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News Releases
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Oregon Seeks Volunteers for Selective Service Boards (Photo) - 07/16/24

SALEM, Ore. — As global tensions rise and military recruitment faces challenges, the Oregon National Guard is playing a vital role in supporting the Selective Service System, ensuring the state remains prepared for potential national emergencies.

The Selective Service System, an independent agency within the executive branch, is responsible for rapidly providing personnel to the military in a fair and equitable manner if the President and Congress authorize conscription. While the United States has maintained an all-volunteer force for decades, the system remains a crucial component of national defense readiness.

"The Selective Service is a vital pillar in our national defense posture," said Michael Kalberg, Oregon's State Director for the Selective Service System. "Even though it may be overlooked by some, it's an important component of our government."

In Oregon, the Selective Service State Headquarters is located at the Salem Armory on 17th St. The state's mission includes maintaining staffing for local draft boards, preparing to activate a fully operational state headquarters if needed, and supporting the ongoing registration of 18-year-old males.

Lt. Col. Robert Earhart, the Selective Service Reserve Service Member for Oregon, explained the system's role: "Most people are familiar with the draft during World War Two through Vietnam. It's been a volunteer force for the past several decades, so the draft has not been going on. But every state needs to have an apparatus in place in case the President and Congress reinitiate conscription."

The Oregon National Guard provides critical support to the Selective Service mission. This partnership includes sharing facilities, logistical support, and personnel. In addition to occupying space at the Salem Armory, National Guard Armory facilities and administrative equipment would be made available for temporary operations in the event of activation.

"We've had a lot of success in Oregon over the last 50 years, and this office has been functional," Earhart said. "A lot of great people have come through, and a lot of great volunteers helping us along the way."

However, the system faces challenges, particularly in rural areas. Oregon is divided into 18 local boards, with nine single-county boards and nine multi-county boards. As of July 2024, five boards are inoperable due to volunteer board member vacancies across 14 counties.

"We have vacancies quite a few vacancies around the state," Earhart noted. To reach board capacity, "I could probably fill another 30 slots."

These local boards play a crucial role in the Selective Service process. In the event of a draft, board members would review and decide on draftee claims for exemptions, postponements, or deferments from military service.

"It's a big responsibility because you hold someone's future in your hands," Earhart explained. "It's a matter of trust, logic, and an understanding of the story being told to you."

The time commitment for board members is minimal during peacetime — approximately five hours in the first year and two hours annually thereafter. However, their role becomes expanded and critical if a draft is reinstated.

Kalberg emphasized the unique challenges Oregon faces in maintaining the Selective Service System. "Oregon is not a high-visibility military state. We don't have a lot of military footprint [in Oregon]," he said. For that reason, probably in particular, Oregonians have never had a history of high registration compliance when young men turn 18."

Despite these challenges, recent efforts to bolster the system have shown promise. Earhart has been conducting outreach with agency partners, the governor's office, county commissioners, and service organizations like the VFW and American Legion, which has resulted in several new volunteers in the pipeline.

The Selective Service is also adapting to potential changes on the national level. Congress is considering bills that could expand registration requirements, such as the automatic registration of 18-year-old males and including women in the draft. If passed, these changes would significantly increase the workload for local boards.

"If mandated, it'll be an interesting reaction," Kalberg said. "We're not worried about it, but we do need to get the numbers on the paper, get [board members] trained, and get them ready."

As geopolitical pressures mount and military recruiting struggles to meet its quotas, the importance of the Selective Service System has been identified as a backstop for national defense. Dr. Kathleen Hicks, Deputy Secretary of Defense, recently stated, "I don't want people to think the all-volunteer force is sort of alone when the United States must make major decisions. They do not stand alone."

The Oregon National Guard and Selective Service System are actively seeking volunteers to serve on local boards, particularly in rural areas. Interested citizens can apply online at sss.gov/volunteers to "Get Involved." Eligible individuals must be U.S. citizens, at least 18 years old, and willing to undergo training and dedicate time to this crucial role in national preparedness.

"We're looking for dedicated individuals who want to serve their community and country in this important capacity," Earhart said. "It's a unique opportunity to play a vital role in our national defense structure."
 
For more information on volunteering or the Selective Service System in Oregon, you can contact Lt. Col. Robert Earhart, SSS Reserve Service Member, at 503-779-9473 or rearhart@sss.gov.

