from their families. hearty applause from the audience. This is just the first step. We want to bring in much more equipment. Thanks again to all men and women in uniform and God Bless you. This is your equipment.” When it was time for show-andtell, there was no need for arm twisting as officials from the various represented agencies got their hands on a laser equipped weapon firing down a simulated range at simulated bad guys in simulated landscapes. While the mobile unit looks and sounds like the ultimate video arcade, the sobering reality is that the skills learned in this environment will be applied on the battle field and in the streets of Anytown , United States. In attendance and specials remarks were given by: Border Patrol Chief Rosendo Hinojosa; Laredo Police Chief Carlos Maldonado; Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar; Texas D.P.S. Capt. Mario Lopez; Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Capt. David Murray and United I.S.D Police Chief Ray Garner. Attendees get some hands-on time with the virtual trainer in Laredo.

October 2009


36 Inf. Div., British Soldiers join together in 2009 Story by Spc. Mary B. McDaniel 36th Infantry Div. Public Affairs

British Allies once again joined forces with American Soldiers of the Texas Army National Guard. The 3rd Battalion, 144th Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division, welcomed British troops of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment (1R Anglian) in support of Operation Glow Worm for two weeks of vigorous and intense training. The main focus for this year’s annual training is familiarizing British troops with: U.S tactics, conducting operations on urban terrain and squadron building sweep, U.S weapons systems and fire operations along with other various infantry skills. The training took place, here, at Fort Hood, Texas and Camp, Bowie, Texas. According to Commander Lt. Colonel Michael K. Houston, this program is used to integrate units, training infantrymen on U.S military tactics and weapons systems while experiencing culture awareness. Programs like this one are conducted worldwide, and allow soldiers the natural window of opportunity to gain knowledge from other Soldiers while building unity among nations. For both infantry units it is the desire to learn that earned their reputation for being welltrained, disciplined and highly motivated Soldiers.

riff Dones, A Troop, 1-124th Cavalry, said the intensity of the exercises will eventually permit the British and Americans to become fully trained and ready for anything.

“Our goal is for the Army National Guard and the British Military to become fully scaled tactical forces,” he said. Sergeant Dones was not able to participate when Great Britain’s Soldiers were in the U.S during the last annual training two years ago. Yet, he feels being a part of this type of experience enables him to learn from other cultures and their way of Operation Patrol Safety, Sgt. Dar- life.

When it comes to running through buildings and jumping through windows, it is hard work and dedication , and the Soldiers distinctly give 100 percent too, Commander Colonel Houston said. “It is very obvious that seeing them going through the routines that they are very motivated.” British Platoon Sergeant Wayne Shields said it was an honor for him to be a part of this experience and being in the Texas heat made it all worthwhile. Sgt. Shields ensured his men that staying hydrated was an important factor when training in certain weather conditions. “Everything has its advantages and its disadvantages,” Sgt. Shields said regarding the weather. “But it is enjoyable and we love doing it.” Each year, the training is different for every Soldier. Brig. Gen. Jim Richardson, Commander, Royal Anglian Regiment, said it is always a pleasure to come together with other military forces to train, especially in the U.S because of the great training facilities. General Richardson said that training should be demanding but fun and fundamental to the life of a soldier, “I think that is what keeps volunteers coming back to the army,” the general said. He believes keeping training fun increases morale of soldiers and the development of both armies. General Richardson feels that See TRAINING, next page


October 2009

TRAINING, cont. from previous page

the important thing for Soldiers to get out of the program most of all, is attitude. “They really put together a great program that allows the National Guard and the British army to integrate while working together,” the general said. To him that has a big impact on the military as a whole. “Other than a training event it is Soldiers understanding the way other military forces deal with everyday issues affiliated with the military, relating to Soldiers, knowing that they are not the only army that goes through these issues and being competent in building within another army,” the general said.

