Monday, November 30, 2009

Oregonians won't let go of creature comforts

Oregon's soldiers have given up a lot on their deployment to Iraq. Family, friends, Oregon's beautiful weather (well... maybe not right now).

But coffee? No self-respecting Oregonian is going to give up their favorite cup of joe.

And according to Spc. Beth Gorenc, soldiers with Charlie Co., 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment took having their favorite coffee one step further.

They run their own coffee house.

Above: Oregon National Guard MEDEVAC soldiers from 1st Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, sort donated baked goods while enjoying coffee at their volunteer-run coffee shop, Cascade Coffee. The cafe is located in the MEDEVAC compound at Joint Base Balad. While the coffee is free to customers, the shop operates on donations. Photo by Spc. Beth Gorenc.

Deployed service members and civilian contractors were able to enjoy pleasures from home thanks to the Company C, 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment soldiers stationed at Joint Base Balad, and the coffee bar they built.

Situated in the MEDEVAC compound at Joint Base Balad, Cascade Coffee served the MEDEVAC unit, Air Force and Army personnel who worked at the nearby base hospital and other service members and civilians who visited the compound.

"Running the coffee shop is a tradition here handed down from MEDEVAC unit to MEDEVAC unit," said Chief Warrant Officer Vince Almberg, a 158th MEDEVAC pilot from Independence, Ore.

The shop was located in a different area of JBB when 7th Battalion arrived, but they moved it to their compound to continue the tradition of the MEDEVAC-run cafe.

After gaining possession of the MEDEVAC tradition, soldiers worked together to augment the interior of their inherited getaway to ensure it was a comfortable and desirable atmosphere. Everything from hand-built shelves and cabinets to unit patches and coins to enlarged personal photographs, decorated Cascade Coffee.

"It provides and environment for people to come in, relax and forget about everything for a while," said Almberg.

Unlike other coffee shops around JBB, the 158th's coffee house, Cascade Coffee, was operated solely by volunteers.

"People come in here and work in their free time," said Almberg. "They can be here for 15 minutes or hours, there's no time limit."

Although the MEDEVAC coffee shop has been at JBB since 2003, 7th Battalion was the first to incorporate Air Force volunteers to help run it.

"We have a lot of nice, friendly Air Force people who worked hard here," said Almberg.

Army and Air Force volunteers served an average of 50 to 100 people per day, but their hard work would not be possible without the supplies donated to the shop.

When the 158th began their part of the shop legacy, they fell in on limited supplies and equipment pieces.

But 1st Lt. Craig Sheley, an Albany, Ore., resident, MEDEVAC operations officer and officer in charge of the coffee shop, said due to assistance from coffee shops, family members and organizations back home, Cascade Coffee supplied caffeine cravers with multiple name brand choices of coffees, lattes, espressos and smoothies.

"We run on donations only," Sheley said of receiving and distributing coffee goods.

Since Cascade Coffee received their goods free of charge, they distributed them free of charge as well, although monetary donations from customers are appreciated.

"All the donated money we receive goes toward a morale, welfare and recreation fund for the MEDEVAC unit," said Sheley. "It also goes to help buy and stock items like hats, T-shirts, coffee mugs and cigars that people can buy in the shop."

Many donations surpassed coffee necessities and funding for the shop to provide entertainment for the troops. The shop was outfitted with a projection system to provide a home theater feel, board games and reading material.

Chief Warrant Officer William Anderson, a Canby, Ore., resident and MEDEVAC pilot, said that visiting the Cascade Coffee was a welcomed break during his long shifts.

"You're on for 48 hours at a time sometimes," he said. "It's nice to go there and relax. It's a slice of home. The walls are covered with Oregon posters and people send newspapers from home."

Since Cascade Coffee was such a success as a morale booster and comfortable getaway from everyday duties during their Iraq deployment, the MEDEVAC unit intends to take part of the shop back to Oregon and start a unit coffee shop there.

But they also plan to keep Iraq tradition going by donating their cafe to their replacement MEDEVAC unit here.

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Oregon airman top graduate at NCO Academy

Tech. Sgt. Rebekah L. Birt (right), a personnelist with the Oregon Air National Guard's 125 Special Tactics Squadron, in Portland, Ore., received the John L. Levitow Honor Award at the conclusion of her Non-Commissioned Officer Academy course on Nov. 19 at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tenn. Presenting the award is Lt. Col. Stan Giles, Inspector General at the Brown Air National Guard Training and Education Center at McGhee Tyson ANG Base. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Kurt Skoglund).

To read the entire story, visit the Air National Guard website, here.

