Oregon National Guard Ends 318 Day Domestic Deployment

To fill staff shortages during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oregon State Hospital requested support from the Oregon National Guard for service member’s support. Beginning on Aug. 16, 2021, a total of 47 Oregon Guard members rotated through the hospital providing support, with the high hitting 32 members, as the mission concluded on June 30, 2022, with 12 Guardsmen assigned to the task.

The Guard service members initially worked with the mental health technician staff; later a small contingent of six members assisted in the kitchen and environmental services, and supporting patient care.

The mission commander, Oregon Air National Guard, Lt. Col. Jason Baldy said, “Our volunteer guard members did a great job, and most of them found it rewarding. In addition, the existing staff of the hospital liked working with our guard members because they already knew how to work and move as a unit which is important to keep each other safe.”

The deployment of the National Guard members did not have a specified length of time when initially assigned, and several of the 47 members that served at the state hospital enjoyed the work so much that they applied for permanent civilian positions.

“Ten guard members have applied to work for the state hospital as the mission has ended, and the hospital has created a streamlined hiring process,” said Baldy.

Throughout 2020 and well into 2022, the Oregon National Guard was called for domestic operations support across the state. Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen supported local communities with PPE distribution, mass vaccination support, and hospital operations, along with non-Covid support with both wildland fire and flooding support. The Oregon State Hospital assignment was the longest-running domestic operations mission in the state, lasting 318 days in total.

Courtesy of Oregon Military Dept

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