Above- Cutline: Infantrymen from the 36th Inf. Div. ambush the British army during their military urban operations exercise. (Photos by: Spc, Mary McDaniel, 36 Inf. Div. Public Affairs). Opposite page, top- A 36th Inf. Div. service member jumps through a window to avoid British military attack. Opposite page, bottom– British Soldiers on patrol through the training site.

American Servicemembers will participate in the reciprocal program in England. The participating U.S. troops will accompany the British for two weeks of training that will allow them to learn British military tactics and weapons systems. The training conducted will be similar to the exercises performed in the U.S. There will be more hills and terrain, compared to the training sites at Fort Hood, Texas. Weather conditions during the time will be wet and cool, but these soldiers are trained and ready for any type of condition that comes their way. “No matter what the conditions are,” General Richardson said, “one of the great things we learned as soldiers is to fight in any environment.”

36th Sustainment Bde. Combat Patch Ceremony in Iraq

Above- Soldiers of the 36th Sustainment Brigade and 36th Special Troops Battalion stand ready after receiving their new combat patcheson September 23rd on COB Adder, Iraq. The patch, showing a pheonix over a field of red, white, and blue is being worn for the first time. (U.S. Army photos by Sgt. 1st Class Tad Browning) Right- Texas National Guardsman, Master Sgt. Jeffrey Scott with 36th Sustainment Brigade from Temple, Texas, places a combat patch on the sleeve of Sgt. Edgardo Matossaez during a patch ceremony on September 23rd on COB Adder, Iraq. October 2009


TXANG Talks Shop with Armenian Counterpart By Master Sgt. Gregory Ripps 149th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

(Author’s note: This interview was conducted informally through an interpreter.) YEREVAN, Armenia (Aug. 9, 2009) – Col. Daniel Balayan, commander of the Military Aviation Institute here, greeted his two public affairs visitors cordially and gestured for them to sit down at a narrow table that formed a “T” with his desk. The desk was modest, but the man who sat down behind it left no doubt that he was comfortable – comfortable in a leadership position. Colonel Balayan said he had been in a leadership position for 26 years, the last 17 as commander of the institute, where the 149th Civil Engineers billeted for most of the first two weeks of August. He said that whether U.S. military increments would billet at the institute in the future was a decision made “higher up,” but that the institute had a tradition of hosting military from other nations. The institute, which is situated on a city block in southeast Yerevan, was built in the early 1980s as a training facility for high school students and included trade shops, but according to Colonel Balayan, it fell into neglect during the early 1990s, during a period of national educational restructuring. When the institute first opened in another location in 1993, Colonel Balayan was appointed commander. In years prior to that, he was director of the national Aero Club, founded during the Soviet era when each of the “republics” had such an organization. Colonel Balayan explained that the Armenian Aero Club, which controlled its own airfield, trained young men in piloting skills and parachute jumping. “It helped young people find their lives, and it also developed a reserve force for the Soviet Union,” said Colonel Balayan. Some of the Aero Club pilots developed aerobatic skills. He was especially proud of one who became a world champion. He said he was sharing this to show that Armenia had accumulated valuable aviation experience before the institute was established. When the Union of Soviet Social12 THE DISPATCH

