The 126th Expeditionary Signal Battalion

Written by: Lynn Young, President General
August 12, 2015

On July 18, 2015, the Houston Astros saluted the 136th Expeditionary Signal Battalion of the Texas National Guard, which was deploying to the Mideast.  Organized by Twila Carter, Executive Director, Astros Foundation & Community Affairs, and a member of the James Tull Chapter, a private mobilization ceremony was held indoors prior to the Houston Astros-Texas Rangers game.  As 300 Guardsmen and their families, gathered, brief remarks were given by the commanders, Twila, your President General and Judy Ostler, Texas State Regent. I was delighted to announce that each of the soldiers would receive an iTunes gift card from our Project Patriot Committee. Further, each received a pocket flag, folded by DAR members across the country.

The 136th Signal Battalion is based in Texas, Louisiana and Alabama and the troops from Texas and Alabama were in the first group to deploy.  This is a young Battalion, having organized in 2011 and for most of them, it was their first deployment.  The guard unit provides communications services to U.S. troops in Kuwait, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. Their mission is to install, operate, maintain and defend tactical communication capabilities and services to rapidly deploy worldwide in support of both civil and military operations.  Their motto is “Voice of the Battlefield.”

As one speaker remarked, these are citizen soldiers with full time civilian jobs.  They serve their states when disasters hit and serve their country when called upon.

The Battalion is led by Lt. Commander Tanya R. Trout, whose mother is a DAR member. She assured the families that the unit will serve our country and that they will return with honor.  Heritage Trails Chapter member Dottie Wainwright, who refers to the solders as “her kids” was already talking to the commanders inquiring about contact information for those deployed.  Judy Ostler and I had a chance to visit with the Social Services liaison and inquire how DAR could support the families.

Many families were tearful as they said goodbye to their loved ones. Trust me, we were all tearful watching several young mothers holding their babies as they prepared to leave them for almost a year.

On the field at Minute Maid Park, the capacity crowd of 42,000 rose to its feet for a 10-minute on-field ceremony honoring these citizen soldiers. The ceremony began with a massive American Flag unfurled on the baseball field, held by 100 volunteers, including many USO volunteers.  The Battalion Color Guard entered the field, followed by each of the units.  The audience wildly applauded these brave young men and women and continued to stand throughout the ceremony.

The entire audience stayed on their feet throughout the Casing Ceremony, an Army tradition that symbolizes the movement of the division to a new theater of operation.  The flags are rolled up and packed away to be unpacked when they arrive at their destination. 

The Battalion departed the field just before Lt. Commander Trout threw out the first pitch.  Spc. Hearne sang the National Anthem. I am so proud to be a member of an organization that values the sacrifices of the men and women in uniform as well that their families. Our hearts and prayers are with all of our troops as they serve our beloved country.

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