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News Releases
Scheduled Army Rotary Wing Late Night Flying on Northern Oregon Coast - 04/09/24

Salem, Ore. - The Oregon National Guard’s Camp Rilea Training Center, near Warrenton, is scheduled to host active-duty Army rotary wing night training missions, April 10-19, 2024. The visiting unit is located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, in Tacoma, Washington.

Army rotary wing aircraft are scheduled to conduct intermittent nighttime air operations on Camp Rilea’s Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) training site in order to maintain pilot and crew proficiency necessary to support real world military operations.

“We strive to be good neighbors in the communities in which we both live and serve,” said Maj. Steven Maughan, Camp Rilea Range Officer, “we appreciate the continued support when it comes to fulfilling our federal mission, as a training center, to support military readiness in the Pacific Northwest.”

While night flying operations will conclude by midnight each night on Camp Rilea, training may continue throughout the night in surrounding areas.

Camp Rilea Range Operations Range Status, to include scheduled life fire ranges and night operations, can be found on the Oregon Military Department website at https://www.oregon.gov/omd/rilea/Pages/Range-Operations.aspx

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Upcoming Army Rotary Wing Late Night Flying on Northern Oregon Coast - 03/26/24

SALEM, Ore. - The Oregon National Guard’s Camp Rilea Training Center, near Warrenton, Oregon, will host active-duty Army rotary wing night training missions over March 27-29, 2024. The visiting unit is located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, near Tacoma, Washington.  

Army rotary wing aircraft will conduct nighttime air operations on Camp Rilea’s Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) training site in order to maintain pilot and crew proficiency necessary to support real world military operations.  

“Camp Rilea Range Operations appreciates the support of the local community and understands the impact night military operations can have,” said Maj. Steven Maughan, Camp Rilea Range Officer.  “We want to provide advance notice to our community members about the increased noise from military aircraft during this particular period.” 

While night flying operations will conclude by midnight each night at Camp Rilea, training may continue throughout the night in the surrounding areas.    

Camp Rilea Range Operations Range Status, to include scheduled life fire ranges and night operations, can be found on the Oregon Military Department website at https://www.oregon.gov/omd/rilea/Pages/Range-Operations.aspx 

 

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240321-Z-CH590-1136.jpg
Memorial service held to honor the 80th Anniversary of the 1944 explosion at former Umatilla Depot (Photo) - 03/22/24

HERMISTON, Ore. —  The Columbia Development Authority and the Oregon Military Department hosted a memorial service on March 21, 2024 to observe the 80th Anniversary of the 1944 munitions explosion at the former Umatilla Army Ordnance Depot which claimed the lives of six workers. 

Oregon State Rep. Greg Smith, representing the Columbia Development Authority, spoke to those who gathered to pay tribute to the six people who made the ultimate sacrifice.

“The cause of the explosion has never been determined, however what we do know is that six civilians lost their lives that day,” Smith said. “It is important that we recognize the men and women who sacrificed for each and every one of us.”

The accidental explosion occurred inside igloo B-1014 on March 21, 1944 at 9:21 p.m., one of 1,002 storage igloos instantly killing Harry D. Sever, Hiram Cook, Kenneth L. Fraser, William Sanders, Alice Wolgamott, and Lance Stultz.

Following Smith’s remarks, a tribal prayer was offered by Raymond Huesties of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and Oregon National Guard Chaplain (Col.) Jacob Scott offered a prayer to those gathered at the memorial site.

“On this spring day we pause to remember and honor the service to our nation the six people who perished in the igloo explosion on this spot eighty years ago today,” Scott said. “They were part of a massive effort to defend America and the world against tyranny.”

Oregon National Guard serviced members took part in the ceremony with an honor guard unit presenting the colors with music presented for the national anthem, as taps were played after a wreath was laid by members of the American Legion Post 37.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, a procession was led by the Oregon Military Department Wildland Fire back to the Rees Training Center to the Explosion Site Memorial Plaque for a moment of silence, led by Chaplain Scott.

In remarks held after the two ceremonies, State Sen. Bill Hansell reflected on the sober significance of the explosion.

“Can you imagine if you had a loved one working the swing shift that evening and the concern you would have wondering if they would walk through the door,” Hansell said. “It’s fitting that we pause and remember their sacrifices."