October 2009

ist Republics broke apart, “We were in a tough situation,” said Colonel Balayan. “Armenia had no air training.” He outlined the options Armenia faced: --- It could train pilots in another country for three or four years -- which would be very expensive; or --- It could establish a national base with a pool of expert knowledge, drawn from the Aero Club and accumulated over many years , and keep that knowledge in Armenia. Colonel Balayan said that when he made the recommendation for a military aviation institute, the Ministry of Defense immediately approved it. “Since the institute was established, it has continued smoothly,” he said, noting that 99 percent of the pilots in Armenia are Armenian. Colonel Balayan said military cooperation with the United States of America began in 2000. “When the Soviet Union’s [breakup-related] problems settled down, we developed more and more events [with the United States],” he said. “We started with only one or two annually, but recently we had 1,000 professional events. We also have contact with the U.S. European Command, U.S. Air Forces Europe, and NATO and European countries. “A lot has changed,” he continued. “Twenty or 25 years ago, we would not be [sitting] here together.” Previous to the deployment of the Texans here a few days earlier, Colonel Balayan’s contact with the National Guard was with Kansans, in a relationship that goes back several years. He pointed to a 2006 exercise as an excellent example of military cooperation among Armenia, the United States and several European countries. “We were very excited … to participate,” he said. “It was a big success, and it won high praise by the government.” Most importantly, in his eyes, “It made links closer not only militarily but from a man’s [individual’s] viewpoint. The key point is that we are all military,” he continued. “That makes us close to each other…. We have a lot in common. First we have to know each other

as human beings – the most important part of relations.” Colonel Balayan added that without personal relations, professional relations are nothing. “During the Cold War, we couldn’t even talk,” he said. “Through human relations, the Cold War ended, and we started doing things together … on the highest levels of mutual trust. He noted as evidence of that trust that Armenia was sending troops to Afghanistan and has a force in Kosovo now. Furthermore, he was “100 percent sure” the Armenian military will fully integrate into any mission in which they participate. “The objective of the military is to maintain peace – to guarantee peace and security of their country,” he said. “The stronger you are, the more confident you are.” He also said military people are the first not to want war to happen. “I’d like to wish peace to all my colleagues – the military people, [especially those] who travel to other countries…. Don’t forget they have left behind families and friends. I wish that they return safely home. That is my biggest wish.” With that, the commander rose from his seat, and so did his visitors. As he walked them to the door, he pointed out, through the interpreter, that he originally trained as a pilot instructor. “To train a person, you must know him,” said Colonel Balayan. “You must train him psychologically as well as technically.”

Col. Daniel Balayan, commander of the Military Aviation Institute, Yerevan, Armenia, Aug. 5, 2009. (Texas Military Forces photo by Tech. Sgt. Rene Castillo)

36th Inf. Div. Remember The Fallen 65 Years Later Story and photos by Spc. Mary B. McDaniel 36th Infantry Div. Public Affairs CASSINO, ITALY- In December, 1944 the 1-141st and 1-143rd regiments of the 36th Infantry Division began a journey that would never be forgotten. It was cold and frigid that night and 200 yards of flooding river, that once flowed peacefully, was covered in sheets of ice. The Germans occupied the majority of the North side of Liri Valley, and were poised to attack with heavy artillery forces. The bridge connected to the town of Sant’ Angelo was destroyed. The 36th Inf. Div. came upon the Rapido River intent on repelling their attackers and claiming victory. After the battle only 1000 men made it across. There were over 1600 casualties, 143 men were killed in action, and 500 men were captured. The 36th Inf. Div. and the allied forces would never forget the hardship and great heroism of those who died both World War II veterans of Texas, returned to pay their rethat day. spects to their fellow comrades. Although memories that the vetThis May, a 65th Anniversary Ceremony took place in Sant’ Angelo to honor those who sacrificed their lives during the erans had of the war were not pleasant, they were glad to return and pay their respects. For Ray Wells, a former private in the 1Rapido River attack and the Italian Campaign. Veterans came together from each allied army to commemorate those men who 141st Regiment, it seemed like yesterday. defended the freedom of Italy. The 36th Inf. Div., Texas National Guard Commander, Maj. Gen. Eddy Spurgin and Command Sgt. Maj. Wilson Early, along with color guards and fellow soldiers, attended the laying of the wreath ceremony. “It’s an honor to be here to give tribute the soldiers of the 36th Infantry Division. Often times in the service, we remember only the battles that we won; yet we usually learn the most from the battles we lost,” General Spurgin said in a speech to commemorate the Rapido River veterans. “On that day we learned, you may not win every fight, but you can always fight with honor and dignity, and never give up until the war is won.” Ray Wells along with Dan Greelan and Jack Wilson,

