ON THE COVER A helicopter from 1st Battalion, 168th General Support Aviation, 96th Troop Command fills up a Bambi bucket near Bonney Lake, Wash. while fighting the Sumner Grade Fire on Sept. 13, 2020. (Courtesy Photo)
Commander in Chief Washington State Governor The Honorable Jay Inslee The Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Bret D. Daugherty Communications Director Karina Shagren State Public Affairs Officer Joseph Siemandel Contributors Michael Brown Kim Burke Dave Carnahan Tim Chacon Steven Friederich John Hughel Jason Kriess Sara Morris Colette Muller Kayleigh Phillips Aly Teeter Hans Zeiger
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Guardsmen with Task Force â€œCohoâ€? complete a de-activation ceremony at the Washington Employment Security Department headquarters in Olympia, Wash. on July 22, 2020. (Courtesy Photo)
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T BLE of CONTENTS
Guardsmen help to fight numerous fires across state.
Learning to Serve
Student Flight mobilization a first for Washington Air National Guard.
Vote With Confidence
Guard continues cyber security support to election process.
New Tool For WADS
Looking To The Future
Washington Youth Academy accepting applications for 2021.
Western Air Defense Sector key player in evolution of Advanced Battle Management System.
Family that serves together Joint Promotion Ceremony special for Washington Guard Family.
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Washington Military Department History: Medal Of Honor A medical aid Washington National Guardsman made the ultimate sacrifice during World War II, but not before pulling to safety many of his fellow soldiers and saving the lives of dozens of others. For his sacrifice, Technician Fourth Grade Laverne Parrish was honored with the Medal of Honor by President Harry Truman for Parrish’s actions 74 years ago today on Jan. 24, 1945. Since its inception in 1861 there have been only 3,520 Medals of Honor awarded to the nation’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guardsmen. Presented by the president of the United States, and is known as America’s highest military honor, the Medal of Honor is given to those that display personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty. It was those personal acts of valor and heroism that were displayed by Technician Fourth Grade Laverne Parrish on Jan. 24, 1945 that made him one of those service members that deserve the highest level of gratitude from the American people. Parrish joined the U.S. Army in March 1941 in Ronan, Montana, and by Jan. 18, 1945 was serving as a technician fourth grade in the medical detachment of the 161st Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. A medical aid man with Company C, Parrish was deep into the Pacific theater, fighting the Axis forces in Binalonan, Luzon, Philippine Islands. On Jan. 18, 1945, Parrish observed two wounded men under enemy fire and immediately went to their rescue. After moving a wounded man to cover, he crossed 25 yards of open ground to administer aid to the second. His actions that day wouldn’t be the last time he placed himself in danger to save others. In the early hours on Jan. 24, his company, crossing an open field near San Manuel, encountered intense enemy fire and was ordered to withdraw to the cover of a ditch. Many of his fellow guardsmen were injured and the medic took action, treating those in the ditch. It was at that time he observed two of his fellow soldiers in the open field injured and held down by gun fire. Without hesitation, he left the safety of the ditch, crawled forward under enemy fire and in two successive trips brought both men to safety. During those trips, he noticed more injured soldiers who required aid. He crawled back into the same field, crossing and re-crossing the open area raked by hostile fire 12 more times to administer aid and bring many to the safety of the ditch. In total, he treated 37 casualties suffered by his company that day. During those trips, Parrish was mortally wounded by mortar fire. The indomitable spirit, intrepidity and gallantry of Technician Laverne Parrish saved many lives at the cost of his own that day. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor six months later, on July 13, 1945. Parrish, age 26 at the time of his death, was buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Ronan, Montana. 4 | Washington Military Department |Summer / Fall 2020
State completes Next Generation 911 Network More counties will now be able to accept texts at local 911 call centers after the state recently completed an upgrade to its 911 system. “My thanks to Comtech, their partner NoaNet (Northwest Open Access Network), our local 911 service providers and other partners for working with us on this next generation network which will be used to help save lives for many years to come,” said Adam Wasserman, Washington State Enhanced 911 Coordinator. A new Next Generation 911 Emergency Services IP network for Washington state is now fully complete and all 911 calls placed in Washington go across it. Built over the past few years, the system has the capability to allow for all types of devices and methods for contacting 911. It is compatible across the state as well as across state lines and is highly resilient, reliable and secure.
more accurately route calls to 911 centers and makes it easier to transfer calls between 911 centers. If a caller dials 911 on or very near a county boundary, the new system will make it easier to detect where to send the emergency call based on the geographic location of the caller. The old system was not able to be as accurate and frequently sent callers to the wrong place, resulting in transfers from one 911 center to another. As cell phone companies and other communication providers improve on their systems and improve the location accuracy of their systems, the state’s network will be ready to more fully partner with them as well, he noted.
The new system makes it easier for local governments to begin accepting Text-to-911 and potentially multi-media, when they’re ready to do so. The state already has 20 counties accepting Text-to-911 with more coming online soon. They were just waiting for the network to be completed. Text-to-911 is intended The system cost $65 million, which includes a contract to benefit people that may not be able to speak due to with Comtech Telecommunications Corp. to operate an emergency situation, such as a home invasion or and maintain the network until 2024, with several abusive partner, as well as individuals who are deaf, multi-year extensions possible. hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities. For more information on Text-to-911, visit https://mil.wa.gov/ “The new network was designed with a forward-look- texting911 Remember, call if you can, text if you ing approach to support nearly any kind of methodolo- can’t. gy for communicating with 911 imaginable at this time because we don’t know what the future holds,” said “Even with all of this great new technology, we need Andy Leneweaver, the Deputy State 911 Coordinator to remember that the key to 911 success is the Public for Enterprise Systems. Safety Telecommunicators handling those emergency calls; they are the real heroes.” Wasserman said. Leneweaver says the new system has the ability to Story by Steven Friederich Summer / Fall 2020 | Washington Military Department | 5
Cover Story After strong winds and high temperatures fueled wildfires over Labor Day weekend members of the Washington National Guard were called to support the Department of Natural Resources fight multiple blazes across the state. . Three hand crews were pulled together on Sept. 10, 2020 to help firefighters battling the Whitney Fire in Davenport, Wash. Chief Master Sgt. Mark Soulier, non-commissioned officer in charge of the firefighting crew from the 194th Wing, said that some Airmen have been personally impacted by wildfire activity and evacuations in recent days. “It gives us that personal connection to it, because it’s our communities, our houses, our families,” said Soulier. “We’ll actually be out there cutting lines and clearing fields and putting out fires.” For one Air Guardsman, the firefighting mission gives him a chance to support his state and fulfill a childhood aspiration to be a firefighter. “The National Guard has given me an opportunity to both serve in the military and give me a taste of what firefighting is like,” said Staff Sgt. Jordan Prior of North Bend, who serves in the 262nd Cyberspace Operations Squadron. While hand crews deployed, National Guard aviation assets had been fighting wildfires for a month to that point. In August, Gov. Jay Inslee issued a state proclamation allowing the Washington National Guard to be called up to support wildfire efforts. Two helicopter crews from 96th Aviation Troop Command immediately deployed to Omak, supporting the firefighting efforts on the Palmer Fire. “We have people that actively volunteer to support the firefighting mission,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Travis Marzolf, a pilot with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 140th Aviation. “This is why they are in the Guard because these missions are important.” Marzolf and flight crews have been busy through August and September, hopping from the Palmer Fire to the Evans Canyon Fire in Kittitas County to support wildfire fighting efforts in western Washington at the Mima Fire in Thurston County and the Sumner Grade Fire that threatened homes and businesses in Sumner and Bonney Lake. “That was a different kind of fire,” Marzolf said. “We normally are out fighting these wild land fires in rural areas that are not super close to a population area. This was very different. The fire was right next to homes. We had to deal with power lines, trees and more obstacles making it much more difficult.” The flight crews from the Washington National Guard dropped more than 1,400 buckets of water, totaling nearly 900,000 gallons of water on the fires. “It’s a team effort, from the pilots to the guys on the ground talking, to the crew chiefs in the back ensuring the helicopter doesn’t hit anything and operating the bucket to the guys that drive 14 hours across the state to fuel up the helicopters, this is truly a team effort,” said Marzolf. “We are just flying around dropping water. The guys on the ground pulling long days fighting fires deserve a lot of credit.” 6 | Washington Military Department |Summer / Fall 2020
Fire Fight Guardsmen help to fight numerous fires across state
Story by Joseph Siemandel
A helicopter from 1st Battalion, 168th General Aviation Support fills a Bambi Bucket near Bonney Lake, Wash. on Sept 15, 2020. (Courtesy Photo)
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Airmen reflect on experience in Eastern Washington fighting fires Story By Hans Zeiger
A wildland firefighting hand crew consisting of 15 members of the Washington Air National Guard’s 194th Wing and one member of the 225th Air Defense Group spent two weeks this summer supporting the Washington State Department of Natural Resources fight against wildfires in eastern Washington. The team helped in mop-up work at the Whitney Fire near Davenport, Washington as well as the Kewa Field fire and Inchelium Complex fire near Inchelium, Washington on the Colville Reservation. For their first four days on wildfire support, the crew worked its way in a grid formation through eight miles of cattle grazing lands and other open spaces on the Whitney Fire line, checking for hot spots. “We used everything we learned in our training course with the DNR, and we brought it out here and honed in on our skills and were able to accomplish dry mopping at the Whitney Fire after the big burn, checking for underground fires going on and being able to dig them up,” said Senior Airman Tyler Richardson of Port Orchard, a member of the 194th Intelligence Squadron. On the team’s final day on the Whitney Fire line, they worked with the DNR team to dig around an area that was still burning, said Richardson. “We were able to put out a lot of the hotspots,” said Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Garvida of Kent, a member of the 248th Civil Engineer Flight. For Staff Sgt. Waylen Anderson, a member of the 194th Intelligence Squadron, service on the Whitney Fire line came close to home. Anderson grew up in Reardan, Washington, about 12 miles away from Davenport. “Being able to be part of the process, that’s a big deal out here,” he said. One Airman said that he could see the impact of the team’s work on livestock and people in the Davenport area. “It was good to see cattle,” said Senior Airman Sean Tarbell of Port Orchard, a member of the 116th Weather Flight. “It helps to put it in perspective. One of the DNR guys [shared] the perspective that if you see cattle, that’s someone’s livelihood, that’s someone’s livestock.” Tarbell said that he could see the human impact of the wildfire. “You don’t have grass, you can’t feed the cattle,” which people depend on to make a living, he said. “That’s what it was for me: it’s people.”
