“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.

READ MORE HERE > THE OREGONIAN

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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!