“There were no good memories of the war, but one; that was when my platoon leader told the commander that he was not sending his men back into that battle to die. Other than that it was cold and muddy, bombs were going off everywhere and people were dying,” he said. Dan Greelan, a former staff sergeant of the 1-141st Regiment and a World War II Veteran, gave tribute at the ceremony. “I just want to say that it is an honor to be standing here again. I have been coming to this ceremony for a number of years and I will continue to come until I am not able to come again.” A half mile from the battle site, in the city of Sant’ Angelo, stands a monument to honor the 36th Inf. Div. Soldiers that fought at the Rapido River. The monument was restored eight months ago by the Tiseo family. Louie Tiseo represented his family at the ceremony. Mr. Tiseo’s father was a child living in San Angelo when the battle took place. His father left Italy for the United States in 1957 and started a family business that they still own today. “The veterans of the 36th Infantry Division sacrificed greatly for the people of Italy and my family,” Louie Tiseo said. “My father would have appreciated this day of the laying of the wreath. I wish he was here to see it.” Top- Command Sgt. Maj. Wilson Early presents an award to WWII veteran, and Italy resident, Herman Chanowitz. Mr. Chanowitz served in the United States Air Force and spent part of the Italian campaign attached to the 36 Infantry Division. Left- 36 Inf. Div. Commanding General Eddie Spurgin presents an award to Louie Tiseo in the city of Sant' Angelo in southern Italy. Mr. Tiseo was at the ceremony representing the Tiseo family who paid for the refurbishment of a 36 Infantry Division monument that stands at the edge of town. (photo by Specialist Mary McDaniel, 36 Infantry Division Public Affairs).

October 2009


1-124 Cav. Squadron: Handing It Over and Heading On Home 1st Sgt. Gavin L. McIlvenna 1-82nd Cavalry Squadron, Oregon Natl. Guard Camp Victory, Iraq (Aug. 4, 2009). Inside a walled compound on East Liberty a group of senior officers and NCOs gathered around a flag pole for a small, but important, ceremony. With smiles and dusty Stetsons on command representatives of the 1-124th Cavalry Squadron from the Texas Army National Guard prepared to bring down a wind battered flag. Their squadron flag, now faded and rough on the edges, has flown proudly over their headquarters since their arrival to Iraq. Now they gathered around to lower their colors and return to their families back in Texas. On the other side of the flag pole stood the command representatives of the 1-82nd Cavalry Squadron, who were assuming authority of the mission. Stetsons still packed in a connex en-route to Iraq, they stood wearing patrol caps as the two

Squadron Command Sergeants Major began the quiet ceremony. 1-124th Cavalry Squadron Command Sgt. Maj. John Hoxie, lowered his squadron flag as those assembled stood at attention. 1-82nd Cavalry Squadron Command Sergeant Major, Stanley Getz, provided assistance when the colors didn’t want to come off the line. Command Sgt. Maj. Getz then attached the bright clean 1-82nd colors and raised it above the new headquarters, signifying the transfer of authority from Texas to Oregon. Taking a moment to “cross the line” and shake hands, both Cavalry units enjoyed the moment pausing only to take photos. Proudly carrying his unit colors, Sgt. Maj. Hoxie led his 1st sergeants out of the compound and set about preparing for the redeployment of their Cavalrymen. Anyone passing by could easily tell that something had changed in the compound besides the new paint on the T-wall. The crisp, clean, 1-82nd Cavalry flag stood out against the dirty combat vehicles that lined the road.

Above- Commanders and 1st sergeants of the 1-124th Cavalry Squadron, Texas Army National Guard, pose beside their Squadron Commander and Command Sergeant Major after the Transfer of Authority Ceremony. Left- Members of the 1-82nd Cavalry Squadron from the Oregon Army National Guard (left), and the 1-124th Cavalry Squadron (right) of the Texas Army National Guard stand at attention as CSM John Hoxie (TX) lowers the faded and wind torn squadron flag outside their headquarters during the Transfer of Authority Ceremony.