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Senior Airman Melvin Williamson of Thurston County, a member of the 111th Air Support Operations Squadron, said he found comfort in “knowing that [we] really did help these people. That felt rewarding to me.” According to Senior Airman Nicholas Alejo, a member of the 194th Communications Flight, community members in the Davenport area expressed their thanks to Airmen as they worked. “Every once in a while somebody would honk and wave at us, so I think they definitely appreciate us out here,” said Alejo. Expressions of thanks continued in Inchelium. Garvida recalled when crew members were driving into a local gas station to refuel their vehicles, and “local folks were waving and very appreciative of what we were doing out there.” The crew went to work on two fires on the Colville Reservation, covering two miles of dry mopping on the Kewa Field fire before moving to dry and wet mopping work on the Inchelium Complex fire, covering seven additional miles, according to Maj. Matthew Rieger of Bothell, a member of the 248th Civil Engineer Flight and the wildfire crew officer in charge. Before they concluded their work at the Inchelium Complex, Airmen took on the additional responsibility of wet mopping, carrying large bags of water and using a hose from a water truck to address hot spots, said Rieger. On the final day, they had to climb up a steep hill as they worked to mop up a control burn, according to Garvida. Airmen received daily briefings, instructions, and training from DNR workers and took part in a large multi-agency operation. “I love seeing the whole picture come together,” with DNR and various local and state agencies collaborating, said Staff Sgt. Jordan Prior of North Bend, a member of the 262nd Cyberspace Operations Squadron. In addition to the 16-member crew from the 194th Wing and the 225th Air Defense Squadron, crews from the Air Guard’s 141st Air Refueling Wing and the Army Guard’s 96th Troop Command took part in the fire fight. Garvida said that he was inspired by the Airmen who served with him. “All the folks I was with had high spirits,” he said. “We were able to maintain that from day one all the way to the end. I was really impressed by the crew I was with.”
Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Garvida, 248th Civil Engineering Flight Engineering Assistant Superintendent, assists the Washington State Department of Natural Resources fight wildfires near Inchelium, Washington Sept 16, 2020. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Tim Chacon)
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Guardsmen respond after wildfires hinder food bank operations
Story By Joseph Siemandel
When wildfires threatened thousands of homes in the Sumner-Bonney Lake area, related power outages threatened an important lifeline. “The Guard saved this food bank, they came in with generators and kept this food bank going,” said Dr. Laurie Dent, superintendent of the Sumner-Bonney Lake School District. “It’s the only one we have in Bonney Lake.” When the power went out, Dent received a frantic phone call from the executive director of the Bonney Lake Food Bank, Stacey Crnich, who was rightfully concerned that thousands of dollars worth of perishable items would be ruined, leaving families without a healthy meal. Crnich desperately searched for a location to store the items needing refrigeration before they went to waste. “I told her, give me a minute to make a call. I think I know someone that can help,” said Dent. Dent’s brother happens to be Brigadier General Dan Dent, the commanding general of the Washington Army National Guard to see if the Guard, which was already helping the food bank, could set
up a generator at the location. Staff Sgt. Tanner Gould, a field artilleryman supporting the food bank came out with generators and set them up, keeping the food bank operational. “He came out during the evening and off hours to protect the perishables and ensure they were still good,” said 2nd Lt. Michael Sebastionelli, the officer in charge at the food bank. “He went above and beyond.” Fires also left families in Eastern Washington without a critical supply of water. Caught between the Cold Spring and Pearl Hill fires, all roads to the small town of Bridgeport, Wash. were cut off. In addition, the fires damaged the town’s water source, leaving families without potable water. When roads reopened, one of the first vehicles through the burnt landscape contained Guardsmen who are working food bank missions in north central Washington. “Our guardsmen brought 11 pallets of water and food,” said 1st Lt. Reese Cousins, the officer in charge of the food bank mission in the area. “The town needed supplies and the crew jumped at
Lt. Col. Timothy Ozmer, Commander, 1st Squadron, 303rd Cavalry Regiment cracks a joke with troopers from his squadron prior to the squadron’s deployment ceremony at the historic Tacoma armory on Sept. 21, 2019. (U.S. National Guard photo by Joseph Siemandel)
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the chance to help.” Since the start of the COVID pandemic, foodbanks across the state have seen a growing need for the areas they serve, with an increase of nearly 70 percent at the Bonney Lake Food Bank since April. More than 500 Guardsmen have supported foodbank operations statewide. And Crnich credits the Guard for not only helping the food bank in Bonney Lake get through the busy days, but also building a system for future success. “We couldn’t do any of this without the Guard,” said Crnich. “They have come in and updated our processes and have made it possible for all this to happen.” While Crnich happened to have a connection to the Washington National Guard, Brig. Gen. Dan Dent is confident it wasn’t needed to get help quickly to Bonney Lake. He’s observed all Guardsmen going above and beyond this year. “This right here is the story of the Guard, coming into a place and saying how can we help, what can we do to make this better?” said Dent. “Our Guard is showing that they are here for our entire state.”
Guardsmen with the 141st Air Refueling Wing receive training at the eastern Washington Fire Training Academy with the Washington Department of Natural Resources in June 2019. (U.S. National Guard photo by TSgt Michael Brown)
Opposite page: Guardsmen unload a pallet truck in Bridgeport, Wash. following the Cold Spring and Pearl Hill Fire in September. (Courtesy Photo) Master Sgt. James Moats, 116th Weather Flight, prepares to hand out food at the Bonney Lake Food Bank on Sept. 17, 2020. (Courtesy Photo)
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Learning to Serve Student Flight mobilization a first for Washington Air National Guard Story By Hans Zeiger, Photo By Tim Chacon
Washington Air National Guardsmen Christine Krysiak, 194th Force Support Squadron Student Flight, works at Bonney Lake Food Bank August 21, 2020, in Bonney Lake, Washington. Krysiak is one of six student flight members on State Active Duty orders supporting Covid-19 response efforts. This is the first time WA ANG student flight members have been activated on SAD orders. Air Guardsmen who have enlisted into the Air Guard but have not attended basic training or technical training are placed in student flight. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Tim Chacon)
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Newly-enlisted members of the Washington Air National Guard are serving in a domestic operations support role for the first time in state history, taking part in work at food banks alongside soldiers and airmen during the COVID-19 emergency. The enlistees are members of the 194th Wing’s student flight, which helps to prepare future Airmen as they await basic military training and technical training. “It’s the first time this has ever happened in Washington State,” said Senior Master Sgt. John Austin, superintendent of the Washington Air National Guard’s 194th Force Support Squadron, who oversees the student flight. As a result of intensive tasking for Guard members in food bank support, voluntary COVID mapping support to the Washington State Department of Health, military assistance for civil disturbances, and other training and deployment requirements, Washington Air National Guard leaders recognized a need for additional personnel. “Our volunteer pool was dwindling,” said Austin. While new enlistees cannot serve on federal missions before they have completed formal training, there is an allowance for them to serve in a State Active Duty status, said Austin. After Washington National Guard leadership authorized new enlistees to volunteer for the food bank support mission, Austin put out the word to his student flight members in early August. Christine Krysiak of Parkland came onto State Active Duty in August, just weeks after graduating from Franklin Pierce High School. She follows her father, grandfather, and great uncle in joining the Air National Guard, and Krysiak’s sister serves on active duty in the Air Force. Krysiak was assigned to the Bonney Lake Food Bank, where she helps to pack food and make home deliveries. “We’re helping out the community and that’s what matters,” said Krysiak. “Everybody has been impacted by COVID. We don’t know their situation, and we can’t judge. We can only imagine what they could be going through.” Krysiak has seen the impact of her work on community members. “It’s cool to see people come in and say thank you for everything that we do,” said Krysiak. For Airman Sara Mark, the opportunity to serve at the Nourish Pierce County warehouse in her hometown of Lakewood came as she awaits
technical training to be a personnel specialist in the 194th Force Support Squadron. With reduced hours in her civilian job, it worked well for her to join the Guard’s food bank mission. “I did want to help out the community during this pandemic,” said Mark. “A lot of people can’t afford food, so it’s nice to be a helping hand.” Eric Cunningham of Shelton enlisted in the Washington Air National Guard over the summer to become a member of the 194th Security Forces Flight. Two years out of high school, Cunningham works in a construction job, but he was able to take on a role with the Guard at a food packing facility in Lakewood shortly after swearing into the military. Cunningham works with other members of the 194th Wing to make boxes that are used for packing. “We make 2,000 boxes a day, which is 40 pallets worth,” said Cunningham. “We’re pretty efficient I’d say.” Cunningham said he sees value in his time on state active duty as he prepares for formal training. “It helps me get more involved with the military before I go to basic military training,” said Cunningham. One advantage of interacting with Airmen who have already been through training is that they can give advice on his next steps in military service, he said. During their time on State Active Duty, student flight members work alongside experienced Air National Guard members who are designated to guide them. “It’s good Air Force mentorship,” said Austin. “They are getting good experience that they would not otherwise have. They’re learning to work in a team environment. They’re learning about joint relationships with the Army.” Student flight members mention teamwork as a highlight of their service experience. “Even though we’re in different branches, it’s nice being part of a team,” said Mark. “I like the emphasis on teamwork,” said Cunningham. And even though student flight members have just begun their journey in military service, they are already being integrated into a domestic operations mission. “I feel included,” said Krysiak. “I don’t wear the uniform, but I’m still a part of them.” For Austin, the work that members of his student flight are performing is at the heart of why the Guard exists. “This is what the National Guard is about, to help out our community by jumping in early, getting fully organized.”
