Business and civic leaders from Brownwood and Early welcomed approximately 20 command staff from the Texas State Guard at a reception Friday afternoon as preparations were made for two weeks of drills at the Camp Bowie Training Facility.

“We in Brownwood do realize that we enjoy the freedoms we enjoy in this country because of those who are willing to serve in the armed forces,” Brownwood Mayor Bert Massey said during remarks offered at the casual gathering. “It’s especially significant that you’re in the place where the 36th Infantry Division mobilized at the start of World War II, and it’s a great facility where you’re training in order to be ready to answer the call when emergencies strike.”

Massey said the complex is here because of the efforts of the late Groner Pitts, a businessman who served in the National Guard and became what Massey described as the greatest civic booster any community could ever have.

“Groner did love Camp Bowie and the military and the Guard,” Massey said.

Maj. Gen. Christopher J. Powers, commanding general of the Texas State Guard, said Guard members will be rotating in and out of Camp Bowie in coming days, and invited community leaders to visit.

“We thank you for your wonderful welcome,” Powers said.

Powers received his commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 1969 after graduating from St. Mary’s University. He left active duty and joined the Texas National Guard in 1973, where he remained until retirement in 2000. During those 27 years he served as commander of two field artillery battalions, director of logistics 111th Area Support Group, and division artillery commander 49th Armored Division Task Force Texas. He joined the Texas State Guard in 2000 and served as commander of the 1st Brigade in the Texas State Guard from 2002 to 2003, when he was assigned as deputy commander.

The Texas State Guard is one of three branches of the military forces of the State of Texas, reporting to The Texas adjutant general. The other two branches are the Texas Army National Guard, and Texas Air National Guard. The Texas State Guard is a state military force that assists Texas civil authorities in times of Texas state emergencies and in ongoing support of local communities.