Q. HOW MUCH OF MY TIME AM I OBLIGATED TO GIVE?
Members of the TXSG are required to volunteer a minimum of 200 hours annually. Part of that time is spent at Unit Training Assemblies (drills or meetings) which are usually one full weekend each month. These drills are used for training sessions and activity coordination. Your particular assignment may require additional hours of work to plan, lead, organize and complete necessary tasks. As a general rule, we work to completion, not to time. In addition, there are continuing education requirements, which include attending Annual Training (AT), TXSG Online Coursework, and taking independent study distant learning courses. In the event of an emergency, the State will call you to State Active Duty for a specified period of time within Texas.
Q. IF I AM CALLED FOR STATE ACTIVE DUTY, HOW LONG WILL THIS DUTY BE?
If you are activated for State Active Duty, the minimum number of days you will be deployed will be three. Dependent upon the nature of the emergency, this active service may be for longer, but generally not longer than two weeks. However, in dire emergencies it may be slightly longer.
Q. WHAT IF I AM IN SCHOOL/COLLEGE AND AM CALLED TO STATE ACTIVE DUTY?
If you are actively attending high school you will not be called to State Active Duty during the school year but must continue to attend regularly scheduled drills. If you are actively attending college, generally, you will not be called to State Active Duty if it would adversely impact your classes. Again, you would be expected to attend regularly scheduled drills. You may be called to duty during the summer or a semester you are not attending.
Q. DOES THIS SERVICE ENTITLE ME THE SAME JOB PROTECTION WITH MY EMPLOYER AS THE FEDERAL MILITARY FORCES?
No. Federal military forces are covered by the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act of 1940 which offers protection for their employment, against certain legal actions, and other financial issues. Texas State Guard personnel are not subject to the provisions of this law. However, Texas State Guard personnel are offered some protections under the Texas Government Code Articles 431 and 432.
Q. WHAT IS THE REQUIRED TERM OF SERVICE?
TXSG enlistments and appointments are “open-ended”. There is no minimum term of service, although personnel are requested to serve a minimum of 3 years. The first longevity award is given at the 3 year anniversary. Personnel wishing to continue service in the TXSG are not required to “reenlist” at any time. If conditions of participation in the TXSG cause a conflict with the individual’s employment, family, or other obligations, personnel are free to resign at any time and request discharge for any reason.
Q. WILL I BE PAID FOR MY TIME AND OUT OF POCKET EXPENSES?
For State Active Duty, full pay and approved expense reimbursement are applicable. Generally, there is no pay for the minimum of approximately 200 hours a year spent at drills, online coursework, or in distant learning. Some training opportunities may be funded by the State or Department of Homeland Security.
Q. DOES THE TEXAS STATE GUARD FURNISH UNIFORMS?
No. At this time all officers and enlisted members are responsible for purchasing their uniforms, patches, rank insignia and accessories. However, efforts are currently being made to provide uniforms for enlisted ranks.
Q. HOW WILL MY RANK BE DETERMINED?
Applicants will be evaluated and appointed or enlisted in accordance with Texas State Military Forces regulations to an appropriate rank based on prior military service, education, civilian occupation, and other factors. It also depends on the authorized job position (billet) the applicant will be filling within the unit. Personnel with prior Federal military service will normally enter the TXSG no lower than the same grade as their Federal grade when separated and “may” be recommended to begin at the next higher grade. Prior service personnel in senior ranks (E7 and above or O4 and above) require TXSG Headquarters review prior to admittance or assignment of rank as the authorized positions are limited. Non-prior service personnel will normally enter the TXSG no lower than (E2). However, each applicant package is reviewed on an individual basis by an enlistment or appointment Board. Personnel with prior service in the U.S. Marine Corps may be authorized to wear Marine Corps rank but will also be required to adhere to Marine Corps grooming standards. All others wear Navy rank.
Q. ARE THE TXSG RANKS THE SAME AS FEDERAL RANKS?
TXSG ranks are State and not Federal ranks. All appointments, commissions, warrants, and enlistments are recognized and authorized by the Governor of the State of Texas through the Adjutant General of the State of Texas. TXSG military personnel render to all members of the military community, and receive from them, all courtesies common to all such members, such as saluting, forms of address etc.
Q. HOW WILL I RECEIVE PROMOTIONS?
TXSG promotion eligibility includes a combination of Basic Orientation Training (BOT), required self study courses, Professional Military Education (PME), time in grade, satisfactory drill participation, demonstrated leadership, and recommendation of your superiors. Enlisted personnel grade E7 or above with at least 3 years active duty in the federal forces, one year satisfactory drill in the TXSG, and having at least 30 semester hours of college may apply for Warrant Officer grade. Enlisted personnel with prior service at any grade, one year satisfactory drill in the TXSG, possessing a Bachelor’s degree, and demonstrating leadership ability, may apply for Officer Candidate School. Enlisted personnel with NON-prior service at any grade, TWO years satisfactory drill in the TXSG, possessing a Bachelor’s degree, and demonstrating leadership ability, may apply for Officer Candidate School.