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Team Med Surge : Ready when needed With the number of positive COVID-19 cases still rising, hospitals – especially those in smaller, rural areas – run the risk of running out of bed space, reducing a community’s ability to keep those who are sick separated from the general community.
For Matt Simons, the branch director for the medical surge team who also works for the division of medical response at the Department of Health, the concept is important, but so is the approach. “At St. Martin’s we wanted to showcase the capability to multiple county health officials,” Simons said. “But when we go to Ellensburg, we will be treating it like a real deployment from getting a call from the county, load up and report all movements, set up and be ready to support.”
“Our goal is to help isolate people who are sick or may have been exposed to the disease,” said Lt. Col. Bruce Simpson, operations chief for the Guard as part of Team Med Surge. “Setting up a facility, this is a proof of concept that we can set up a surge capacity within 48 hours to provide additional space to those areas that need it.” The concept for the isolation facility seems very simple. Members of Team Med Surge arrive, look at the location Created at the end of March, Team Med Surge, a mix of and in just over two hours, set up an empty area into a medipersonnel from the Washington National Guard and the cal facility ready for use. departments of Health, Ecology and Transportation, developed a 30-40 bed isolation facility to help support It’s much more complicated than it sounds. local health jurisdictions respond to a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases. “We have worked with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers looking at everything from HVAC to the flow of the buildThe concept for the medical surge facilities began at the ing, to identify the best spaces for staff,” said Simons. “Gyms beginning of the pandemic while the team supported or armories are a great spot. They have showers and a big multiple other missions including moving hospital beds and drill space. In small towns, the high schools would work.” ventilation systems. In July, the team finally had the chance to test its ability to set up the isolation facility at the Olym- While it’s a joint venture, Simons doesn’t under play the pia Armory and St. Martin’s College in Lacey. importance of the Guard in Team Med Surge’s role during the COVID-19 response. “The team medical surge was in a crawl, walk, run process since this is a new concept for the Department of Health,” “The National Guard has been critical for this team. They said Simpson. “The team started with the crawl phase sethave been instrumental in the staffing and planning for ting up at the Olympia Armory, then set up at St. Martin’s this team, more than half the team is National Guard,” said to show the public the proof of concept. At the end of July Simons. “They have been instrumental in the other mission the team will set up the system in Ellensburg at the fairof meeting with the local areas, getting us around quickly grounds.” and helping with those meeting. We couldn’t have done it without them.” - Story and Photo By Joseph Siemandel
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Overhead view of the Team Med Surge Isolation facility that can be set up in rural and smaller town if medical facilities are over ran with cases. (U.S. National Guard photo by Joseph Siemandel)
Going Virtual with State Partnership Program Story by Joseph Siemandel
Travel restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have forced the Washington National Guard to develop new strategies to maintain strong relationships with its partner nations through the State Partnership Program. “The first exchange of 2020 was scheduled for March. Approximately two weeks before our team was scheduled to leave for Thailand, the exchange was cancelled due to Coronavirus,” said Maj. Keith Kosik, director of the Washington National Guard State Partnership Program. “We had hoped that the August exchange would be able to be conducted in-person, but unfortunately the Coronavirus threat has persisted and international travel is not currently an option.” Instead of canceling another exchange the program decided to move forward virtually, hosting the first subject matter expert exchange with the Port Laem Chabang from August 17-19, 2020.
counterparts. “Even during a pandemic, our national security is still a top priority making it critical that we maintain the relationships with our allies,” said Welsh. “Our airmen that were supporting a domestic mission one week turned their focus to supporting international diplomacy the next week.” Later this month three more SPP virtual exchanges will take place with Thai partners and in September, airmen will conduct a virtual exchange with airmen from Washington’s newest partner country, Malaysia. “This is one of the strengths of the National Guard, adapting and overcoming an obstacle to achieve our mission,” said Welsh. “We are committed to our partners in both Thailand and Malaysia and will continue to find ways to strengthen our bonds through virtual means while looking forward to the next time we can be together again.”
“Major Jeff McDonald, a former SPP Director, Major Joel Johnson (our Bilateral Affairs Officer in Thailand) and I agreed that a virtual exchange was possible if our partners were willing to try it,” said Kosik. “We believe that the security cooperation work that we do with our partners is too important to pause until the pandemic passes.” The Port of Laem Chabang is a deep water port located on the Gulf of Thailand that is critical to trade both in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Northwest. One of the busiest ports in Asia, much of the cargo from the port makes its entrance into the United States through the Port of Tacoma. Since 2005, Guardsmen have traveled from Seattle to Pattaya, Thailand to take part in a multi-day exchange with the port that included security, Incident Command Systems, hazardous materials and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear explosive preparation and response, medical, and crisis communication. “Major Johnson met with our partners at the Port of Laem Chabang, and with collaboration from Major McDonald and others, put together an impressive three-day virtual agenda,” said Kosik. “The 14-hour time difference was a challenge, and while we all prefer in-person communication, redesigning an exchange conducted virtually still yields a lot of value.” The framework for the virtual meetings with individuals in Thailand was tested in June by Brig. Gen. Gent Welsh, commander of the Washington Air National Guard, who conducted a senior-level airmen to airmen meeting with his Thai
Maj. Jeff McDonald conducts a virtual exchange with personnel from the Port of Laem Chabang, Thailand on August 17, 2020 at the Joint Operations Center, Camp Murray, Wash. (Courtesy Photo)
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National Guardsmen help
injured hiker after rock slide A Washington National Guard Black Hawk helicopter crew ended up hoisting three people who were injured Sunday following a rockslide in a hilly terrain near Packwood, just south of Mt. Rainier. It was a rare domestic helicopter rescue for the Guard, who happened to have soldiers on duty during a drill weekend when other rescue helicopters were unavailable. One of the injured people happened to also be in the National Guard, just off-duty bear hunting with friends. 2nd Lt. Darien Konzelman said he and three friends went bear hunting Saturday, Aug. 1, about 12 kilometers north of Packwood. It’s an area one of his friends had hunted for decades. As he and friends were setting up camp, they heard a rockslide. Then, a radio call from their 68-year-old experienced hunter friend that he needed help. “I ran down there and he had fallen off the trail down this rocky ravine, tumbled a good 40 feet,” said
Konzelman, who works on Camp Murray with the 194th Intelligence Squadron. “I climbed down there because I knew this guy was just going to be really injured. I got down there. He had multiple head wounds and from his temple and his face and hands were bloody.” Konzelman used a first aid kit to do some basic first aid and utilized some of the skills he learned from officer school, including how to check for concussions. That’s when another of his friends started coming down the ravine, twisted his foot and accidentally triggered more rocks to fall. “This big rock comes down and it’s about to hit us bad,” Konzelman said. “By pure instinct, I jumped in front of my friend to protect his head. And it crushed my arm and knocked us both down the ravine further. I lost my medical kit and backpack and got back up and he was screaming.” Together the friends helped get everyone back up to the
Medevac Crew from the Washington Army National Guard and 2nd Lt. Darien Konzelman, Washington Air National Guard (in civilian clothes) helps a injuried hiker near Packwood, Wash. on Aug. 1, 2020. (Courtesy Photo)
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campgrounds, sending their one uninjured friend out to hike to get a better signal to call for help.
And they’re rescuing me?” Konzelman said. “I just had a big smile because I knew everything was going to be OK.”
“We hunkered down for the night and waited for help,” Konzelman said.
