The Oregon Army National Guard is a force of more than 6,400 men and women serving the State of Oregon and the United States of America. We are a reserve component of the United States Army. Most Guard members serve one weekend a month and two weeks a year at units located near their hometown. There are 38 armories across the state where units are based.
The Oregon Army National Guard is comprised of three major commands:
- Joint Forces Headquarters (JFHQ-OR) : based in Salem, consists of the leadership elements for the Oregon National Guard, as well as staff to support the mission of the Oregon National Guard.
- 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT): based in Clackamas, consists of two infantry battalions, a field artillery battalion, a cavalry squadron, and two support battalions.
- 82nd Troop Command Brigade: based in Clackamas, consists of an engineering battalion, a cavalry battalion, an aviation battalion, and a support battalion.
The Oregon Army National Guard is unique from the other branches of the military, both reserve and active. The National Guard has a dual mission: state and federal. Our federal mission is to maintain properly trained and equipped units, available for prompt mobilization for war, national emergency, or as otherwise needed. Federally, Oregon Army National Guard units have been recently mobilized in support of the Global War on Terrorism and to support the Multi-National Force and Observers mission on the Sinai Peninsula. At the state level, the governors of each state reserve the ability, under the Constitution of the United States, to call up members of the National Guard in time of domestic emergencies or need.
The Army National Guard’s state mission is perhaps the most visible and well known. Nearly everyone has seen or heard of Guard units responding to battle fires or help communities deal with floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, snowstorms or other emergency situations. In times of civil unrest, the citizens of a state can rest assured that the Guard will be ready to respond if needed. Here in Oregon, the Oregon Army National Guard has been called upon to fight forest fires, perform search and rescue operations, and fight raging floodwaters.
The Army National Guard traces its roots to a time that predates our Declaration of Independence, a time that begins well before our Constitution declared us an independent nation. In 1636, at the Massachusetts Bay Colony, groups of farmers, merchants and fishermen took up arms to defend their homesteads from native Americans intent on driving them back to England. These first organized militias carved forts from the forest, and defended the colonies from the Dutch and the French. One hundred and fifty years later, these same militia units were called upon to lead a Revolution, a war with a tyrant 3,000 miles away, a war that birthed a nation unlike any other – a nation where the common man could create his own destiny.
The Oregon National Guard traces its roots to 1843 – 16 years before Oregon attained statehood. Settlers met in May of 1843 and recommended the formation of a territorial government and a military force. Prior to the meeting’s end, four constables were appointed – a major and three captains – and instructed to form companies of mounted riflemen. These four men constituted the nucleus of Oregon’s first militia and marked the genesis of what is now the Oregon National Guard. Today’s Oregon Army National Guard not only supports the United States of America, we also help our fellow Oregonians in times of natural disaster or civil strife. When the river was too wide or the fires too destructive, the Guard was there.