Saturday, August 29, 2009

Oregon National Guard members take part in Oregon State Fair

Chief Warrant Officer Ashley Alexander conducts the 234th Army Band during a combined concert with Pink Martini at the Oregon State Fair on June 28, 2009. The concert titled “Oregon! Oregon!” celebrated Oregon’s 150 years of statehood and the proud legacy the Oregon National Guard represents. (U.S. Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Kevin Hartman, Oregon Military Department, Public Affairs)


The Oregon National Guard's 234 Army Band kicked off the start of the Oregon State Fair yesterday evening, playing "Oregon! Oregon!" with Portland band, Pink Martini.

Then around noon today, a Joint Force Color Guard, led by the Adjutant General's Select Honor Guard, led a Tribute to Veterans Parade through the fairgrounds.

In the parade were a number of military vehicles, past and present. Before the parade kicked off, fair goers were treated to a flyover by two F-15 Eagle fighter jets from the Oregon Air National Guard's 142nd Fighter Wing, and a 21-gun salute conducted by the Oregon Army National Guard's 2-218 Field Artillery.

Admission to the Oregon State Fair was free for all military members with a valid ID, for both Friday and Saturday. Tonight, the Adjutant General's Select Honor Guard kicks off the USO-style dance from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Military equipment will be on display for public viewing through Sunday.

The Oregon State Fair runs through Sept. 7. For more information, or to see the schedule of events, visit their official site, here.


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

Friday, August 28, 2009

A moment of silence for our fellow soldiers in Iraq

...

It was announced today that two members of the Oregon Army National Guard were killed today in Iraq, and at least a third wounded during an incident in eastern Baghdad.

The names of the injured have not been released pending notification of family members.

Our hearts and prayers go out to all the soldiers of the Oregon National Guard in this time of sorrow.


NC

Oregon National Guard members participate in annual Hood to Coast Relay Race

Members of the Oregon Army National Guard’s Hood to Coast team, “Dirty Dogs & Bodacious Babes”, await the arrival of one of their team members at a checkpoint near Zigzag, Ore., on Aug. 28. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy, Oregon National Guard Public Affairs Office).


Today, two teams from the Oregon National Guard took part in the annual Hood to Coast Relay Race, which started at Timberline Lodge, on Mt. Hood.

Both teams were comprised of approximately 24 citizen-soldiers and citizen-airmen. The Oregon Air National Guard team is named "Blue Thunder", while the Oregon Army National Guard team is named "Dirty Dogs & Bodacious Babes".

“I do this for the camaraderie and to support my teammates,” said Oregon Air National Guard Lt. Col. Craig J. Fery.

Fery, who is the commander of the 142nd Fighter Wing’s Civil Engineering Squadron in Portland, Ore., began his leg of the race just before noon. He walked to the starting line as his fellow airmen cheered him on.

About 30 minutes earlier, Sgt. Maj. James Martichuski kicked off the day for the Oregon Army Guard team. He later said his section of the race, which also started at Timberline Lodge, and ended at Government Camp—a steep downhill distance of just over five miles—was relatively easy.

“What an awesome race, with awesome people,” Martichuski said.

Sgt. 1st Class Austin Robbins, of HHC 1249th Engineer Battalion, who was scheduled to run the fifth leg of the race, said he loves long-distance running.

“I like to get out and represent my fellow Guardsmen,” Robbins said. “I love doing this because it boosts my morale and boosts the morale of my fellow soldiers.”

Just before the Oregon Guard members started their portion of the race, they learned of the deaths of two of their fellow citizen-soldiers in Iraq. Most members shared Robbins’ idea to dedicate their race to all their fellow Guard members serving overseas, but especially to their two fallen comrades.

“Today’s news gives a major significance to what we’re doing here,” Robbins said.

He added that last year when he ran the Portland Marathon, he wrote on his shirt the names of those Oregon National Guard members who had been killed in action.

“Had I known the names of the soldiers this morning, I would have done the same thing today,” Robbins added.

About 60 Oregon Army National Guard members who are stationed in Iraq are running a similar distanced race at their bases in Iraq. Among them is the brigade chaplain, and the 41 Infantry Brigade Combat Team commander, Col. Dan Hokanson. Read all about the story by Julie Sullivan of the Oregonian, here.