Until Every One Comes Home


October 2009

October 2009 THE DISPATCH 15

Arlington Ceremony for American Gold Star Mothers and Families Day Department of Veterans Affairs Press Release

WASHINGTON – On the 69th anniversary of American Gold Star Mothers and Families Day, an annual remembrance of mothers who lost sons and daughters in military service, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki pledged to ensure the nation’s fallen heroes are remembered. “In my capacity as Secretary of Veterans Affairs and as steward of 130 national cemeteries, I can promise you that your sons and your daughters will not be forgotten,” Shinseki said Sept. 27 during ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery. The American Gold Star Mothers are a unique service organization, chartered by Congress on June 4, 1928, to honor deceased service members and their mothers. The group volunteers to help hospitalized Veterans in facilities operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). They also work with the families of military personnel killed on active duty. On Sept. 14, 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a proclamation setting aside the last Sunday in September as American Gold Star Mothers and Families Day for “a public expression of the love, sorrow and reverence of the people of the United States for the American Gold Star Mothers.” Shinseki praised the group for “your sacrifice, your service to each other and to Veterans, and the legacy of freedom your children have left to future generations of Americans.”

Shinseki: “Voice of Survivors” Will Strengthen Existing Programs Department of Veterans Affairs Press Release

WASHINGTON -- To strengthen the programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the survivors of the nation’s Veterans and military personnel, the Department has staffed an office to serve as their advocate, with a charter that includes creating or modifying programs, benefits and services.

benefits and explore innovative ways of reaching survivors who are not receiving the VA benefits for which they are eligible. VA benefits for eligible survivors include educational assistance, home loan guaranties, health care insurance and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, a monthly payment to the survivors of some people who die on active duty and some seriously disabled Veterans.

“Taking care of survivors is as essential as taking care of our Veterans and military personnel,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said. “By taking care of survivors, we are honoring a commitment made to our Veterans and military members.”

More than 554,000 spouses, dependents and other survivors of Veterans are receiving VA benefits. That figure includes nearly 5,000 spouses of World War I Veterans, 90 spouses and 94 children of Spanish-American War Veterans, and two children of Civil War The office serves as the primary advisor to the secretary on all issues Veterans. affecting the survivors and dependents of deceased Veterans and The establishment of this office was authorized in the Veterans service members. It will monitor VA’s delivery of benefits to surviBenefits Improvement Act of 2008 vors, make appropriate referrals to VA offices for survivors seeking

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!


October 2009

LOOK TO THE SKY! TXARNG Stands up Airborne Inf. Bn. 1st Lt. Deric Maruquin 1st Bn., 143rd Inf. Reg. (Airborne)

The rumors are true. The Texas Army National Guard is standing up an Airborne Infantry Battalion. The 1st Battalion, 143rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne) officially entered carrier status on September 1, 2009. The 143rd Infantry Regiment last saw airborne service as G Co 143rd Infantry (Long Range Surveillance) in 2001, and now the proud lineage of this regiment will be re-activated as the only Airborne Infantry Battalion in the Army National Guard. Like their active duty Army Airborne counterparts, the mission of the 1143rd Inf. Bn. will be to be capable of deploying world-wide to conduct Airborne forced entry operations into an objective in order to seize and hold terrain. This new force structure in the Texas Army National Guard will include Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC), Rifle Company, (B Co) Weapons Company (D Co), and a Forward Support Company (FSC). The balance of the battalion will be located in Alaska and

Rhode Island. These units are being built from the ground up as opposed to transforming an existing force structure, so this unit presents vast opportunities for Texas Guardsmen who want to be part of the elite force of paratroopers.

