Texas State Guard

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Texas State Guard
Texas State Guard Logo.svg
Texas State Guard
Founded 1871; 147 years ago (1871) (as State Guard)
Country  United States
Allegiance  State of Texas
Type State Defense Force
Part of Texas Military Forces
Motto(s) "Equal To The Task!"
Website tmd.texas.gov/texas-state-guard
Commander in Chief Governor Greg Abbott
Texas Adjutant General Major General John F. Nichols
Texas State Guard Coat of Arms Texas State Guard Coat of Arms.svg

The Texas State Guard (TXSG) is the State Defense Force of Texas, and is one of three branches of the Texas Military Forces. Along with the other two branches, the TXSG falls under the command of the Governor of Texas and is administered by the Texas Adjutant General, an appointee of the Governor. The other two branches of the Texas Military Forces are the Texas Army National Guard and the Texas Air National Guard.

The mission of the Texas State Guard (TXSG) is to provide mission-ready military forces to assist state and local authorities in times of state emergencies, to conduct homeland security and mission support activities under the umbrella of Defense Support to Civil Authorities, and to augment the Texas Army National Guard and Texas Air National Guard as required.

Headquartered at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, the TXSG functions as an organized state militia under the authority of Title 32 of the U.S. Code and Chapter 431 of the Texas Government Code. The Governor of Texas has sole control over the Texas State Guard, because it is not subject to federal activation.

Current structure[edit]

Governor of Texas Greg Abbott Commander in Chief.
Major General John F. Nichols Texas Adjutant General.
Major General Jake Betty
Major General Bodisch
Sergeant Major Becknel

The Texas State Guard is a state defense force that assists and augments Texas military and civil authorities in times of state emergencies, and in on-going support of National Guard units and local communities. They are not part of the federal armed forces command structure, but rather operate purely as a state organized and controlled force.

The Texas State Guard consists of six Civil Affairs Regiments, two Air Wings, a Medical Brigade, and a Maritime Regiment.

Members' entry rank depends on prior federal military service and/or civilian education. Individuals with no prior military service or ROTC training must attend the Basic Orientation Training (BOT) course.

Texas State Guard personnel actively support the state in the event of catastrophic events, and ongoing state military missions. Members receive duty pay [currently $121 daily, regardless of rank] when activated by the Governor and placed on paid state active duty, and starting in 2008, for a limited number of mandatory training days.

The organizational structure follows the federal military component structure, with comparable positions, ranks, protocols, and authorities. Members wear the Texas military uniform according to branch of service (in accordance with branch regulations) in regards to state military forces when conducting activities while on duty. TXSG personnel are also eligible for the same State issued military awards and decorations as members of the Texas Army & Air National Guard. For example, deployed members of the Texas State Guard received the Governor's Unit Citation for Hurricane Katrina and Rita relief in 2005.

The governor is the commander in chief of the Texas State Guard. Article 4, Section 7 of the Texas Constitution states that "He shall be Commander-in-Chief of the military forces of the State, except when they are called into actual service of the United States. He shall have power to call forth the militia to execute the laws of the State, to suppress insurrections, and to repel invasions."

Commanding General[1] Major General Jake Betty received his Bachelors degree from Texas A&M University and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry in 1973. Upon entering active duty he was assigned to the 1st 501st Infantry Battalion, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, KY. In 1979 the then Colonel Betty transferred to the U.S. Army Reserves and held various leadership positions including a nine-month deployment from 1997 to 1998 in support of Operation Joint Guard in Bosnia. In February 2003, while serving as the Commander of the 3419th Military Intelligence Detachment, NAS-JRB Fort Worth, TX, he was mobilized to the Defense Intelligence Agency as Chief, Iraq Survey Group, Fusion Center – CONUS, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He retired from the U.S. Army Reserve in 2003 after serving a total of 30 years. Since 2006 Colonel Betty has been a member of the Texas State Guard holding a number of leadership positions including Commander of the 8th Regiment headquartered in Houston, and the Texas State Guard Headquarters J1. He has served on several State Active Duty Missions to include Hurricanes Dean, Gustav, Dolly, Edouard, and Ike. In March 2013 General Betty was selected to serve as Commanding General, Army Component Command. On 1 September 2014 he was selected as Commanding General Texas State Guard.