As the United States prepared for WWII, the U.S. Army began building a military munitions and supply depot on twenty thousand acres of land located on Umatilla and Morrow counties near Hermiston, Oregon in 1940. The site was selected because it was safe from attacks by sea, as well as the proximity to established railroad lines and a port location on the Columbia River. The Umatilla Depot was renamed the Raymond F. Rees Training Center on Sept. 29, 2022 as the home of the Oregon Army National Guard regional infantry training center.

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Released Photos: 

240321-Z-CH590-1136: An Oregon Army National Guard Color Guard unit presents the colors during the national anthem at the 80th Anniversary ceremony of the 1944 explosion at the former Umatilla Depot, on March 21, 2024 near Hermiston, Oregon. On March 21, 1944, at 9:21 p.m., six civilian workers were killed in a munitions explosion as part of defense of the United States during WWII. (National Guard photo by John Hughel, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs)

240321-Z-CH590-1169: A member of the American Legion Post 37 in Hermiston, Oregon salutes a wreath at the explosion site at former Umatilla Depot, on March 21, 2024 near Hermiston, Oregon. On March 21, 1944, at 9:21 p.m., six civilian workers were killed in a munitions explosion as part of defense of the United States during WWII. (National Guard photo by John Hughel, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs)

240321-Z-CH590-1177: An Oregon Army National Guard Soldier plays taps during the 80th Anniversary ceremony of the 1944 explosion at the former Umatilla Depot, on March 21, 2024 near Hermiston, Oregon. On March 21, 1944, at 9:21 p.m., six civilian workers were killed in a munitions explosion as part of defense of the United States during WWII. (National Guard photo by John Hughel, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs)

240321-Z-CH590-1172: A lone cross marks the site of the 1944 munitions explosion at the former Umatilla Depot, on March 21, 2024 near Hermiston, Oregon following the 80th Anniversary ceremony to honor the six civilian workers killed in a munitions explosion as part of the defense of the United States during WWII. (National Guard photo by John Hughel, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs)

240321-Z-CH590-1216: Oregon Army National Guard Chaplain (Col.) Jacob Scott leads a moment of since at the historic memorial marker at the Rees Training Center, near Hermiston, Oregon on March 21, 2024. Six civilian workers were killed in a munitions explosion on March 21, 1944 at 9:21 p.m., as part of defense of the United States during WWII. (National Guard photo by John Hughel, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs)

240321-Z-CH590-1226: State Sen. Bill Hansell addresses those who attended the 80th Anniversary ceremony to honor the six civilian workers killed in a munitions explosion as part of the defense of the United States during WWII. Hansell described growing up near the depot during the Second World War as his family had one of the largest hog farms in the country nearby. (National Guard photo by John Hughel, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs)

Rees Training Center
Rees Training Center
Memorial service to mark 80th Anniversary of 1944 explosion at former Umatilla Depot (Photo) - 03/20/24

SALEM, Ore. -  The Columbia Development Authority and the Oregon Military Department are scheduled to host a memorial service to observe the 80th Anniversary of the 1944 munitions explosion at the former Umatilla Army Ordnance Depot. The commemoration ceremony honoring the six people that perished in the igloo explosion will be held at the Rees Training Center near Hermiston, Oregon on March 21, 2024 at 10:00 a.m. Please use the entrance into the depot I-82 exit 10 overpass at Lamb Rd., Hermiston.

The ceremony is open to the public and those desiring to attend should meet at a staging area off Westland Road and Lamb Road military entrance at 10:00 a.m., and then an escort will be led to the tribute site. The service will include military honors performed by Oregon National Guard Color Guard members, a Tribal blessing, a wreath laying vigil by the American Legion and a blessing by the Chaplain from the Oregon Military Department.

Senator Bill Hansell, Columbia Development Authority Executive Director Greg Smith, Columbia Development Authority Board Chairman Kim Puzey, Columbia Development Authority Board member John Shafer, along with members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation are scheduled to attend.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, a procession will be led by the Oregon Military Department Wildland Fire back to the Rees Training Center to the Explosion Site Memorial Plaque for a moment of silence, led by Oregon National Guard Chaplain (Col.) Jacob Scott and CTUIR Toby Patrick. The event will conclude with the remarks from the guest speakers and a complimentary lunch in the barrack’s great room.

As the United States prepared for WWII, the U.S. Army began building a military munitions and supply depot on twenty thousand acres of land located on Umatilla and Morrow counties near Hermiston, Oregon in 1940. The site was selected because it was safe from attacks by sea, as well as the proximately to established railroad lines and a port location on the Columbia River.

The accidental explosion on March 21, 1944, took place inside one of the many concrete igloos where bombs were stored, leaving a deep crater, and killing six workers.

For more information, please contact the Columbia Development Authority at 541-481-3693. The event location into the depot property is as follows: Westland to Lamb Road just off I-82 overpass. We look forward to seeing you at this momentous ceremony, honoring those who gave their lives in service to our country during World War II.

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Stock photo: Oregon Army National Guard Color Guard members render colors during the National Anthem to begin the renaming ceremony at the Raymond F. Rees Training Center, Umatilla, Oregon, on Sept. 29, 2022. Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Raymond F. Rees is a retired Oregon Guardsman and served as The Adjutant General, Oregon for more than 16 years, retiring from military service in 2013, and later worked as a civilian as the Deputy Secretary of the Army. (National Guard photo by John Hughel, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs)

 

Attached Media Files: Rees Training Center
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240315-Z-CH590-1638
Oregon National Guard Crowns 2024 Best Warrior Winners (Photo) - 03/19/24

WARRENTON, Ore. — The Oregon National Guard concluded its annual Best Warrior Competition Thursday through Saturday at Camp Rilea with Pfc. Francisco Garcia was named Soldier of the Year, and Sgt. Mitchell Sierra was named Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year.

Garcia, a light wheel mechanic with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 218th Field Artillery Regiment from Damascus, Oregon, and Sierra, an infantryman assigned to the Scout Platoon of 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry Regiment from Talent, Oregon, prevailed after a three-day event from March 14-16 that pushed competitors through grueling challenges.

The diverse events tested the warriors' physical fitness, land navigation skills, marksmanship, and other battle tasks. They included a physical fitness test, essay writing, an oral board with the senior enlisted leaders, a land navigation course, rifle qualification, a 3-gun competition, an obstacle course, and a ruck march.

"These warriors displayed connectedness, commitment, and competence throughout the competition," said Brig. Gen. Eric Riley, Oregon Army National Guard Land Component Commander. "It was an honor to witness our best and brightest soldiers working so hard. Thank you for the extraordinary effort that makes our Army great."

Command Sgt. Maj. Lee Smith, the Command Senior Enlisted Leader, commended the support staff who put in tremendous work to organize the annual event.

"This is my favorite time of year—these Best Warrior competitions showcase the caliber of our soldiers," said Smith. "The staff's preparation to pull off this complex event is pretty amazing."

The winners, Garcia and Sierra, will go on to represent Oregon at the Region 6 Best Warrior Competition scheduled for May 13-17, 2024, in Washington state. Soldiers from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming will compete at the regional event for the chance to advance to the National Guard Bureau's national-level Best Warrior Competition later this year.

 

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Released video and photos

 

Video: https://dvidshub.net/r/dsenyv

 

Photos

 

240316-Z-ZJ128-1001: Oregon National Guard Best Warrior Competition winners, front row from left: Master Sgt. Daniel Gardner, 3rd place NCO; Staff Sgt. Thomas Malaby, 2nd place NCO; Sgt. Mitchell Sierra, 1st place NCO; Pfc. Francisco Garcia, 1st place Soldier of the Year; Spc. Charles Hefflefinger, 2nd place SOY; and Pfc. Lucas Smith, 3rd place SOY. Back row: Command Sgt. Maj. Lee Smith, the ORNG Command Senior Enlisted Leader, and Brig. Gen. Eric Riley, Oregon Army National Guard Land Component Commander. The competition was held March 14-16 at Camp Rilea. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Maj. W. Chris Clyne, Oregon National Guard Public Affairs)

240314-Z-CH590-1134: Oregon National Guard service members take part in the Army Combat Fitness Test to assess the Soldier’s physical fitness as part of the 2024 Oregon National Guard Best Warrior competition held at Camp Rilea, near Warrenton, Oregon from March 14-16, 2024. (National Guard Photo by John Hughel, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs)

