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The Killeen Daily Herald December 25, 2015

Texas Army National Guard plans for training site at Fort Hood on hold

By David A. Bryant

Plans for the Texas Army National Guard to locate a training site at North Fort Hood are on hold pending a decision by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to house on post unaccompanied children age 17 and younger who crossed the border illegally.

There has been no decision yet from HHS regarding Fort Hood becoming host to the minors, said HHS spokeswoman Andrea Helling on Thursday.

According to a statement from the Texas Military Forces at Camp Mabry in Austin, the Texas National Guard does have plans to set up a permanent Regional Training Institute at Fort Hood. The Guard has been working with the post for at least a year to use buildings now being considered to host the children. Moving the Guard training to North Fort Hood, which is currently located at Camp Mabry, has been put on hold until further notice.

U.S. Reps. John Carter, R-Round Rock, and Roger Williams, R-Austin, oppose hosting the children at Fort Hood.

"Every minute of every day our Texas National Guard should be a higher priority than unaccompanied illegal minors," said Carter in a statement to the Herald. "It is unfathomable that President Obama would jeopardize our national security, further burden our military, and delay important training to our National Guardsman so we can temporarily house noncitizens who are entering this country illegally."

Each state and U.S. territory has a regional training center whose mission is "to train soldiers in technical, tactical and leadership skills, strengthening state and national readiness; provide regional coordination for combat arms training within Total Army School System" and help field commanders meet individual training requirements for National Guard soldiers, according to www.globalsecurity.org. The Texas center is run by the 136th Regiment and is tasked with training soldiers in the armor, artillery and infantry military occupational specialties, providing advanced noncommissioned officer education, Officer Candidate School and any required specialty schools deemed necessary by the state.

According to a story on the Texas Military Department's website, the benefit of a regional training site is it makes "the Army more fiscally responsible."

For example, infantry schools are traditionally taught in Fort Benning, Ga., but a local center can offer the same courses to soldiers wishing to transition. The Army's Training Command Regulation 350-18 requires each center to be evaluated every three years by numerous proponents. For each course offered, the traditional schoolhouse for that course must visit the center and evaluate the program, usually more than once, which ensures the training is conducted to the standard required by the active duty Army component.

The story mentioned moving the Texas center to Fort Hood would provide more space for training and access to various training facilities such as weapons ranges.

Accredited courses held at the Texas regional training site include the Signal Support Systems Specialist 10-level advanced individual training, MOS 25U; Army Combat Medic advanced individual training, MOS 68W; 11B, Infantry transition course and advanced leader course; 19D, Cavalry Scout advanced individual training, transition course and advanced leader course; 13B, F and R cannon crew member, Fire Support Specialist and Field Artillery Firefinder Radar Operator advanced individual training, advanced and senior leader courses; Master Fitness Program; Officer Candidate School and Warrant Officer Candidate School.

Copyright 2015, The Killeen Daily Herald