passing the Army Physical Fitness test at the 17-21 year old age group standard. Texas National Guard Soldiers who are airborne qualified or those who are interested in accepting the challenge of becoming a Paratrooper in the most elite Battalion in the National Guard, they should Every Soldier in this battalion is a parachutist and many of the positions are coded contact the Battalion S-1 at 512-782-6757 or via email airborne143infanas Ranger and Pathfinder. The Forward Support Company is a dual gender unit comprising of logistic, food service, maintenance and supply occupation specialties, so female Soldiers who want opportunities to attend Airborne, Jumpmaster, Pathfinder School and Air Assault School will be eligible to do so in the FSC. All companies will be co-located in Gatesville, TX which gives ready access to training areas and the airfield at Fort Hood for airborne operations. This unit will not be for everyone, as all Paratroopers must be mentally disciplined and physically tough. It takes a special breed of person to be willing to exit an aircraft flying at 120 knots, 1500 feet above the ground in complete darkness wearing full combat equipment. Entry requirements for airborne school include Explores Behavioral Health Information FALLS CHURCH, Va. – The U.S. Army, with oversight by TRICARE Management Activity (TMA), has created an interactive Web site that allows service members and their families to explore behavioral health information. The site launched Aug. 5, 2008 at, and development continues. “ serves as an interactive, self-help solution to assist with behavioral health needs following deployment,” said Army Maj. Gen. Elder Granger, deputy director, TMA. Authorized by legislation, the site is a pilot project to help service members deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other behavioral health conditions. Visitors to will notice the userfriendly environment. By clicking on a video link play button, users can watch veterans, spouses and other family members tell real-life stories about how war changed their lives and how they dealt with the demands of readjusting after combat deployment. In addition to these first-person accounts, a tool bar on the left side of the Web site links beneficiaries to educational topics that include: Getting Help, Check How You’re Doing, Staying Healthy Where You Live, Stories from Home and Far Away, and Links, Books, Blogs & Pods. In each of these areas, additional links offer detailed information on chosen subjects.

A user-friendly environment is not all that matters to service members. Privacy is of paramount concern, and users don’t have to register to access the site. provides confidential education on sensitive issues such as stress and triggers, conflict at work, reconnecting with family and friends, moods, anger, sleep, substance abuse, stress management, kids and deployment, spiritual guidance, living with physical injuries and health and wellness.

October 2009 THE DISPATCH 17

Hunting Season on Camp Bowie: Whitetail Doe and Spike From November 7, 2009 through January 3, 2010, during the state of Texas regular hunting season , Texas Military Forces will open Camp Bowie Training Center for limited hunting of whitetail doe and spike horn deer. Nuisance animals, such as feral hogs may also be hunted during the season. Slots are limited, and available on weekends and weekdays, although weekday slots are much more limited. Texas Military Forces personnel, their family members, Department of Defense civilians of all military services, Active and Reserve personnel, retired military and family members, and all other Adjutant General’s Department employees without a DOD ID card, are eligible to register for the 2009/2010 Hunting Season.

The following is a list of items that hunters need to bring with them in order to be allowed to hunt on Camp Bowie: Valid Texas Hunting License, proof of a State Approved Hunter Education Course (MANDATORY REGARDLESS OF AGE!), valid Military (DOD) and State ID (any hunters below 17 years old must have an escort that meets the first three criteria), cell phone, hunter orange / florescent vest, whistle, watch or timekeeping device, functional flashlight, functional firearm that is sighted-in, game processing equipment (knife, saw, cooler, bags, etc.) and a plan/equipment to transport game animal. Regular rifle season runs from Nov. 2, 2009, to Jan. 3, 2010. There is a special late rifle season from Jan. 4, 2010 to Jan. 17, 2010. Slots are available for both seasons. Date

