Monday, January 26, 2015

Oregon officials observe 315th anniversary of Great Cascadia earthquake, ask "Are we ready?"

A woman surveys the debris in Kesennuma, Miyagi prefecture, Japan, following the devastating 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami on March 11, 2011. Photo by: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg News.

January 26 marks the anniversary of the last major Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake that shook the Pacific Northwest 315 years ago. Scientists predict the next major Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake could strike our state at any time.

"Scientists believe Oregon is in the average window of time during which another massive, destructive quake could occur," said Althea Rizzo, Geologic Hazards Program Coordinator.

Oregon is located in the Cascadia Subduction Zone; a fault line stretching from offshore British Columbia to Northern California. Experts say a rupture on the Cascadia Fault line will likely result in a 9.0 or higher earthquake with the potential to devastate the area.

"A quake of this size will produce severe damage - buildings will be so damaged that restoring full utility service could take months to years," said Rizzo. "We are taking steps right now to prepare our state for a potential Cascadia earthquake."

Rizzo said new guidelines recommend individuals prepare an emergency kit for at least two weeks, prior recommendations were for a three day kit. There are helpful tips on preparing for disasters such as earthquakes, located on the website.

Photo: A massive magnitude-8.8 earthquake struck Santiago Chile in the early morning on Feb. 27, 2010, killing at least 76 people, triggering a tsunami and rattling buildings more than 200 miles away. Photo courtesy of

"Highways may be down and electricity out for days making it critical for you to have enough supplies to sustain yourself for weeks," said Rizzo.

State and local government, private businesses and non-governmental organizations are doing much to prepare for the next Cascadia quake but individual preparedness is critical. There are many actions you can take to prepare for the next earthquake. Review the information below for more information.

Check out "Living on Shaky Ground: How toSurvive Earthquakes and Tsunamis in Oregon" published by Oregon Emergency Management:

OPB Radio is also currently running an informative series on the Cascadia earthquake, entitled "Unprepared: Will we be ready for the megaquake?"

For more information, contact Kim Lippert or Cory Grogan, Oregon Office of Emergency Management Public Information Office.

-- Nick Choy, Oregon Military Department Social Media Manager

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Company 1-186th Infantry Battalion transitions to Kandahar

Story and photos courtesy Capt. David Gauthier, commander of A Company, 1-186th Infantry Battalion

With the coming of 2015, the war in Afghanistan transitioned from Operation Enduring Freedom to Operation Freedom Sentinel; marking the end of U.S.-led offensive combat operations and the men of Alpha ‘Apache’ Company, 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry Regiment found themselves with a new mission. They transitioned from their previous deployment site and are now operating out of Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan.
Preparation for site transition required planning that began weeks in advance. Once the marching orders were given, the company’s staff coordinated with outside elements to facilitate movement of equipment and personnel. Once the plans and schedules were coordinated, then came the tedious task of slowly reconsolidating equipment for accountability, maintenance and final movement; all while sustaining 100 percent mission capability.
In addition to the company and platoon assets, Soldiers need to prepare themselves for moving. We all dislike moving houses back home, and those feelings transfer to military life as well. Packing all the equipment that they have been issued (plus the stuff they have acquired during deployment to make their off-duty time more bearable) is a tedious process; often more difficult than anticipated given the amount of room they have available for storage.
Upon arrival, the company hit the ground running. With a zero-dark-thirty arrival, it was a continuous rush to get a multitude of tasks done in order to begin operations. Assigning and receiving billeting, off-loading equipment, moving in, and establishing a new pattern of life is just the start of the resettlement process.
With the new mission came new equipment. Receiving vehicles and weapons systems from another unit is never an easy process and since they will be held accountable for all that they receive, the Soldiers painstakingly went through all the paperwork and equipment to ensure accuracy. Once the paperwork was finished, the Soldiers needed to familiarize themselves with the equipment they received; which is a mission in itself.
After a short nap, the company moved to the firing range in order to ensure that their weapons and equipment were functioning properly and accurately.  ‘Apache’ Company went on a four- mile, round-trip, dismounted patrol to the firing range and back. Preparation for the trip constituted planning, like every other combat patrol, rehearsal of battle drills, redundant contingency planning and gear inspections before they stepped off. Once the patrol reached the firing range, they confirmed the accuracy of their machine guns and practiced acquiring and engaging targets with accurate and sustained automatic fire. Upon return of the patrol, the Soldiers assumed their force protection mission and integrated into the complex defense of one of the largest operational bases in Afghanistan.
The New Year not only marked the transition of the majority of operations to the Afghanistan forces, but also the halfway point of the mobilization for ‘Apache’ Company, 1-186th Infantry Battalion. Missing the holiday season is tough for anybody, but for a Soldier half-a-world away from their families, it’s something to be respected and admired.
Despite being away from their friends and loved ones, the Soldiers have been receiving a morale boost in the ability to be together in cheering for the Oregon Ducks while watching their championship game. It was a nice reminder of home and why we are here.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Strong for Veterans: Program on Crisis Awareness

