RIP Spc. Taylor D Marks and Sgt. Earl D. Werner

The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon National Guard has identified two soldiers killed when a convoy they were guarding was attacked in Iraq.

Pfc. Taylor D. Marks, 19, and a decorated veteran, Sgt. Earl D. Werner, 38, died Aug. 28 when the convoy was struck by an explosively formed penetrator, or EFP, an armor-piercing explosive that turns into a projectile when detonated.

Werner was on his third deployment with the Oregon National Guard. He had been awarded the Bronze Star, two Army Commendation Medals and the Combat Action Badge.

He is survived by his wife Casey and son Charles of Amboy, Wash.

Marks, of Monmouth, was a graduate of Central High School. He is survived by his parents and stepfather, and his sister and brother.

Both were serving with the 41st Special Troops Battalion, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team.


The Associated Press

MONMOUTH, Ore. — Relatives of an Oregon teenager killed in Iraq remember Taylor Marks as a young man who didn’t want to go into debt, so he went into the National Guard.

His stepfather says the 19-year-old from Monmouth planned to go to the University of Oregon to study finance and Japanese.

He decided to join the Guard to raise college money.

Marks was guarding a convoy Aug. 28 when an armor-piercing projectile struck. He and 38-year-old Sgt. Earl Werner of Amboy, Wash., died. They are the first fatalities in the deployment of about 2,400 Oregon-based soldiers this summer.

“He didn’t want to incur any debt, and he didn’t want us to incur any debt,” said Marks’ stepfather, Don Mack of Monmouth. “He came home and told us that he was going to join the Guard to help pay for his school.”

Marks was born in Salem and raised in Monmouth. On the night of his high school graduation, in late May 2008, Marks told the Statesman Journal that he planned to continue working at his job at a Chevron station, then enter the National Guard in August.

“I’m a little bit nervous, but I’ve got some big plans to look forward to,” Marks said then.

He ended up going to National Guard training with a friend.

The Oregon Military Department said he was contracted to go to the Defense Language Institute at the Presidio in California, but made the decision to defer his schooling to deploy with the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

The military department says he has been promoted posthumously from private first class to specialist.

Pfc Taylor Marks












Werner, 38, was on his third deployment with the Oregon Guard. He had won the Bronze Star, two Army Commendation Medals and the Combat Action Badge.

38-year old Sergeant Earl D. Werner‏













A third soldier, 24-year-old Specialist Reid Walch of Redmond, was seriously wounded by shrapnel. He was evacuated to a combat support hospital for treatment, Capt. Stephen Bomar said.


“Oregon Troops Learning to ‘just do things better’

An update from the Oregonian-

Oregon troops learning to ‘just do things better’

Posted by Julie Sullivan, The Oregonian August 21, 2009 20:11PM


Col. Dan Hokanson, commander of the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, spoke to The Oregonian at midnight Friday from his office in southern Iraq:

Suicide bombers struck the Finance and Foreign ministries in Baghdad on Wednesday, killing 95 people and wounding at least 600.

How did that affect the brigade?

We were fortunate that no American soldiers were in that immediate area.

Randy L. Rasmussen/The OregonianThe 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team is setting up its headquarters and working with other Guard units on convoy security in southern Iraq, said commander Col. Dan Hokanson..

I feel so bad for the Iraqi people. It is a dynamic environment here, and we are working very closely with the Iraq army and police trying to help them be successful in securing their own country. Our success will be measured by whether it’s secure enough for us to leave.


What’s happened since arriving last month?

A week ago, we took over the (convoy security mission) for the whole southern and western part of the country. Geographically, it’s just a huge area. Since we arrived, our team has taken a warehouse and built our brigade headquarters, they went straight into cross-training with Texas.

Now we’re working with the other brigade here, from the Mississippi National Guard, to combine resources and share tactics and techniques about what’s been learned about the enemy, how to run convoys and just do things better. With a large number of troops leaving, we’re working on becoming more efficient so we can do as much with a lot fewer forces.

The brigade’s first casualty, Spc. Jeremy Pierce, lost a leg and a foot July 12 when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb.