Marzolf credits Brandsma and his crew for getting on site first and giving them accurate directions to find the injured hunters. He says the actual rescue took less than 30 minutes.
First thing Sunday morning, a sergeant with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office contacted the Alert & Warning Center on Camp Murray and requested air support. With one of the go-to search and rescue helicopters unavailable, state duty officers reached out to the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center to see who was available for help.
“It was a perfect day with calm winds and Mt. Rainier in the distance,” Marzolf said. “It’s great working with professionals to go out and do the job that you train consistently to do. The way we train someone new it’s a lot of talking and pausing and I’ve done this in Afghanistan and done this for 14 years and I know, once you’re there, the little things just click in and everyone knew how to do their jobs.”
By chance, a key pilot from the Washington National Guard with the right hoist certifications and training was on site -- Travis Marzolf, Chief Warrant Officer 3, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 140th Aviation.
Brandsma says only the Guard’s Black Hawk, UH-60L, is able to do hoist missions, not the newer UH-60M models. As a result, there aren’t as many pilots trained to do them.
“This just happened to be on our drill weekend, so I was there,” Marzolf said. “Not only do you have to be qualified, but you also have to be current in your training and do a live hoist every 90 days. Since I work as an instructor full-time, I happen to be qualified and current.” Marzolf said while he and his crew got a Black Hawk helicopter ready for the hoist mission, another Black Hawk helicopter was sent ahead to scout and see what help could be given. Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jeff Brandsma, also with Charlie Company, said he and a couple medics scouted the area in another helicopter seeing if they could find Konzelman and the other injured hunters. “It was really rugged terrain, with a lot of steep slopes – and there were also a lot of hikers out there,” Brandsma said. “We’d fly by and people would wave and we’d be looking down trying to see if that was them or just someone wanting to say ‘hi.’” Circling the area for about 20 minutes, Brandsma said they were able to find the injured hunters and also a flat spot without many trees to land the helicopter. A medic and medical assistant were able to hike down to the group and prep them to be hoisted out by the second helicopter. “Here, I see this Black Hawk – and I’ve been in one before – and I am, like, is this the Guard? My Guard?
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“Really, there was some semblance of luck here,” Brandsma said. “When the call comes, you want the most experienced crew that is readily available. And that’s who we had here. Travis and his crew just did an amazing job. These are the calls you hope you are close for because real world domestic missions are few and far between.”
doctors identified some severe back issues, but they have hopes for him.
Konzelman said he and his friends are doing better. Everyone was transported to the hospital to be checked out. His 68-year-old friend who fell down the ravine has diabetes and was on blood thinners, so everyone was worried about him. Konzelman says the
“I’m going to be OK,” he said. “I’m not really thinking about me. This has been a job well done by the Guard and I was very impressed with their competence and how they treated people and how they took care of us. Really, this couldn’t have gone better, given the circumstances. Hats off to them and a huge thank you for coming out and rescuing all of us.” - Story by Steven Friederich
The fourth hiker and a couple of his brothers retrieved their hunting and camping gear. Konzelman, himself, had his right arm crushed.
18 | Washington Military Department| Summer / Fall 2020
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Group Photo at Camp Murray, Wash. on Sept. 22, 2020. (U.S. National Guard photo by Jason Kriess)
Up to the Challenge
Cyber Shield 2020 tests Guard cyber professionals Story By Joseph Siemandel, Photo By Jason Kriess
As cyber threats become more sophisticated, there is an increased demand on cyber professionals in the National Guard to assist with protecting critical infrastructure in the cyberspace realm. Over the last two weeks, 10 members of the Washington National Guard took part in Cyber Shield 2020, an unclassified defensively focused tactical cyber exercise conducted virtually by the Army National Guard with assistance from the Air National Guard, Navy, Army Reserve and industry partners. “The intent of Cyber Shield is to provide a collective training event for defensive cyber operations,” said Maj. Sameer Puri, Washington Army National Guard Director of Information Management. “It provides a collective training event for Cyber Forces to set the conditions for evaluation against Army/Joint standards, network defense, forensic analysis, reporting, mitigation and incident response.” This is the 10th year Cyber Shield has taken place and is part of the National Guard’s ongoing effort to improve Guard ability to respond to real-world cyber incidents. “Cyber shield allows our citizen soldiers to cross train and collaborate improving proficiency in all areas of the cyber security domain and the best part of the exercise is building technical skills and fostering relations,” said Capt. JoJohn Quinata, the team’s battle captain for the Cyber Shield Exercise.
Many of the participants in the exercise were members of the Washington Army National Guard’s G6 office who focus on information technology and the organization’s network security. This year’s exercise also included two members from the Washington Air National Guard because of their expertise in industrial control systems and host analysis. “Cyber Shield gave us the best opportunity to come together as a Defensive Cyber Operations Team, practicing the scenarios based on real world lessons learned,” said Puri. “This year’s scenario also focused on information operations, specially misinformation and disinformation activities using social media. As an Information Operations Officer, I feel that this is great step to move Cyber Shield to the next level of cyber defense exercise because our adversaries are using cyber as a vector for information operations attacks.” Since July, a seven-member team from the Washington National Guard and Washington State Guard have teamed with staff from the Secretary of State’s office to coordinate cyber security support for the upcoming elections. In 2018, elections systems were deemed “ critical infrastructure” by the Department of Homeland Security and were part of a nationwide effort to upgrade security. “The more prepared we are to protect our state and nation, whether it is fighting fires, responding to an earthquake or stopping cyberattacks, it makes us that much stronger,” said Puri. “Our team was so happy to be able to participate in this exercise.”
20 | Washington Military Department| Summer / Fall 2020
Vote with Confidence |
Guard continues cyber security support to election process
Casting a ballot is more secure after a long-standing partnership between Washington’s Secretary of State and the Washington National Guard.
they have already done.”
Since 2016, cyber security professionals from the Washington National Guard have assisted the Secretary of State’s office to ensure that when a vote is cast in our state, it is counted correctly and accurately.
“This is critical infrastructure, similar to missions we have done in the past and that has helped us build our expertise in election security in the past four years,” said Pries.
“This is the same type of support we provided in 2016, adding that extra layer of protection for the Secretary of State’s office,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Pries, the commander of the 262nd Cyberspace Operations Squadron. “We just are engaged earlier this year than we have in the past.”
At the end of July, a seven-member team from the Washington National Guard and Washington State Guard teamed with staff from the Secretary of State’s office to coordinate cyber security support for the August 4th primary election. Getting involved early provides the Guard and the Secretary’s office awareness of any issues and ensures they’re detected early.
“Knowing what the customer’s objectives are helps us figure out how we are supporting,” said Pries. “We have a very established election system, so we are just that extra layer of protection on top of what
Since 1993, Washington began the shift from in-person voting to mail-in ballot voting. In 2005 the state Legislature enacted a measure that said counties in the state could decide to switch exclusively to “vote-by-mail.” By 2009, 98 percent of the state had made the switch to mail in voting. Because the decision was made by the counties, all the power is held at the local county level.
In 2018, elections systems were deemed “critical infrastructure” by the Department of Homeland Security and were part of a nationwide effort to upgrade security. Washington received nearly $8 million in federal funding to protect against future threats. Partnering with the Guard adds an additional layer of protection and continues an established relationship.
“This is seamless team work between the Guard, the Secretary of State and the Governor’s office,” said Pries. “No one involved wants anything but an accurate and fair election. I can say we are in good hands in Washington.” - Story By Joseph Siemandel
to the Washington Youth
Story and Photos by Steven Friederich
In 2011, Devonte Blossomgame was on the fast track to failure. There was no way he was going to graduate on time. He was belligerent with his family and he was about to give up – until he decided he wanted to change.
Academy for 2021
we felt like we accomplished something. But I also overcame something, as well. To me, all of us have the tenacity of a finisher. To give up is such an easy thing to do. But finishing takes the most strength – finish through all the doubts and all the disappointments.” Blossomgame is just one of the many, many success stories at the Washington Youth Academy, which has graduated more than 2,900 cadets since 2009.
The Youth Academy is part of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program. Cadets can recover up to 8.0 credits (approximately 1.3 years of high After 22 weeks at the Washington Youth Academy school credits) while living on campus at the and a year of mentoring back home, Blossomgame Academy in Bremerton. The program incorporates thrived. Today, he’s a minister at True Vine Community Church of God in Christ and he credits a highly-structured format, with an emphasis on his success to his faith and the teachers and staff at student discipline and personal responsibility to provide a positive, safe and secure learning the Washington Youth Academy. environment. Two classes are offered each year, one in January and one in July. Enrollment is through a “Life has given us the worst of times,” competitive application process. Blossomgame said. “We have seen it with our own eyes, felt it with our own hearts and remember it with our own minds. We have seen people count us The school in 2020 looked a little different with out and thought there wouldn’t be a positive out of cadets sent home in March and completing the this. But at the end of the day, when we graduated, program online from their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But following strict safety and health protocols, the Washington Youth Academy is accepting applications and preparing for in-person instruction on campus starting in January. The Youth Academy has successfully managed cadet health, developing, training and implementing Left: Devonte Blossomgame, a former cadet at the Washington Youth Academy and a minister at True Vine Community Church of God in Christ talks with Cadets at the Washington Youth Academy in early 2020. (Photo by Steven Friederich)
22 | Washington Military Department| Summer / Fall 2020
Right: Cadet Grace Juarez, 2018 graduate from the Washington Youth Academy.
as required contagious disease and pandemic protocols over its 11-year history and is well prepared for these unprecedented times. Academy staff have been working with state and local health officials on a plan to resume operations, which will include regular COVID-19 testing, health screenings and temperature checks of all staff and the rare visitors allowed on campus. Cadets will be kept on campus during the 22 weeks with movement off campus restricted for their own health. Physical barriers are installed in areas where social distancing isn’t possible. Staff and cadets will use masks and other personal protective equipment. And protocols are put in place so that commonly touched surfaces are disinfected frequently as well as changing the flow of staff access and movement across the facilities to reduce the risk of exposure. Because of COVID-19 social distancing requirements, the number of cadets being allowed for our 21-1 class will be reduced considerably – which means if you are interested, you should apply now. “Many potential candidates may be looking for a way to carve a path for themselves, separate from other demands in their lives, toward a direction they want for themselves to become men and women of power and influence in their families, communities and nation,” said Director Amy Steinhilber. “Apply to the WYA for a challenging and productive adventure toward the man or woman you want to become. Make your people proud. Be proud and happy with yourself.” On campus open houses are not possible right now, but virtual information sessions are happening regularly for both cadets and their families, as well as educators.
Grace Juarez was a cadet at the Academy for the first half of 2018. After graduating, she says the program changed her life. “I realize I am able to push myself and I am a lot more motivating than I thought I was,” she said. “It’s kind of like an adrenaline rush and I crave it now. I always like finding little things and thinking I can’t do it and doing it anyways. If my parents had let me come back home, I would be living with the biggest regret of my life. I wouldn’t be who I am today. And that’s scary for me to think about.” For our 2019-2 class, the average number of credits earned by cadets who completed the program was 7.6. Those who completed the program had an average GPA for Academy courses of a B+, a remarkable achievement since almost 40 percent had an incoming grade point average of less than D. However, by session’s end, 96.3% of the completing cadets had a passing GPA. “For so many people we have literally seen people’s lives change before our very eyes,” Blossomgame said. “For graduates, the question is, what’s next? Some of us have left and gone back to school, gotten a degree or a job. We have a career. We have families. We got our lives back together. We came with so many decisions to make but the first decision to make was I needed to change.”
Summer / Fall 2020 | Washington Military Department | 23
Western Air Defense Sector key player in evolu Story and Photo By Kim Burke
A small Washington Air National Guard unit has become a key player for Air Force acquisitions in the evolution of the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS). Members of the Western Air Defense Sector participated in the second ever ABMS “onramp” event at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Sept. 2-3, 2020. The onramp event was a test of a few software systems currently in development as part of a larger ABMS initiative that presently includes 28 different product lines. ABMS is a top modernization priority for the Department of the Air Force and will become the military’s command and control backbone in partnership with all the services across the Department of Defense. The broader effort, known as Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) is the DoD’s concept to connect systems and sensors from the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and
Space Force and allies, into a single networked architecture. “The goal of these onramps is to deliver combat capability to warfighters and create a military internet of things that connects any sensor to any shooter,” explained Maj. Nicholas Detloff, 225th Air Defense Squadron air battle manager. In the end, the DoD is looking for a new-age system that uses artificial intelligence and machine-to-machine interfacing. The effect will be a much faster response (kill chain) through automation and anticipation of adversary tactics. All of this data will be hosted in a secure JADC2 cloud network. WADS and its members will become an end user for ABMS, providing C2 air defense for the western half of the continental United States. Each September, echoes of the attacks on 9/11
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, The Adjutant General, Washington National Guard (second from left), and U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Gent Welsh, Commander, Washington Air National Guard (second from right), observe various software demonstrations during the second ever Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) onramp event at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Sept. 2-3, 2020. ABMS is a top modernization priority for the Department of the Air Force and will become the military’s command and control backbone in partnership with all the services across the Department of Defense. The broader effort, known as Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) is the DoD’s concept to connect systems and sensors from the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Space Force and allies, into a single networked architecture. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Maj. Kimberly D. Burke).
ution of Advanced Battle Management System reverberate through the WADS building. The attacks, now 19 years ago, abruptly changed the way the Air Force viewed air defense and the way WADS functioned. Previously only focused on outside threats, posture quickly changed to looking at all air travel inside the U.S. and moved to connected military C2 to sensors and radar previously only accessible to the Federal Aviation Administration and civilian agencies. For the past 15 years, the systems and capabilities of homeland air defense have remained essentially the same. Air battle managers at WADS watch data from all the sensors that are currently linked and if a track is identified that is suspicious, WADS personnel act. Through this legacy system, they can initiate a series of phone calls and messages to determine an appropriate course of action and eventually scramble fighter jets if the threat is deemed valid. The immense change that occurred on 9/11 is once again commencing at WADS, although this time less sudden, and much more deliberate; proactive vs reactionary. Rather than wait for ABMS to be delivered to WADS, the members and leaders are driving the effort to ensure ABMS is built in a way that creates the most useful overall system and ensures all necessary data and inputs are considered. The military acquisition process is long and difficult and often very far removed from the units and people who will one day use the product. WADS is a tactical command and control unit and as subject matter experts it’s uncommon to become so involved in the beginning stages and full development of a strategic program. “We are doing this on our own initiative,” said Col. Brian Bergren, 225th Air Defense Squadron commander. “We think we know what the future of ABMS is. We want to make our own path and secure our own future. We don’t need to sit back and wait for a product to be delivered.” To plan this future, WADS has dedicated time, effort, and money toward their role in ABMS. They have redirected efforts of personnel assigned primarily to the operations floor to work on the ABMS project, asking the rest of the team to pick up the workload for that team member. They have members volunteering to move from Washington to Colorado in support of the program, an unusual
action and sacrifice for Guardsmen who enjoy the stability of life in the Guard. They have a member who is completing an internship after hours, using his personal time after his work day to learn from a software company that is already creating software for ABMS. They are also planning to have Drill Status Guardsmen go on one-year full time orders in order to learn to be coders and then do the actual coding to build the software system they will one day be using. The entire unit is making big sacrifices, changing the culture and mindset of WADS, and embracing the change to come. By being involved from the start, the unit will ensure important needs and functions, details and best practices are considered at the foundation of software development. All too often the framework of software is developed without this kind of input and then critical details are tacked on as an afterthought. “It’s easy to build the front end of a system,” said Bergren. “The user interface and the obvious inputs. What’s difficult is ensuring a solid back-end. Pulling in all the data that we, or AI, would need to make the best decision. This could be everything from sensors like weather data and radar, to more static data like specific flight rules; angle of climb, climb rate, standard routes and altitudes in a given airspace. We need to build a system that automatically pulls in all that data and then alerts the operators of the system that a track is behaving like a threat.” Washington National Guard Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Brett Daughtery, observed the onramp at WADS. “Let’s help shape this and reach out now to our cyber and space Guard units and get them into the team from the get go,” he said. “We should build on our relationships with the Navy and our Canadian partners. We should do this as quickly as we can, learn from this onramp and go bigger.” With WADS, Air Force acquisitions, and civilian defense contractors working together, the final system will prove to make the same logical decisions as a human operator but at a much faster speed, given its near immediate data access and analysis. Human operators will only need to confirm these machine decisions and execution can move from many minutes to mere seconds. These critical minutes could be the difference to ensuring lives are saved or a future conflict is won.
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Washington Air Guard helps Louisiana in Hurricane Laura response Story By Hans Zeiger
The Washington Air National Guard’s 194th Intelligence Squadron is taking part in the response to Hurricane Laura, providing analysis of unclassified satellite imagery and other open source information in support of the State of Louisiana. Using its Unclassified Processing Assessment and Dissemination (UPAD) system, the Camp Murray-based squadron provides damage assessments to state and local authorities in Louisiana as they deal with the aftermath of the hurricane. The UPAD mission allows members of the 194th IS to support domestic operations outside of the unit’s federal geospatial targeting mission. “We’re reviewing imagery provided by the Civil Air Patrol to provide insight and understanding to the extent of the damage to areas affected by Hurricane Laura,” said Tech. Sgt. Daniel Sevigny, a geospatial intelligence analyst for the 194th IS who is serving as a UPAD analyst during the hurricane response. Working 10-hour days, Sevigny reports to Camp Murray each morning and receives requests for information from the Louisiana National Guard, he said. He assesses damage to public facilities, utilities, neighborhoods, and more. “It’s difficult to gauge the extent of the damage without the publicly accessible information,” said Sevigny. The 194th IS UPAD is focused on assessing damage to inland communities, said Capt. Russell Waterman, the 194th IS UPAD mission officer in charge. According to Waterman, the intelligence squadron got involved with the Hurricane Laura response about a week and a half after the hurricane made landfall, after damage assessments involving coastal areas were already underway. “We came in when Louisiana asked for support for some of their parishes that were more inland to assess the damage to the townships,” said Waterman. The 194th IS is able to provide real-time information that is useful to local authorities, all remotely from a work center on Camp Murray, said Waterman. “We’re at home station, and everything we do can be done right from our unit,” he said. When the call came in from the State of Louisiana, Sevigny volunteered. A geospatial intelligence analyst for 17 years, Sevigny said that he joined the Washington Air National Guard in 2009 on the recommendation of a former active duty Air Force supervisor. Outside of the Guard, Sevigny is an open source intelligence analyst for the U.S. Army I Corps, based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Sevigny said that he is able to bring his military and civilian experience to the UPAD work. “it’s combining two of those fields here in UPAD: utilizing unclassified imagery and publicly available resources to develop an understanding of public utilities in affected areas, and using my talents as an imagery analyst to determine the level of damage and the situations and conditions in affected areas,” said Sevigny. The 194th IS first used its UPAD capability in support of the State of Georgia following Hurricane Michael in 2018, according to Waterman. While 194th IS members previously served in the UPAD mission on Title 32 federal orders as well as Active Guard Reserve status, today’s UPAD mission is being conducted on State Active Duty status for the first time, said Waterman. UPAD capabilities are found in Air National Guard units throughout the country, according to Waterman, but the 194th IS has the sole UPAD in the Washington Air National Guard, he said.
