Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Deputy Pacific Command greets Soldiers at Exercise Shanti Prayas

PANCHKHAL, Nepal (March 26, 2013) -- Lt. Gen. Thomas L. Conant, deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Command shakes hands with a Nepalese Soldier during a visit to Shanti Prayas-2 at Birendra Peace Operations Center yesterday.

The multinational partnership exercise is designed to increase the number of capable military troops and formed police units available for United Nations deployments.

The two-week training exercise led by the Nepalese Army is organized by the United Nations, U.S. State Department and the Global Peace Operations Initiative.

Countries with platoons represented in the FTX are: Nepal (2 platoons), Bangladesh, Cambodia, Japan, Indonesia, Jordan (with Kazak squad embedded), Mongolia, Philippines, Rwanda and Paraguay.

A contingent of Oregon Army National Guard Soldiers has joined other military photographers to cover the event.

U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Cory Grogan, Oregon National Guard 115 Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Oregon Soldiers compete in this year's Best Warrior Competition

20130322-AH721-Z-088 by oregonmildep
20130322-AH721-Z-088, a photo by oregonmildep on Flickr.

Soldiers from various units across the Oregon Army National Guard race through obstacles during the 2013 Best Warrior Competition, an annual physical and mental two-day challenge, held at Camp Rilea, in Warrenton, Ore., March 22.

Oregon Army National Guard Sgt. First Class Jeremy Carver, of Recruiting & Retention Battalion, won the Noncommissioned Officer of the Year category, and Spc. Benjamin Hermann, of 3670 Maint Company, 821 Troop Command Battalion, 82 Troop Command Brigade, won the Soldier of the Year category this past weekend.

Photo by Spc. Erin J. Quirke, 115 Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Oregon Guard's 102 CST joins in multi-agency exercise in Vancouver, Wash.

130320-Z-TK422-753 by oregonmildep
130320-Z-TK422-753, a photo by oregonmildep on Flickr.

A group gathers around Clackamas County Sheriff Curt Kessler (seated), as he negotiates a small, portable robot through an adjacent building, which was used as a mock bomb-making laboratory, during a joint-agency exercise held at Camp Bonneville in Vancouver, Wash., March 20.

Robots carrying cameras with live video feed and other sensors are used for reconnaissance in locations deemed too hazardous for humans.

Kessler and his fellow officers were joined by the Oregon National Guard’s 102 Civil Support Team, Portland Police Bureau’s Explosive Disposal Unit, Oregon State Police Explosives Unit, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, and the FBI.

Photo by Master Sgt. Nick Choy, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Oregon National Guard infantry unit ‘trains like they fight’ one weekend a month

130309-A-UK848-024 by oregonmildep

130309-A-UK848-024, a photo by oregonmildep on Flickr. An Oregon Army National Guard Soldier, with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry Regiment, runs to a firing position, March 9, at Fairview Training Center in Salem, Ore. Infantry units based out of Coos Bay and St. Helens, Ore., met in Salem to conduct a full-scale training exercise simulating battlefield scenarios. (Photo by Spc. James Dilger, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

Story by Spc. Erin J. Quirke, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

SALEM, Ore. – Nearby trees sway frantically as clouds of red smoke sweep across the empty meadow. The rotors of the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter blur into nebulous dark streaks against the clear, blue sky as it hovers just inches over the rippling grass. Soldiers, nestled into firing positions in the surrounding bushes, brace themselves against the turbulent wind, watching as their buddies move swiftly towards the helicopter to load the wounded for safe transport out of hostile territory.

This is how Soldiers with the Oregon Army National Guard’s Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, spend their drill-weekend. The infantry company conducted a large-scale training exercise simulating battlefield scenarios, March 9-10, at the Fairview Training Center in Salem, Ore.

Bravo Company’s headquarters is based in Coos Bay, Ore., and the unit’s Detachment 1, is located in St. Helens, Ore. The Fairview Training Center provided a central location where the two units could meet and train together.