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

Monday, November 23, 2009

Wounded Warrior Program helps injured soldiers through transition

Bill Loyd demonstrates how to pick the basketball up with one hand while playing wheelchair basketball to wounded warrior Spc. Ben Walters. The event was sponsored by the Community Based Warrior Transition Unit (CBWTU) and was held at Kliever Memorial Armory Nov. 17.

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Army’s Wounded Warrior Program held a muster for injured soldiers at Kliever Memorial Armory in Portland, Ore., Nov. 17.

Soldiers from around Oregon, Washington, California, and Nevada participated in a day of “hands-on” training hosted by Oregon Disability Sports—an organization whose mission is to promote recreation and fitness for people with physical disabilities.

The soldiers played a variety of sports designed for paraplegics including wheelchair rugby, wheelchair basketball and cycling. Although none of the participating soldiers were paralyzed, many worked up a sweat, using the provided wheelchairs, and ended up with sweat staining dark rings on their Army-issue “PT” gear.

“You’ve got to remember that in stand-up ball you run with your legs and shoot with your arms,” said Bill Loyd, a basketball player with Oregon Disability Sports. “For us, we run with our arms and shoot with our arms.”

“They took us to school,” said a wide-eyed Spc. Michelle Siebold, a 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team soldier who returned from Iraq for thyroid surgery.

Sgt. Harold Smith a member of the Community Based Warrior Transition Unit briefs wounded warriors and thanks the paraplegic athletes who took the time to train them following the events at Kliever Memorial Armory Nov. 17.

“This is a gathering of soldiers who are healed enough to return to their communities and continue healing,” said Spc. Ben Walters of the Nevada Army Reserve. “These warriors have faced tremendous challenges and they are (still) able to do great things,” he said.

Program director, Col. Jim Rice, said his staff will support the wounded soldiers for as long as it takes for them to make the transition.

“Everyone in the Army Wounded Warrior Program understands what a huge price our soldiers and families have paid in support of their nation,” Rice said.

In 2007, the U.S. Army expanded the program, allowing more National Guard and Reserve soldiers to recover in their hometowns using community-based Warrior Training Units.

For the soldiers gathered at Kliever Armory, it meant a return to their esprit de corps, and a camaraderie unique to the armed services, according to Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Lamb, an Oregon soldier who suffered a neck injury while deployed to Afghanistan. The injury cost Lamb the use of his right arm for some time.

Lamb said working with other injured soldiers helps everyone involved because all the participants share the common bond of being wounded in action.

“We’re with our fellow soldiers, we’re here to rub shoulders, to support a soldier who is having a particular hard time. Maybe you’ve had an experience that they are going through now—you can help them,” he said.

The program employs three key elements for soldiers, including a squad leader, nurse case manager and primary care physician.

The squad leader leads the soldiers, and the nurse case manager coordinates their care, while the primary care physician oversees the care, which can be complex, given the multiple issues experienced by some soldiers.

This “triad of care” creates the familiar environment of a military unit and surrounds the soldier and family with comprehensive care and support, all focused on the wounded warrior’s sole mission—to heal. These professionals put the soldier first, cut through red tape, and mind the details, according to the Army Warrior Transition Unit’s website.

The Warrior Unit’s First Sergeant, Lynn Hoyt, said it also gives the events are an opportunity for soldiers to stay abreast of other benefits such as TRICARE, and organizations such as the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

“This is our opportunity to get together so that we can keep these soldiers informed of their benefits, and they can talk to their case managers, first sergeants and any other members of the command regarding their care,” Hoyt said.

Many of the warriors in transition will not only have the benefit of recovering at home, they'll also be able to use local civilian health care facilities, while remaining under the direct supervision of Army unit leaders and medical case managers, Hoyt added.

And according to Walters, there is the added benefit of teamwork.

“You realize real quickly you’re gonna have to rely on your team to get this done,” he said.

Story and photo by Tech. Sgt. Jefferson Thompson,
Oregon Military Department Public Affairs Office

Friday, November 20, 2009

Deployed Oregon soldier uses laughs, magic tricks for international relations

Chief Warrant Officer William “Scott” Anderson, a Canby, Ore., resident and medevac pilot for 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, prepares an illusion during his magic show for Task Force Double Eagle at Joint Base Balad, Oct. 31.

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - Often National Guard Soldiers apply their civilian training to enhance their military deployments.

A Soldier in Task Force 38’s MEDEVAC unit, Company C, 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment did just that during his mobilization here.

When the Canby, Ore., resident was not using his military skills as a medevac pilot for Company C to help people receive medical attention during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Chief Warrant Officer William S. “Scott” Anderson applied his civilian skills as a magician to help people in a different way.

Anderson used illusions mixed with comedy to provide an escape from deployment life and entertain fellow service members, civilian contractors and local Iraqis.

“He’s professional when he needs to be, but he can lighten the mood when it’s needed,” added Sgt. John McCully, a MEDEVAC crew chief and Camas, Ore., resident.

