From Estacada to military leadership
Maj. Gen. Randall Ogden's work with the U.S. Air Force has taken him to numerous foreign countries and inside of The Pentagon, but he's never forgotten his roots in Clackamas County.
Ogden, a 1979 graduate of Estacada High School, credited his teachers with inspiring him to join the Air Force as he discussed his recent promotion to Major General and Commander of the Fourth Air Force.
"My teachers (at Estacada High School) gave me a passion for history, especially military history," Ogden said. "My dad was a flight instructor, and that's where I got my love of aviation."
Ogden was promoted to Major General in December 2016 and became commander of the Fourth Air Force, headquartered at the March Air Reserve Base in California, on Tuesday, Feb. 7.
Prior to this, he spent two years as the deputy director for Global Policy and Partnerships on the Joint Staff at The Pentagon in Washington, D.C. During his time with this group, which consists of leaders from all five branches of the county's armed services who advise the President, Secretary of Defense, Homeland Security Council and the National Security Council, Ogden helped craft military strategy and national security.
"I met with intergovernmental agencies to discuss our national security strategy and worked with all parts of the government to come up with our national security policy," he said.
In addition to working with agencies in Washington, D.C., Ogden also collaborated with leaders around the world.
"The relationships we formed with other countries (is something that stands out to me)," he said. "I've traveled to Israel to work on missile defense issues and sat in with senior leaders at the U.N. during peacekeeping discussions."
Ogden added that he thinks some may be surprised at the level of collaboration that goes into the decisions made on the Joint Staff.
"(Many) agencies work together to maintain the safety and security of our nation," he said.
Though Ogden enjoyed this position, he's happy to be leading the Fourth Air Force.
"(Staff work at) The Pentagon was very rewarding, but service members love to be in their units flying. It's good to be returning to the operational Air Force," he said.
As commander of the Fourth Air Force, Ogden will collaborate with other staff members to ensure that all units of the reserve command are combat ready. The group has 18 wings and 30,000 reservists.
"The mission of the Fourth Air Force is strategic airlife and refueling, and so we'll develop future leaders to make sure they're ready to meet that mission," he said.
Whether it's training his fellow airmen or participating in rescues on Mt. Hood or in Africa, Ogden appreciates the opportunities to serve others that his career has presented.
"Servant leadership is rewarding," he said. "It's not about me. It's what I can do to help others."
Ogden saw many instances of people serving others in such a way while living in Estacada.
"People were close and the community was supportive," he said. "A town like Estacada is one of the strengths of our nation — it grows people who want to serve and make our country strong."
Ogden and his family visit Clackamas County every year. They own a home in Boring, and Ogden enjoys returning to Estacada.
"I love what they've done with the downtown renewal and the Veterans Memorial," he said. "I love driving through and seeing the great things the city has done to make it a great place to live."