Helping Veterans Facing a Tough Fight Back Home
We recognize that some veterans face enormous challenges once they leave active service, from feeling a profound loss of community to struggling to fit back into and relate to a civilian culture that doesn't understand their service experiences and values.

Program and Presentation Focus
Veterans may feel isolated and without strong support networks, leading to crisis situations in their lives, relationships and post-military careers. Outcomes can be devastating, from substance abuse and family conflicts to law enforcement troubles, unemployment, even suicide.

This program will focus on the crisis experience for veterans and resources available to help. Ex-military counselors and others will share affecting stories of hope and resilience, actionable info on accessing counseling and other services, and how to recognize and deal with the signs and symptoms of crisis. Speakers will share experiences and expertise to illuminate real-world examples of crises veterans face – and how they can be overcome.

Regional support organizations such as Returning Veterans Project will host walk-up tables and be available to provide information and resources for veterans and interested attendees. The entire program will be filmed and made accessible online at Veterans Legacies for the benefit of veterans across the country. A second Strong for Veterans program focusing on Post-Traumatic Stress is tentatively scheduled for May or June, 2015.

- January 13th, 2015 – Stanford Theater, Tiger Woods Center at Nike World Headquarters
- 3:00 p.m., Rotunda open – meet participating organizations
- 4:00 p.m., Program followed by a reception in the Rotunda
- 90-minute presentation; 45 min. Panel Presentation, 45 min. Q&A
- Filmed program will be made available online at Veterans Legacies.


Presentation Speakers
- Bill Dennings – Marine. VP, Chief Information Security Officer, Nike.
- Greg Fowler – Marine. Director of Investigations, Nike.
- Sara Carlson – Navy Brat. Rotarian. Moderator
- Col Eric Hastings (Ret) – Marine. Vietnam Veteran. Co-Founder & Chair, Warriors and Quiet Waters. Featured in the documentary “Not Yet Begun to Fight.”
- Pat Slack – Army Veteran. Vietnam Veteran. Was awarded the Bronze Star. Commander, Snohomish Regional Drug and Gang Task Force.
- Gabe Russell – Sergeant Major, WAARNG. Regional Director, Federal Protective Service.
- Officer Steve Redmond – Safety Officer, Seattle PD. One of the founders of Code for Northwest.
- S SGT Eddie Black – Co-Facilitator for CADRE Program. Resilience Coordinator for Oregon Army National Guard.
- Andrea Gardner, LMSW, CSWA – Coast Guard Veteran. Military Crisis Line Intervention Specialist, Lines for Life.
- Captain Matt Wegenknecht – Army Veteran. Portland Police Bureau Tactical Operations Division.
- Lt Col Bill Jacobus (Ret) – Air Force Veteran. Executive Director, US Military Endurance Sports.
- Shannon Stacy – Military Wife. Director of Family Programs, The Station Foundation.
- Josh Sweeney – Marine. Was awarded the Purple Heart. Josh is a Paralympic Gold Medalist in Sled Hockey and he received the Pat Tillman Award for Service.
- Amber Sweeney – Josh’s wife.
- Marissa Jones. Marissa’s fiancĂ©e PFC Andrew J. Keller was killed in Charkh, Afghanistan on August 15, 2012. He served with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.
- Jeff Keller – Andrew’s Dad.

Attending Organizations
- Warriors and Quiet Waters –
- Code 4 Northwest –
- Returning Veterans Project –
- Lines for Life –
- US Military Endurance Sports –
- The Station Foundation –
- Historical Outreach Foundation –
- One Mind –