In his free time, Anderson performed frequent shows at the medevac company’s coffee shop, during holidays and at unit events. He also participated in, and won, Joint Base Balad’s October talent show.

“He has helped the moral of the company,” said McCully. “Whenever we have events, at work, pretty much whenever he’s around, the guy has a gimmick up his sleeve. He loves entertaining people.”

Anderson’s illusions ranged anywhere from impromptu card tricks for friends, pulling a participant’s previously signed dollar out of an uncut lemon randomly chosen by that participant, to transforming handkerchiefs into candy for Iraqi children.

Anderson also used his magic and comedy as a way of breaking the ice with new people around JBB and forming relationships with Iraqis.

“He is good at building relationships with people,” said Sgt. Candice Westlund, Corvallis, Ore. resident.

Anderson worked through translators to perform shows for groups of Iraqi children during base-hosted events and completed illusions for the Iraqi special weapons and tactics officers. He also worked with parents to entertain children under care of the hospital here.

“His tricks make kids smile and forget that they are in pain or injured,” said Westlund.

Deployed Oregon Magician Brings Laughter, Entertainment to Iraq

While entertaining others and helping them through the deployment, Anderson said his magic provided an outlet for him.

“It’s a piece of home I got to bring with me,” he said. “It’s something I can do that’s fun, and it is good for stress.”

Anderson has been a performance magician since 1999. He started entertaining elementary kids at Fort Lewis, Wash., during drug abuse resistance education he taught by using illusions he learned from a friend. From there, he expanded his audience to birthday parties, state fair goers and stage acts including large scale illusions.

“The better I got, the more shows I could get,” Anderson said. “I was doing side jobs at nights and on weekends.”

When he deployed to Afghanistan, Anderson continued his magic shows to entertain Soldiers and Afghanis. He continued to develop his shows by incorporating personal experiences from his deployment, and then used those experiences to once again entertain Soldiers and Iraqis during his latest deployment.

While magic proved beneficial during times overseas, it was those same deployments and experiences that proved beneficial to Anderson’s magic career.

“After being here and performing for Iraqi kids, I came up with a kids’ show to do back home,” said Anderson. “It teaches kids lessons in patriotism: what it means, freedom, taking pride in your country, celebrating diversity and patriotic symbols.”

Working under the name of “Sgt. Stripes,” Anderson is scheduled to perform his show, “The Magic of Patriotism,” when he returns home for Oregon students enrolled in reading programs.

He also plans to continue performing as a magician for larger audiences after the OIF deployment. In his free time, Anderson worked on his newest show, “The Magician Expeditions,” a biographical theater magic show based on his deployment interactions and experiences.

More about information about Anderson and his shows can be found at

Story by Spc. Beth Gorenc, Task Force 38 Public Affairs

Thursday, November 19, 2009

For new 1st Air Force commander, duty is a ‘family affair’

The Dean clan at a pre-change of command ceremony breakfast at Tyndall AFB, Fla., Nov. 12. From left to right: daughters Daron and Summer, wife Lisa, Maj. Gen. Garry C. Dean, and daughters Diana and Olivia Trueblood. Dean, an Oregon Air Guard member, assumed command of 1st Air Force during a ceremony attended by some 500 airmen, friends and family.

To say family is important to Garry Dean, is to understate his level of devotion.

And when Maj. Gen. Garry Dean puts on his Air Force uniform, his devotion extends to his military family as well.

Left: Gen. Garry C. Dean, commander of 1st Air Force, meets with members of the Oregon National Guard contingent. From left to right: Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees, The Adjutant General, Oregon National Guard; Gen. Craig McKinley, Director of the National Guard; Dean; Mr. Harvey Fink, local Oregon business and civic leader; Mr. Larry Diebert, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army.

So it was no surprise that among the more than 500 people who attended his change of command ceremony at Tyndall AFB on a sunny Florida morning—where Dean took command of 1st Air Force—there would be a large number of former commanders, coworkers, and friends from the Oregon National Guard.

Also dominating the guest seating, were 11 of his immediate family members. Seated in the front row, beaming with pride, was Dean’s mother, Jeri.

“I feel that we put a lot of love and caring into our family,” she said about the way Dean and his two siblings were raised.

“I can now see him raising his children with the same qualities that we expected out of him,” she added.

But Dean’s abilities as a father don’t stop with his children. According to Jeri, her son takes a genuine interest in the people he views as part of his other family—the military.

“Garry knows how to get along with people, and he notices the little things,” his mother said.

As an example, she recalled how during his speech at the change of command ceremony earlier in the day, Dean made it a point to thank as many people in the room, including the Air Force Band.

Left: Gen. Craig McKinley, Director of the National Guard (left), congratulates Maj. Gen. Garry C. Dean, prior to his change of command ceremony at Tyndall AFB, Fla., Nov. 12.

“Sometimes we forget people in the organization,” she said. “Garry knows these people work hard, and at times, you should give them accolades.”

“He pays attention to detail,” she added.

Perhaps it was this attention to detail that caught the eye of the organization’s leadership, after Dean transferred into the Oregon Air National Guard in 1990.

According to Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees, The Adjutant General for the Oregon National Guard, the well-educated, well-qualified, and highly skilled Dean showed promise as a potential wing commander.

“It then became apparent that Dean had future promise as a general officer,” Rees said.

Through the Command Management Process, Dean’s military “family” began grooming him for a bright future by making sure he received the right schooling and assignments.

Rees said Dean’s new position as commander of 1st Air Force is a major step in his career, and the move bodes well for later assignments.

“I think Gen. Dean has great potential for service at the national level,” Rees said. “I feel this will turn out well and he will compete favorably for positions at NORAD, NORTCOM or at National Guard Bureau.”

Rees also made it a point to compare notes with Jeri on who was more proud of Dean. On one side was the Dean family, and on the other, the Oregon National Guard family.

“I had the pleasure of talking to Gen. Dean’s mother, and I told her I was nearly as proud of Gen. Dean as she was,” Rees said.

Back in the reception hall, Dean’s family arranges themselves around a large table, where they will soon have lunch. Wife Lisa, and daughters, Olivia, Diana, Daron and Summer, arrange themselves in and amongst Dean’s oldest brother Don, and older sister Debra Volley, and other extended family members.

The entire family is very proud of him, his sister said. And while she and Don didn’t foresee such lofty positions for their youngest sibling, they knew he was destined for something big.

“He was the type of person who didn’t settle for mediocrity,” Debra said. “He always excelled at everything he did.”

Dean’s daughter, Daron said she was very happy to see her father recognized for a career of hard work.

“He’s probably the hardest worker I know,” she added.

The general makes his way around the table, ensuring each of his family members are comfortable, much in the same way he would ‘work the room’ at a military function, chatting with airmen and soldiers of all ranks.

What is most apparent is the importance of family ties in this group—not much different, says Rees, from the ties Dean has to his Army and Air Guard ‘brothers and sisters’ back in Oregon.

First Air Force and the Oregon Air National Guard are directly linked because of the Air Sovereignty Alert mission, Rees says. Under this construct, Oregon pilots are tasked with protecting the skies over the entire Pacific Northwest as one of 16 units throughout the nation tasked with the ASA mission.

Above: Col. Mike Stencel, wing commander, 142nd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard, greets Maj. Gen. Garry C. Dean at a reception following Dean’s change of command ceremony.

The 142nd Fighter Wing in Portland is responsible for protecting a wide swath of airspace, extending from northern California to the Canadian border, and from Idaho to beyond the Pacific coastline.

In Klamath Falls, the 173rd Fighter Wing is one of two schoolhouses in the nation tasked with training F-15 pilots who fly the ASA mission. The other F-15 training facility is located at Dean’s new home: Tyndall AFB.

“So we train them (at Klamath), and we put them into operation (in Portland), and First Air Force benefits from the skills of the Oregon Air National Guard,” Rees said.

That connection is not lost on Dean. While he has served in diverse capacities ranging from the Georgia Air National Guard to the 12th Fighter Squadron at Kadena Air Base in Japan, his loyalties lie with Oregon.

“I’m an Oregon Guardsman,” Dean said. “Oregon is where I really grew.”

After the ceremony, Dean said he personally thanked Rees and other members of the Oregon National Guard who helped develop his career.

“It’s really special to have been sponsored by Gen. Rees along the way,” he said as he stood on the patio outside the reception hall. “And to see all the Oregon Guardsmen here was truly amazing.”

The consummate teacher and father, Dean paused as an F-4 Phantom flew overhead. Seated nearby, his youngest daughter Summer squinted into the sunny skies.

“Summer, there’s no one flying that plane,” he said pointing to the plane. “That’s an unmanned drone. They used it for target practice.”

Dean’s philosophy about teamwork in the military transcends duty and service. He said military members’ willingness to lay down their lives for their country and their fellow men and women in uniform help to build a strong ‘family’ bond.

“When people are willing to lay down their life, a special bond is created,” Dean said. “We must continue to cherish and build (this bond) to ensure our success.”

And like a family, Dean believes in looking out for those who serve alongside him—and the ability and willingness to help out if needed, is tantamount.

Above: Gen. Victor E. Reunart, commander of NORAD/NORTHCOM, (center), talks with Jeri Dean, mother of Maj. Gen. Garry Dean, (left), during a pre-change of command ceremony breakfast, at Tyndall AFB, Fla., Nov. 12.

“We work as a family, and when the person next to us needs a helping hand we’re ready to step in and provide that help,” Dean said. “Because in the end that really effects how our mission is done.”

Dean underscored his commitment to excellence—a mantra he has carried throughout his career.

“Excellence transcends budgets, states, everything,” he said. “It’s the great equalizer, and Oregon’s record of excellence helped enable my selection to this position.”

As lunch arrives for the Dean family back inside the hall, Jeri calls her son over for a photo opportunity. He gives her a hug and kisses her on the forehead. Like most moms, she hopes he can relax a bit before throwing himself into his new responsibilities of leadership for 1st Air Force.

“I hope that he’ll get plenty of rest, because I know he has a lot of work ahead of him,” she says.

Story and photos by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy,
Oregon Military Department Social Media Manager

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Holiday season a time for vigilance, safety and reflection

The holiday season is approaching and as we enter the winter months I want to remind everyone to stay vigilant in your own domestic preparedness. Our Oregon National Guard will continue to be there in the event of a major disaster as we have in the past.

In the event of a major incident this season, nearly every one of our local armories has back up generator power. This will further enhance our capabilities to assist our communities.

However, what I encourage you to focus on are smaller incidents at home such as short-term loss of electricity, water or heat. Be prepared. Have extra water, lighting and alternate heat sources should services be temporarily interrupted.

Our domestic preparedness response in Oregon will be that much more effective when our soldiers, airmen and retirees are already prepared at home. Knowing your family is safe and secure at home should you get called on to help your community, will allow you to concentrate on the mission at hand and know your family is safe.

This month we send off the 162nd Engineers toward their mission in Afghanistan. I have no doubts they will not only accomplish their mission, but go above and beyond in all they do. To the men and women of one of Oregon’s oldest Guard units, established in 1848, I am proud to see you continue in your history and tradition of service and excellence.

At the ceremony we had the pleasure of having many dignitaries and community leaders and I want to thank all of them for coming to show support for our Guard members as they depart for Afghanistan.

I want to especially highlight, Abe Bergen, a soldier who deployed with the 162nd Infantry Regiment during World War II, as well as Jesse James Jones Jr., Co-Chief of the Cayuse Indians, who were both there to wish our men and women well. These individuals signify both the present and the history of the Oregon National Guard.

I need to also address and thank the Polk county and more specifically the Dallas community, where this unit is based. As we all know, our Guard members live, work, and raise their families within our communities.

I usually end my articles with our Oregon Guard motto, when we are needed, we are there. Seeing all the local community support for this event reminded me, the same is true for us. When we need you, you are there. Together, we are all what makes our state so amazing. We are Oregon.

Finally, I want to welcome the 173rd Fighter Wing, back home to Klamath Falls. The 173rd has been conducting operations in Boise, Idaho for the last seven months while the Klamath Falls runway was completely renovated.

The 173rd is postured to be the only F-15 pilot training facility in the United States. Our 173rd Oregon Guard members are the individuals responsible for training the best fighter pilots in the nation.

With the new runway repairs and upgrades, we will be able to continue quality training for years to come. Welcome home 173rd.

Although we have more than 3,400 Oregon Guard members supporting global operations, our team members here will be the ones to answer the domestic call if a disaster should strike. As we head into the winter months remember to be prepared at home.

Whether it’s through stocking up on extra supplies or sending hand sanitizer with your kids to school to prevent illness, stand-ready. When we are needed! We are there!

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

Monday, November 16, 2009

Governor speaks about visit to Iraq, Afghanstan

Today, Oregon's Governor, Theodore Kulongoski, held a press conference at the Anderson Readiness Center in Salem, Ore.

The event was attended by a number of representatives from local news agencies, the Governor's Office, and Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees, The Adjutant General, Oregon National Guard.

He spoke about his recent visit with Oregon's citizen-soldiers who are deployed to Iraq. Kulongoski was very impressed with the work of the 41 Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

"They and Col. Hokanson are doing a tremendous job," he said.

The governor called on Oregonians and the rest of Americans to help both the Iraqis and Afghanis with both economic and political issues. We have to help them develop their own economies, he said.

"You can't have success in Afghanistan unless you have political success," Kulongoski said.

He said the road ahead for President Barack Obama is going to be a tough one, and any increase of troops in Afghanistan will translate into a long-term committment to the region.

Regardless of how we proceed, he called for the recogintion of service by all National Guard soldiers.

"This country has to rally around its young men and women when it sends them into conflict," he said.

He said when he spoke to Oregon's soldiers on his trip, they asked him about job prospects and the local economy in Oregon. With the national unemployment rate at 10.2 percent, it's going to be a difficult time, he said.