Available Slots Per Weekend

07-08 NOV


21-22 NOV


05-06 DEC


12-13 DEC


19-20 DEC


26-27 DEC


09-10 JAN


16-17 JAN


There are also five slots daily during the week, Monday thru Friday, for the duration the hunting season. Hunters will be contacted by the Camp Bowie Training Center personnel prior to the hunt in order to receive a copy of the safety briefing and confirmation of hunting dates and times. Registration dates are 1-20 Oct. 1-20, 2009 on a first come, first served basis. To register, contact 1st Lt. William Willett at 512-7821959, or through email at

Remember to save the date for The 3rd Annual Oktoberfest Trail Run and Volksmarch! Camp Swift, October 17, 2009 18 THE DISPATCH

October 2009

This Month in Military History: October The Battle of Gonzales The volunteer spirit that has now characterized the military forces of Texas for more than one hundred fifty years was first called upon during this crisis. It was against a determined group of men that Santa Anna sent his dictatorcontrolled army. It was at Gonzales that the motto--"Come and Take It"--was born. When Santa Anna sent a Mexican commander to take a cannon from Gonzales, the Texans rallied forces from the Guadeloupe, the Colorado and the Brazos for aid, then told the Mexican commander to "Come and Take It." The latter retreated six miles, and the Texans, tired of waiting for an attack charged the Mexicans on October 2, 1835, and the Mexicans retreated in full flight. It was immediately after the Battle of Gonzales that the First Army of Texas Volunteers was organized with Stephen F. Austin in command. This same army marched to San Antonio and gained a victory over General Cos, who had previously defeated Colonel Benjamin R. Milam. Thus began the campaign of 1835 which resulted in the securing of independence for Texas. With the birth of Texas was also recorded the birth of what is now the Texas National Guard. The storming of the Bexar and the enforced retreat of Cos took place in December.

dral in New Orleans in October, 1835. Two companies, aggregating well over 100 men and both calling themselves the New Orleans Greys, left the city within two days of each other. It was such help as these companies gave that encouraged the Texans in their fight for independence. The New Orleans Greys covered themselves with glory in the storming of San Antonio, as 33 of them were in the Alamo when it fell and others were among Fannin's men at the Battle of Coleto. It was under the banner of "God and Liberty" that the New Orleans Greys joined the Texans. It was this principle they also upheld at the Battle of San Jacinto. As Texas had no regular army, since its independence had just been declared, the armed might that beat back the Mexicans and established the Republic of Texas was strictly of the militia character--volunteers who left their homes in order that they might have protected homes to which to return. Their gallantry in defeat as well as in victory serves as one of the highest traditions which the present Texas National Guard has to uphold. Their choice of glorious death instead of ignoble defeat and surrender is an inspiration for those who don the uniform. Article courtesy of the Texas Military Forces Museum

Men who were found ready and willing to fight for their homes and the right to peace and security and independence formed the first militia forces of Texas. Not only Texans but men from the United States who had come to love freedom and democracy rallied to the cause. To the many companies formed in the Lone Star State were added those that came from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and other sections of the United States. It was in these hastily formed but spirited organizations that the Texas National Guard was born. Typical of the units that faced Santa Anna were the New Orleans Greys organized in front of the St. Louis Cathe-

Brigadier General John C.L. Scribner Texas Military Forces Museum Building 6, Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas Hours of Operation: Wednesday-Sunday—10:00am to 4:00 pm Monday and Tuesday - Closed October 2009 THE DISPATCH 19

COPEHILL DOWN, England – Texas Army National Guard Pfc. Andrew Martin, bottom, of Paris, emerges from a street drainage system during a timed urban obstacle course competition in England. He is a member of Greenville-based Company A, 3rd Battalion, 144th Infantry. He joins approximately 100 fellow T-Patch Soldiers from the 36th Infantry Division who are in Southern England during late September and early October for Operation Glow Worm, a training exchange program with their reserve British army counterparts from 3rd Battalion, Royal Anglian Regiment. (Photo by Master Sgt. Brenda Benner, Texas Military Forces Public Affairs)


October 2009

2009 October, The Dispatch