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June 29, 2014
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Douglas County Veterans Viewpoint: Charlie Company faces busy summer

I begin with an update on Roseburg’s Charlie Company of the Oregon National Guard, which is scheduled to begin a one-year deployment to Afghanistan in September.

The soldiers will provide security at Bagram Airfield, the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan.

Charlie Company is part of the 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry Regiment, which includes soldiers from Coos Bay, Medford, Merlin, St. Helens and Ashland. Summer training last year included infantry skills and platoon tactics in preparation for this deployment.

Charlie Company has traveled to Camp Rilea Armed Forces Training Center near Astoria for two weeks of training.

The soldiers return Fourth of July weekend to spend time with friends and family before heading to Gowen Field Air National Guard Base in Boise, Idaho. Gowen Field is the home base of the Idaho Air National Guard’s 124th Fighter Wing.

On July 18, the soldiers travel to Ashland for a mobilization ceremony, rejoining the rest of the 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry. Following that ceremony, Charlie Company heads east to Fort Hood, Texas, for the final phase of pre-deployment training.

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The Sutherlin Lions will host a Fourth of July celebration in Central Park from noon to 3 p.m. I’ve been told you can expect good family fun with games, contests and prizes, and patriotic music. At 1 p.m., the American Women’s Veterans Association will conduct a ceremony that demonstrates two ways to retire the U.S flag. Families and children are encouraged to learn and participate in this patriotic event.

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The Douglas County Veterans Forum, which represents the interests of Douglas County veteran groups, elected new officers. I am honored to serve as the new president along with outstanding volunteers, Vice President Bud Bessey, Secretary Kirk Conner and Treasurer Dirk Kruysman. Past President Jim Little will continue to serve on the board.

Jim Little shared with me that the annual Wings and Wheels gathering will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 5 at the Roseburg Regional Airport.

The event is free and open to the public (canned food donations are accepted and greatly appreciated). In 2013, more than 1,200 pounds of food and more than $1,300 was collected for the benefit of United Community Action Network food pantries. For more information about the event, contact Mike Danielle at 541-492-6873.

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The Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center will host a quarterly remembrance service at noon July 17 to honor recently deceased veterans and VA employees and volunteers. The Roseburg VA chapel is in Building 16 of the hospital, 913 N.W. Garden Valley Blvd. For more information, call 541-440-1000.

The Douglas County Veterans Service Office is expanding its outreach. At the end of June, the Veterans Service Office will have a staff member on the VA campus to assist veterans. The staff member will be stationed in Building 2, next to Volunteer Services, from noon to 4 p.m. Thursdays.

“This is another opportunity for us to get closer to the veterans we serve,” said Jim Fitzpatrick, the Douglas County Veterans Service officer. For more information, or to make an appointment, contact the Veterans Service Office at 541-440-4219.

God bless our veterans and God bless America.

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Have information to share with Douglas County veterans? Contact me at jd.mcdonald.jd@gmail.com or 541-580-6178.


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The News-Review Updated Aug 6, 2014 09:57AM Published Jun 29, 2014 12:06AM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.