"Go back to school," he said, referring to recent changes in the GI Bill. "Take advantage of these educational opportunities. This is a win-win for Oregon and for our military members," he added.

The governor supports proposals by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, for a 'soft landing' initiative for returning soldiers. The proposal will keep demobilizing soldiers on active duty for up to 90 days so they can transition back into their civilian jobs and life back home.

"Their mission is not over when they get home," the governor said. "It's our mission to provide them what they need to readjust."

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

Friday, November 13, 2009

Oregon general comes full circle as he takes command of 1st Air Force

Above: Gen. Craig McKinley, Director of the National Guard (left), congratulates Maj. Gen. Garry C. Dean, prior to his change of command ceremony at Tyndall AFB, Fla., Nov. 12. Dean, an Oregon Air Guard member, assumed command of 1st Air Force during a ceremony attended by some 500 airmen, friends and family. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs Office).

TYNDALL AFB, Fla.,—An Oregon Air National Guard general assumed command of Headquarters, 1st Air Force, Air Forces Northern, during a morning ceremony at Tyndall, AFB, Fla., Nov. 12.

Maj. Gen. Garry C. Dean of the Oregon Air National Guard, assumed command from Maj. Gen. Henry C. Morrow.

Gen. Victor E. Renuart, Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, presents the 1st Air Force guideon to Maj. Gen. Garry C. Dean, during a change of command ceremony at Tyndall AFB, Fla., Nov. 12. Dean, a member of the Oregon Air National Guard, takes over as commander of 1st Air Force and Continental U.S. NORAD.

The ceremony was attended by Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees, The Adjutant General, Oregon National Guard, who led a group of about 20 Oregonians to Tyndall AFB, near Panama City, Fla.

While Dean remains attached to the Oregon Air National Guard, his new assignment as commander of 1st Air Force, AFNORTH leverages command positions he has held within the Oregon National Guard and his ties in the state, Rees said.

“This is a wonderful day for Oregon, and a great day for the U.S. Air Force and our nation,” Rees said.

About 500 well-wishers, friends, coworkers and family members filled Hangar #2 at the base. Some of those in the audience included; Gen. Craig R. McKinley, Director of the National Guard; Maj. Gen. Ernesto Rivera, Chief of Staff for the Mexican Air Force, and Brig. Gen. Andre Viens, Deputy Commander, Continental U.S. NORAD.

Gen. Victor E. Reunart, Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command/U.S. Northern Command, praised outgoing commander, Maj. Gen. Morrow, for his steadfast leadership and innovative approach to several challenges such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and numerous domestic contingency missions.

“You should be proud of the way you’ve integrated your mission every day,” he said to Morrow. “You are ‘Mr. Total-Force’.”

Renuart then welcomed Dean back to Tyndall AFB.

“We are extremely pleased to have him here with us,” Renuart said of Dean.

Reunuart said Dean is a strong and successful leader, and a great follow-on to Morrow. “(Dean) truly understands the business of sovereign safety,” Renuart said.

During Morrow’s speech, the outgoing commander highlighted the many accomplishments under his command. He thanked the airmen before him for meeting the many challenges over the course of his tenure.

“We have kept our nation’s skies and shores safe from attack,” he said. “Command is always a privilege and an honor,” Morrow added.

Dean then thanked Morrow for his hard work and dedicated leadership. He also expressed his gratitude to the many airmen in attendance. He joked that he had nothing to do with tropical storm Ida, which hit the region only two days prior.

He also thanked Rees for his mentorship and guidance.

“Command is a team sport,” Dean said, as he smiled at Rees.

Dean said his new assignment is a homecoming of sorts. In 2006, he served as the Air National Guard Advisor to the commander of AFNORTH/NORTHCOM.

“I started off as a member of the 1st Air Force team, and now I have the privilege to lead that team,” Dean said.

“I will do my utmost to lead this command to new levels of success,” he added.

Dean recently completed an assignment as the Deputy Inspector General of the Air Force, in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, he served as the former wing commander of the 142nd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard, and at the Oregon National Guard’s Joint-Force Headquarters, as the State Director of Operations and Assistant Adjutant General for Air.

Maj. Gen. Garry C. Dean, commander of 1st Air Force, meets with members of the Oregon National Guard contingent. From left to right: Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees, The Adjutant General, Oregon National Guard; Gen. Craig R. McKinley, Director of the National Guard; Maj. Gen. Garry C. Dean; Mr. Harvey Fink, local Oregon business and civic leader; Mr. Larry Diebert, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army.

Story and photos by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy,
Oregon Military Department Social Media Manager

Friday, November 6, 2009

Oregon National Guard recruiting commander hits the road to talk about opportunities in the National Guard

Col. Alaine Encabo, Recruiting and Retention Commander for the Oregon National Guard, interviews with Jordan McKenzie at KWRO radio in Coos Bay, Ore., Nov. 4.

