Texas' Best Kept Secret - The Texas State Guard - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/27/08

Texas' Best Kept Secret - The Texas State Guard

They serve a commander and chief but not the president. They are a military organization but they can't be federalized or sent overseas to defend our country. They are The Texas State Guard.

"Our commander and chief is not the president, our commander and chief is the governor of the state of Texas," said 1st Sergeant Steve Donaldson.

1SG Donaldson serves as part of Bravo Company 1st Battalion of the Texas State Guard, not The National Guard but The State Guard.

"We're state soldiers... We're here to serve the citizens of the state of Texas," said Donaldson.

The Texas State Guard is a volunteer state military force. Their role is to support civil authorities, homeland security and community service.

"Our National Guard has got a lot of folks deployed overseas. So some of the things that the National Guard might usually be doing, the Texas State Guards stands up and does those things."

The State Guard assisted The Red Cross during the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. But there's a problem in the organization.

"There are about 1,500 of us in The State of Texas which is far too few. We'd like to have it up there around three times that number," Donaldson says.

So what are the requirements? Donaldson says you don't need any previous military experience, and for the most part anyone 17 to 60 with a willingness to learn can serve.

"Our governor has seen fit to put a large part of our homeland security effort into the hands of the Texas state guard," Donaldson said.

Because of that, State Guardsman from across Texas were in Lubbock this weekend for training.

"They will be trained to use GPS technology," said Darrell McDonald, Ph.D. with the Columbia Center

But it's a little more complicated than the navigation system in a car. This system is used to plot detailed maps and grids to support disaster relief before the disaster happens.

"We're trying to get them sort of field oriented at this point in time so that if they have to respond to a tornado or if they have to respond to wildfires, they have some tools and some methods that are becoming commonly used to respond to these sorts of natural disasters," McDonald added.

Texas isn't alone in having a state military or guard. It is one of 27, soon to be 28 states that have state military forces. And like first sergeant Donaldson said, they're looking for recruits interested in serving their community.

If you would like to learn more about The Texas State Guard, click here.  

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