Runners from the two Oregon teams are scheduled to arrive on the Oregon coast sometime tomorrow.


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

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Upcoming events calendar: It's going to be a busy weekend!

Wow!

Just took a look at the schedule of upcoming events and there's a LOT happening with the Oregon National Guard this weekend and into the coming weeks. Here's a rundown of the really cool and exciting events coming your way...


2009 Hood to Coast Run: Aug. 28

This year, two teams from the Oregon National Guard compete in the annual Hood to Coast run. The Oregon Air National Guard has 12 runners from the 142nd Fighter Wing, with their team "Blue Thunder", while the Oregon Army National Guard has 12 runners from various units throughout the ORARNG, with their team "Dirty Dogs & Bodacious Babes". Don't ask.

Both teams start on Mount Hood tomorrow just before Noon. Blue Thunder fires up the after-burners at 11:45 a.m., while the "Dogs & Babes" start barking and being bodacious at 11:55 a.m. Come on out to support your fellow citizen-soldiers and airmen while they huff and puff their way to the Oregon coast!

Follow your favorite teams, or check in with the online updates at their official website, here. Yours truly will be there tomorrow, doing live updates from the starting line! Follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/OregonGuard, and be sure to follow our hashtag: #ornghood2coast


2009 Oregon International Air Show: Aug. 28-30

A Portland tradition kicks off this weekend as the annual Oregon International Air Show takes flight. This year, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will dazzle crowds with their high-flying maneuvers, and the Oregon Air National Guard's 142nd Fighter Wing will be on hand with their F-15 Eagle fighter jets to open the show on Saturday and on Sunday.

For more information, visit the Oregon International Air Show website, here.


Northwest Art & Air Show: Aug. 28-30

Happening in Albany, Oregon, also known as the ATI Wah Chang Art & Air Festival, this annual event was nominated as the "best in budget class" for events, and according to Wikipedia, averages over 40,000 visitors each year. This year, the 142nd Fighter Wing will feature a flyover of their F-15 Fighter jets on Aug. 29.

The event will be held at the Timber Linn Park and at the Albany Municipal Airport in Albany, Ore. For more information, visit the official website, here.


Oregon State Fair: Aug. 28-30

Bigger than ever because of Oregon's 150th birthday celebration, this year's state fair promises to be a memorable one.

This year, the Oregon National Guard's 234 Army Band will accompany Portland band Pink Martini on the main stage Aug. 28 for "Oregon! Oregon!" Military members with valid ID's will get in free all weekend.

A joint-force color guard will be featured on Aug. 29, as will a formation of F-15 Eagle fighter jets from the 142nd Fighter Wing as they do a flyover during the Veterans Appreciation Parade at Noon.

For more information, and to see a schedule of events for the fair, check out their official website, here.


Homefront Heroes Event: Aug. 29

Any family member of a deployed soldier knows how tough things can be sometimes. The Oregon National Guard program known as Homefront Heroes aims to ease some of the burden by providing a relaxing, safe, and fun event for the spouses and children of deployed servicemembers.

Today's event at Cook Park in Tigard, Oregon gets underway at 4:00 p.m. If you hurry you can still make it. But don't despair... another event is on the horizon.

On Aug. 29, at 11:00 a.m., another Homefront Heroes event is scheduled at Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch in Bend, Ore. The event promises to be a great time, with fun, food, games, and activities geared toward building friendships and networks between family members of deployed military servicemembers.

For more information on this event, contact Sgt. Jonathan Steinmann at 503-449-1040, or via e-mail at: doc.steinmann@ng.army.mil.


Oregon Symphony Summer Concert Series: Sept. 3

The Oregon Symphony and the Oregon Army National Guard's 2-218 Field Artillery will partner during a free outdoor concert on Thursday, Sept. 3, at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland, Ore.

The Oregon Symphony will perform Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, with support from members of the 2-218 Field Artillery. And since they're playing the 1812 Overture, by support, I would imagine they mean HOWITZERS!

Come early... seating on the grass may be limited. The Portland Taiko Drummers begin at 4:30 p.m., with the Portland Youth Philharmonic starting at 5:00 p.m. The Oregon Symphony and the 2-218 FA will start at 7:00 p.m.

Concertgoers are encouraged to donate school supplies for use in Portland Public Schools. Volunteers from the Portland non-profit, Schoolhouse Supplies will be on hand accepting donations.

If you want a "booming" fun time, don't forget to mark your calendars for this one! (Don't forget your earplugs). For more information, please visit the Oregon Symphony's website, here.


Whatever you and your family choose to enjoy this weekend, please make it a safe and happy one. I fly off to work for a month with the National Guard Bureau starting this Sunday, but I leave you in the very capable hands of Sgt. Eric Rutherford. Take care of yourselves and each other.

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

Oregon National Guard soldiers: A pictorial essay

Freelance photographer Justin King, who is embedded with soldiers of the Oregon Army National Guard's 41 Infantry Brigade Combat Team, just published several photos of the soldiers conducting missions in Iraq.

Here are a few of his photos.

To see the rest, visit the BBC News website here.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

VFW opens new post in Tualatin today

This morning, the Veterans of Foreign Wars dedicated a new VFW post in Tualatin. The new facility replaces post 3452, which was recently torn down.

The event was attended by several representatives from city, state, and local government. The Oregon National Guard participated with a color guard from the 82 Brigade.

Gone is the smoky, dingy pre-WWII-era clubhouse that used to occupy the space on Boones Ferry Road in Tualatin. Replacing it is a bright and airy hall, with an interior that rivals many urban coffee shops. The goal, say VFW spokespeople, is to draw in younger military members.

The building is named for Tualatin native, Marine Cpl. Matthew Lembke, who died six weeks ago from wounds he sustained in Afghanistan. To read the story on Lembke, visit the Iraqi War Heroes page, here.

To read more about the new facility, read the Oregonian story here.


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

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Local Portland business owner donates comic books to deployed Oregon soldiers

Above: Bridge City Comics owner, Michael Ring, loads donated comic books into pre-paid postage boxes for shipment overseas to Oregon soldiers stationed in Iraq.

What does Superman have in common with Oregon soldiers?

Besides the ability to leap over buildings in a single bound, if Michael Ring has anything to do with it, they will soon have a lot in common.

Inspired by a long-time customer who would buy an "extra" comic book for his buddy who is in the 2-162 Infantry Battalion, Ring thought he'd take things a step further.

As the owner of Bridge City Comics, Ring decided to ask his customers to donate comic books so he could send them overseas to deployed Oregon soldiers. The response was so overwhelming, Oregon's citizen-soldiers will soon see thousands of comic books arrive on their doorstep in Iraq.

"The 'Comics for the Troops' drive was very popular with my customers," Ring said. "We've got several thousand comics that I want to send to members of the Oregon National Guard stationed in Iraq."

Ring said he didn't want any publicity for his donation, so when a local television station showed up to do a story on his philanthropic undertaking, he was a bit taken aback. However, Ring figured the story might inspire others to donate, and possibly help defer the cost to ship the comics overseas.

"On second thought, it would be great if it would help me garner donations to aid in paying for postage to get the boxes out in a timely manner," Ring said.

If you would like to donate comic books to Michael Ring, who will forward them overseas, contact him at his shop. He is located at 3725 N. Mississippi Ave., in Portland, Ore. You can also visit him on the Internet at: http://www.bridgecitycomics.com/.

If you would like to see the KGW News Channel 8 report on Ring's "Comics for Troops", go here.


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

U.S. Army approves five new campaign streamers

Campaign streamers have a long-standing traditional significance within military history. Streamers recognize the contributions of Army units and their soldiers, and become an integral part of a unit's lineage and honors. Campaign streamers are placed on official Army flags, unit colors and guidons.

The Army has performed heroically in combat since 2001, for Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. A total of five campaigns are now closed and those streamers are currently available to replace the previous two streamers. Commands that are authorized the U.S. Army Flag can now requisition these replacement streamers.

Other eligible units that have already received their Campaign Participation Credit (CPC), must request their appropriate streamers for placement on their colors. Units which have already received a streamer, may contact the Military Awards Branch directly, via e-mail, at: hrcawards@conus.army.mil.
For units who have not yet received a streamer, please contact the Oregon State Military Historian, Mrs. Chris Allen, at 503-584-2277, or via e-mail at: christian.allen@us.army.mil.