 

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Released Video Interview: https://dvidshub.net/r/9muf7h

 

Released Photo:

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Lt. Col. Robert Earhart, Selective Service Reserve Force Officer for Oregon, speaks during an interview on Saturday, July 13, 2024, at the Salem Armory in Salem, Ore. Earhart discussed the Oregon National Guard's support for the Selective Service System and the need for volunteers to serve on local draft boards. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Maj. W. Chris Clyne, Oregon National Guard Public Affairs)

 

Included: SSS Volunteer Recruiting Poster

 

Media Advisory: 142nd Wing to host F-15EX Eagle II Unveiling Ceremony - 07/10/24

for planning purposes only – not for print or air

The 142nd Wing out of the Portland Air National Guard Base, Portland, Oregon will host a ceremony unveiling the F-15EX Eagle II fighter jet at its first operational unit in the U.S. Air Force this Friday, 12 July 2024. Attending this ceremony will be the Governor of the State of Oregon and Commander in Chief of the Oregon National Guard, Honorable Tina Kotek and U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon.

Media is asked to RSVP by Thursday, 11 July. Interviews with distinguished visitors to include Maj. Gen. Duke Pirak, Acting Director of the Air National Guard and former Oregon Air National Guardsman, will be available between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m. Please arrive at the base main gate, 6801 NE Cornfoot Rd, Portland, Ore. 97218, no later than 8:00 a.m. if you would like to conduct interviews. 

The F-15EX is a replacement for the F-15C/D fleet that complements Combat Air Forces with affordability, speed, range, payload and rapid technology paths. The USAF currently operates six F-15EX aircraft at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida for testing, and the Air National Guard has received their first two at Portland Air National Guard Base, Portland, Oregon. The 142nd Wing is the first unit in the USAF to operate the F-15EX for real-world missions. 

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Footage of the arrival of the first F-15EX at Portland can be downloaded at the following link: DVIDS - Video - First Aircraft Arrival F-15EX at the Portland Air National Guard Base (dvidshub.net)

About the 142nd Wing:

The Portland Air National Guard Base employs 1,500 Airmen who provide an economic impact of nearly $500 million to the region. The 142nd Wing defends our homeland with F-15 Eagle fighter jets, guarding the Pacific Northwest skies from northern California to the Canadian border through their Aerospace Control Alert mission as part of Air Combat Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). Their mission is to provide unequalled, mission-ready units to sustain combat aerospace superiority and peacetime tasking any time, any place in service to our nation, state and community.

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142nd Wing to conduct Independence Day flyovers (Photo) - 07/03/24

PORTLAND, Oregon – The 142nd Wing out of the Portland Air National Guard Base in Portland, Ore., will conduct Independence Day flyovers for ceremonies and parades at locations throughout Oregon.

Oregon Air National Guard F-15 Eagle fighter jets are scheduled to conduct flyovers at the following community locations at, or around, the designated times on Thursday, July 4, 2024. 

10:35 a.m. Corbett, Ore.

10:39 a.m. Ridgefield, Wash.

10:43 a.m. Clatskanie, Ore.

10:47 a.m. Warrenton, Ore.

10:50 a.m. Manzanita, Ore.

10:51 a.m. Rockaway Beach, Ore.

10:55 a.m. Neskowin, Ore.

11:00 a.m. Turner, Ore.

11:01 a.m. Salem, Ore. 

11:03 a.m. Mt. Angel, Ore. 

11:05 a.m. St. Paul, Ore. 

11:08 a.m. Lake Oswego, Ore. 

11:09 a.m. Happy Valley, Ore.

11:12 a.m. Molalla, Ore. 

11:14 a.m. Mill City, Ore.

11:26 a.m. Condon, Ore. 

11:34 a.m. The Dalles, Ore. 

All passes will be approximately 1,000 feet above ground level and about 400 mph airspeed. Flights could be canceled or times changed due to inclement weather or operational contingencies.

The Oregon Air National Guard has been an integral part of the nation's air defense since 1941.  


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About the 142nd Wing:

The Portland Air National Guard Base employs 1,300 Airmen who provide an economic impact of nearly $500 million to the region. The 142nd Wing defends our homeland with F-15 Eagle fighter jets, guarding the Pacific Northwest skies from northern California to the Canadian border through their Aerospace Control Alert mission as part of Air Combat Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). Their mission is to provide unequalled, mission-ready units to sustain combat aerospace superiority and peacetime tasking any time, any place in service to our nation, state and community.