“We mesh incredibly well considering we are stationed in two different places,” said Sgt. Justin Gray, with Bravo Company headquarters in Coos Bay, Ore. “Today was all about being able to adapt, overcome and succeed in what we do together, and we did just that.”

The goal of the exercise was to provide realistic training for any given situation. Noise simulators provided grenade explosions. Blank ammunition simulated an attack from the opposing force and triggered a fire-fight. Canisters of thick, red smoke billowed out a smoke-screen to reduce visibility.

“This is the best training we’ve had so far,” said Spc. William Ashley, based in Coos Bay, Ore. “It’s beneficial for us to be able to practice our situational awareness of any obstacles we may encounter in order to prepare us for the real thing.”

The training exercise hit on key infantry skills, such as moving tactically in rough terrain, communications, obstacles, treating and evacuating the wounded, and being able to resolve any unexpected problems along the way.

“This training was great,” said Cpl. Andrew J. Miller, also based out of Coos Bay, Ore. “Our commanding officer is working hard to make sure we have effective and useful training at all times.”

Capt. Mark Timmons, commander of Bravo Company, said his desire is to create challenging training to produce well-trained and motivated Soldiers for the state and nation.

“Seeking out new training areas improves the esprit de corps of the unit and challenges Soldiers with new situations and circumstances,” he said.

Bravo Company took advantage of every minute during their drill-weekend to ‘train like they fight’ by combining urban operations training with medical evacuation training using aviation assets from the Oregon National Guard’s Charlie Company, 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment. They also incorporated casualty role-players who wore medical simulators which bled like real wounds until medics applied the bandages and tourniquets properly.

“The best thing about the drill this weekend with my Bravo Company was the all-out Oregon Guard effort to make it happen,” said Timmons. “There were 80 Soldiers who got more out of that weekend then they have seen in a long time.”

“(The combined efforts) brought a comprehensive combat view and feel to our operations that motivated my Soldiers all day and into the night,” he added.

With the motivation of the Soldiers and dedication of their commander to provide new training opportunities, the unit is poised to rise-up to any challenge, emanating the ‘Always Ready, Always There’ motto of the Oregon National Guard.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Oregon National Guard’s first female general honored by Oregon House of Representatives

130306-Z-OT568-006 by oregonmildep
Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario, District 60) reads House Concurrent Resolution 11, honoring Brig. Gen. Julie A. Bentz (right) for being the first female brigadier general in the Oregon Army National Guard, to the 77th Oregon Legislative Assembly at the State Capitol, March 6. (Photo by Staff Sgt. April Davis, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs)
Brigadier General Julie A. Bentz was honored by the 77th Oregon Legislative Assembly at the State Capitol, March 6, with the adoption of House Concurrent Resolution 11. The House measure recognized her for being the first female brigadier general in the Oregon Army National Guard.

Her promotion to brigadier general in 2011 came with her assignment as the Director of Strategic Capabilities Policy on the National Security Staff in the Executive Office of the President. She is responsible for writing presidential policy, coordinating interagency dialogue, informing presidential budgetary decisions and building consensus on interagency initiatives in programs that develop United States strategic capabilities to meet 21st century requirements.

Bentz has served in a variety of active, reserve and National Guard assignments revolving around nuclear defense, homeland security, health physics, environmental sciences and traditional nuclear, biological and chemical officer assignments.

In the Oregon Army National Guard, Brig. Gen. Bentz assisted with the initial stand-up of the 102 Civil Support Team in 1999 and served as the executive officer of the unit in 2003. She also served as the operations officer for 82 Troop Command Brigade from 2003-2004.

She then went on to serve in various positions in the Pentagon, developing a national nuclear response framework and shaping the Department of Defense’s leading role in this effort. She served on the Homeland Security Council from 2004-2006 and the National Security Staff from 2009-2011, advising senior-level decision makers on nuclear defense policy.

Measure HCR 11 was carried by Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario, District 60), Brig. Gen. Bentz’s cousin. Representative Bentz read a list of her accomplishments to the assembly, including the Legion of Merit award, Oregon Stater Award and induction into the Oregon State University Academy of Distinguished Engineers.

For the general’s official biography, visit this link: