Combat Veteran Army Commander takes command of Texas State Guard

Brigadier General Anthony Woods has assumed the duties of commander of the Texas State Guard (State Defense Force) after the retirement of Major General Robert J. Bodisch, Sr.. BG Woods has a long and distinguished history of service in the United States Army, from his leadership as Battalion Executive Officer during Operation Noble Eagle, to serving in Afghanistan as Task Force Commander of the Security Force Agency Task Force (S-FAT).

Brigadier General Anthony Woods has assumed duties as the acting Texas State Guard Commander after Major General Robert Bodisch, Sr., retired recently. Bodisch’s leadership leaves a lasting legacy that will impact our organization for generations.


A ‘Changing of the Guard’ in the Texas State Guard

By David Brown, WO1, TXSG, HQ

Brigadier General  Woods (left) has assumed duties as acting commander of the Texas State Guard after Major General Bodisch (right) recently retired after 33 years of service.  

AUSTIN, Texas – On Sunday, October 31st, as dignitaries, officials of the Texas Military Department (TMD), and members of the Texas State Guard’s (TXSG) 6th Brigade and Headquarters Company toasted newly retired Major General Robert J. Bodisch, Sr. at a reception at Camp Mabry, a poignant moment took place outside an empty office at Building 32, TXSG Headquarters.  Amid dimmed lights, without fanfare or audience, a lone State Guardsman carefully and quietly removed a plaque by the door reading “MG BODISCH”. In its place went up a new plaque: “BG WOODS”.


Just a few minutes earlier, Bodisch’s retirement as Commander of the TXSG was celebrated on Camp Mabry parade field with a full-color guard, a final ceremonial inspection of the troops (accompanied by Major General Tracy Norris, Texas Adjutant General and Commander of Texas Military Forces), and congratulatory remarks from Norris. Also in attendance were Stephen McCraw, Director and Colonel of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas State Representatives Cecil Bell, and Phil King (both TXSG service members), past Commanders of the TXSG, TXSG officers from across the state, as well as friends and members of the Bodisch family.


“I can’t thank you enough for your service to Texas.”, Bodisch said in brief farewell remarks to the TXSG forces. “You epitomize ‘Texans Serving Texans’, and you exemplify our motto, ‘Equal to the Task’.”


Bodisch was appointed Commanding General of the TXSG in 2018 by Governor Greg Abbott.  A veteran of the US Marine Corps, Bodisch’s 45-year career in law enforcement and criminal justice included two tours of duty in Iraq with the Department of Justice International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program. Bodisch also served as Deputy Director and Chief of Staff for the Texas Department of Public Safety, which included responsibility for Texas Homeland Security.  He received the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Civilian Service Commendation Medal in 2005, and the U.S. Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal in 2007 for service in Iraq. Bodisch holds a Master Peace Officer license with over 6800 hours of law enforcement education and training, a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from the University of Houston, and a master’s degree in quality systems management from the National Graduate School in Falmouth, Massachusetts.


Bodisch joined the TXSG in 1988.  His many years rising through the ranks of the TXSG prepared him well for what would be a transformative and historic 3-year term as Commanding General.  In that role, Bodisch emphasized training with an overhaul of professional military education, a top-to-bottom review and overhaul of regulations and policies, and a reorganization and streamlining of the organization, aligning brigades with the Texas Emergency Management map, capable of rapidly mobilizing ‘mission ready’ specialist teams anywhere in the state.  Bodisch transitioned the TXSG into a common uniform, significantly increased the Chaplain Corps, developed a casualty notification and Casualty Assistance Program, a wellness program, a performance evaluation program, a dispute resolution program, a history unit, four new TXSG service awards, and enhanced training for search and rescue. Bodisch bolstered dive teams and boat rescue teams, the TXSG recruiting program, and a professional public affairs section.


Bodisch led the TXSG through a historic period of deployment, logging over 80,000 Service member days – numbers not seen since World War II. Deployments included tropical weather events, a tornado, civil disturbance, medical and border missions, as well as COVID-19 response.

Maj. General Bodisch is married to Charisse Canfield of Longview, Texas and has four sons: Robert, Jr., currently serving in the U.S. Marine Corps; Kenneth, recently retired from the U.S. Marine Corps and currently working with FEMA; James, who works for Tango in Austin; and Joseph, an engineer with Anheuser-Busch.

Governor Abbott has not yet appointed a replacement as permanent Commanding General, but the Guard will be led in the interim by a respected, experienced leader with distinguished federal and state military service who well knows the needs of Texas, cares deeply about TXSG soldiers, and has a deep appreciation for the reputation of the TXSG as the pre-eminent State Guard force in the nation.


The Texas Adjutant General, Major General Tracy Norris has appointed Brigadier General Anthony Woods as acting Texas State Guard Commander.

Woods’ resume includes several leadership positions in 1st Battalion 112th Armor, Dallas, including Battalion Executive Officer during Operation Noble Eagle (the first deployment of troops to protect America’s infrastructure from Terrorist attacks after 9-11). In 2005, Woods became the first African American Commander of the 1st Battalion, 112th Armor, leading his unit in the first American training exercise in the country of Romania after the fall of the Soviet Union. In 2006, Woods served as Deputy Commander for Operation Jump Start (OJS), an initiative started by President Bush to secure the Southwest border.  He also served as the Deputy Commander of the Joint Interagency Task Force (JI-A-TF).  Woods commanded the 136th Combined Arms Training Regiment in 2010, leading it to be awarded the Institution of Excellence by the Army Training and Doctrine Command.  In 2012, Woods deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, as the Task Force Commander of the Security Force Agency Task Force (S-FAT).

Since 2015, Woods has served in various positions with the State Guard, most recently as Deputy Commanding General.

As a former Dallas Police Officer and Special Agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Woods served in the Los Angeles Field Division before moving to the Houston Field Division Waco Resident Office in 1999.  In 2005, Woods transferred to the Houston office where he served on several High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area teams (HIDTA) before moving to the technical group. Woods retired from the DEA in June 2018.

Woods is married to Cecilia (formerly Durham) of Dallas, Texas, and they have seven children.  Tony, a graduate of Tarleton State University; Amanda and Christen both graduates from Sam Houston State University; Dalton, a graduate of North Texas State University; Ciara, a medical assistant student at the College of Health Care Professionals; David is in the United States Air Force station in Alaska; and Daniel is a Senior at Lamar University. The Woods have one grandson, Marcellus Marquise Pullom.

Brig. Gen. Woods earned a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Texas Christian University and an M.S. Degree from the United States Army War College.

In the military, such transitions are sometimes referred to as a “changing of the guard”. But Woods has made clear that his plans for the immediate future are to sustain the momentum established by his predecessor: a remarkable trajectory for which former TXSG Commanding General Bodisch will long be remembered.

The mission of the Texas State Guard is to provide mission-ready forces to assist state and local authorities in times of state emergencies; to conduct homeland security and community service activities under the umbrella of Defense Support to Civil Authorities, and to augment the Texas Army National Guard and Texas Air National Guard as required.

The Texas Military Department is commanded by the Adjutant General of Texas, the state’s senior military official appointed by the governor, and is comprised of the Office of State Administration (formerly the Office of the Executive Director), the Texas Army National Guard (TXARNG), the Texas Air National Guard (TXANG) and the Texas State Guard (TXSG).

Source: Texas State Guard – Texas Military Department

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