Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Many Oregon National Guard members are now returning from deployments throughout the world, with several other units heading out the door, even this week! One concern many returning Soldiers and Airmen have is jobs.

Author and military fitness guru Pauline Nordin came up with several tips for entrepreneurs, which may be helpful to those who are contemplating starting a business. These are also helpful to those looking for employment, or a job upgrade, or simply for self improvement, and we thought we'd pass them along...

1. Have a personality. Don't find one, don't try to make up one, BE one from the bottom of your soul and just display it.

2. Offer something there's a need for, not something you wish there was a need for.

3. Avoid looking for stardom overnight. Do what you are passionate about, then have long patience and it will pay off.

4. Do NOT do what everyone else does. If you do your USP drops to anonymous and averagely interesting.

5. Be prepared to get 1,000 NO thanks and be prepared to DO it YOUR way without any help.

For more information on Pauline's career advice, visit her Facebook page at: www.Facebook.com/FDfighterdiet or follow her on Twitter at @fighter_diet

Speaking of career opportunities and jobs, Hero to Hired, ESGR, Worksource Oregon and the Oregon National Guard are putting on a Career and Education Fair, June 26, at Camp Withycombe.  The address is: 5530 SE Minuteman Way Clackamas, OR 97015. You can find an event listing on our Facebook page, here.

Employment Workshop: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m

Career and Education fair: 1 – 4 p.m

For more information, contact Jason Phelan at 503)280-6041 or Pete Pringle at 503)669-7112 Ext 264

Pre-register for the event here.

Some of the highlights for employment and education available to service members include:


Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs Jobs Page: Includes military skills translator, resume assistance, job postings, etc.

WorkSource Oregon - Veteran Services Page: Local assistance in communities around utilizing Local Veteran Employment Representatives (LVERs) and Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialists (DVOPS). Can assist with resumes, job placement, interview skills, etc.

Oregon.Gov Employment Page: List of POCs across Oregon (both LVERs and DVOPs)

Military One Source: Resume assistance/job preparation for federal and civilian jobs

My Next Move: Assist Service Members in finding careers that correlate with their military skill set or totally unrelated career field they are interested in (has interest profiler for those who are undecided).

Veterans Administration:  Assists Service members with career assessment based upon their previous education and future goals

Helmets to Hard Hats: Information specifically on building and construction careers for Service Members

Goodwill Industries: Goodwill Industries can assist with resumes, interviewing, job placement, application help


Veterans Administration Education & GI Bill: Education information, GI Bill comparison tool, choosing schools, etc.

Veterans Administration Careerscope: Assists Service members with career assessment based upon their previous education and future goals

Military One Source K-12 scholarship & college info: Scholarship and financial assistance information for children/spouses of Service Member (includes FAFSA/Pell Grant info.

Posted by Nick Choy,
Oregon Military Department Social Media Manager

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Oregon Army National Guard medevac unit trains with Canadian Armed Forces

The Aurora Borealis “Northern Lights” color the night sky, May 13, behind an Oregon Army National Guard HH-60M Blackhawk helicopter from Charlie Company, 7-158 Aviation, at Canadian Forces Base Wainright, in Denwood, Alberta, Canada. The Oregon Guard medevac unit is providing air support to the Canadian Armed Forces during Maple Resolve 2015. (Photo by Sgt. Arthur Maldonado, Charlie Company, 7-158 Aviation)

Story by Oregon Army National Guard Sgt. Erin J. Quirke, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs

CANADIAN FORCES BASE WAINWRIGHT, Alberta, Canada – The Oregon Army National Guard’s aeromedical evacuation unit, Charlie Company, 7-158th Aviation (C-7/158 AVN), traveled to Canada, April 29-May 20, to participate in the Maple Resolve 2015 training exercise at Canadian Forces Base Wainwright in Denwood, Alberta.
Maple Resolve is the Canadian Armed Forces’ annual, joint force training exercise and is the culminating collective training event to validate the Canadian Army’s High Readiness task forces. This year’s exercise was comprised of approximately 5,200 Canadian Army soldiers, 700 Royal Canadian Air Force members, 700 U.S. Army and Marine Corps troops, and 150 British Army soldiers.
The Canadian Maneuver Training Centre (CMTC) requested a Forward Support Medical Team (FSMT) to provide medical evacuation (medevac) operations in support of Maple Resolve this year. The Oregon Army National Guard provided three HH-60M Blackhawk helicopters and 26 personnel to support both medevac training, as well as real medical emergency evacuations during the exercise.

