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Press Release
December 16, 2008
Oregon Guard celebrates National Guard birthday, community support agreement and Soldier homecoming
 
SALEM, Ore. – Members of an Oregon Army National Guard Embedded Training Team were honored during a ceremony at the Anderson Readiness Center in Salem, Ore., on Dec. 16.

The event coincided with the Oregon Guard's observance of the 372nd birthday of the National Guard, and the signing of the Army Community Covenant—a formal commitment of support by state and local organizations to assist Soldiers and their families.

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski, signed the official document, as state, military and Oregon's community leaders watched.

The Community Covenant is a public declaration of the values and importance we place on community support of Oregon's military, Kulongoski explained.

"We will always be by your side, whether you serve at home, or are sent abroad into harm's way," the Governor said.

With many Soldiers acting as single parents, the community covenant is an important commitment to ‘neighbors helping neighbors', said Larry Deibert, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army.

"(This) is a gesture designed to develop and foster effective state and community partnerships with the Army and reaffirms the Army's commitment to Soldiers," Mr. Deibert said.

Kulongoski, joined Major General Raymond F. Rees, The Adjutant General, Oregon National Guard, in welcoming home the members of the ETT, calling the simultaneous covenant signing, National Guard birthday, and welcome home ceremony for the Soldiers, a gift to Oregon.

"Christmas came a little early this year," Kulongoski said. "We're blessed to have you home."

Maj. Gen. Rees reminded the gathering about Capt. Bruno Giancarlo de Solenni, who was killed in September by an improvised explosive device outside Kandahar, Afghanistan.

"The joy we feel today has come at a great price," Maj. Gen. Rees said.

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived," Rees said of Capt. De Solenni's sacrifice, quoting Gen. George Patton.

The group spent a year in Afghanistan advising the Afghan National Army Counter-Narcotics Infantry Battalion, also known as Kandak, on clearing, holding and protecting areas to deny opium operations.

"You had a tough year, but you rose to the occasion," Maj. Gen. Rees said to the 13 Soldiers in the ETT.

The bulk of the ETT returned to Oregon on Dec. 12. A few members will return home within the next few months. The unit was commanded by Lt. Col. Keith Ensley.

As part of the 372nd birthday celebration for the National Guard, ETT member, Capt. Paul Dyer joined Governor Kulongoski and Maj. Gen. Rees in cutting the birthday cake.


Photo:

081216-F-1639C-0377.jpg: Members of an Oregon Army National Guard Embedded Training Team, is honored at a homecoming ceremony in Salem, Ore., on Dec. 16. The group deployed to Afghanistan for one year, assisting Afghan National Army members in anti-drug operations. Of the 17 members, four were not present at the ceremony, including Capt. Bruno de Solenni, who was killed outside Kandahar in September by an improvised explosive device. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy)

081216-F-1639C-0416.jpg: Oregon Governor, Ted Kulongoski, surrounded by state, local and community leaders, signs the Army Community Covenant, during a ceremony in Salem, Ore., on Dec. 16. The signing of the document, which is a community commitment to support of Army Soldiers and their families, coincided with the homecoming ceremony for the Oregon Army National Guard Embedded Training Team, which deployed to Afghanistan for one year, assisting Afghan National Army members in anti-drug operations. Of the 17 members, four were not present at the ceremony, including Capt. Bruno de Solenni, who was killed outside Kandahar in September by an improvised explosive device. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy)

081216-F-1639C-0432.jpg: Oregon Governor, Ted Kulongoski, (right), Major General Raymond F. Rees, the Adjutant General, Oregon National Guard (left), and Capt. Paul Dyer, the youngest officer in the Embedded Training Team, prepare to cut the ceremonial birthday cake, marking the 372nd birthday of the National Guard at a ceremony in Salem, Ore., on Dec. 16. The ceremony coincided with the signing of the Army Community Covenant, which is a community commitment to support of Army Soldiers and their families. The event also welcomed home members of the Oregon Army National Guard ETT, which deployed to Afghanistan for one year, assisting Afghan National Army members in anti-drug operations. Of the 17 members, four were not present at the ceremony, including Capt. Bruno de Solenni, who was killed outside Kandahar in September by an improvised explosive device. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy)

081216-A-5611R-049.jpg: Members of the Embedded Training Team are honored at a ceremony in Salem, Ore., Dec. 16. The team recently returned from Afghanistan where they advised an Afghan National Army Counter-Narcotics Infantry Battalion to clear, hold and protect areas for a Poppy Eradication Force to deny opium operations. The team was awarded 15 Bronze Star Medals, 6 Army Commendation Medals, three with Valor, four Purple Heart Medals, 15 Combat Infantryman Badges, and two Combat Action Badges. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Eric Rutherford, Oregon Military Department)

081216-A-5611R-051.jpg: Oregon Governor, Ted Kulongoski, surrounded by state, local and community leaders, signs the Army Community Covenant, during a ceremony in Salem, Ore., on Dec. 16. The signing of the document, which is a community commitment to support of Army Soldiers and their families, coincided with the homecoming ceremony for the Oregon Army National Guard Embedded Training Team, which deployed to Afghanistan for one year, assisting Afghan National Army members in anti-drug operations. Of the 17 members, four were not present at the ceremony, including Capt. Bruno de Solenni, who was killed outside Kandahar in September by an improvised explosive device. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Eric Rutherford, Oregon Military Department)
 
 
Contact Info:
 
Capt. Steven Bomar, Deputy Public Affairs Officer
503-584-3885 or 503-990-9508