Tech. Sgt. Daniel Sevigny, a geospatial intelligence analyst for the Washington Air National Guard’s 194th Intelligence Squadron, serves in a domestic operations role in support of the State of Louisiana, assessing damage following Hurricane Laura. Sevigny is using the Unclassified Processing Assessment and Dissemination capability to provide information to state and local authorities in Louisiana. (Air National Guard illustration by Master Sgt. Paul Rider)
Forging Ahead: 319th EOD Conducts Pre-Mobilization Training Story and Photo By Sara Morris
The 319th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company recently wrapped up two months worth of training at Yakima Training Center and are preparing for an upcoming deployment.
“We got to do some really great medical training, probably the most realistic medical training I have ever had,” Brown said. “I could save a life. I mean I’ve never felt like that after doing medical training before.”
“I’m just so grateful that we’ve had the opportunity to do all this training,” said Sgt. Roberta Brown, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team member.
The company finished off their two-month long training cycle running traditional scenario lanes at the Yakima Training Center to utilize all the fundamentals and the new skills learned throughout the training.
The 319th is the first in the state to utilize Tier One Group training, which is a specialized training facility and contractor out of Arkansas.
Brown, a recent reclass to EOD, enjoyed learning new skills outside of the schoolhouse.
At the Tier One Group facility, the 319th received training for shooting, shoot and move, extensive first aid, breaching and a culminating close quarters combat training event.
“When you come out here, there is just so much more context added. Everything is just so much more scenario driven, rather than black and white rubric-based grading of the schoolhouse.”
“This training is especially important since the last few EOD tech fatalities have been due to small arms fire, as opposed to explosives,” said Capt. Justin Bowen, Commander of the 319th EOD Company. “We combined our road to war traditional training with the training suggested on our predecessors after action reviews to be able to support the missions overseas, since the units have experienced more than conventional EOD missions.”
The culminating event included vehicle-borne improvised explosive device lane, a known bomb making facility inspection and the company members favorite EOD activity, demolition. All these training activities are necessary to improve the soldier’s knowledge and survivability.
The feedback received from the soldiers on their training at Tier One Group was not only positive, but instilled confidence in the team members on skills they would not normally have.
“The great thing about it is that we got the teams out of their comfort zone and pushed them to think outside the box. The support and understanding from our command have been fantastic and led to us being able to do these innovative training activities,” Bowen said.
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141 st Airmen save life of local man A
day at the beach turns into a life saving experience Story by Tech. Sgt. Kayleigh Phillips, photos courtesy of 2nd Lt. and Tech Sgt. Ames
Newlyweds Carson and Caitlyn Ames awoke early on Sunday Aug. 2, 2020, expecting the weekend summer morning to be much like any other day. The couple planned on starting the day by dropping in at a friend’s house and installing a sound system on his television and then heading out to Lake Coeur d’ Alene later that afternoon. “The weather that day was just perfect,” said Carson, “I think everyone had the same idea because the beach was completely packed with people when we arrived.” They set their towels out on the hot sandy beach and immediately ventured out into the water to cool off as the temperature was already approaching the 92-degree high forecasted for the day. The couple, both members of the 141st Air Refueling Wing, Washington Air National Guard, were enjoying a relaxing day in the lake; swimming and taking in the beautiful weather, when Carson, through the throng of people splashing around, noticed a man face down close to the shore in about 12 inches of water. After watching for a few seconds, he knew something was wrong. Carson abruptly said to his wife, “Babe, I’m going to give this guy about 10 seconds,” Caitlyn had no idea at first what he was even talking about. After approaching the man and grabbing his rib cage and shaking him, with no result, Carson quickly picked up the man and brought him to shore. After he flipped him over he immediately noticed his face was blue. With a solemn voice he said to Caitlyn “Babe he’s gone.” After Carson laid his body down on the sand, Caitlyn’s military CPR training instincts quickly kicked in as she immediately started checking for ABCs (Airway, Breathing, and Circulation.) “He had no pulse, wasn’t breathing, and his face was completely blue,” Caitlyn said, recalling how distressed the victim appeared when she first started treating him. “The first breath I gave to the victim caused water from his lungs to shoot up into my mouth, but I just kept going, I felt like I was in a tunnel and was not aware of anything going on around me.” Working in unison, Carson and Caitlyn didn’t have a moment to waste, as neither knew how long the victim had been underwater and not breathing. “When you see something going wrong, you have to do what you can to help,” said Caitlyn. “The beach was packed with people, and the fact that no one else had noticed was surprising to us. Being in the military has helped us both become more situationally aware and attuned to things others might not notice. We’re just glad we decided to go to the beach that day.” Like any good teammate, Carson supported his wife’s efforts by managing the large crowd forming and ensuring 911 was notified. A passerby, a level one medic, happened to see the events taking place and came over to help her count compressions and perform rescue breaths. 28 | Washington Military Department| Summer / Fall 2020
“After starting my second set of compressions I got to number 27 and he took a big deep gasp of air. After that, I was in a bit of shock because none of us thought he was going to come back; he looked dead,” said Caitlyn. “Without CPR training through the military, I would have had no idea how to perform these life measures at all, it was second nature to me, I knew what to do and I did it.” As soon as the man started breathing, the duo flipped him onto his side, trying to get the rest of the water out. “You could hear the water in his lungs, every breath sounded like it was bubbling,” Caitlyn said, “I had my hand on his back and I could feel the water swishing around in his lungs, that’s how we knew he had swallowed a lot of water and had truly drowned.” Not wanting to move the man in case of unknown injuries, she and the passerby medic stayed on shore to assist the man while her husband and others waved down a fire truck that had just happened to be driving by. “By the time the EMTs got there he had opened his eyes, I noticed that he lacked eye color, they were a very pale green and glassed over,” she said, recalling how quickly the victim was regaining consciousness. Once the EMTs got there, the couple moved him up farther on the beach and gave him oxygen and an IV and he started moving his arms first and then began asking what had happened. “Before he left,” Caitlyn said, “I noticed he had dark brown eyes, and his face turned red, which was a relief, it was a great team effort between the two of us,” said Caitlyn, “It just feels good that we were able to help out and make a difference in someone else’s life, we’re just thankful for that.” The couple reached out to the gentleman the following week through text and found that he had made a full recovery. This was a classic case of being at the right place, at the right time, with the right training.
are we past the point of preparing?
By Kiana Kabanje Disaster Preparedness Outreach Program Manager
It was Labor Day evening and I was cleaning my garage. As I moved the trash bins out to the street for pick-up and stuffed cardboard boxes into the recycle bin, I noticed that the sky was quickly becoming smokey. Knowing there were wildfires occurring in eastern Washington, I didn’t give the smoke much extra thought. I became more aware of the air condition when the sky seemed to turn from blue to orange in about 30 minutes. At this point I was curious – what’s going on? Is there another fire? Throughout the afternoon and into the evening the wind had picked up quite a bit, but I had been expecting that from hearing in the news about a wind event. When my neighbors began joining me outside to admire the pretty colors in the sky and the smell of smoke made me cough, I closed the garage and headed indoors to learn what was happening. Below is a checklist of the thoughts and actions I took; did you take similar steps over the past few days? Did I miss anything? - Moved indoors, closed doors and windows. - Since I have signed up for local emergency alerts, I kept my phone nearby. - Did an internet search for my local fire department’s Twitter page to look for any information. - Did a similar internet search for my local sheriff’s office Twitter page to look for more information. Checked the Washington Smoke Blog & DNR’s fire info page for any other updates or alerts. - Noticed my phone only had 15% battery left – started charging it. - The wind caused the electricity in my house to flicker a few times; added a portable phone charger to my go-bag. - Learned the smoke was possibly from the start of what is now named the Sumner Grade Fire. - Thought about how close I live to Sumner – pretty close. - Moved my family’s grab and go bags to be beside our vehicle. - Wanted Taco Bell for dinner. Thought we should probably stay home. Ate a salad. - Checked local first responder Twitter accounts again. No update. - House was too warm. Didn’t open a window. Turned on a fan. - Texted our neighbors: “Hey, there’s a fire in Sumner: link to first responder Twitter account.” - Time for bed soon. Wanted to be ready in case the fire came our way during the night. - Moved two tubs from our 2 Weeks Ready kit from garage shelves to the floor by our vehicle. - Talked with my husband about where we would evacuate to, if necessary. - Found the dogs’ extra leashes; put them in the car. - Ate bowl of ice cream while watching a TV show. - Checked the internet again for any more fire information. Update: fire was near Highway 167 moving south. - Forwarded the fire update to our neighbors. - Learned my husband’s place of employment had lost electricity. - Texted a few co-workers and friends in the Sumner area: they were okay. - Went to bed – with the windows closed.
