Texas Military Forces come to San Angelo

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- I retired from Air Force active duty a few years ago. Earlier this year, I enlisted in the Texas State Guard, Air Division. On the way back from my enlistment, I ran into a few friends and co-workers who wondered what I was doing in uniform. I had some questions to answer--not about why I was wearing ABUs, but about the State Guard itself, and its newest component, the 417th Air Support Group.

"What is the TXSG?"

The Texas State Guard is one of three branches of the Texas Military Forces reporting to the Texas Adjutant General at Camp Mabry in Austin. The other two branches under the TAG are the Texas Army National Guard and the Texas Air National Guard.

In all, the TXMF Commander-in-Chief, the Governor of Texas, commands a total force of more than 20,000 troops.

While the TXSG is not well known, it is a military force recognized under Title 32 U.S. Code and is more specifically defined by Texas Code. Other states have similar codes.

In fact, over two dozen states currently have a State Guard, and with the current deployment rates of their National Guard units after 9/11, more governors are considering strengthening these forces.

Currently, there is an amendment proposed to House Bill HR5658 "The National Defense Authorization Act for FY2009" to improve State Forces as they augment overburdened National Guard units.

Historically, many states have maintained their own State Defense Forces. While federally recognized and regulated by the National Guard Bureau, they are not meant to be federalized, but to serve only at the call of the state.

"What does the TXSG do?"

The State Guard's mission is "To support the security of the United States and the state of Texas." The TXSG accomplishes this through direct support to FEMA and Homeland Security.

In 2005, the Texas State Guard deployed to aid in recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina. Just recently, the State Guard was deployed to southern Texas to aid in emergency management efforts related to Hurricane Dolly (http://www.txsg.state.tx.us/) and was put on standby for Hurricane Edouard. This September, we will participate in a water surface rescue exercise. The TXSG also volunteers as crowd control at events such as air shows, etc.

"Why is the TXSG in San Angelo?"

State Guard units are responsible for supporting National Guard units in accomplishing their mission statewide. The 417 ASG parent unit in San Angelo is the 217th Training Squadron. Its primary mission from San Angelo will be emergency management for the entire Concho Valley.

This means there is an increased need for personnel to be trained in emergency management and exercise evaluation. The TXSG draws from a larger pool than the federal services, because the physical demands-though present-are less rigorous. Applicants can range in age from 17 (with parental consent) to 60.

If you would like more information about the TXSG, contact Tech. Sgt. James Ward at james.ward@txsg.state.tx.us or call 469-524-2690. Online, you can find out more about the Texas Military Forces at http://www.agd.state.tx.us.