Friday, August 29, 2014

The Oregon National Guard wraps up a busy week, busy summer

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.

--> A search and extraction team carries a victim away from a five-story tower in the state’s newest “rubble pile” during a week-long evaluation exercise for the Oregon National Guard’s CBRNE Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP), held at Camp Rilea in Warrenton, Ore., Aug. 27. Approximately 200 Oregon Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen participated in the exercise, practicing incident site search and rescue, medical triage, and decontamination. Earlier this year, the unit worked alongside the Hawaii National Guard CERFP during the Vigilant Guard Exercise held in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Master Sgt. Nick Choy, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs)

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.

--> The Oregon National Guard Hood to Coast team finishes the 197-mile course at Seaside, Ore., the last week of August, 2014. Proceeds from the annual race, which starts at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood, and ends at the Broadway Avenue turnaround in Seaside, go to various charities in the region. Photo courtesy of the Oregon National Guard.

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.

--> Oregon Army National Guard Soldiers with the 2-218 Field Artillery Battalion, fire a volley using 105mm Howitzer cannons, during the playing of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, during the Oregon Symphony’s Waterfront Concert, held Aug. 28 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland, Ore. The annual event also featured the Oregon National Guard’s 234 Army Band, and several other local classical performers. Photo by Spc. Matthew Burnett, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

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.

--> Oregon Army National Guard Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry, of the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, stand in formation during the unit’s mobilization ceremony, held July 18, at the McNeal Pavilion, Southern Oregon University, in Ashland, Ore. The unit is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan to provide security missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The unit is commanded by Lt. Col. Noel Hoback and Command Sgt. Maj. Brad Huppunen. Photo by Master Sgt. Nick Choy, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs.

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.”

--> Oregon Army National Guard Spc. Cody Shepherd (left), and Private 1st Class Jordan Pena (right), both of Alpha Battery, 2-218 Field Artillery, fire a 105mm round during their unit’s annual training at Yakima Training Center, Wash., June 23.  Shepherd, from Milwaukie, Ore. Shepherd, who is from Milwaukie, Ore., and Pena, of Portland, Ore., are joined on their gun crew by Gun Crew Section Chief Staff Sgt. Jonathan Stocker; Ammunition Team Chief, Sgt. David Tully of Gresham, Ore.; Assistant Gunner, Private 1st Class Jordan Pena of Portland, Ore.; and Gunner Spc. William McKnight.  McKnight completed the Oregon National Guard’s Air Assault Course—an intensive week-long competition which challenges Oregon’s best of the best in air assault operations, sling-load operations, and rappelling, enabling participants to perform skills required to make maximum use of helicopter assets in training and in combat to support their unit operations. Photo by Master Sgt. Nick Choy, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs Office.

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.  

--> An Oregon Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook helicopter drops water on a fire in support of fire suppression efforts at the Logging Unit fire west of Madras, Ore., July 20. The "Bambi" bucket used on the Chinook helicopters can carry up to 1,500 gallons of water. Two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and two HH-60M Blackhawk helicopters of the Oregon Army National Guard arrived at the Madras Airport, July 19, to assist local authorities in suppressing the wildfire west of Madras, Ore. Photo by Staff Sgt. Jason van Mourik, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs.

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

Thursday, August 21, 2014

DoD JAG guidance: Endorsement of "Ice-Bucket Challenge" not allowed under regulations

Above: Boston City Councillor Tito Jackson, right, leads some 200 people in the ice bucket challenge at Boston's Copley Square, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 to raise funds and awareness for ALS.

We have all seen the videos and photos--a person takes a bucket of ice water, and dumps it over their head. The act is followed by much cheering and fanfare.

Most of these challenges are meant to raise awareness for a worthy cause. This, along with what appears to be an online fad that is growing in popularity may motivate many service members to participate.

According to Art Kaff, Administrative Law Division of the Office of The Judge Advocate General for the U.S. Army Headquarters, however well-intentioned this participation may appear, it is an impermissible endorsement of a non-federal entity.

The Standards of Conduct and the Joint Ethics Regulation (JER) are clear concerning such activities.  An officer or employee may not use his or her government position or title or any authority associated with his or her public office in a manner that could reasonably be construed to imply that the government sanctions or endorses the employee's personal activities or those of another.  5 CFR 2635.702(b).

An employee is also prohibited from using or permitting the use of his or her government position or title or any authority associated with his or her public office to endorse any product, service or enterprise.  5 CFR 2635.702(c); JER 3-209.

An employee may only engage in the raising of funds for a nonprofit organization in an official capacity where the employee is authorized to engage in the fundraising activity as part of his or her official duties.  5 CFR 2635.808.  The JER, at paragraph 3-210, makes it clear that (with very limited exceptions) DoD employees shall not officially endorse or appear to endorse membership drives or fundraising for any non-federal entity.

Fundraising done by government employees in their personal capacities should not use official time, resources or personnel in connection with the activity, nor should the individual's official title, authority or command be invoked in connection with the personal fundraising efforts.  In addition, employees engaged in personal fundraising may not personally solicit funds from a subordinate or from any other person known to the employee to be a prohibited source.  5 CFR 2635.808(c); JER 3-300.

The bottom line for full-time AGR or Title-10 Oregon National Guard members is to steer clear of these kinds of endorsements. M-Day or Drill Status Guardsmen should be okay, as long as they conduct these kinds of activities in a purely civilian status, without any references or representation to their National Guard affiliation. However, just to be safe, it is always best for everyone to seek guidance from their chain of command and/or direct supervisor.

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,, and

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