Oregon Army National Guard Sgt. Michael Buchan (right), a flight medic with Charlie Company, 7-158 Aviation, escorts members of the Canadian Armed Forces transporting a patient away from an HH-60M Blackhawk helicopter during Exercise Maple Resolve at Canadian Forces Base Wainright, May 7, in Denwood, Alberta. The Oregon Army National Guard medevac unit is providing support during the Canadian Armed Forces' largest annual exercise. (Photo by Sgt. Erin J. Quirke, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs)
The FSMT, also known as a “Dustoff” team, consisted of 12 flight crewmembers and 14 additional support personnel to include operations, maintenance crews, an additional flight crew, as well as two weather technicians from the Oregon Air National Guard.
“The team has worked tirelessly to establish a working rapport with the Canadian forces,” said Chief Warrant Officer-2 Jeremy Andrews, an aeromedical evacuation pilot with C-7/158 AVN. “We’re establishing the procedures for how both real world and exercise medevac assets would be used.”
The Oregon Army Guard aviators logged more than 120 flight hours during the exercise, conducting 17 medevac training missions and multiple training flights for the exercise. They provided air support for simulated mass casualty situations, which tested the Canadian Armed Forces’ response time to field injuries and medevac procedures. The FSMT also conducted nine real-world emergency medical evacuations for injured personnel during the training exercise.

A Canadian Army medic with 5 Field Ambulance Valcartier, Quebec, treats a simulated patient in a mass casualty training exercise during Exercise Maple Resolve 2015 at Canadian Forces Base Wainright, May 5, in Denwood, Alberta. The simulated mass casualty exercise tested the Canadian Armed Forces’ response time to field injuries and medevac procedures with aeromedical evacuation support from the Oregon Army National Guard’s Charlie Company, 7-158 Aviation. (Photo by Sgt. Erin J. Quirke, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs)
Upon arrival in Camp Wainwright, four Canadian flight medics were assigned to the FSMT. The Canadian medics integrated with the Oregon Guard team, participating in both real world and exercise medevac missions throughout the duration of the exercise.
“It was a great learning experience,” said Canadian Army Cpl. Sean Gauthier, a medical technician with 5 Field Ambulance, Valcartier, Quebec. “It was very beneficial to see the difference in the medical protocols, and answered a lot of my questions on how to process a medical evacuation.”

Oregon Army National Guard Maj. Sarah Wickenhagen (center), an aviation medicine Nurse Practitioner with Charlie Company, 7-158 Aviation, and Master Cpl. Stefan Morissette, a medic with 5 Field Ambulance Valcartier, Quebec, oversee an IV procedure given by Cpl. Sean Gauthier, a medic with 5 Field Ambulance, Valcartier, Quebec, during Exercise Maple Resolve at Canadian Forces Base Wainright, May 2, in Denwood, Alberta. Exercise Maple Resolve is the Canadian Armed Forces’ largest annual exercise and involves more than 6,500 military personnel from Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. (Photo by Sgt. Erin J. Quirke, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs)
In between medevac missions, the FSMT conducted aircraft inspections, maintenance and gave mission briefings to visiting dignitaries, including a visit from U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman. The team also taught Medevac 101 classes to members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
“Maple Resolve was an outstanding success for the medevac unit,” said Lt. Col. Mark Ulvin, State Army Aviation Officer for the Oregon Army National Guard. “The exercise allowed Oregon Army National Guard Soldiers to interact with our international partners by introducing the critical lifesaving mission of the medevac HH-60M helicopter capabilities and their vital importance to the battlefield.”

Oregon Army National Guard Sgt. Michael Buchan (center), a flight medic with Charlie Company, 7-158 Aviation, explains medevac procedures for the HH-60M Blackhawk helicopter to members of the Canadian Armed Forces during Exercise Maple Resolve 2015 at Canadian Forces Base Wainright, May 11, in Denwood, Alberta. The Oregon Army National Guard medevac unit is providing support during the Canadian Armed Forces' largest annual exercise. (Photo by Sgt. Erin J. Quirke, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs)

Oregon Army National Guard Maj. Nathan Edgecomb, commander of C-7/158 AVN, said the chance to work with allied partner forces in a combined exercise helped to develop a solid working relationship and delivered invaluable training to all personnel involved.
“It afforded us an opportunity to train for a real-world deployment in a way that cannot be duplicated during a home-station annual training,” said Edgecomb. “Working with the Canadian forces was an incredible opportunity to hone our skills in both relationship and coalition building, as well as in our technical ability to provide the best medevac coverage possible.”
Oregon Soldiers in the FSMT said Exercise Maple Resolve enabled them to train 24-hours a day on mastering their skills in battlefield medicine and medical evacuation; skills they must perform instinctively on a moment’s notice when lives are on the line.
“Being a medic is not for everyone, but these people see us on their worst days,” said Oregon Army National Guard Maj. Sarah Wickenhagen, an aviation medicine nurse practitioner with 2-641st Aviation who served as the flight surgeon for the FSMT during Maple Resolve. “I work with incredible people who would all give their lives in the service of another. There is nothing better than that.”
That’s impression she hopes the Oregon Guard’s medevac unit made on the Canadian Armed Forces during Exercise Maple Resolve 2015.
Wickenhagen said she is proud to be part of a team that embodies the “Dustoff” legacy and remains true to the C-7/158 AVN unit motto to selflessly do whatever it takes “so that others may live.”
Oregon Army National Guardsmen with Charlie Company, 7-158 Aviation practice dust landings with a HH-60M Blackhawk helicopter during Exercise Maple Resolve at Canadian Forces Base Wainright, May 3, in Denwood, Alberta. The Oregon Army National Guard medevac unit is providing support during the Canadian Armed Forces’ largest annual exercise, involving more than 6,500 military personnel. (Photo by Sgt. Erin J. Quirke, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Memorial Day is not a time to thank Veterans

You see it all the time... well-meaning folks with outstretched hands thanking people in uniform for their service. It happens on Main Street USA, at the local grocery store, or in your hometown. At no time do you see more of this kind gesture of gratitude than on holidays which honor military service members such as Armed Forces Day, Veterans Day, and in this case, Memorial Day.

While most personnel in uniform appreciate the kindness and recognition, most of them are humble enough to prefer to simply go about their business. When queried, many will say "I'm just doing my job." Even those who have been involved in heroic acts tend to say the same thing. But if you watch them carefully, after the handshake, you'll see a little added 'pep' in their walk, and a smile on their face. This is especially true if the person thanking them is a retired veteran themselves.

This alone is worth all the effort. But it begs a deeper question; what exactly is Memorial Day all about?

A colleague who is in the military recently posted a Memorial Day photo to her Facebook page. Depicted is a number of uniformed U.S. Army Soldiers, kneeling down, with their helmets removed, obviously honoring one of their fallen comrades. In the background of the photo is a large American Flag, obviously "Photoshopped" into the image. But it's the words that adorn this photo which inspired me to write this post.  They say:

"Memorial Day is for the Fallen. Please don't thank me this weekend."

Truly, Memorial Day is for those military members who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, and laid down their lives for their fellow Marine, Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Coast Guardsman. Framed in this light, the aforementioned Facebook post should take on a new significance. Yes, those service members and veterans still here with us deserve society's gratitude. Yes, their contributions do matter. Yes, it is because of their choice to give up birthdays and holidays in order to keep watch over our interests that most Americans can live a free, content existence.

But Memorial Day is really about the fallen, and we as a nation, cannot forget that fact. THAT is the point of my colleague's Facebook photo, and the inspiration behind this blog post.

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States. Over two dozen towns and cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, but Waterloo, New York was officially declared the birthplace of the holiday by President Lyndon Johnson in May, 1966.

Regardless of the exact date or location of its origins, one thing is clear--Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor the country's dead. It was originally proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by Gen. John Logan, a national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic in his General Order No. 11.

"The 30th of May, 1868 is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in the defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land," Logan proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he referred to it, was chosen specifically because it wasn't the anniversary of any particular Civil War battle.

So on Monday, May 25, 2015, as we as a nation fire up our barbecue grills, or take the boat to the lake, or pack up the family for the long holiday weekend of fun, keep in mind not just the sacrifice of those you see out and about who wear our nation's uniform, but for those you don't see.

Yes, go ahead and thank them. By all means, shake their hand. But tell them that you appreciate not only their sacrifice, but that of those in uniform who no longer walk this Earth. Those comrades-in-arms are gone, but will never be forgotten. Those service members who volunteered their service to this great nation, and gave their lives so that we could all live in the land of the free.

To see a really good historical overview of Memorial Day by the History Channel, go here.

--Nick Choy, Oregon Military Department Social Media Manager

Romania: More than just Soviet-block neighborhoods and Dracula stories

Above: The view of the Black Sea from the newly-renovated Pavilion C of the Mangalia City Hospital, Romania, May 20, 2015. The project is a part of U.S. European Command’s (EUCOM) Humanitarian Civic Assistance Program (HCA), which is designed to improve the host nation's critical infrastructure and the underlying living conditions of the civilian populace. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Brandon Boyd 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs/Released)

Story by Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Brandon Boyd, Oregon Air National Guard Public Affairs

MANGALIA, Romania - The tires screeched, pushing me back firmly into my seat as we accelerated past an 80-year-old woman trying to inch her way across the road. After a dicey two centimeter miss of a VW hatchback bumper on the left, the steely-eyed driver barreled toward oblivion with a solitary objective on his mind: Get to Constanta. Fast.

And to think, the driver looked so official with his epauletted black sweater and crew cut. 'Should have taken the bus' was the refrain running through my head as we careened over the Romanian countryside, blindly trusting our driver to deposit us somewhere near our destination; a man on a mission to collect the next fare.

On a mission of a different, more deliberate kind, members of the 142nd Fighter Wing Civil Engineer Squadron just a few days prior, had flown around the globe from Portland, Oregon, to take part in a mission to rebuild a clinic in the thriving and historic country of Romania.

From the time they arrived, the Airmen, 33 civil engineers, were spun up with nervousness—the kind of energy people like our amped-up driver get after too much waiting around. After an unplanned layover at Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane, Washington, and the mission waiting in the wings, the capable crew had just 11 working days to complete their objective with a full schedule of work on the horizon.

Arriving at the hotel, a rush of sensations flooded my western sensibility. A former Soviet-occupied country, Romania laid in stark contrast to stateside life. Cars are smaller, buildings are much older and the decor was something I’d never seen before. Alabaster-colored marble tile gleamed in the lobby of the 70's-era hotel, reflecting mauve curtains, maroon uniformed hoteliers with stiff collars and cabled, stainless steel handrails. Hall lights on motion sensors flicked on in an eco-conscious way as I dragged my overfilled bags across synthetic hardwood and collapsed into my twin-sized bed.

In the morning the Citizen-Airmen, much too close for comfort, sardined into six-person elevators, heading toward the job site. Balding men in striped robes and women in 90's fashion watched us walk past as they waited in the lobby for therapeutic spa treatments to commence; a descendant healing ritual of the Greeks and Romans who inhabited the ancient coastal city of Mangalia, Romania since antiquity.

It's important I establish why we're here, or try to anyway. Why Romania? A NATO partner, Romania was selected by the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. European Command to receive construction aid under the Humanitarian Civic Assistance Program (HCA). Civil engineers from the Oregon Air National Guard provide the manpower, expertise and receive valuable on-the-job training, while EUCOM provides funding and logistical support.

What's the bigger picture? It's hard to say. It's also hard to ignore the heightened tensions in the Black Sea region. As far as the members of the 142nd CES are concerned, at the end of the day, the mission objective is clear: to finish the renovation of a medical clinic in Mangalia, Romania suffering from extensive water damage and accessibility problems.

As the engineers arrived on scene, I was amazed how quickly they spread out to survey each working area at the clinic. They'd seen a few construction images sent over from a previous group, but the two-dimensional pictures weren't quite enough. Each Airmen wanted to inspect each facet, and they did, with a hands-on survey of each weld, each room and each tile.

"It's nice to finally get here. It doesn't look as intimidating as in the photos," said Staff Sgt. Samantha Orem, as she angled in to inspect the welds on a wheelchair ramp handrail with an analytical, focused gaze.

Meanwhile, as the Airmen inspected, a few feet away, fishermen visiting the beach community for a weekend getaway heaved six-meter fishing poles past the gentle, shallow surf of the Black Sea. No fish were caught by the relaxed gentlemen, but they didn't seem overly-disappointed by this fact.

The city of Mangalia is a tourist destination on the coast of the Black Sea. During the busy summer season, the population balloons in the coastal town. During the off-season, it drops down to a much more modest group of local residents manning local restaurants, hotels and convenience stores.

The architecture in the city is highlighted by post-World War II Soviet apartment block buildings, red clay roof tiled homes, carved wooden churches and stuccoed vacation villas for the well-heeled. Here, the ancient stands alongside the new in a graceful harmony. In fact, it's not uncommon to see a donkey and cart going down the road alongside newer Audis and BMWs. Such is Romania.

The scrape of metal trowels on hard tile reverberated through the ancient city as the sea birds patterned overhead, searching for the next meal washed up from the brackish water. As the afternoon pushed on, the Black Sea breeze edged in. Stark white swans paddled parallel to the shoreline. Their feathers ruffled in the wind like bleached toupees bobbing on the swells.

The Black Sea, (known as Marea Neagră in Romanian), is a gentle body of water in May, the color of dark turquoise, as it meets the shoreline with its rolling half-meter waves. The wind kicks up in the afternoon and cools the sun-reddened cheeks of the civil engineers sweating in the midday sun.

Left: Oregon Air National Guard members from the 142nd Fighter Wing Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) arrive at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania, May 7. As part of the 142nd Fighter Wing’s CES participation in U.S. European Command’s (EUCOM) Humanitarian Civic Assistance Program (HCA), the Oregon Citizen-Airmen assist in improvements to the host nation's critical infrastructure and the underlying living conditions of the civilian populace. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Brandon Boyd, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs/Released)

Members of the 142nd Fighter Wing Civil Engineer Squadron come from different backgrounds. Some work as general contractors in their day jobs and some are new troops just starting their military careers. It was heartening to see the experienced non-commissioned officers lead by example; laying tile side-by-side with Airmen on their first deployment. Words of encouragement were handed out freely and gentle corrections kept the crews aligned and motivated.

"When you step on a tile and rear a hollow sound, the thinset doesn't have full contact and needs to be redone," explained Tech. Sgt. Glen Blackford to an eager apprentice.

Tech. Sgt. Ramon Lopez adapted to the scenario by pitching in on a little bit of everything.

"I'm an electrician but now I'm doing this," he said.

The "this" meant everything from priming, laying tile, spreading plaster, wiring new lights, painting; basically anything that needed to get done. The jack-of-all-trades Lopez and the rest of the crew were eager to get the job accomplished.

But first, lunch.

Above: A food service worker at the Mangalia City Hospital, Romania serves a bowl of homemade soup to members of the 142nd Fighter Wing Civil Engineer Squadron (CES), Oregon Air National Guard. May 19, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Brandon Boyd 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs/Released)

Eating in Romania is like eating nowhere else. There will be courses—many courses. And you will eat soup. Much soup. An Airman here accurately stated that Romanian meals are like having their grandparents cook for them; The food is hearty, the people are hospitable, and it's physically impossible to leave hungry.

Food service workers at the hospital nearby wore bright yellow uniforms and worked out of a red-and-white-tiled kitchen stirring large vats of soup and folding pastries into neat little triangles. The women wore tidy white hats like from a 1950s’ era diner.

Left: Katy Graur, a food service worker for the Mangalia City Hospital, Romania, poses for a portrait after cooking a traditional Romanian meal for members of the 142nd Fighter Wing Civil Engineer Squadron, Oregon Air National Guard in Mangalia, Romania May 8, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Brandon Boyd 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs/Released)

After a brief, pantomimed exchange of words, one of the cooks at the hospital gets the message through that she has a son living in Biloxi, Mississippi. After a few selfies and congratulatory nods, the service began.

Soup, soup, soup. Fish. Potatoes. Bread. Stuffed cabbage. And a stuffed belly for everyone. Filled croissants and crepes push things way past any reasonable point of fullness.

The culinary timid should heed this advice: emptying one's bowl in Romania is like a bat signal to the cook that more food is required.

Over a period of a few days, with food piled high, the service reached a cultural equilibrium. The cooks started to bring less food out and the Airmen learned to signal their fullness by patting bellies and uttering phrasebook Romanian.

Back to the worksite, the Airmen run into a few difficulties. Everything from materials to tools in Europe are measured using the metric system and not all of the group's calculations back home took this into account. Mixing concrete became a cultural and academic experience as three Airmen translated the instructions from the back of the locally-sourced bag of cement into terms they could understand.

In reality, the European approach to construction is much different than the United States; even more so with Eastern Europe. Energy efficiency is the rule, not the exception and unique tools and materials caused the engineers to approach common construction problems from new, more creative angles. Wall mesh used for stucco work doubled as screening material and exterior fencing was transformed into bathroom stall material.

After a few solid days of progress, the engineers had met major milestones on construction, finishing extensive tile work on the top floor of the clinic and completing plaster repairs to the walls of the examination rooms.

With checked boxes and steady progress, we were given liberty to leave our small outpost of Mangalia and were encouraged to get out and explore. One batch of Airmen headed to Brasov in Transylvania, a former medieval Saxon settlement silhouetted by the Carpathian Mountains. Yes, Transylvania is a real place, steeped in legends of Vlad the Impaler, Dracula and other spooky tales.

Another group in search of more sights, sounds, energy and action traveled to the Bucharest, Romania's largest city.

And our wayward driver, as impatient and reckless as he was, he delivered this and another correspondent, worse for wear, in the middle of the city of Constanta, a nearby port city of about 200,000 people.

Right: An Orthodox clergyman greets local residents near the entrance to the old cemetery in Constanta, Romania May 16, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Brandon Boyd 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs/Released)

Hopelessly lost, a highlight of this side trip was a chance pathway leading to the old cemetery in the middle of town. On a Sunday morning, hundreds of townspeople streamed into the cemetery, past dark-robed Orthodox clergymen, bright red and white carnations and incense in tow, ready to perform age-old ceremonies honoring their ancestors.

Near the back of the cemetery, plain gravestones with red stars marked the Russian servicemembers who perished in Romania during World War II. Visiting this revered plot of ground in the middle of the city was a vivid reminder of Romania's not-so-distant past.

Romanians are fiercely proud of their heritage, including their Latin-based language and a penchant for telling stories of their captivating, complicated history; a riveting tale too extensive to cover in these paragraphs.

Energized after the weekend, the crew headed back to work early Monday morning. They greeted citizens on the street with newly-learned Romanian phrases and received smiles reserved for special occasions. They approached each task feverishly with an orderly momentum to knock out all of the punch list items left on the project list.

As the civil engineers neared completion on a new wheelchair ramp at the front of the clinic, before the materials had even dried, a woman pushed a stroller up the new ramp; a small act in one person's day made a little easier by the toil and sweat of the Oregon Citizen-Airmen. The group cleaned up the construction site and packed tools away as officials gathered to celebrate and cut the ribbon on the project, now deemed a complete success by all those involved.

U.S. Charge d’Affairs a.i., Dean Thompson, along with Mayor of Mangalia, Romania, Radu Cristian, cut the ribbon to the renovated Pavilion C of the Mangalia City Hospital, Romania, May 20, as part of the U.S. European Command’s (EUCOM) Humanitarian Civic Assistance Program (HCA). (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. John Hughel, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs/Released)

The Airmen thanked the people they'd met and quietly made their way back to the military transport plane bound for Portland; a little more worn out, definitely wiser and more culturally aware, and standing a little straighter then when they first arrived.