The Army will now issue, as requested, to eligible units, the following named campaign streamers:

Operation Enduring Freedom - replacement streamers
1. Liberation of Afghanistan - Sept. 11, 2001 to Nov. 30, 2001
2. Consolidation I - Dec. 1, 2001 to Sept. 30, 2006

Operation Iraqi Freedom - replacement streamers
1. Liberation of Iraq - Mar. 19, 2003 to May 1, 2003
2. Transition of Iraq - May 2, 2003 to June 28, 2004
3. Iraqi Governance - June 29, 2004 to Dec. 16, 2005

For more information, or to view the campaign streamer application guidelines, please visit the U.S. Army's "Stand-To" page, here.


Posted 8/25/09

For Sale: Cottage Grove Armory


Yours for only $760,000.

The Oregon Military Department has put up the 33,080 square-foot building, in addition to the nearly half-acre parcel the structure now sits on, up for sale.

We blogged about the closing of the facility in a post in February. Read about it here.

The building is located at 628 West Washington Ave., in Cottage Grove.

The sale of the building follows the completion of construction at the Lane County Armed Forces Reserve Center in Springfield. The new facility is home to the 2nd Infantry, 162nd Battalion and the 141 Brigade Support Battalion.

The Cottage Grove Armory was built in 1931. The property is located in the historic section of the city.

The OMD is accepting property proposals until 4:00 p.m., Sept. 20. An initial payment of 10-percent is expected with each proposal.

For more information, or to submit a bid, please contact Arthur Arroyo at the Oregon Military Department, at 503-584-3494.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tucker memorial came about through a town's love of their son


With Oregonians involved in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, war memorials dedicated to Oregonians aren't a new subject.

But what was particularly noteworthy about the memorial unveiled in Friendship Park in Madras, Ore., yesterday honoring Pfc. Thomas Tucker, was how the memorial came about.

According to Holly Van Wert, the Director of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, students from Madras High School initiated the drive to build the memorial.

Students organized the drive, raised funding, and coordinated the design of the memorial, which depicts Tucker in his uniform, reaching out to a young Iraqi girl who is cowering amid the rubble of war. (See above photo)

During the ceremony, WWII veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, Bob Maxwell, summed up the design of the memorial succinctly; "The true heart of the soldier is depicted here," he said.

Maxwell went on to say that while the soldier is sworn to protect the values of his country, he is also there to "preserve life, and to provide solace."

Van Wert said the students at Madras High School didn't want the statue to represent just one person, but rather, it represents all who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of freedom throughout the world, she said.

Fitting that the love of one of Madras' sons, given so freely for his country, would be given back to all veterans tenfold by an entire town.

Here is a video report by television station KTVZ:


Posted by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy,
Oregon National Guard Social Media Manager
Photo by Sgt. Eric Rutherford,
Oregon National Guard Public Affairs Office

Friday, August 14, 2009

We live in interesting (social media) times

Indeed.

Last year the Air Force came barreling out of the gate on Oct. 1, launching several social media tools and Internet Sites devoted to Web. 2.0. Falling under their newly-formed department, New & Emerging Digital Technology, The U.S.A.F. led the way in all things social media.

Not to be outdone, the Department of Defense had been busy building a robust social media initiative, complete with their own (and very popular) DoD Blog, their own YouTube channel, and a model program called "The Blogger's Roundtable", which is also broadcast on Pentagon Web Radio.

Other services have been developing their own social media sites. The U.S. Navy has a very strong presence on YouTube, as does the U.S. Coast Guard. The Commandant of the Coast Guard started his own blog this past summer, and the Army have ventured into blogs and other social media sites.

Here in Oregon, a social media program was launched in January 2009, which included an official Facebook page, a YouTube page, a Flickr photo page, and the blog you see here. On April 30, the Oregon National Guard launched its official Twitter page.

Last week, several commercial news agencies reported that the Marines had banned access for their members to all social media sites. The news caused a shudder across the military and the DoD. It appeared, on the surface, that any progress that had been made may be in jeopardy.

The DoD then pushed forward with writing their official social media policy. Those documents are scheduled to be released on Sept. 30. The Departments of the Air Force and Army issued memorandums to their members which basically said, "don't stop what you're doing, but stay tuned for changes."

Now it appears the reports of the Marines' ban of social media access was wrong. In a radio interview with Federal News Radio, NextGov reporter Bob Brewin says the erroneous report was based on misinterpretation of military documents by news agencies.

