The Governor and the Military

Bill Neinast

Governor Greg Abbott was born in 1956.  He is lucky.  Had he been born 30 years earlier, he may not have lived into adulthood.

In his teenage years he may have realized that Texas was occupied by the U.S. military.  Based on his current paranoia over military Operation Jade Helm 15, learning in 1945 that there were 100 military installations (65  Army Air Corps bases and 35 Army posts) blanketing the state, an apoplectic attack may have killed him.

Abbott is so concerned about those federal “agents” wandering outside their fenced enclosures that he has ordered the Texas Guard (not the National Guard) to keep tabs on them.  What will the Guard do?  Will they go up to the Green Berets trying to get some training and tell them to go home?

Just as bad are members of the Bastrop County Commissioners’ Court.  They included a hearing on Operation Jade Helm 15 for one of their meetings.  Army officers who came to answer their questions on the operation were badgered by uninformed and misguided local citizens.

All of them must be too young to remember Camp Swift.  This was the Army post created out of hundreds of acres of farm and ranch land on the outskirts of Bastrop where 3,000 buildings were completed in 120 days. 

Camp Swift became home to 50,000 of those occupying soldiers and, on weekends during WWII, there would be dozens of uniforms on the sidewalks of Bastrop for every pair of bib overalls.

Where were the ancestors of these commissioners and complainers?  Were they hiding under blankets for protection against those federal “occupiers?”

Training soldiers involves more than teaching them to march and how to care for and use weapons.  They need practice in using their training in various situations, some of which are not found on post. 

As noted by Colonel Cecil Webster and me in letters to the editor last week, off post exercises are old hat in the Army.  I participated in two almost 60 years ago.

Not mentioned in my letter was the same practice in Germany.  My last three years of active service were with III Corps at Fort Hood.  During the Fall of each of those years, the headquarters of III Corps deployed to North Germany for training exercises with the British Army of the Rhine.

Although both Britain and the U.S. maintained numerous bases in Germany, and the U.S. operated the 90 square mile Grafenwoehr training area, these joint exercises concentrated on civilian areas.


The purpose of the exercises was to consider and plan for repulsing Russian military hordes pouring into Germany through the Fulda Gap.  

A major problem in that scenario was how to work with and around the millions of refugees fleeing the Russians.  That would be difficult to do in the confines of a small military post.

And so it is with Operation Jade Helm 15.  This will be the largest military training operation in the U.S. since the 1950s.  It will take place in seven states from California to Texas and involve Army Special Operations (Green Berets, Rangers, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment), Air Force Special Operations, Navy Special Operations (SEALS) and Marine Special Ops.

Now look at a map that pinpoints the hot spots of activity with Jihadists.  Those Muslims are currently our most worrisome enemy.  How can the military have meaningful training within the confines of tiny installations to counter that threat?

So here’s the perspective.

Wake up and grow up Governor Abbott.  The U.S. military is here to protect and defend you, not to “occupy” you.  

Spending tax money on deploying the Texas Guard to tail soldiers trying to learn their trade raises serious questions about your fiscal responsibility.

What will the rest of your term look like? 


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