Q. AM I REQUIRED TO PASS A PHYSICAL EXAMINATION PRIOR TO ENTRANCE?
Applicants are initially only required to submit a “Report of Medical History” as part of the application package. Generally, a physical examination is NOT required. The review of this medical history by TXSG review boards could require that the candidate produce other evidence of medical capability to serve in the TXSG if there is evidence of some possible physical disability or condition that may impact on your ability to serve.
Q. ARE THERE PHYSICAL FITNESS REQUIREMENTS?
There are no specific physical fitness requirements to join the TXSG other than being in reasonably good physical condition, able to endure moderate stress and physical activity. Generally, there is no requirement for routine physical fitness training. Participation in the TXSG Physical Fitness Test is voluntary and members who pass the test are awarded the TXSG Physical Fitness ribbon. Some special assignments (voluntary) may require additional physical fitness qualifications. Some of these assignments include TMAR Dive Team, TMAR Coast Guard support..
Q. WHAT OTHER OBLIGATIONS WOULD I HAVE?
You will take an oath of enlistment or appointment when you join, and you must fulfill that oath. Examples of some of your other obligations include attending all drills, performing duties assigned to you, and participating successfully in training and continuing education. You must wear your uniform properly, and only when attending drills, other TXSG functions, or as otherwise allowed by regulations and your commander. All rules of military courtesy will be observed while in uniform.
Q. WILL I HAVE TO GO TO BOOT CAMP?
The Texas State Guard does not have recruit training per se. Basic Orientation Training (BOT) is required for ALL TXSG personnel that do not have federal military service. This training is intended to introduce you to common military customs and courtesies, regulations, military topics, ranks and relationships, in order for you to become acclimated to the military lifestyle and responsibilities. This training is conducted periodically by local units and usually takes place over the course of two consecutive weekends. BOT does not have to be completed prior to joining the unit but normally should be scheduled and completed within the first year of service. Completion of BOT is a requirement for all non-prior service personnel before they can be considered for promotion. Prior service personnel are credited for their federal military service.
Q. WHAT KIND OF TRAINING WILL I RECEIVE?
There are several aspects and avenues of training available for TXSG personnel. The TXSG does not have any formal schools and generally are not eligible to attend schools conducted by federal military forces.
Self Study Courses – there are several self study correspondence courses available online from FEMA, the National Fire Academy, and some other agencies that are required for all personnel. Some are required for promotion others are required for emergency management qualifications. All are free.
Professional Military Education – these are required for promotion in the TXSG. BOT is the ground level course for ALL non-prior service personnel. For enlisted personnel, the Airman Leadership Course sponsored by the TXSG Air Branch and available for self study with a proctored written test is required for promotion to E5. The Basic NCO and Advanced NCO courses are conducted online through the TXSG email server. These courses take approximately 6 months to complete and are required for promotion to E6 and E7 respectively. For officers, the Basic Officer course is required up through O3 with the Advanced Officer course required for O4 and O5. Command and Staff College is required for O6.
External Courses – All TMAR personnel are required to complete the Texas Parks & Wildlife Boating Safety Course. This course can be taken online at your own pace and costs around $13. TMAR has TPWD Boating Safety Instructors in-house but the cost is the same. All TMAR personnel are also required to be CPR & First Aid certified. These courses can be taken locally at such agencies as American Red Cross, American Heart Association, Health & Safety Institute etc. Costs may range up to $50. 1st Battalion has in-house instructors and the cost is $15-$20 for both.
Special Skills Training – Although TMAR does not have Military Occupational Specialties like the federal forces, TMAR does have several “Special Skills” areas where we focus training. Dive Team members are required to obtain their own professional diver training at a certified facility at their own expense, if they volunteer to be on the dive team. Opportunities to train with other agency divers such as Texas Parks & Wildlife occur periodically. Medical training for our Medical Team is conducted in-house. First Battalion has a physician, two nurses, former Navy Corpsmen, and paramedics that periodically conduct training. Boating and Seamanship training is obtained by our Coast Guard platoon with the Coast Guard Station Houston as the training facility. Other skill areas are Communications, Search & Rescue, and Security. This training is periodically scheduled with local agencies and other State Guard units. Besides the U.S. Coast Guard, TMAR personnel periodically receive training from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Game Wardens, and the Texas Forest Service.
Additional Training Opportunities – As a State military organization, there are a wealth of courses hosted by the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and members of the National Homeland Security Consortium that are available at no cost to the member and in some cases are fully funded for travel, and lodging. In many cases, the individual can request permission from First Battalion to attend a course of their choice under the auspices of TMAR and be able to sign up on your own to attend or to receive command sponsorship when required
Q. WHERE WILL I TRAIN?
The Texas State Guard generally does not have any formal bases or assets of its own. Each Texas State Guard unit is usually assigned to a National Guard Armory that is located in their general vicinity. Routine drills and training will normally take place at that Armory, however, special training opportunities may require travel to other locations in the general geographic area or on occasion, in distant locations. Annual Training is conducted at one of the National Guard Bases in Texas such as Camp Swift in Bastrop, TX or Camp Bowie in Brownwood, TX. There may be additional opportunities to attend special training on a volunteer basis at other locations. Some training like the Annual Training will receive some Active Duty Pay. Other voluntary training courses may be funded by state or federal agencies. Other voluntary training opportunities may require the individual to bear all associated expenses, but would be entirely voluntary.
Q. IS THERE A CHANCE THAT I MAY HAVE TO SERVE WITH ACTIVE COMBAT FORCES?
No. The Texas State Guard is governed by Title 32 of the United States Code as a State Defense Force only. As such, the Governor is our Commander in Chief and we work solely at his direction. The Army National Guard may be activated to serve with the U.S. Army and the Air National Guard may be activated to serve with the U.S. Air Force, but the Texas State Guard would never be activated to serve with federal military forces.
Q. DOES THE TEXAS STATE GUARD TRAIN WITH OR CARRY WEAPONS?
No. The Texas State Guard is not an armed force, nor does it have any law enforcement authority. There may be an opportunity to qualify on pistol dependent upon unit training schedules. Also, TXSG members may voluntarily compete in the annual Texas Military Forces rifle and pistol competitions if they desire.
Q. DOES THE TEXAS STATE GUARD BESTOW ANY AWARDS?
The Texas State Guard does have a variety of Texas Specific Military ribbons and medals that are awarded when appropriate and may be worn on your optional service or service dress uniforms. There are two service awards, one awarded after 3 years service and one awarded after 5 years service and every 5 years after that. There are qualification awards such as the Physical Fitness ribbon, the Enlisted Basic Military Education ribbon, and the Enlisted and Officer Professional Military Education Ribbons. Additionally there are awards for Achievement and Meritorious service as well as bravery. Additionally, TXSG personnel are encouraged to earn the Military Emergency Management Specialist (MEMS) Badge. This qualification is earned under the auspices of the Texas State MEMS Academy and the State Guard Association of the United States, and the Basic, Senior, and Master level badges may be worn on the field uniform.
Q. WHY INTERVIEW FOR A VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATION?
Our standards are high. We want men and women who are joining us for the right reasons, and who are capable of making a real and needed contribution. The interview helps us determine those qualifications. The interview also helps ensure that the applicant is fully aware of his/her obligations as well as all aspects relating to membership in the organization. This is your chance to ask any still open questions and to mention any concerns you may have.
Q. HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO PROCESS THE PAPERWORK?
The enlistment or officer appointment process normally will take no longer than three months (of course perhaps more if any part of your application packet is incomplete or requires clarification.). All enlistment or appointment orders originate in Austin and are processed through the Office of the Adjutant General. Be advised that the TXSG forms become official Texas Military Department documents, and any misrepresentations or omissions are subject to penalties as defined under the Texas Military Code.
Q. DO I START BUYING MY UNIFORMS AND ATTENDING DRILLS RIGHT AWAY?
No. Non-members may not participate in drills or any other official TXSG activities. When you are accepted in the TXSG you will be notified and given time to purchase uniforms. When processing is complete and you are sworn in, you are then subject to the Texas Code of Military Justice. While awaiting review of your application, you may allowed to attend some classroom training at the regularly scheduled drills as a guest but you will not be allowed to participate in any practical training until you are sworn in to the unit.
Q. WHAT IS THE MANDATORY RETIREMENT AGE?
Mandatory retirement age is 70. In accordance with TXSG regulations, a small percentage of the total strength of the TXSG may serve for short periods beyond the age of 70.
Q. WHAT ARE THE TEXAS STATE GUARD REGULATIONS?
The Texas State Guard regulations are promulgated under the TXSG 600-10 regulations (TXSG Reg 600-10). The Texas Code of Military Justice also applies.
Q. WHERE CAN I PURCHASE TEXAS STATE GUARD – TMAR MERCHANDISE?
Texas State Guard patches and Texas State Guard Awards may be purchased at the Camp Mabry General Store. Texas State Guard shirts and Texas State Guard merchandise is also available from many individual TXSG units. We will speak with you more about this at your first official drill.
Q. IS THERE A STATE GUARD ASSOCIATION?
All TXSG personnel are encouraged to become members of the State Guard Association of the United States (SGAUS) and the National Guard Association of Texas (NGAT) as a professional association, however there is no mandatory requirement to join either of these organizations. Membership in SGAUS is a requirement to earn the Military Emergency Management Specialist (MEMS) Qualification since this qualification is awarded under that organization’s auspices.
BE A PROUD MEMBER OF THE TEXAS MILITARY FORCES – TEXANS SERVING TEXAS.
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