Photo Caption:

An F-15D Eagle assigned to the 142nd Fighter Wing takes off from the Portland Air National Guard Base, Ore., during a training flight, Feb. 12, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. John Hughel, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs/Released)

 

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Oregon Department of Emergency Management and Oregon National Guard rescue hiker on the Pacific Crest Trail (Photo) - 06/25/24

SALEM, Ore. – On Sunday, June 23, 2024, at approximately 1:55 p.m., an Oregon Army National Guard HH-60M Black Hawk helicopter and crew rescued a female hiker in her mid-forties, who became stranded on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in Southern Oregon.

Working with the Klamath County Sheriff’s office and the Oregon Department of Emergency Management, the Oregon Army National Guard assisted in the rescue of the stranded hiker. In her own words, “As an experienced long-distance backpacker having completed several long trails I was prepared with the essentials for several nights in the backcountry. While attempting to reroute around an impassable snowed-in section of trail I found myself traversing unsafe shale chutes. Realizing the risk, I attempted to self-rescue by backtracking, falling on the chutes and suffering scrapes and bruises. Unable to safely navigate through the loose down sloping rocks at high elevation and trusting my instincts regarding my safety I called for assistance,” she stated.

A technical rope team said there was no way to get above or below her without risking a rock slide. They reported she was conscious after her fall and had a strong mobile phone signal and battery.

The state search and rescue (SAR) coordinator was given the hiker’s mobile phone number to keep in contact with her, and was able to confirm she had food and water.

“I carry a personal locator beacon, but having cell service I advised my husband (who was across the country) of my situation and together we worked with the Klamath County Sheriff's Department, Oregon Department of Emergency Management, and the Oregon Army National Guard to coordinate my rescue.”

The Army helicopter crew departed the Army Aviation Support Facility in Salem, Oregon and arrived in Roseburg to refuel and pick up a flight medic en route to the incident site.

The injured hiker was rescued by air hoist at approximately 7:47 p.m., and then flown to the Medford Airport where she was transferred to emergency medical services. She had severely bruised legs and back issues but was not showing signs of bleeding.

“Without the air rescue expertise of the Oregon Army National Guard this SAR mission would have been impossible to accomplish so efficiently,” State SAR Coordinator Scott Lucas said.

After refueling in Medford, the four-member Oregon Army National Guard crew returned to Salem just before midnight. 

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Rescue Photo:

240623-Z-A3543-1000: Oregon Army National Guard HH-60M crew members (from left) Staff Sgt. Kyle Sanders, crew chief and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kyle Hutton, pilot stand next to a rescued hiker, together with Sgt. 1st Class Michael Buchan, medic and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Devin Wickenhagen, pilot in command in Medford, Oregon on June 23, 2024. The four-person crew was able to rescue the hiker on the Pacific Crest Trail after she became stuck in a dangerous situation where she was surrounded by snow and shale chutes. (Oregon National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Michael Buchan, Gulf Company, 1st Battalion, 189th Aviation)

 

Stock File Rescue Photos:

200617-Z-NJ272-001: An Oregon Army National Guard HH-60M Blackhawk helicopter with Gulf Company, 1st Battalion, 189th Aviation Regiment sits in a meadow in the Santiam State Forest near Salem, Ore., on June 17, 2020 after completing several rounds of water bucket drops. The company routinely practices at pre-determined sites around Marion and Clackamas counties, preparing to assist with wildland fire when called upon by state and federal partners. (National Guard photo by Maj. Leslie Reed, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs)

200617-Z-NJ272-005: An Oregon Army National Guard HH-60M Blackhawk helicopter assigned to Gulf Company, 1st Battalion, 189th Aviation Regiment rises above the tree line on June 17, 2020 during annual water bucket training near Salem, Ore. Gulf Company routinely practices its water bucket dropping capabilities at pre-determined sites around Marion and Clackamas counties ahead of the summer wildland fire season in Oregon. (National Guard photo by Maj. Leslie Reed, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs)

180603-A-VK948-881: Oregon Army National Guard Soldiers with an HH-60M Black Hawk helicopter with Company G (Golf), 1st Battalion, 189th Aviation Regiment, partake in a field training exercise conducted by Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 641st Aviation Regiment, at Camp Najaf, near Monmouth, Oregon, on June 3, 2018. (National Guard Photo by 1st Lt. Jessica Clarke, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs)

220819-Z-CH590-009: Oregon Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Mark Carter (left) and Maj. Daniel Russell (right) pause for a photograph with one of the states HH-60M Black Hawk helicopters assigned for Search and Rescue (SAR) at McNairy Field, in Salem, Oregon on August 19, 2022. The Oregon National Guard has 12 Black Hawks and four UH-72A Lakota helicopters to help assist in aviation SAR missions. (National Guard photo by John Hughel, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs)