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SALEM, Ore. — Service members from two Oregon Army National Guard units received awards from Governor Kate Brown this week for their work rescuing people stranded by rampant flooding in northeastern Oregon.
National Guard flight crews rescued and flew to safety 54 people, 10 dogs, one cat, and one rabbit from areas submerged by flood waters over the past week.
Three Guard helicopters went into Umatilla County, where the flooding was at its worst, to support search and rescue operations. Two were Pendleton-based CH-47 Chinooks, while a third was an HH-60M Medevac Black Hawk from Salem. They rescued five people on the first evening they arrived.
"I couldn't be more proud of your Oregon National Guard members and their efforts supporting flooding this month," said Major General Michael Stencel, Adjutant General forOrego. "They truly embody our core values of Character, Competence, Courage and Commitment, while demonstrating that we truly are part of our communities."
Governor Brown visited the units involved in both Salem and Pendleton this week to reward the service members involved for their efforts.
"These Oregon National Guard Members took part in the largest search and rescue operation in Oregon's history," said Stephen Bomar, Director of Public Affairs, Oregon Military Department, "They did an amazing job supporting the community and saving lives."
In Salem, eight members of G. Company, 1-189 Aviation were awarded the Oregon Meritorious Service medal, as well as seven members of Detachment 1 B., 1-168 Aviation from Pendleton. Three members of Detachment 1 B. received the Oregon Commendation Medal.
The Oregon Military Department said that the state Office of Emergency Management was essential with search and rescue coordination efforts, as well as providing inter-agency coordination to support sustained operations throughout.