The newest commander of the Oregon National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Command says his personal mission is to ask at least one person every day why they’re not a member of his organization.

And during the week of Nov. 3-6, instead of reaching out to one person per day, Col. Alaine Encabo potentially reached thousands.

Encabo visited with several radio stations along the Oregon coast, starting in Brookings and ending in Astoria. The visits gave Encabo a chance to talk about how the Oregon National Guard helps the state of Oregon as well as the rest of the nation.

“As long as we’ve been around, there are still people who don’t understand what we do,” Encabo said.

Indeed, even though the National Guard has been around since 1636, many people don’t understand the Guard’s dual-mission of protecting the state during peacetime and the nation during times of conflict, Encabo added.

Encabo was careful to point out the distinction between the active duty Army and the National Guard to many of the people he spoke to on the tour.

Col. Alaine Encabo (left), speaks to KOOS radio operations manager, Mike O'Brien, during an interview in Coos Bay, Nov. 4, while Sgt. 1st Class Everett Horvath looks on.

“Even though we’re a component of the U.S. Army and it says Army on our uniform, a lot of times when the general public sees the us, they don’t consider that we’re locals who live in the community,” Encabo said. “We’re your local citizen-soldiers.”

Most importantly, the media tour was a chance for the Oregon National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention personnel to showcase opportunities ranging from part-time and full-time jobs and technical training, to tuition assistance and educational benefits.

“We have a lot of opportunities to help further young people’s lives,” Encabo said.

Encabo, Mr. Guy Britnell, the Marketing Manager for the Oregon National Guard, and Marketing NCO Sgt. 1st Class Everett Horvath, were also able to visit with recruiters at several armories, and two recruiting “store-fronts”.

Along the way, they stopped at the Roseburg Armory, to visit with recruiter, Sgt. Tamara Baimbridge. In Grants Pass, the group stopped at the recruiting store-front to chat with Spc. Keaton and Sgt. Marinucci.

Local resident, Kerry Prulhiere, who had just signed up with the Oregon Army National Guard as a medic, was looking forward to shipping off to basic training.

Encabo (left), and Sgt. 1st Class Everett Horvath (center), speak with Oregon Army National Guard recruit, and Grants Pass resident, Kerry Prulhiere at the recruiting store front in Grants Pass, Ore., Nov. 3.

“I’m very excited to go,” Prulhiere said.

The trip took the group through Brookings to Coos Bay and North Bend, where they visited with Sgt. 1st Class Andrew McClary at the recruiting store front at the Pony Village Mall.

North Bend area recruiter, Sgt. 1st Class Andrew McClary, talks about the challenges and advantages of recruiting in his community to retired Sgt. 1st Class Guy Britnell (seated left), Col. Alaine Encabo (seated center), and Sgt. 1st Class Everett Horvath (far right), at the Oregon National Guard recruiting store front in the Pony Village Mall in North Bend, Ore., Nov. 4.

Over the course of the week, Encabo took part in interviews at 13 radio and television stations through eight coastal towns. Encabo said because the stations service smaller, regional markets, it’s important to reach out to them on a regular basis. He said it’s easy to reach the larger markets of Portland and Salem, and often times the smaller towns are forgotten.

“We want to establish rapport with the local communities so they understand what we do,” Encabo said. A lot of people don’t know us even though we’re in their local communities.”

KCBY-TV reporter Kristina Nelson, interviews Col. Alaine Encabo of the Oregon National Guard's Recruiting and Retention Command for the station's People at Noon segment on Nov. 4. The segment will air at 12:20 p.m. today on Channel 11 in Coos Bay, and on the station's website at Just click on the People at Noon tab.

Throughout the trip, the messages were the same: the members of the Oregon National Guard are doctors, lawyers, store clerks and students who live in the local communities. Oregon National Guard members support domestic emergency response and continue to do great things for their neighbors.

Oregon Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Jason Obersinner, Readiness NCO for the 224 Engineers in Newport, Ore., said being an Oregon National Guard engineer is a rewarding job, and his surrounding community sees the tangible results of their work.

“Every opportunity to help our community it’s a great opportunity to also improve our skills,” Obersinner said. “It works great both ways, for us and for the community.”

To hear (and see) interviews with Col. Alaine Encabo and the Recruiting and Retention team, listen in to the following stations at the listed times, or listen to the streaming broadcast via their websites.

- KCBY-TV (Channel 11, CBS) in Coos Bay today at 12:20 p.m., or streaming on the web starting at noon:

- KNPT (92.7FM) in Newport today following the 5:00 p.m. news and on Saturday morning at 8:50, or streaming on the web at:

- KCRF (96.7FM) in Newport on Sunday morning at 9:00.

- KSHL (97.5FM) in Newport on Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m., or on the web at:

- KCUP (1230AM) in Newport on Nov. 11 at 6:00 a.m., 7:30 a.m., and noon, or on the web at:

- KPPT (100.7FM) in Newport, running various times and dates between now and Nov. 11.

- KTIL (94.3FM) in Tillamook, running spots Monday, through Wednesday and on Veteran's Day, Nov. 11.

- KSWB (840AM & 94.9FM) in Seaside, running a lengthy Q&A on Sunday, Nov. 8 at 7:00 a.m. on the FM station, and at 8:00 a.m. on the AM station on the show "Issues and Answers". The alternate date for the show is Nov. 15 at the same times listed above.

- KAST (1370AM) in Warrenton, running at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 11.

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

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dallas, Ore. citizen-soldier fights for two nations

Oregon Patriot Guard Riders post American Flags alongside fire trucks from Dallas and Polk County Fire Departments, near the entrance to Dallas High School in Dallas, Ore., prior to the start of the mobilization ceremony for the Oregon Army National Guard's 162 Engineer Company, Oct. 31. About 100 of Oregon's citizen-soldiers will perform route clearance as part of a year-long deployment to Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Eric A. Rutherford, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs).

In 1848, the Oregon Militia launched a campaign against the Cayuse Indians.

Just over 160 years later, a member of the Cayuse Tribe is a citizen-soldier in the Oregon National Guard, helping rid the world of terror.

History, it seems, has come full circle.

This past weekend, Pfc. Stephen R. Printup and about a hundred of his fellow soldiers of the 162 Engineer Company, based in Dallas, Ore., took part in a mobilization ceremony at the Dallas High School Gymnasium.

Like most small-town events involving local citizen-soldiers, the turnout was huge--organizers originally planned for between 500 and 800 people--over 1,500 showed up. It was standing-room only.

The Dallas and Polk County Fire Departments strung a huge American flag between two of their ladder trucks. As the firefighters finished the task, the gray skies broke, and a rainbow emerged, framing the flag.

"Seems appropriate, doesn't it?" asked Patriot Guard Rider, and former Oregon National Guard member Dennis Burnett.

Inside the building, the soldiers stood in formation as family members, community leaders, well-wishers and the general public settled into their seats. The media jockeyed for position as distinguished guests were introduced.

In the front row, regaled in full ceremonial Native American headdress, was Printup's grandfather and Cayuse co-Chief of the Federated Tribes of Umatilla, Chief Jesse James Jones, Jr.

He said Printup is stepping forward as a warrior to represent not only the United States, but also the Cayuse Nation and the Umatilla Reservation.

"It's a great honor (for him) to represent the country as a whole and our nation," Chief Jones said.

Last month, tribal elders, which include a number of Native American veterans' groups, held a ceremony of their own at the Umatilla Reservation to honor Printup. They presented him with an eagle feather, representing his status as a warrior. They also bestowed upon him and his family gifts and blessings.

"Today he is stepping forward as a young man," Chief Jones said. "He will be going forward as a warrior."

His mother, Nabja Printup-Jones, said the entire tribe recognizes the significance of her son's service and sacrifice as a citizen-soldier.

"So few men volunteer to serve, so we recognize how special he is," Printup-Jones said.

Dressed in full Native American dress, Printup-Jones and her family fully support her son's deployment.

"All my tribal beliefs tell me he is being a warrior, and I want to give him my full support," she said.

Following the ceremony, Oregon's Governor, Theodore Kulongoski, and Oregon National Guard's Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees, shook hands with each soldier, as family and friends armed with cell phones and cameras captured the moment.

Oregon Governor, Theodore, R. Kulongoski (left), stands with Oregon Army National Guard Pfc. Stephen R. Printup, and Printup's grandfather, Jesse James Jones, Jr., Co-Chief of the Cayuse Tribe of the Federated Tribes of Umatilla, following the mobilization ceremony for the Oregon National Guard's 162 Engineer Company in Dallas, Ore., Oct. 31.

Printup is soon surrounded by the media, as his grandfather and mother converge for the photo opportunity.

"We're proud of our heritage and culture," Printup said. "My family is of supreme importance to me and having them here today is a great blessing."

Oregon Army National Guard Pfc. Stephen R. Printup and his family pause for a family portrait following the mobilization ceremony for the 162 Engineer Company at the Dallas High School Gymnasium, Oct. 31. From left to right: his mother Nabja Printup-Jones, girlfriend Amber Robbins, Printup, his grandfather Jesse James Jones, Jr., Co-Chief of the Cayuse Tribe, youngest sister Jeanette Jones, father Jesse Buck Jones III, and sister Merrily Jones.

Story and photos by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy,
Oregon Military Department Social Media Manager