Major General Bodisch. Graduate of the U. S. Army Basic Military Police Officer and Advanced Military Police Officer course, and the Joint Task Force Commander Training Course (JTF-N/NORTHCOM). He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Houston and a Master of Science degree in Quality Systems Management from the National Graduate School, in Falmouth, Massachusetts.


Sergeant Major Becknel. Served as an Aviation Ordnanceman in the United States Marine Corps from January of 1987 to July 1996. During his 9.5 years SgtMaj Becknel served in the 1st, 3rd and 4th Marine Aircraft Wings. While on active duty he completed the Marine Corps NCO Academy Career Nonresident Program, and the Staff NCO Academy Advanced Nonresident Program. In May of 2008, SgtMaj Becknel entered into the Texas State Guard, Texas Maritime Regiment, 1st Battalion and was the Senior Enlisted Advisor for 1st Battalion from July 2010 until October 2014. SgtMaj Becknel has a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and a Masters in Business Administration both obtained from the University of Phoenix.


The Texas State Guard has its roots in Stephen F. Austin's colonial militia. On February 18, 1823, Emperor of Mexico, Agustín de Iturbide, authorized Austin who was the leader of the first non-Spanish efforts of Texas settlement "to organize the colonists into a body of the national militia, to preserve tranquility."[2] Austin was appointed to the rank of lieutenant colonel and allowed the colonists to elect all subordinate militia officers. Soon after, Austin’s militia was authorized to make war on Indian tribes who were hostile and molested the settlement. In 1827, in a move contrary to modern perceptions of Anglo-Texan colonists in Mexico, Austin's militia mobilized in support of the Mexican government to put down the Fredonian Rebellion, a group of Americans who tried to declare a part of Texas as an independent republic separate from Mexico.

In 1835, all of the local militias in Texas were annexed by Sam Houston to provide a unified military command for the provisional government of the Republic of Texas. After becoming an independent republic in 1836, these forces were aligned with the Army of the Republic of Texas. In 1845, with the annexation of Texas by the United States, this structure was supplanted by the United States Army, but local militia companies were maintained for ready response. After secession from the United States in 1861, existing militia companies rallied and new militia regiments were formed which were made available to the various armies of the Confederacy.

It was officially reorganized as the "State Guard" in 1871 during Reconstruction to unify the independent militia companies and regiments throughout the state and continued in operation until 1903, when it was replaced by the nationalized Texas Army National Guard.[3] It was revived in 1941, after thousands of Texan troops were deployed overseas in World War II, to provide state military forces and support for wartime civil defense.

When the National Guard was mobilized for service in the First World War, the federal legislature recognized the need for state troops to replace the National Guard. A law was passed authorizing the formation of home defense forces for the duration of the war. While Texas passed the necessary enabling statutes, it did not form such an organization. As World War II made mobilization of the National Guard again likely, steps were taken to provide for state troops as replacements for the National Guard. The Texas Legislature passed the Defense Act, HB 45, and the Governor signed the bill on 10 February 1941. This time, a force was organized, with the task falling to Brigadier General J. Watt Page, the Adjutant General of Texas. Within a year, the Texas Defense Guard numbered 17,497 officers and enlisted men. This number was in sharp contrast to the 11,633 members of the Texas National Guard mustered into federal service some months before. The Texas Defense Guard was organized into fifty independent battalions, each composed of a varying number of companies and a headquarters.

The federal legislation authorizing them expired on 25 July 1947. This was not taken lightly in some states and most notably in Texas.[citation needed] In that same year, the State Legislature authorized the Texas State Guard Reserve Corps. It was activated in January, 1948. The Reserve Corps continued in existence until ten years after the Congress had once again authorized state guards in 1955. Under statutes enacted by the 59th Legislature, the Texas State Guard Reserve Corps was abolished and Texas State Guard was again authorized and organized on 30 August 1965.

Maj. Liendo Alvaro, a Laredo, Texas native with the Texas State Guard Medical Brigade, talks to a Galveston resident while she is waiting for a bus to leave the island.