240315-Z-CH590-2562: An Oregon National Guard Soldier takes on the obstacle course on March 15, as part of the 2024 Oregon National Guard Best Warrior competition held at Camp Rilea, near Warrenton, Oregon from March 14-16, 2024. (National Guard Photo by John Hughel, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs)

240315-Z-CH590-1638: Oregon National Guard Soldiers and Airmen take part in an early morning ruck after and an early morning land navigation course on March 15 as part of the 2024 Oregon National Guard Best Warrior competition held at Camp Rilea, near Warrenton, Oregon from March 14-16, 2024. (National Guard Photo by John Hughel, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs)

240316-Z-ZJ128-1001
240316-Z-ZJ128-1001
Oregon National Guard Crowns 2024 Best Warrior Winners (Photo) - 03/19/24

WARRENTON, Ore. — The Oregon National Guard concluded its annual Best Warrior Competition Thursday through Saturday at Camp Rilea with Pfc. Francisco Garcia was named Soldier of the Year, and Sgt. Mitchell Sierra was named Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year.

Garcia, a light wheel mechanic with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 218th Field Artillery Regiment from Damascus, Oregon, and Sierra, an infantryman assigned to the Scout Platoon of 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry Regiment from Talent, Oregon, prevailed after a three-day event from March 14-16 that pushed competitors through grueling challenges.

The diverse events tested the warriors' physical fitness, land navigation skills, marksmanship, and other battle tasks. They included a physical fitness test, essay writing, an oral board with the senior enlisted leaders, a land navigation course, rifle qualification, a 3-gun competition, an obstacle course, and a ruck march.

"These warriors displayed connectedness, commitment, and competence throughout the competition," said Brig. Gen. Eric Riley, Oregon Army National Guard Land Component Commander. "It was an honor to witness our best and brightest soldiers working so hard. Thank you for the extraordinary effort that makes our Army great."

Command Sgt. Maj. Lee Smith, the Command Senior Enlisted Leader, commended the support staff who put in tremendous work to organize the annual event.

"This is my favorite time of year—these Best Warrior competitions showcase the caliber of our soldiers," said Smith. "The staff's preparation to pull off this complex event is pretty amazing."

The winners, Garcia and Sierra, will go on to represent Oregon at the Region 6 Best Warrior Competition scheduled for May 13-17, 2024, in Washington state. Soldiers from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming will compete at the regional event for the chance to advance to the National Guard Bureau's national-level Best Warrior Competition later this year.

 

                                                                                      -30- 

Released video and photos

 

Video: https://dvidshub.net/r/dsenyv

 

Photos

 

240316-Z-ZJ128-1001: Oregon National Guard Best Warrior Competition winners, front row from left: Master Sgt. Daniel Gardner, 3rd place NCO; Staff Sgt. Thomas Malaby, 2nd place NCO; Sgt. Mitchell Sierra, 1st place NCO; Pfc. Francisco Garcia, 1st place Soldier of the Year; Spc. Charles Hefflefinger, 2nd place SOY; and Pfc. Lucas Smith, 3rd place SOY. Back row: Command Sgt. Maj. Lee Smith, the ORNG Command Senior Enlisted Leader, and Brig. Gen. Eric Riley, Oregon Army National Guard Land Component Commander. The competition was held March 14-16 at Camp Rilea. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Maj. W. Chris Clyne, Oregon National Guard Public Affairs)

240314-Z-CH590-1134: Oregon National Guard service members take part in the Army Combat Fitness Test to assess the Soldier’s physical fitness as part of the 2024 Oregon National Guard Best Warrior competition held at Camp Rilea, near Warrenton, Oregon from March 14-16, 2024. (National Guard Photo by John Hughel, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs)

240315-Z-CH590-2562: An Oregon National Guard Soldier takes on the obstacle course on March 15, as part of the 2024 Oregon National Guard Best Warrior competition held at Camp Rilea, near Warrenton, Oregon from March 14-16, 2024. (National Guard Photo by John Hughel, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs)

240315-Z-CH590-1638: Oregon National Guard Soldiers and Airmen take part in an early morning ruck after and an early morning land navigation course on March 15 as part of the 2024 Oregon National Guard Best Warrior competition held at Camp Rilea, near Warrenton, Oregon from March 14-16, 2024. (National Guard Photo by John Hughel, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs)