Here at the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, our motto is: “Working Together to Make a Difference.” For us, it’s a constant reminder that we can’t do it all ourselves.

This month, we are saying goodbye to a terrific partner and a real American hero: Major Gen. Raymond Rees of the Oregon National Guard. General Rees has had a very distinguished career.

He graduated from West Point in 1962 and served as a commander in the 17th Cavalry of the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. He has served in the highest levels of leadership at the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C., the United States Northern Command and NORAD. He served his country in uniform for 51 years.

General Rees has received so many awards and citations that a list which included all of them would be longer than this letter. Here are just a few: Distinguished Service Medals from the Army, the Air Force and the Department of Defense; the Legion of Merit; and the Bronze Star.

Gen. Rees has also distinguished himself in the efforts he has made on behalf of our veterans — an issue that is very important to me. Oregon does not have a major military base, so it has been critical to establish robust programs, such as the National Guard’s Reintegration Team, to help returning veterans transition back to civilian life.

He has also helped to recognize the service of these veterans and veterans from previous generations by leading the effort to complete a major renovation of the Oregon Military Museum, to be named in honor of another great Oregon hero, Brig. Gen. James B. Thayer.

Although General Rees is leaving the organization, I have no doubt that the Oregon National Guard will continue to provide exemplary service to our state and to the nation.

Craig Roberts is the sheriff of Clackamas County.

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