There’s good news there. From the start Adj. Gen. (Raymond) Rees and I wanted every single soldier to go through combat lifesaving, which is usually only mandated for 10 to 20 percent of a unit. I made it mandatory for everyone, and 90 percent of folks have completed that, and we continue to train folks who showed up late.

The two soldiers in the vehicle with Jeremy clearly saved his life because they knew what to do. The ER doc told me that they did the tourniquets just the way they were supposed to, they saved his life. That alone made up for 3,000 soldiers we sent through that program.


Oregon Guard Readies for Iraq Deployment

Found this in Tim King’s article in the Salem News. 

Gen. Raymond F. Rees, Adjutant General, Oregon National Guard, and Col. Dan Hokanson, 41 IBCT commander, conduct a pass and review of the 41 IBCT as they prepare to depart for deployment to Iraq, July 3rd 2009.

Gen. Raymond F. Rees, Adjutant General, Oregon National Guard, and Col. Dan Hokanson, 41 IBCT commander, conduct a pass and review of the 41 IBCT as they prepare to depart for deployment to Iraq, July 3rd 2009.

(FORT STEWART Ga.) – Oregon National Guard soldiers with the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team were honored during a special sendoff ceremony Friday in Fort Stewart Georgia.


Fort Stewart and Fort Benning, Georgia, are typically the last stateside bases for U.S. Army soldiers headed to Iraq, where final preparations, training and mobilization take place.

The roughly 3,500 41st IBCT Oregon soldiers are preparing to spend about a year in Iraq, where the U.S. presence is quickly drawing back after the recent July 1st deadline to vacate Iraq’s major cities.

The soldiers with the 41st will be responsible for convoy escort duty in what will obviously be a very different Iraqi landscape from what most U.S. troops have seen here.

Many of these soldiers have deployed to Iraq in the past, and almost a thousand were activated and sent to Afghanistan in a deployment that saw their return in 2007.

While deployed in the war theaters, Oregon soldiers like those of the 41st IBCT are known for providing humanitarian aid for local people and in one case that I witnessed first-hand, members of the 41st were spending their one “low tempo” day a week helping out with the restoration of a Women & Children’s Hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, as shown in the story to the immediate left.

It is also worth noting that a large percentage of these “citizen soldiers” comprising this Tigard, Oregon based National Guard unit, are highly experienced and decorated combat veterans.

In fact several books could be written about the accomplishments of these tried and proven soldiers.

Read more of this article here > SALEM NEWS

What they didn’t mention in the article is how Soldiers’ Angels will be helping.  If you live in Oregon, join Soldiers’ Angels  and help support the brave men and women who serve our Country and essentially the world.  We have a great team here in Oregon!

So Proud… a deployment reflection

By Angel Kendra Abraham  (Thanks so much for sharing Kendra)


“As the girlfriend of a deploying Soldier, attending the deployment ceremony this year had a different effect on me than it did 5 years ago as a sister of a deploying soldier. Together, with my soldier, and his 3 children, we arrived at the fairgrounds early for the rehearsal. David disappeared and met up with his unit, A CO. 2/162. His children and I, ages 9, 10 and 17 went into the convention center and found our seats. We watched the units do 3 run-throughs of how the ceremony would run. I felt emotional watching all of the soldiers stand at attention, then at parade rest, knowing that while I’m watching this from my point-of-view there were many other moms and dads, wives, girlfriends and children watching their dads and even some mom’s stand tall and proud for this next step in their journey as National Guardsmen.


The ceremony started right at 9 am. Emotionally, I’m doing ok, no tears, just this immensely strong feeling of how proud I am of my soldier, of this man I’ve known for a year and a half. This man I called my best friend before we evolved into a relationship.


The official party consisted of The Honorable Governor Ted Kulingoski, Congressman Peter DeFazio, Commander of the 41st Infantry Brigade Team, Dan Hokanson, Springfield Mayor Sid Liekin,  and Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy. Battalion 2/162 presented Gov. Kulongoski with the unit colors for him to hang in the capital while the unit is deployed, in return, Gov. Kulongsoski presented Battalion 2/162 with the Oregon state flag to fly wherever the units are stationed overseas. 

Short and precise speeches consisting of how proud this State and community is of our National Guard troops were spoken by all who were part of the official party. The ceremony ended with a song written by two young ladies when their father was deployed at an earlier time. The official party exited to the Army song.


Only after the ceremony was over, did I allow my emotions to spill over and I realized that I face the next year without my friend, my support. I can do this, I’m a single mom, but there’s something about having him here that makes life just a smidgen easier. But I know that this is what he wants to do, he WANTS to serve his country and he wants to go overseas and help and protect wherever he may be. And I will stand here, waiting, supporting, knowing that the best and most loving thing I can and want to do, is to make sure that he knows he’s loved and that we are all proud of who he is and what he is doing.”

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God







Oregon Army National Guard Deployment Ceremony

I happened to see a reference on our Oregon Facebook page   by  Spc Kirby

Rider about the Oregon Army National Guard Deployment Ceremony and followed the link he provided to a great story with accompanying pictures. 

Thanks Kirby!


Oregon Army National Guard Soldiers Prepare for Iraq Deployment


Soldiers from Company D, 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Oregon Army National Guard, stand in formation and listen to words of encouragement from honored guests at a mobilization ceremony in Central Point, Ore., May 4.” 

See the full article and the rest of the great photos  Here > Oregon Army National Guard Deployment Ceremony


Information from Oregon CTL Sherry Crenshaw…She needs you Angels!


We have 4 deployment ceremonies! Portland, Bend, Eugene, and Medford. Soldiers Angels are invited to all 4, to have a table set up and spread the word on what we do! 

Please Instruct the soldiers to sign up on our website, and show OR Natl guard. That way perhaps we can write them letters, and maybe adopt a few.

For those angels that can attend – any of the 4 locations. please notify Sherry Crenshaw -ctrlor06@gmail, and give me your t-shirt size. ASAP I needed this yesterday…..

I think what will happen the soldiers and families will mingle before the time of the cermony, This is the best time to talk with them, give them our card, and a hug.

The official ceremony will be formal with a lot of speeches and afterwards, most will leave, so its better to get there earlier, if possible. This will be the last 4 days they have with their families before they deploy. Then they go to more training, out of state, and deploy from there.

Portland – Be there at 8 Am no later than 8:30, we will have a table there, explaining what SA is all about. 

The 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team Deployment Ceremony will be held May 2nd at 09:00 – 10:00 at the Memorial Coliseum.
This is the Largest Deployment of the Oregon National Guard since WWII with over 3,000 soldiers.
Please mark your calendars for this send off. The soldiers are really looking forward to seeing us there. 

The Oregon National Guard is expecting about 5000 people. So lets show these Soldiers and their families that we will be here Standing watch on the home front for them!

Bend- May 2 – 2:00pm to 3pm.- possibly at MT View HS. I need to confirm this location.

We are invited to have a table, and talk with the soldiers and families. Lets have the table set-up by 1 and be there to mingle with the soldiers and families.

Eugene- May 4 the 1-162 Infantry at 9:00 AM, Lane County Fairgrounds lets be there at 8 Am, to mingle and spread the word.

Medford- May 4 at the Jackson County Fairgrounds. 1-186 Battalion, 02:00 PM lets setup at 1pm and mingle.
I apoligize if I have these the numbers wrong for the different battalions. I am having trouble reading my writing, oops.
thank you angels for all that you do, and I hope to see you at these events.  

National Guard Deployment Ceremonies

NATIONAL GUARD DEPLOYMENT CEREMONIES COMING UP IN MAY   NEED YOUR HELP ANGELS!  These are Deployment Ceremonies in Oregon, but Washington Angels are Welcome.   For Deployment ceremonies in Washington, please let us know if you are interested at      


Soldiers’ Angels has been invited to several Deployment Ceremonies in May. If you’d like to participate by helping at the Soldiers’ Angels Tables or by mingling with the Soldiers and giving them all a great send off then please Let us know!  Contact Sherry Crenshaw  your Oregon CTL to let her know and obtain further details on locations and times.   Ceremonies usually last an hour. This is a great chance to let everyone know Soldiers’ Angels is ready to support these deploying Warriors. What an absolutely wonderful connector to the Soldiers, families, community  and military support professionals!  Sherry’s email is ctlor06 @   Thanks angels!