Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Owen Summers: Father of the Oregon National Guard

Photo credit: Mike Francis, Oregonian

Owen Summers is more than just a photo on the wall as you enter the headquarters for the Oregon National Guard.

Owen Summers was born in Brockville, Canada, on June 13, 1850. At the age of two, his parents, John and Elizabeth Ann Summers moved the family to Chicago, Ill., where his father worked as a cobbler. Five years later, Owen and four siblings were left as orphans after his parents and a younger sister died during the cholera epidemic.

Six year old Owen was taken to a farm near Frankfort, Ill., and spent most of his youth working on the farm in exchange for room and board. He attended a small schoolhouse in La Center, Lee County, Ill.

At the age of 12, Owen and three of his schoolmates tried to enlist in the Army to join the ranks of those fighting in the Civil War, but were refused by recruiting officers because they were too young. Undeterred, Owen tried unsuccessfully twice more. On his fourth attempt to enlist in 1865, he garnered the help of a Pennsylvania Dutchman, who consented to become his guardian. With the permission of this man, the examining Army surgeon granted his acceptance into the United States Army. He was barely 14 years old.

On February 1, 1865, Owen joined Company H, Third Illinois Cavalry. He served in the eastern part of Mississippi, and later in Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and the Carolinas. Following the close of the war, his unit was ordered to St. Louis, Mo., and fought against the Sioux Indians in Minnesota and the Dakotas before being mustered out of the service on Dec. 11, 1865.

In January, 1875, he headed west, taking odd jobs and bouncing back and forth between San Francisco, San Diego, and Portland. He eventually settled in Portland, Ore., where he and his brother-in-law, J.C. Olds, founded a crockery and glassware business known as Olds & Summers. The company occupied a building at No. 183 First Street in downtown Portland.

After several set-backs, including a fire which destroyed their building and inventory in 1886, Owen persisted in his business endeavors, becoming a force in the local trade, becoming a well respected, and prominent merchant in the Portland business community.

During this time, Owen had been appointed to the state legislature as the United States Appraiser of the port of Portland. He worked closely with the Oregon delegation and the general assembly on the passage of a bill which resulted in the creation of a militia for the state of Oregon. The bill allowed for the reestablishment of a State Adjutant General, and three regiments and a company of Veteran Guards, composed of ex-members of Civil War regiments—of which he was chosen as first lieutenant.

According to the new law, which came to be known as the “Summers Law,” Oregon’s militia was authorized a minimum strength of 1,320 men in one battalion and each of its three regiments. Furthermore, Summers oversaw the outfitting of the units, and the creation of an efficient, disciplined force.

In 1887, the militia was reorganized into the Oregon National Guard, and Owen was elected as lieutenant colonel of the First Regiment. Seven years later, he was promoted to the rank of colonel.

At the opening of the Spanish-American War, all National Guard troops were ordered to Portland and consolidated into the Second Oregon Regiment of the United States Volunteers. Colonel Summers was named as commander of this new group, and on May 24, 1898, the regiment sailed to the Philippines. The unit was the first military unit to leave the continental United States, and along with the First California and five companies of the 14th U.S. Infantry, were the first to arrive in a foreign country during the war. The men under Summers found him kindly, considerate and helpful.

Col. Summers’ unit was involved in several battles, including the advance on Guadalupe, the battle of Malabon, and the liberation of Manila. Among the many telegraphs Col. Summers received, the following is said to be his most prized:


Manila, P.I., August 30, 1898

Col. O. Summers, Commander, 2d Oregon U.S.V.:

Sir: I desire to express to you in very strong terms my appreciate of the manner in which you and your regiment performed the very difficult and delicate duties of acting provost marshal and provost guard during the time immediately following the capitulation of Manila. It gives me much pride and pleasure on the eve of my departure to recall the way in which I have been supported by all of my troops, and the cheerful fortitude with which they have endured the hardships of the campaign.

Very respectfully,
Wesley Merritt,
Major General, U.S.A.


In 1899, just before his regiment returned to Oregon, Col. Summers was recommended for promotion to the rank of brigadier general. Then, on Sept. 1, 1899, Summers was reappointed as the United States appraiser by the President in Portland, Ore. He shortly began re-immersing himself in the business community, founding Summers & Prail Crockery Company—a company he sold shortly thereafter.

On July 23, 1880, Summers married Clara T. Olds, a native of Oregon, and sister to his old business partner, J.C. Olds. The two had only one child, Owen George.

In his later years, Summers became active in civic and social circles. He joined the Commercial Club, Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He also became a Mason, and was a charter member of Columbia Lodge No. 114.

Summers died of pneumonia in Portland, Ore., on Feb. 2, 1911. He was 60. He is buried in River View Cemetery in Portland, Ore.

The title of “Father of the Oregon National Guard” is appropriate, given Summers’ accomplishments throughout his life. The legacy Summers created lives on in the evolution of the 2d Oregon Regiment to what we know today as the 2nd Infantry, 162nd Battalion, also earning him the title of “Oregon’s First Volunteer”.

Moreover, his effort to create Oregon’s militia lives on in today’s Oregon National Guard. Summer’s example of citizen-soldier, model businessman, and successful statesman, is a proud heritage to which all Oregonians can aspire.


Information for this post resourced from Oregon State Defense Force History website, Ancestry.com, and Ask.com.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Oregon Army Guard Aeromedical Nurse Practitioner honored with national award


SALEM, Ore.—Oregon Army National Guard Capt. Sarah Wickenhagen, a physician’s assistant and Aeromedical Nurse Practitioner with the Oregon National Guard’s Medical Command, based in Salem, has recently been named by the American Association ofNurse Practitioners (AANP) as one of the recipients of their prestigious State Award for Excellence for 2014.

Wickenhagen, FNP, DNP, is also a policy analyst for the Oregon State Board of Nursing. She and other nurse practitioners and advocates will be honored at an awards ceremony and reception held during the AANP 2014 National Conference June 17-22, 2014 in Nashville, Tenn. 

The State Award for Nurse PractitionerExcellence, founded in 1991, recognizes a nurse practitioner (NP) in a state who demonstrates excellence in practice.  In 1993, the State Award for Nurse Practitioner Advocate was added to recognize the efforts of individuals who have made a significant contribution toward increasing the awareness and acceptance of the NP.

Prior to joining the Board of Nursing in March, Wickenhagen worked in the Oregon Health Science University (OHSU) School of Nursing teaching in the graduate nursing programs and working clinically in Pre-Operative Medicine.  She has a varied background that includes serving as an Army Nurse and caring for patients across the lifespan in both primary and acute care settings.  She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1996 from the University of Mobile, located in Mobile, Ala., and her Masters of Science and Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) from OHSU in 2005 and 2013, respectively.

In her spare time, Sarah enjoys spending time with her family, including her husband who is an Army helicopter pilot and her two children.

The AANP is the largest professional membership organization for NPs of all specialties.  It represents the interests of the nation's 189,000 NPs, including more than 50,000 members, providing a unified networking platform, and advocating for their role as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered, and personalized health care.

CONGRATS to Capt. Wickenhagen!

--Master Sgt. Nick Choy, Oregon Military Department Social Media Manager

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Don't eat the Marshmallow




There was a famous experiment done by Stanford University child psychologists in the 1970s where four-year olds are placed in a room with a single marshmallow. They are told that if they can last fifteen minutes without eating the marshmallow they will earn a second one.

Most of the kids fail, many in under four minutes, but 1/3 of them succeed. This ability to delay instant gratification is correlated with generally greater success. At first glance it makes sense, we all know the story of the grasshopper and the cricket.  But why were some kids able to do this task while others couldn’t? 

In thinking about this experiment, we sometimes focus on how many of the kids struggle under the temptation of the marshmallow before them.

A slightly different, and in my opinion, a key view, is that the successful kids weren’t suffering without the present marshmallow, they were suffering for the future marshmallow. Bottom line: their focus is different.

Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl said, “Those who have a why to live, can bear with almost any how.”

Our military training, our missions, routinely call for difficult actions now for a better future.

There are a variety of skills available to ‘not eat the marshmallow’, many of which are components of the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness (CSF2) program, such as PIIP, Energy Management, Detect Icebergs, and more.

Ask your unit Master Resilience Trainer (MRT) on how to incorporate this into your training plan.


Staff Sgt. Eddie Black,
Resilience Program Coordinator,
Oregon National Guard

Monday, March 10, 2014

Senate Bill allows for community college credits to be awarded for military training and education


In 2011, the Oregon Legislature unanimously passed Senate Bill 275, which requires local community college boards, in consultation with the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA), to develop standards for community colleges to award credits for education and training obtained by individuals who served in the Armed Forces.

The bill was sent to then Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski, who signed it into law on June 14, 2011.

The legislation also requires learning institutions to inform interested persons the opportunity to receive this credit for their military training and professional military education.

Senate Bill 275 does not guarantee that colleges will award college credit based on military training, but it simply requires community colleges to develop a standard by which they will award credit.

Local Oregon community colleges are familiar with the deployments Oregon has experienced, and are committed to helping the large number of Oregon military members who pursue post-secondary education during their deployments and after their return home, said Krissa Caldwell, Deputy Commissioner for Oregon Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development.

“This bill is about helping Oregon’s veterans transfer their military acquired knowledge and skills to civilian life and careers,” she said.

Coupled with the complications of multiple deployments, the way students pursue their education has prompted colleges to adjust their practices of recognizing and awarding credits, she added.

The Joint Services Transcript (JST) is the military transcript that lists the recommended college credits based on military training.  The JST replaced the Coast Guard Institute Transcript, the Army/American Council on Education Registry Transcript System (AARTS) and the Sailor/Marine American Council on Education Registry Transcript (SMART).

JST is an academically accepted document approved by the American Council on Education (ACE) to validate a Service Member's military occupational experience and training along with the corresponding ACE college credit recommendations.  The official military transcript can be requested through the JST website at https://jst.doded.mil.

Due to concerns with college accreditation, colleges want to ensure that students receive the entire course of training within their degree program and that credits are not awarded for training that does not fulfill the all course objectives.  Many colleges will award one to three physical education (PE) credits, but any other courses often require additional documentation to substantiate equivalency between college and military course objectives.

“There is a shared concern to work with veterans to help them jump-start civilian education and training,” Caldwell said. “Oregon’s community colleges stand ready to continue to help veterans pursue post-secondary education as they return from active duty around the world.”

For more information on this bill, or to read the various committee meeting minutes, visit http://gov.oregonlive.com/bill/2011/SB275/.