Swamp Rats on Deck !!
Swamp Rats on Deck !!

Delta Co, 1st BN TMAR Commissioned into Service.  Texas State Guard Maritime unit established in Deep East Texas.

By PO1 Scott Runnels



LUFKIN, TX – A beautiful sun-drenched day welcomed the distinguished guests, many friends and families of TMAR’s 1st BN newly formed Delta Co “Swamp Rats” to their new home, the newly the re-opened Texas Guard Armory across form Kiwanis Park in Lufkin, located in the heart of the East Texas “piney woods.  The area is renowned for its many lakes, rivers and thick forests.


The Company assembled in formation before a packed house in the large bay area of the armory on 16 MARCH 2013 to watch as 1st BN’s Commander, CDR Wayne Hogard and SgtMaj. Bryan Becknel uncased and unfurled the Delta Company guidon for the very first time. It was then presented to Delta’s C.O., LT Robert Killingsworth, symbolic of the passing of command authority for the company.  The company colors were then given to the care of Guidon Bearer SN Marshall Peck, who then took his place in formation. Delta Company’s standard carries a traditional fouled anchor on a white diamond in a blue field.  Yellow bands across the top and bottom, respectively sport in red the acronym TMAR (top) and Swamp Rats (Delta’s nickname, below).  The number “1” and letter “D” in white reside on the lower left and right of the blue field. 




Navy CAPTAIN Kenneth Rigoulot, Regimental N1, accompanied by TMAR Command Master Chief Gary Parker, represented Regimental HQ as he spoke to the crowd in a moving yet entertaining speech.  An excerpt:


” …Today marks a special day for the Texas Maritime Regiment. You have witnessed a rare event; the creation of a fully operational military unit. What just happened here has roots in military history that go back over 200 years – clear back to the early part of the Eighteenth century. The ceremony you just witnessed is a composite – part Army, part Navy – and a little bit Marine Corps. The passing of the Company colors is an Army tradition that goes back to the era of Frederick the Great of Prussia, and is still valid today. We were all witness to the presentation and the passing of the Company colors – a very public display that ensures that all here witness the passing of command authority. Not only is Delta Company now operational, but we all know who their commander is, and he definitely knows who he works for!!...these Guardsmen and women do all their essential tasks and missions because they truly believe in “Texans Helping Texans”, and they deserve our praise and support. Let’s hear it for Delta Company and every member of the Texas State Guard!!”


     Mr. Ken Dance, Senior Executive Assistant for US Congressman Louie Gohmert and a US Navy veteran as well, then formally presented Delta Co with an US Flag flown over the Capitol in Washington D.C. along with a certificate recognizing Delta Co. on its inception.  This joined a Texas State Flag which was previously flown over the State Capitol, presented to Delta Company by Ms. Linda Parker, District Director for State Representative Trent Ashby.  At the end of the ceremony, a Delta Company color guard ceremoniously raised both flags on the reconditioned flag pole above their Armory home for the first time.  After the day was complete, both flags were then retired and placed on display in the quarterdeck area of the armory along with their certificates of authenticity.


     Upon dismissal from the formal commissioning ceremony, the Delta “SwampRats” joined their friends, family and guests for lunch provided by Lufkin Whataburger and a large cake provided by Grandough Bakery of Lufkin.  The very large sheet cake was ornately decorated and emblazoned with the TMAR, 1st BN, and Delta Company emblems and logos.  The cake was cut by the Senior Enlisted Advisor for Delta Company, Senior Chief Petty Officer Lloyd Wallace and the junior enlisted member of the unit, SN Heath Wethington, using a USMC K-Bar knife.




     The Texas State Guard provides joint operations Civil Affairs support and augmentation to Texas Military Forces (TXMF), the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), and Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA). The Texas Maritime Regiment (TMAR) mission is to provide mission-ready volunteer military forces to assist state and local authorities in support of homeland security and community service in the maritime, littoral, and riverine environment and in response to man-made or natural disasters.  Currently the Texas Maritime Regiment has working capabilities as “Force Multipliers” with the US Coast Guard, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (Dive Teams and Boat Operations), Texas Forestry Service (Base Camp Operations and Wildland Fire Training) and as a full partner with TEXSAR conducting Search and Rescue on both land and water.  The TMAR Mission Tasks are:


Small Boat Operations

Rescue Diving Operations

Water Rescue Operations

Land Based Rescue Operations

Quick Response Team (QRT) Operations

Special Needs Evacuating Tracking System (TXSNETS) Operations

Shelter Management Operations


     TMAR performs these missions on a local, regional, or state-wide basis in all weather conditions while being self-sustaining for up to seven days and while meeting the mission requirements of the Texas Military Forces and the Texas Division of Emergency Management.  Now in full operation and based out of the former National Guard armory across from Kiwanis Park in Lufkin, Delta Company itself is officially designated a Search and Rescue unit and will focus on that core mission while it concurrently trains to be ready to conduct operations in all mission areas entwined with a wide range of riverine operations, fielding teams of highly trained boat operators, medics, divers and SAR techs.

© 2013