As a matter of fact, Brewin said in the interview, the Marines "encourage" participation in the world of social media by their members--going as far as stating so on their official webpage.

Moreover, the DoD has launched a feedback forum to gather opinion on the importance and validity of social media. You can visit that site here. They also have a blog which helps guide DoD members and family members through the tricky world of social media. You can find that blog here.

About two weeks ago, I was asked by the National Guard Bureau to come to Washington D.C. to assist with their social media program. I will be working closely with their Chief of New Media, Mr. Rick Breitenfeldt. I look forward to the opportunity, and hope to leverage some of the policy I helped draft for the Air Force last summer to assist NGB in any way I can.

By the way, NGB is very supportive of engaging audiences via social media channels, according to this article, recently published on their official site.

While I'm away, you can expect the same quality information and news (and blog posts) across our entire Oregon National Guard social media spectrum. My esteemed colleague, Army Sgt. Eric Rutherford, will be my stand-in while I'm gone. He will start posting blogs here next Monday.

With the various services busy drafting and issuing their official policy, and the DoD working on over-arching guidance and policy of their own, the next 45 days will prove to be a very interesting time for military public affairs, how we tell our stories online, and specifically, how we communicate via social media channels.


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

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wrestling for URLs?

A couple of days ago, a post on the milblogging.com website was brought to my attention by a colleage at the National Guard Bureau.

It stated that the National Guard was in the process of launching their social media program, and had secured several vanity URLs, to include the moniker "National Guard" for their Facebook and Flickr pages. Good for them! You can read the post for yourself here.

But the blog post also stated that Oregon had beaten them to the punch by taking "The National Guard" as a URL for our Twitter page. Not so.

See for yourself: http://twitter.com/OregonGuard.

I thought it was funny that the blog mentioned the Oregon National Guard, and that we had "beat them to it". I mean, we all know we're number one, right?

In the comment I left for them, I volunteered to send to Washington D.C. a few Oregon soldiers who have mastered the art of combatives to battle for the URLs they want. Anyone want to sign up for that TDY?


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

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Oregon Army National Guard Engineer unit to deploy to Afghanistan

As 3,000 Oregon soldiers settle in to their duty in Iraq, the Oregon National Guard is preparing to send another group to the Middle East.

Ninety-five soldiers from the Oregon Army National Guard's 162 Engineer Company, 1249 Engineer Battalion, based in Dallas, Ore., are scheduled to begin a 400-day deployment to Aghanistan, after completing pre-mobilization training at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin in November 2009.

The deployment will be the first for the unit. The soldiers will be tasked with route clearance missions. They will deploy alongside the 204 Engineer Company from Washington State.

The unit's commander, Capt. Bob Baca, said his soldiers are excited for the opportunity to represent the state of Oregon, and the Oregon National Guard.

"I truly believe that these soldiers represent some of the best that Oregon has to offer, and we look forward to the challenge presented to us."


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

Military spouses eligible for up to $6,000 in education financial assistance

The Department of Defense has expanded the Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts program to include up to $6,000 in financial assistance for military spouses who are pursuing degree programs, or professional licenses which lead to employment in portable career fields.

The program pays for expenses such as education and training, tuition, licensing and credentialing fees for associates, bachelors, masters, and doctoral programs). It also covers continuing education classes, fees to take bar, CPA, medical and state teacher certification exams.

Spouses of active duty DoD members, and activated members of the National Guard and Reserves are eligible. The dates of eligibility for qualified individuals extends from the date of the Alert or Warning Order for Military Recall or Mobilization, through activation and deployment, until 180 days beyond demobilization.

Spouses of DoD members who are severely injured, wounded, or killed in action are also eligible. Spouses who are themselves active duty members or activated members of the National Guard or Reserve are not eligible for the program.

For more information, or to establish an account on MyCAA, go to: https://aiportal.acc.af.mil/mycaa


Posted Aug. 11, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Access for military members to social media sites: DoD contemplates limiting, restricting access

There has been a LOT of discussion on news and military websites, and in blogs about the military and the use of social media.

What's at stake here is your access to pertinent and interesting information about Oregon's citizen-soldiers and citizen-airmen, as well as the ability for Oregon National Guard members to keep in touch with family and friends while they're deployed.

What do you think about the possibility of the Department of Defense shutting down or limiting access of soldiers and airmen to Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other social media sites?

Sound off, and share your thoughts with DoD officials, or post them here in the comments section. The DoD has set up a blog... follow this link to read and comment.

To read the entire article on the issue, go here.


Posted by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy,
Oregon Military Department Social Media Manager

Monday, August 10, 2009

Oregon servicemembers' personal data may have been compromised by government laptop theft

Some Oregon Army National Guard members may be at risk for identity theft, warns Guard officials.

About 131,000 former and current Army Guard members could be affected by the data loss, which occurred July 27 when a personal laptop owned by an Army Guard contractor was stolen, said Randy Noller, a spokesman for the National Guard Bureau.

The stolen laptop contained personal information on soldiers enrolled in the Army National Guard Bonus and Incentives Program. The type of data includes names, Social Security Numbers, incentive payment amounts and payment dates.

The Army Guard will inform those Guard members who are determined to be impacted by the incident by mailing a letter to them, Noller said.

He added that notification of all individuals should be completed by next week.

The National Guard Bureau has set up a special Web page at http://www.ng.mil, and the Army Guard will have a toll-free center available from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Friday, beginning Aug. 5.

They have also set up a hotline for callers who have questions or concerns. That number is 1-877-481-4957. Both the Web page and the hotline contain up-to-date news and information on the data compromise.

The Web site also provides steps on how to check credit reports, how to guard against identity theft and who to call if a Guard member believes any fraudulent activity occurs with his or her personal information.


Posted on Aug. 10, 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009

Oregon Air National Guard’s Security Forces Squadron returns from duty in Iraq

142nd Security Forces Squadron pose for a photo at Forward Operating Base Warrior/Kirkuk Air Base, in Northern Iraq. The group spent six months there participating in base and checkpoint security.

Members of the Oregon Air National Guard are scheduled to return to Oregon later today, following a six-month deployment to Iraq.

Twenty nine airmen from the 142nd Security Forces Squadron will arrive on four separate commercial flights into the Portland International Airport starting at approximately 1:00 p.m. today.

The airmen were tasked with base and checkpoint security, as well as checking credentials for all personnel entering Kirkuk Air Base in Northern Iraq. They conducted almost 20,000 miles of mounted patrols in and around the base, and endured 15 rocket attacks and more than 100 incidents of small-arms fire.

During their deployment, 26 individual pieces of unexploded ordnance were located and disposed of safely.

The airmen hail from the cities of Portland, Tigard, Corvallis, Florence, Camas and Vancouver WA, Cornelius, Gresham, Warren, beaverton, Eugene, Dallas, Salem, Lowell, and Deary Idaho.

A demobilization ceremony for the unit's members is planned for early November.

Welcome home... job well done!


Posted by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy,
Oregon Military Department Social Media Manager

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Army's Humvee: Traversing the long and winding road of developing the military's light vehicle


During today's stroll through the Internet, I came across a really interesting story about the evolution of the Army's light vehicle, from the Jeep of post-WWII fame all the way up to today's MRAP, which stands for Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected Vehicle.

Check out the article here.

The article also contains a number of really great pictures of the various vehicles the Army has used over the years. One is of a prototype developed by Lamborghini, just prior to the Humvee.

Can you imagine our soldiers driving around in Lamborghini SUV's?


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

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Miss Oregon 2009 tours Portland Air National Guard Base

Members of the 142nd Fighter Wing's Explosine Ordinance Disposal unit pose with Miss Oregon 2009, CC Barber, and one of the EOD robots, named "Wallie," during Barber's tour of the Portland Air National Guard Base, Aug. 4. Barber was crowned Miss Oregon last month. She spent the day meeting with members of the Oregon Air National Guard, as well as touring the base. Pictured from left to right: Chief Master Sgt. Marc Savy, Master Sgt. Brian Wade, Tech. Sgt. Jeffery Sadler, Miss Oregon 2009 CC Barber, Capt. Christopher Velat and Airman 1st Class Levi Zachary.

Airmen at the Portland Air National Guard Base in Portland, Ore., hosted the newly-crowned Miss Oregon yesterday.

CC Barber, 22, of Scappoose, Ore., who was crowned Miss Oregon on July 18, at the Miss Oregon Scholarship Pageant in Seaside, toured units at the 142nd Fighter Wing. She arrived with her official escort and publicist around 1:00 p.m., Tuesday.

She toured the Fighter Wing Flight Operations, Life Support and maintenance shops, base security forces, the new firehouse, the explosive ordnance disposal shop, and the 125th Special Tactics Squadron. Barber was also able to sit inside the cockpit of an F-15 Eagle.
"Before today, I had no idea what went on here at (the base), but now I have a whole new understanding of the Air Force here and what you guys do to protect us 24 hours a day," Barber said.

Barber graduated from Scappoose High School as a varsity athlete with an honors diploma in 2005. She is in her final semester at Samuel Merritt University as a nursing student, and hopes to continue on to receive a Bachelor Degree in nursing with a concentration in neonatology.

Miss Oregon 2009, CC Barber, is shown the cockpit of one of the F-15 Eagles at the Oregon Air National Guard's 142nd Fighter Wing, from pilot, Capt. Josh Hovanas, during Barber's visit to the Portland Air National Guard Base in Portland, Ore., Aug. 4, 2009.

The 142nd Fighter Wing is located at the Portland Air National Guard Base in Portland, Ore. Approximately 1,000 airmen at the wing are tasked with the Air Sovereignty Alert Mission and the airspace security over the Pacific Northwest region.


Posted by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy,
Oregon Military Department Social Media Manager

Monday, August 3, 2009

Oregon Air National Guard promotes four airmen to Chief Master Sergeant

Above: Chief Master Sergeants of the Oregon Air National Guard stand behind newly-promoted chiefs (from left to right); John M. Crawford, Jimmie L. Samuels, Timothy L. Gilbert, and Monte D. Page, as Brig. Gen. Bruce W. Prunk (far right), addresses the audience following the official promotion ceremony at the Portland Air National Guard Base, Aug. 2. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs Office).


The Oregon Air National Guard promoted four individuals to the rank of Chief Master Sergeant during their training weekend at the Portland Air National Guard Base, Aug. 2.

Promoted to the rank of E-9 were; Senior Master Sgts. John M. Crawford, Jimmie L. Samuels, Timothy L. Gilbert, and Monte D. Page.

The afternoon ceremony was attended by about 120 fellow airmen and family members.

Brig. Gen. Bruce W. Prunk, Commander of the Oregon Air National Guard, highlighted their collective contributions to the unit, and to the state of Oregon. He said the four embody the core values of the United States Air Force and the Oregon National Guard.

Of the four airmen, three will remain at the Portland Air National Guard Base. Page will depart for a four-year tour at the National Guard Bureau starting Sept. 1.


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

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Oregon bids farewell to one of their first African-American guard members

Left: Earl Winchester married Virginia Augmon in 1941. In 1978 they attended the Links Starlight Cotillion at which their daughter was a debutante.

Back in February, the Oregon National Guard honored one of their first African-American members, Master Sgt. (Ret.) Earl Henry Winchester, who joined the Oregon Army National Guard in 1955.

Winchester was invited to the Oregon National Guard's headquarters in Salem, Ore., as part of the organization's observation of African-American Heritage Month.

I had a chance to meet Mr. Winchester, and conduct an interview for the story and blog post I wrote. He was as humble as they come, and at 87 years of age, still beamed with pride for his 32 years of sacrifice and service to his state and to his nation.

You can read all about his visit to the Oregon National Guard's headquarters, here.

Last weekend, a number of Oregonians, including former and current members of the Oregon National Guard, paid tribute to Winchester once again. But this time the tribute came as a final farewell.

According to long-time coworker and friend of Winchester, Col. (Ret.) Warren W. Aney, Winchester's memorial service was "very moving and appropriate," with singing by the choir from Winchester's church, and attendance by his son, Peter.

Aney gave a brief statement at the ceremony, honoring Winchester's National Guard service. He said an African-American enlisted woman from Joint Force Headquarters told the gathering what Winchester's service meant to her.

During that interview I did with Mr. Winchester, he said something which may continue to resonate long after the flowers wilt in front of his headstone;

"If you believe in yourself, then you can be somebody that others believe in."

Mr. Winchester, thank you for setting an example we can follow. We will always believe in you.

You can read all about Master Sgt. (Ret.) Earl H. Winchester's life in a story by The Oregonian's Joan Harvey, which includes a photo album of Winchester's life and service to community and nation. Follow this link here.



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