Texas Soldiers Work with Pride on Tuesday's Birthday of the Army National Guard

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There won’t be a Texas-sized celebration marking Tuesday’s 369th birthday of the Army National Guard, but members of the Texas Army National Guard will be aware of their many accomplishments of the past year during the work day today.

Identified by a "T-patch" over the left shoulder of their camouflage Basic Duty Uniforms, Texas Army National Guard soldiers have been highly visible in recent months with their immediate response to the recovery efforts resulting from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

A Texas National Guard soldier is photographed in a helicopter hovering over flooded New Orleans in a special section of Tuesday's USA Today. Army National Guard chief Lieutenant General H Steven Blum is extremely proud of the citizen soldiers that he leads.

"We are able to do what the nation needs us to do, and whenever we are needed, we are there, with the right skills and the right equipment and the right personnel," Lt. Gen. Blum is quoted in an article of the Army National Guard's USA Today section.

Lt. Gen. Blum visited Camp Mabry, headquarters of the Texas Joint Military Forces, in September and commented on the success of the Texas Army National Guard after it reached its end-strength goal for fiscal year 2005. "Texas made its mission this year and that is huge," Lt. Gen. Blum said when meeting with a reporter.

The Texas Army National Guard and the Army National Guard as a whole are off to a positive start in fiscal year 2006 with both exceeding its recruiting goals in October and November. Lieutenant Colonel Ron McLaurin leads the Texas Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Command.

In addition to hurricane recovery efforts which emphasize domestic service, the Texas Army National Guard is also being called on to support missions overseas. More than 3,000 Texas National Guard soldiers were welcomed home from service in Iraq during a ceremony Saturday at Baylor University’s Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco.

"If there ever was a time where the Army National Guard's importance was evident, this is it," Lt. Col. McLaurin said. "Today's birthday honors our proud past and emphasizes the important road that lies ahead."

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Kris Paulson