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Story by Oregon Herald Staff
Published on Wednesday August 25, 2021 - 10:06 AM
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SALEM, Oregon. - President Biden recently released a statement proclaiming August 15 through August 21, 2021, as National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week, recognizing the essential support civilian employers provide to our Nation's safety and security.

Since early 2020, the Oregon National Guard has deployed and welcomed home Guard members from the second largest overseas mobilization of Oregon troops since World War II. In addition to their overseas deployments and peacekeeping operations, they have been on the frontlines of the pandemic, supported flood and wildfires response, distributed personal protective equipment, supported employment and vaccine call centers, augmented riot response in our State and Nation's Capitols, and provided patient support in Oregon's State Hospital. All the while training our Nation's F-15 Eagle pilots, providing for the air defense of the Northwest United States and sustaining military readiness. Like their Minuteman ancestors, they have put down their plowshares and answered the call to serve.

Even now, Oregon has hundreds of our Service Members deployed oversees, supporting Southwest border operations here at home, battling wildfires with the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Oregon State Fire Marshal, and supporting Oregon hospitals. As our healthcare providers continue to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, we are in the middle of mobilizing more than 1,500 Soldiers and Airmen for hospital support alone.

Beyond the gratitude to our National Guard members and their families, we owe an extreme debt of gratitude to their civilian employers. The National Guard militia construct and the idea of the Citizen-Soldier and Citizen-Airmen comes at a great cost, not just to our Service Members and their families, but to their employers as well. While we work hard to provide predictability in scheduling training and deployments to minimize the impact on employers, pandemics, floods, fires, and riots seldom afford that opportunity, creating challenges for all who support us. Our National Guard men and women could not respond without the incredible patriotism and support they receive from their civilian employers.

I encourage all Oregonians to join me in thanking the employers of Oregon National Guardsmen across the State of Oregon and Southwest Washington for their unwavering commitment and support of Service Members who have chosen to serve their state and country. Not just for the highly visible missions over the last few years, but day in and day out, across their careers. Your support comes at a great cost, but they could not answer the call of our State and Nation without your support.


Michael E. Stencel is the current Adjutant General of the Oregon National Guard. As a Major General, he commands over 8,100 soldiers and airmen. He is a command pilot with over 1,900 hours flying training and fighter aircraft.

Governor Kate Brown appointed Brigadier General Stencel to the position of Adjutant General of the Oregon National Guard, Oregon's top military leader, in September 2015. In November of that year, he was promoted to Major General. As Adjutant General, his command includes over 6,100 Army and 2,200 Air National Guard service members, is responsible for the administration of the Oregon National Guard, the Oregon State Defense Force, and the Office of Oregon Emergency Management and serves as the governor's homeland security adviser. He also collaborates with the state's governor and legislature to develop and coordinate programs, plans and policies of the Oregon National Guard.

In October 2015, Stencel went to Vietnam as part of the U.S. Agency for International Development's Overseas Humanitarian Disaster Assistance and Civic Action Program in the Quang Nam Province of Vietnam. Serving as the senior U.S. representative, he cut a ribbon at the grand opening of an intermediate school cooperatively built by the U.S. and Vietnam, which will also be a natural disaster shelter.

Education Civilian education Stencel earned two bachelor's degrees, both at the University of Washington: a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering in 1983, and a Bachelor of Arts in political science in 1991. He earned a Master of Business Administration in 1995 at Portland State University.

Military education Stencel earned his pilot's wings after training at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi from December 1984 to November 1985. In 1987, he trained at the Squadron Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base, and in 1993, he completed the aircraft mishap investigation course at Kirtland Air Force Base. In 2001, Stencel completed the air base combat engineering course at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Stencel's command background education included training at Air Command & Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base in 2000; United States Northern Command, Joint Task Force Commander Training Course and Dual Status Commander Training Qualification Program at Peterson Air Force Base in 2012–2013.

Rating and awards Stencel holds a command pilot rating and has over 1,900 flight hours in military aircraft. He has flown the Cessna T-37 Tweet, Northrop T-38 Talon, the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, and McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle models A, B, C, and D.