Well, how did I do? Have you taken similar steps over the past few days? As 2020 continues to throw curveballs, make sure your family stays prepared for whatever comes. Keep your disaster kits stocked and ready to go. Review your disaster plan with your family; has everyone signed up for emergency alerts? Does everyone know where you will evacuate to if necessary? Check in with your out-of-area contact and make sure they are aware of your plans. Connect with your neighbors and ask if they need help being prepared. Once your family is prepared, take a minute and send a thank you note to your local first responders. Lastly, please be kind to others and thoughtful of your fellow Washingtonians whose lives are severely disrupted. Let’s take care of each other.
For more information about preparing for disasters before they arrive, visit mil.wa.gov/preparedness.
Around the Department
Above: Sgt. 1st Class Robert Mick, 2nd Brigade, works a Spokane food bank on October 16, 2020. After completing 12 weeks of State Active Duty on Task Force Kokanee contact tracing, Mick joined the Task Force Columbia food bank distribution in his hometown of Spokane.
30 | Washington Military Department | Summer / Fall 2020
Below: Guardsmen with Task Force Kokanee take part in a deactivation ceremony on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Pierce County Readiness Center, Camp Murray, Wash. following a successful 6 months of contact tracing efforts with the Washington Department of Health. Guardsmen helped trace the virus through mapping 18,000 contacts. (U.S. National Guard photo by Joseph Siemandel)
Above: Washington Air National Guard Commander Brig. Gen. Gent Welsh (left) presents the Certificate of Retirement to Lt. Col. Christopher Panush during his formal retirement for the Washington Air National Guard at Camp Murray, Wash., Oct. 2, 2020. (Washington Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. John Hughel)
Below: Washington National Guard members join Blitz the Seahawk and SeaGals for a flag raising ceremony on Camp Murray, Nov. 10, 2020. The Washington National Guard was selected for the official flag raising for the Saltue to Service game against the Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 19, 2020. (U.S. National Guard photo by Jason Kriess)
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Around the Department
Above: Spc. Jordan Bolibol and Spc. Scott Kowalski witnessed a car accident while traveling on Interstate 5 near Federal Way. After rendering immediate assistance to the driver, the soldiers contacted 911, and controlled the scene until EMS arrived. (U.S. National Guard photo by Dave Carnahan)
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Below: Maximilian Dixon, Hazards and Outreach Program Supervisor for the Washington Emergency Management Division makes a guest apperance on the National Geographic show X-Ray Earth featured this fall on Disney+. Dixon joins others to discuss the work done in the area to help prepare for a potential tsunami following a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake.
Mark Glenn, Chief Information Officer for the Washington Military Department, also known as Sergeant Husky (a tie between his service in the U.S. Army and his alma mater, University of Washington) started Operation Washington National Guard Appreciation in 2020 and has been working with non-profits to provide support to Guardsmen. This past weekend Glenn was able to pass out 100 Costco gift cards to soldiers, airmen and their families. “I am forever grateful for the outpouring of support, despite one of the worst economic times in our state’s history,” said Glenn. “I am planning on doing the same for Christmas too.”
Below: Team 8 from the 156th Information Operations Battalion, 56th Theater Information Operations Group take part in deployment ceremony at the Information Operations Readiness Center, Joint Base LewisMcChord prior to leaving for their final pre-mobilization training. Team 8 will deploy to the Middle East later this year as part of an enduring mission in the region. (U.S. National Guard photo by Joseph Siemandel)
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Fate brings together Guard en
It all started with a chance encounter in the summer of 2018. Two 20-person hand crews comprised of members of the 176th Engineer Company based out of Snohomish were mobilized in support of wildland firefighters battling the Sheep Creek Fire that was encroaching on the tiny community of Northport, located about 100 miles north of Spokane. The engineer crews supported the local fire department firefighters that were headquartered at the Northport school grounds. Meanwhile Rose Kalamarides, a retired, fourth generation resident of Northport, was trying to find people from the local Job Corps who were also assisting in the firefighting efforts. She was trying to see if they would be able to assist her in a home renovation project she was trying to get off the ground for the Northport Historical Society, where she volunteers. “I was having trouble finding volunteers and I was trying to locate some Job Corps folks who were also at the school,” Rose said. 1st Sgt Andrew Larkin was working in the fire headquarters and overheard Rose describe the type of project she had and the work that she was hoping to get done. She was fruitless in her search for the Job Corps and left. “I followed her out into the parking lot,” Larkin said. “And told her about the 176th and what our capabilities are.” They took a quick drive down the road so that Larkin could get a look at what needed to be done. He said it would be an excellent opportunity to train his engineers and a great way to do something positive for their community. “It was fate. It was destiny. It was the coolest thing to happen,” Rose exclaimed. That’s how it all started. 34| Washington Military Department | Summer / Fall2020
ngineers and a small community Story and Photos By Jason Kriess
Members of the 176th Engineer Company based out of Snohomish, Washington, help renovate a home in the small community of Northport. The project will provide a new home for the Northport Historical Society and the town’s visitor’s center. (U.S. National Guard photo by Jason Kriess)
After months of applications, approvals and coordination, the 176th sent a team to Northport to begin the project for the town’s historical society. The 176th Engineer Company is comprised of carpenters, electricians, plumbers and heavy equipment operators among other construction specialties, and is headquartered in Snohomish, Washington. Consisting of multiple two-week annual training periods, the project will take up to three years to complete. The home, which is owned by the Northport Historical Society, will eventually be the new location of the town’s Visitor’s Center, the museum and an artisan gift shop where local artists can sell their creations. The residents of Northport welcomed the soldiers with open arms. Rose had no problem asking local businesses to help provide the soldiers with amenities like coffee, breakfast, snacks or even boat trips up the Columbia River. Rose let the soldiers have free access to her vacation house on a nearby lake so they could unwind after a long day on the job. “They rolled out the red carpet for us,” Larkin said. “They are just ecstatic to have us out here.” Not a day went by without the job site being visited by locals dropping off plates of cookies, striking up conversation or just to say, “Thank you.” Larkin said that this is the first major project his company has taken on in a local town outside of the occasional state activation for fires or floods. They have partaken in Cobra Gold exercises in Thailand building schools for the past seven years. The schools in Thailand typically come in a cookie-cutter like style. They’re all basically the same. But renovating a 100-year-old house in the states is substantially different. Larkin said the training value that this project gives his soldiers is fantastic. “For soldiers to see tangible results at the end of a training period and to take those skills to other military or civilian life… you just can’t find that in very many places.” Summer / Fall 2020 | Washington Military Department | 35
Recruiter overcomes obstacles to be named best of 2020
Staff Sgt. Sarah Braun, a recruiter with the Washington Army National Guard is honored by Brig. Gen. Dan Dent and Command Sgt. Maj. Eric Honeycutt for her work during the past year. Staff Sgt. Braun enlisted 23 new members of the Washington Army National Guard while home schooling her son and being hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. National Guard photo by Joseph Siemandel)
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A person’s character is often on display during tough times. That’s certainly the case for Staff Sgt. Sarah Braun, who enlisted 23 new members into the Washington Army National Guard and was named the Washington Army National Guard’s Top Recruiter in 2020.
After starting her career in Spokane, she was asked to relocate to the small town of Snohomish. Going from one of the largest cities in the state to one with a population of just 10,000 would often upset recruiters, but not Braun.
“We could honestly put her anywhere and she “She works exceptionally hard and has overcome a would find a way to succeed there,” said Derda. lot of obstacles along the way,” said Col. “She showed it this past year with everything that Kristin Derda, commander of the Washington Army has been going on.” National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion. “She is raising her son as a single mom, she works In March the world changed as the COVID-19 all hours of the day and night, she pandemic closed businesses, forced people to overcame COVID-19 and through everything she work from home and closed one of the Guard’s kept charging forward.” most valuable recruiting spots, high schools and universities. Braun believes challenges aren’t a deterrent, but a welcome obstacle to overcome on her way to “When COVID first started, I switched to home achieving her goals. schooling my son and continued to do my best,” said Braun. “I had to adapt and overcome and “When I joined the Guard at 18, it wasn’t learned to recruit being a single parent. Many something I had ever talked about, I was just of my recruits got to know my son during those looking for something with purpose, something visits.” that would give me drive and push me to be better,” said Braun. Braun would set up meetings with new recruits and parents in parks where her son could play Originally joining as an engineer in the California while she talked about the Guard with the National Guard, Braun moved to Washington and potential enlistees. found her way into recruiting. “Even though the standard is 12 enlistments in a “She didn’t come right into recruiting and pick it year, she went above and beyond that and is just up,” said 1st Sgt. Michael Maye, Washington Army an amazing soldier,” said Derda. “She had a National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion. mission and she didn’t let anything slow her “She is a product of her relentless work ethic.” down.” Story by Joseph Siemandel
Guardsman overcomes obstacles, receives Ranger School honors Story by Joseph Siemandel
After beating COVID-19, a Washington National Guard Soldier earned one the military’s most prestigious recognitions.
