So I tossed an 11 today… #colorguard #guard #rifle #winterguard #wgi #dci #tossing #11 #itwaswindy #texas #itwas70degrees #catch #sorry

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Darryl Davidson watches his pot-bellied pig eat a snack on April 22 at his home in San Antonio, Texas. His family also owns five dogs, four cats and two bearded dragons. 

Davidson was in the National Guard for 17 years before retiring in 2011. He completed two tours to Iraq, and struggled to receive help for his post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Although none of his pets are service animals, Davidson says they help him emotionally. 

National Guard Members Face Challenges In Seeking Help For PTSD

Photo credit: Julysa Sosa for NPR

Any Star Wars fans in Austin, TX for this year’s SXSW festival has the awesome opportunity to check out a life-size First Order TIE Fighter. Created to promote the upcoming DVD release of The Force Awakens, it was made by project X1 prop building team, which is run by members of the #501st Legion German Garrison, who are also guarding their magnificent creation in proper First Order Stormtrooper armor.

[via io9 and The 501st Legion]

The Mexican government reiterates its strongest repudiation and condemnation of the deployment of the first soldiers of the Texas National Guard, announced today by the Office of Governor Rick Perry.

Mexico asserts that it is irresponsible to manipulate the current state of border security for political purposes. It reiterates that immigration must be addressed from a comprehensive and regional perspective, with a mid-term vision and with shared responsibility, to ensure peace, inclusion and prosperity in the region.

The measure taken unilaterally by the Texas government is clearly erroneous and does not contribute to the efforts being made by our countries to create a secure border and a solution to the issue of immigration. It does not contribute to bringing our societies closer together and it opposes the principles and values by which Mexico and the United States govern their bilateral relationship.
Trans woman helps Texas lingerie store open its mind and policies

Last week, Kylie Jack visited Petticoat Fair, a lingerie shop in Texas, for a bra fitting. But because she’s trans, an employee at the store demanded she show an ID to prove her gender and then refused to assist her when she couldn’t provide the documentation. 

Initially, Jack took to Facebook to express her humiliation and outrage for the employee’s behavior. She says that while she’s had her share of misgendering and even some harassment, she had never been discriminated against at a business before. But since the incident, she has started working with the management at Petticoat Fair to educate them about trans issues. 

While the store has expressed interest in learning and getting better at respecting all their customers, there’s clearly more work to be done:

“I met with the owner of Petticoat Fair,” Jack continues. “He sincerely apologized to me in a face-to-face meeting. He explained the conflicts he sees in trying to make a more inclusive policy. While he did offer me a fitting, my options were either outside of normal business hours or when one of the main fitting areas was not in use.

"I declined because I could not in good conscience accept treatment that continued to ‘other’ me and that didn’t help other trans people in my community,” Jack says. “He seems committed to working with transgender groups to make changes, but only time and action will tell. At this time, I am still waiting for the store to issue a formal public apology to the Austin transgender community.”

When reached for comment, store owner Kirk Andrews clarified several points.

“We’ve already come a long way since that first [response on Facebook] and understand that trans women are women,” Andrews tells The Advocate.“We’re now working to educate ourselves and to thoughtfully craft a policy that is sensitive to the needs of all of our customers, including trans people, and our employees.”

Props to her for taking steps forward when she didn’t owe this store or its employees any kind of education or help. It’s absurd to think that a store should have a “policy” on assisting trans clients – a customer is a customer, a person is a person, a woman is a woman. I hope that’s what Petticoat Fair eventually figures out. 

Whether you agree that we need the National Guard or the additional deputy sheriffs that I have previously called for to secure the border, it is shameful that our troops would be sent to keep us safe without basic supplies like food.
—  Texas state Senator Wendy Davis in response to news that the Texas National Guard had contacted a Rio Grande Valley food bank to ask for assistance for 50 soldiers who have yet to receive a paycheck.

Black Gold IW Winter Guard 2015 

i can’t forget my favorite winter guard, and hopefully the guard i will be performing with this winter, i tear up every time i watch it, a blessing to see in person.  -Jack

Paratroopers from the 1st Battalion (Airborne) 143rd Infantry Regiment and Charlie Troop (LRS) 3rd Squadron, 124th Cavalry Regiment conduct airborne operations at Fort Hood’s Rapido Drop Zone on April 17, 2015. The 314th Airlift Wing from Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., provided the C-130 aircraft for the 36th Infantry Division Soldiers of the Texas Army National Guard. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Randall Stillinger)


The first wave of National Guard troops has taken up observation posts along the Texas-Mexico border.

Several dozen soldiers deployed in the Rio Grande Valley are part of the up to 1,000 troops called up by Gov. Rick Perry last month, Texas National Guard Master Sgt. Ken Walker of the Joint Counterdrug Task Force said Thursday.

Several guardsmen were seen Thursday afternoon manning an observation tower along the busy road leading to the Hidalgo International Bridge.

This first batch of soldiers was specifically trained to man such observation towers in the area belonging to local law enforcement agencies and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Walker said. They will serve as extra eyes on the border and report suspicious activity to authorities.

State officials have estimated the deployment, which they’ve called a “deter and refer” mission will cost $12 million per month.