First made up of independent battalions, it was later organized along regimental lines, and at one time also included brigade-sized elements. It was at first organized as Infantry and "Internal Security" units. After the early 1970s, it was organized as Military Police with companies assigned to battalions for control and the battalions, in turn, assigned to groups. For several years, there were six Military Police Groups with boundaries generally following those of Texas Department of Public Safety command districts.

In 1979, the 7th Military Police Group was formed to provide for command and control over remaining separate battalions in East Texas. A reorganization in 1980 resulted in formation of the 8th and 9th Military Police Groups in San Antonio and Dallas. The original six groups were headquartered in Fort Worth, Houston, the Rio Grande Valley, Midland, Lubbock, and Austin.

In 1993, Texas State Guard was reorganized into regiments and the old group designations disappeared. Regimental headquarters were established in San Antonio (1st,) Austin (2nd,) Fort Worth (4th,) Houston (8th,) Dallas (19th,) and Lubbock (39th.) In ceremonies held in Killeen in July 1993, during the Texas State Guard Association convention, the newly organized regiments were presented with their new colors by the incumbent general officers and three retired general officers of the Texas State Guard. For the first time since World War II, the regiments were authorized distinctive unit insignia for wear by assigned personnel. In March, 1995, a seventh regiment, the 9th, was organized in El Paso from elements of the 39th. This added regiment did not survive though and personnel were returned to the 39th in 1999.[4]


The Texas military uniform worn by most of the Texas State Guard is similar to US Army's Army Combat Uniform military uniforms, though with different markings; the Maritime Regiment's uniform is similar to the Marine's MARPAT Digital Desert uniform. Air units wear the U.S. Air Force's Airman Battle Uniform. Personnel in the Medical Brigade wear the Army ACU style uniform, except for those personnel with prior federal military service who may, at their discretion, wear the uniform of the branch of the federal military under which they served.

Units and formations[edit]

Maj. Gary Sherman, 3rd Battalion, 4th Regiment, Texas State Guard, uses a compass to determine his bearing during a Land Navigation joint training exercise in Henrietta, Texas.

Command Group[edit]

Texas State Guard Headquarters, Camp Mabry, Austin, TX

J4 Logistics Staff (Hurricane Harvey)

Engineer Group[edit]

HQ Engineer Group, Camp Mabry, Austin, TX

  • Expeditionary Engineer Response Taskforce (EERT) - Alpha, San Antonio, TX
  • EERT - Delta, Dallas, TX
  • EERT - Helo, Houston, TX

Army Component[edit]

HQ Army Component, Camp Mabry, Austin,TX [5]

  • 1st Regiment (Alamo Guards) San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Weslaco, Zapata.
  • 2nd Regiment (Travis Rifles) Waco, Gatesville, San Marcos, Austin.
  • 4th Regiment (Panther City Fencibles) Fort Worth, Decatur, Mineral Wells, Weatherford
  • 8th Regiment (Terry's Texas Rangers) Houston, Bryan, Huntsville, Beaumont, Port Arthur.
  • 19th Regiment (Parson's Brigade) Dallas, Wylie, Kilgore, New Boston, Greenville
  • 39th Composite Regiment (Roughnecks) Midland, Lubbock, Amarillo, El Paso.

Air Component[edit]

Formed in 1996, the Air Component Command supports the Texas Air National Guard and provides Defense Support to Civil Authorities, (DSCA).[6]

Texas State Guardsmen pass out free water after flooding contaminated a local water supply.
Members of the Texas State Guard search the banks of the Blanco River.

HQ Air Component Command, Camp Mabry, Austin,TX

HQ 4th Air Wing, Dallas,TX

417th Air Support Group, San Angelo, TX
454th Air Support Group, Dallas, TX
436th Air Support Group, Grand Prairie, TX
482d Air Support Group, Wichita Falls, TX

HQ 5th Air Wing, Camp Mabry, Austin, TX

501st Air Support Group, Camp Mabry, Austin, TX (formerly the 401st ASG)
547th Air Support Group, Ellington Field, Houston, TX (formerly the 447th ASG)
549th Air Support Group, Lackland AFB, San Antonio,TX (formerly the 449th ASG)
572nd Air Support Group, Ellington Field, Houston, TX (formerly the communications squadron of the 447th ASG)

Medical Brigade[edit]

HQ Texas State Guard Medical Brigade [nickname "Texas Medical Rangers"][7]

  • Austin Medical Company
  • Conroe Medical Detachment
  • Corpus Christi Medical Company
  • Dallas-Fort Worth Medical Response Group
  • Galveston Medical Response Group
  • Hill Country Medical Company
  • Houston Medical Response Group
  • Rio Grande Valley Medical Group
  • San Antonio - Alamo Medical Response Group
  • Temple Medical Response Group
  • Tyler Medical Response Group
  • Wichita Falls Medical Company

Maritime Regiment[edit]

Established in 2006, the Maritime Regiment serves the U.S. state of Texas by providing maritime, littoral, and riverine operational support for homeland defense or in response to man-made or natural disasters, e.g. hurricanes or flooding. It serves as the naval militia of Texas. Additionally, the Maritime Regiment provides operational support for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Game Wardens and the United States Coast Guard (stationed in Texas).[8]

  • Maritime Regiment (TMAR), Regimental Headquarters, Austin, TX
  • Maritime Regiment (TMAR), 1st Battalion, East Texas
  • Maritime Regiment (TMAR), 2nd Battalion, El Paso , San Angelo , San Antonio, Austin. Rio Grand Valley
  • Maritime Regiment (TMAR), 3rd Battalion, Dallas, Ft Worth
  • Maritime Regiment (TMAR), Combined Engineering Command, Statewide
  • Maritime Regiment (TMAR), Regimental Band, Austin, TX


Texas State Guardsman Pvt. Angeline Sanchez navigates through the Leadership Reaction Course at the 2nd Regiment's Regional Basic Orientation Training - Phase II held in Austin, Texas.

Legal protection[edit]

Employers in the state of Texas are required under Texas law to provide a leave of absence to any employees who are members of the Texas State Guard (or any other state's military forces) whenever these employees are activated to take part in training, drill, or to take part in an emergency mission. Employers must reinstate these employees to their former employment positions following their deployments, without loss of time, efficiency rating, vacation time, or any benefit of employment during or because of the absence.[9]

Recent operations[edit]

Regional Basic Orientation Training Class 010 recognizes Pvt. Angeline Sanchez as its honor graduate.
The 19th Regiment signal unit conducting a radio communications exercise.


U.S. Armed Forces awards may be worn on the Texas State Guard uniform.
Texas Military Forces awards available to Texas State Guard members:

Texas State Guard (TXSG) Awards:

Texas State Guard Unit Awards:

Commanding Generals[edit]

Texas State Guardsmen searching during a humanitarian mission.
  • Maj. Gen. J. Watt Page 1941-1943
  • Maj. Gen. Arthur B. Knickerbocker 1943-1947
  • Maj. Gen. Claude V. Birkhead 1947-1950
  • Maj. Gen. Raymond Phelps 1950-1953
  • Maj. Gen. Lloyd M. Bentsen Sr. 1953-1963
  • Maj. Gen. John L. Thompson, Jr. 1963-1966
  • Maj. Gen. Harley B. West 1966-1969
  • Maj. Gen. Max H. Specht 1969-1974
  • Maj. Gen. William Green 1974-1984
  • Maj. Gen. Roland Bruce Harris 1984-1987
  • Maj. Gen. James W. Robinson 1988-1990
  • Maj. Gen. Marlin E. Mote 1990-1994
  • Maj. Gen. John H. Bailey, II 1994-1997
  • Maj. Gen. Bertus L. Sisco 1997-2000
  • Maj. Gen. Richard A. Box 2000-2006
  • Maj. Gen. Christopher J. Powers 2006-2009
  • Maj. Gen. Raymond C. Peters 2009-2012
  • Maj. Gen. Manuel A. Rodriguez, VII 2012-2014
  • Maj. Gen. Gerald R. Betty 2014-Present
  • Maj. Gen. Howard Palmer
  • Maj. Gen. Robert Hastings

In popular culture[edit]

The Texas State Guard was referenced in a Doonesbury comic strip in June 2015.[11][12]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]