“When I tested positive, I was filled with emotions but had to first consider my health,” said 2nd Lt. Ralph Esmenda. “After a few days of being asymptomatic I had a small window of time to continue to prepare both physically and mentally. I knew it was going to be a tough road ahead but told myself that this was part of my journey to earn my Ranger tab.” While building up his civilian career as a project manager for a tech company, Esmenda had a strong desire to become an infantry officer in the Washington Army National Guard. “I chose Infantry because I wanted to be surrounded by like-minded individuals, lead some of the best soldiers in the National Guard and continue to refine my leadership abilities and have the opportunity to attend Ranger School,” said Esmenda. Esmenda, a platoon leader with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment, said his 62 days at Ranger school were grueling, but he looked forward to the challenge, overcame obstacles and found success completing the elite school as the Officer Leadership Award Honoree. Esmenda not only graduated from Ranger School without having to restart, a feat only around 25 percent of Ranger graduates can claim, he achieved the Officer Leadership Award. “I am still in shock that I earned this award,” said Esmenda. “My goal during Ranger school was to earn my tab, be a dependable leader when in charge, be a team player, help my battle buddies and inspire others.” Esmenda’s company commander, Capt. Shaun Neil was even impressed with his new Lieutenant’s work.
2nd Lt. Ralph Esmenda, a platoon leader with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment, displays his Officer Leadership Award from the U.S. Army Ranger Course, Class 08-20 on Aug. 27, 2020 at Fort Benning, GA. (Courtesy Photo)
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“2Lt Esmenda put himself through pain, hunger, sleep deprivation and the greatest leadership challenge the Army can provide and not only stepped up to the plate and finished but he was the best,” said Neil. “When I talk with him he isn’t doing it for himself, he did this for his soldiers. All soldiers deserve leaders like this.” Esmenda’s next adventure is to complete the Basic Airborne Course before returning home to Kirkland to spend time with his wife, return to his civilian career and work with his soldiers.
Guardsman recognized by Washington State Bar Association The Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) awarded Deputy Staff Judge Advocate Maj. Danielle Rogowski of the Western Air Defense Sector, the 2019-2020 WSBA Public Service and Leadership Award.
The WSBA recognizes a young Washington State lawyer who demonstrated leadership in his or her local community, contributed to the legal profession and community, and whose actions and sacrifices clearly demonstrated going “above and beyond”. “I feel very honored to receive this award from the Bar Association,” said Rogowski. “I think it’s always important to remember that as Guardsmen, we are community members first, so it really means a lot to have the support of the community.” This past year has been a busy and challenging one for Rogowski. In addition to performing the duties of her civilian job, a prosecutor in Kitsap County, and working 12 straight days in a row each month when she performs monthly drills with the Washington Air National Guard, Rogowski was activated on two separate occasions.
As the pandemic unfolded in April 2020 and Gov. Jay Inslee activated hundreds of service members in the Washington National Guard to support their communities, Rogowski was activated to support a large food distribution operation at a warehouse in Seattle. For 30 days, at a time when most Washingtonians were maintaining social distancing and staying at home, she drove from her home in Gig Harbor to Seattle, filling a leadership role and helping distribute millions of pounds of food to local families in need. “Dani epitomizes the Citizen Airmen,” said Western Air Defense Sector Commander, Col. Scott C. Humphrey. “She looks for opportunities to make a greater impact on the wellbeing of Washington citizens, not afforded her in civilian life. We couldn’t be more proud that the WSBA recognized her sacrifice as well.” Rogowski’s service tour ended just in time for her wedding. Within days of being married she was activated a second time, this time to help curb the civil unrest that threatened the many peaceful protesters demanding social and
racial justice in the community. The training for this mission was physically demanding and included riot control gear, an experience in stark contrast to her usual office work. In the end, Rogowski filled a leadership role and supported a mission in Bellevue where the presence of the National Guard members stemmed looting and vandalism that occurred in that city.
“Maj. Rogowski is awesome!” said Col. Raed Gyekis, 225th Air Defense Group commander. “This crazy year has once again helped showcase the strength of our Guard membership, with hundreds of members like Dani supporting Food Banks and Civil Disturbances. She even found some daylight in there to get married! She is a credit to the Washington Air National Guard and the WSBA!” Rogowski was a 2009 Air Force Academy graduate and became an aircraft maintenance officer during her active duty time. She then graduated with a law degree from Seattle University in 2015, taking night classes while still active duty at Joint-Base Lewis McChord. In 2015 she had a permanent change of station but in 2018 left active duty and returned to Washington state where she joined the Washington Air National Guard.
Story and Photo by Colette Muller
Maj. Danielle Rogowski, deputy staff judge advocate for the Western Air Defense Sector, 225th Air Defense Group, helps an Airman draft a will, Sept. 23, 2020. (U.S. Air National Guard photo Capt. Colette Muller)
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Joint Promotion Ceremony special for Washington Guard Family
Col. Kristin Derda hugs her daughter Emilia after being promoted to Colonel during a joint promotion ceremony on Sept. 2, 2020 at Camp Murray, Wash. (U.S. National Guard photo by Joseph Siemandel) Opposite page: Col. and LTC Derda take the oath of office. (U.S. National Guard photo by Joseph Siemandel)
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Life is full of major milestones: Graduating from college, getting married, the birth of a child, a promotion at work. Having the chance to celebrate these milestones with your family is so important. For the Derda Family, the latest milestone was special for everyone as both Col. Kristin Derda and Lt. Col. Krystian Derda were promoted during a ceremony on Sept. 3, 2020 at Camp Murray.
“You will remember this day, you will tell your soldiers, I was there the day the Derda family was promoted,” - Brig. Gen. Dan Dent Commanding General
“You will remember this day, you will tell your soldiers, I was there the day the Derda family was promoted,” said Brig. Gen. Dan Dent, Commanding General of the Washington Army National Guard. “These two officers have a deep commitment to our Guard, to our soldiers, to their family and to each other.” The Derda pair have laid a solid foundation in the U.S. Army and the Washington National Guard with nearly 45 years of combined service, including 29 years in the Washington National Guard.
Enlisting in 1992 as an automated logistics specialist, Kristin left the active duty Army in 1999 joining the Washington Army National Guard as an ordnance officer through the Washington National Guard Officer Candidate School. In more than 20 years since commissioning, she has come up through the organization, spending time in nearly every major subordinate command, deployed to Iraq in 2004 and held multiple leadership positions at the company, battalion, brigade and state level. She has managed the state’s Information Operations Group and currently commands the state’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion.
“Who would have thought that I would be standing here today?” said Col. Kristin Derda. “Twenty-eight years ago, when I came home with a recruiter to enlist, my parents were in shock.”
With a tradition of service in his family, Krystian took a different path to the Washington National Guard, receiving his commission into the active Army in 2004 from the United States Military Academy at West Point. His first duty station would end up being his only stop, as he was assigned as a Platoon Leader with 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wash. It was during that time the couple met, began a courtship, got married and started a family, all before Krystian deployed to Iraq in 2006. After spending eight years on active duty, and multiple deployments to Iraq, Krystian transitioned to the Washington National Guard.
“Before coming to the Guard, I remember talking with Col. Allen. At the time, I was thinking, is this a prerequisite to joining?” said Lt. Col. Krystian Derda. “I appreciate the leadership taking a chance
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on me and bringing me in.”
Krystian was quickly educated on the Guard’s state mission, as the lead planner for Operation Evergreen Ember, a statewide wildfire training exercise that re-established the Guard as a force that could support during the busy wildfire season. Since that time, he has held multiple positions in the 96th Troop Command, 81st Brigade Combat Team, 205th Regional Training Institute and now serves as the State’s Deputy Personnel Officer. “With this promotion to colonel, I understand the enormous responsibility that comes with it,” said Kristin. “I will continue to do everything I can to make our Guard the best it can be.”
It is not just their work in uniform but out of it with the National Guard Association of Washington that show the couple’s love for the organization. Kristin has held multiple leadership positions in the association and helped garner support from the Washington State Legislature for free hunting licenses and increased state education benefits. Since coming to the Guard, Krystian has been part of the resolutions committee, taking part in the National Guard Association of the United States conferences focusing on the benefits and rights supporting all Guardsmen. For the couple, though, the once-in-a-lifetime ceremony means more knowing they can do it together.
“All these years, I have never been able to synchronize our promotion so this is a special day for us,” said Krystian.
Whether it’s black belts for Dominik, gymnastics trophies for Emilia or cracking jokes and solving math problems with Maksymilian the Derda family will celebrate this milestone just like any other, together as a family. Story by Joseph Siemandel
The Derda family following a a joint promotion ceremony on Sept. 2, 2020 at Camp Murray, Wash. The promotion ceremony was special for the Guard couple, as they were able to celebrate their promotions on the same day. (U.S. National Guard photo by Peter Chang)
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