Friday, May 8, 2009

Oregon's Adjutant General salutes the members of the 41st IBCT as they deploy to Iraq

Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees, The Adjutant General, Oregon National Guard

The mobilization of the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team is well underway. This mighty brigade has successfully completed an arduous training session at Camp Roberts, Calif. and four mobilization ceremonies from Portland to Central Point. The brigade is now transitioning to Fort Stewart, Ga., and is undergoing its final tune-up before heading overseas.

Col. Dan Hokanson and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Storm have a great team of veterans and first-time deployers. The leadership from brigade commander to squad leader is as strong and accomplished as I have seen in my four decades of service.

Annual training in California enabled the Jungleers to iron out relationships created by moving from rear organization to that required in Iraq. It also helped before deployment by integrating five companies from the National Guard of Delaware, Nebraska, New Mexico and South Carolina.

No greater evidence of their success could be given than the magnificent sunrise Australia and New Zealand Army Corps Day ceremony conducted April 25. Everyone present was awestruck by the professional manner in which today’s heroes honored those of the past.

This is not only the success of the 41st but of a host of dedicated elements. Oregon Joint Force Headquarters, the California Guard, active duty advisors and trainers, Oregon Air Guard and 82nd Brigade personnel all contributed to this world-class training.

Logisticians labored twenty-four hours a day to support the troops. Trainers provided extraordinary experience on tactics, techniques, and procedures that will assure battlefield success. Everyone willingly shared the burden knowing that these eager soldiers would benefit when they were in harm’s way.

I want to specifically thank Col. Todd Plimpton and the 82nd Brigade for sending over 200 volunteers to help fill the 41st Brigade. Additionally, I want to thank Col. Robert Mouw and his logisticians man the “best seen to date” rapid fielding initiative issue sites. Col. Michael Dunn and Col. William Gutheim also managed MEDCOM elements spectacularly in facing myriad medical readiness issues.

We can all be proud of this team effort. The 41st IBCT will represent us well. We wish them Godspeed. But now, we must turn to each other; Army and Air Guard, officer, warrant, and NCO and face the fact that we have many important tasks before us here in Oregon.

Now, more than ever, every Oregon National Guard member here at home must be personally and professionally ready because 2,700 of our finest won’t be in our borders until April 2010. Link arms and lean into the wind.

Thanks for our past success. Thanks for the confidence and courage you demonstrate as we deal with the challenges of the next 12 months.

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