SALEM, Oregon — The Oregon National Guard finished out a busy summer with accolades and a high-profile visit from representatives of the Vietnam National Committee for Search and Rescue (VINASARCOM).
A delegation from the Vietnam National Committee for Search and Rescue (VINASARCOM), visited Oregon National Guard facilities throughout the state, with a focus on the state’s domestic emergency response mission. Monday kicked off with a visit to the Oregon Air National Guard’s 142nd Fighter Wing in Portland, Oregon, and concluded with a visit to Camp Rilea, where delegates observed a domestic response evaluation exercise by the Oregon National Guard’s CBRNE Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP).
Oregon Army National Guard Capt. Thanh Vo (far left), Search and Extraction Commander for Oregon's CBRNE Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP), briefs a delegation from Vietnam's National Committee for Search and Rescue (VINASARCOM) during a tour of the unit's annual certification training exercise, Aug. 25, at Camp Rilea in Warrenton, Ore. The delegation visited Oregon National Guard facilities throughout the state to gain an understanding of Oregon's emergency and disaster response preparedness in conjunction with the State Partnership Program. The Oregon National Guard is partnered with both Bangladesh and Vietnam's VINASARCOM through its State Partnership Program. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class April Davis, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs)
The delegates would go on to visit the Joint Operations Center and Oregon Office of Emergency Management in Salem, Oregon, and the Portland Office of Emergency Management in Portland, Oregon. The visit was in conjunction with the Oregon National Guard’s ongoing State Partnership Program. Oregon is also partnered with the country of Bangladesh.
The last week of August saw Oregon Citizen-Soldiers and Citizen Airmen of the CBRNE Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) participating in an evaluation exercise, Aug. 25-28, at Camp Rilea in Warrenton, Ore. Inspectors from the National Guard Bureau, subject matter experts, and Joint Interagency Training and Education Center (JITEC), rated the Oregon National Guard’s CERFP unit one of “the best in the nation,” following a week-long exercise which culminated in an inspection on Aug. 28. Results from the inspection are due out later this fall.
An Oregon National Guard team participated in the annual 197-mile Hood to Coast relay race, which starts at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood, and ends on the beach at Seaside, Ore. The annual event draws competitive teams from across the country. Proceeds from this year’s event went to the Providence Cancer Research Center.
Oregon Symphony concert-goers at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland, Oregon, were given a special treat when the Oregon Symphony concluded Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with real cannons! Citizen-Soldiers of the 2-218th Field Artillery Battalion fired 105mm Howitzers as the grand finale to the concert. The free event, in its 18th year, also hosted classical music selections played by the Oregon National Guard’s 234 Army Band, the Metropolitan Youth Symphony, Hillsboro Mariachi Una Voz, BRAVO Youth Orchestra, Portland Youth Philharmonic, the Portland Taiko Drum troop, and the Oregon Symphony, featuring performances by the Portland Opera and Oregon Ballet Theater. The event also featured a live fireworks display.
Earlier this summer, the Oregon National Guard wished Citizen-Soldiers a farewell, as they mobilized for duty in Afghanistan. Members of units from the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team held separate mobilization ceremonies throughout the state, as family, friends, community members and Oregon National Guard leadership attended the events. The 234th Engineer Company also mobilized for duty in Kuwait.
Citizen Soldiers from various Oregon Army National Guard units participated in their annual training event, held in June, at the Yakima Training Center in Yakima, Washington. Soldiers from the 2-218th Field Artillery Battalion, 162nd Engineer Company, 141st Brigade Support Battalion and other elements within the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team and 1249th Engineer Battalion converged on the training site to conduct live-fire exercises, and practice what Command Sergeant Major Michael R. Polley, 1249th Engineer Battalion Command Sergeant Major, called a “culmination of a year’s worth of training.”
In two separate large-scale fires in Oregon, aviation assets including CH-47 Chinook, HH-60 Blackhawk, and UH-72 Lakota helicopters, were brought to the fight during what forest fire managers called one of the worst fire seasons in Oregon in recent history. Some of the more serious fires occurred near Grants Pass and Ashland, Oregon.
Once again, Citizen-Soldiers and Citizen-Airmen of the Oregon National Guard served and sacrificed in their communities, state, nation, and around the globe - proving once again the National Guard mantra, “When we are needed, We are there!”
--Master Sgt. Nick Choy,
Oregon Military Department Social Media Manager