Friday, May 29, 2009

Training is a dangerous endeavor, but worth it

Photo courtesy of United States Coast Guard

Late today, six members of the Oregon National Guard who were training in the Columbia River were rescued by the United States Coast Guard after their boat overturned. The cause of the mishap is under investigation.

The Oregon National Guard's motto is "Always Ready, Always There". But in order to be ready, we must also train. And training is not without risk.

Emergency Medical Technicians constantly train. There have been numerous times when the Portland Fire Bureau takes junked cars out to their training facility in North Portland, so they can practice using the "Jaws of Life". Their training will come in handy during some holiday weekend when they may have to cut the roof off an accident victim's car in order to save their life.

Recently, the Salem SWAT team trained at Camp Rilea (see our May 6 blog post here). If there is ever a situation where their skills are necessary to save the life of a hostage victim, a lot of people will be glad they took the time to train.

Members of the United States Coast Guard are constantly training. Coast Guard pilots fly numerous training sorties to keep their skills razor sharp. Rescue swimmers brave the frigid waters in Puget Sound so if they ever had to conduct a real-world rescue in rough water, they'd be prepared.

To think that any of this training is not without risk is unrealistic.

When the U.S. Coast Guard showed up to rescue their "brothers in arms" on the Columbia River Bar today, and all six Oregon Guardmembers walked away, I'm sure there was a collective sigh of relief. But the success of that rescue goes back to the training.

Thankfully, "Coasties" also risk their lives training to rescue others. They were there for us when something happened, and it's a pretty sure bet we'll be there for someone else when they need us.

As Capt. Stephen Bomar said, "This is a great example of military services looking out for each other."

The Oregon National Guard has been instrumental in search and rescue missions throughout our state. The most notable occurred in 2002, where Oregon Guardmembers ended up rescuing the rescuers when an Air Force Reserve Pavehawk helicopter crashed while attempting to pull injured climbers off the mountain.

The success of that mission, and the many other rescue missions which have involved the Oregon National Guard (and the lives of the people they save) is owed 100-percent to training--regardless of the dangers.


Posted by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy,
Oregon National Guard Social Media Manager

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