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Local colonel moving up to the Pentagon

Lt. Col. Hoback replaced Col. Perez, an Astorian, during a change of command ceremony Sunday in Salem
By Jack Heffernan

The Daily Astorian

Published on September 10, 2017 6:23PM

Last changed on September 11, 2017 7:24AM

Oregon Army National Guard Brig. Gen. William J. Edwards, left, presents Col. Dean Perez, outgoing commander of the Oregon Training Command, with a Meritorious Service Medal in recognition of his service during a ceremony in Salem on Sunday.

Staff Sgt. Anita VanderMolen

Oregon Army National Guard Brig. Gen. William J. Edwards, left, presents Col. Dean Perez, outgoing commander of the Oregon Training Command, with a Meritorious Service Medal in recognition of his service during a ceremony in Salem on Sunday.

Oregon Army National Guard Brig. Gen. William J. Edwards passes the unit guidon to Lt. Col. Noel A. Hoback, right, incoming commander of Oregon Training Command, during a change of command ceremony on Sunday.

Staff Sgt. Anita VanderMolen

Oregon Army National Guard Brig. Gen. William J. Edwards passes the unit guidon to Lt. Col. Noel A. Hoback, right, incoming commander of Oregon Training Command, during a change of command ceremony on Sunday.

Oregon Army National Guard Lt. Col. Noel A. Hoback, right, incoming commander of Oregon Training Command, returns the unit guidon to Command Sgt. Maj. Scott D. McCoy, the senior enlisted leader, during a change of command ceremony in Salem on Sunday.

Staff Sgt. Anita VanderMolen

Oregon Army National Guard Lt. Col. Noel A. Hoback, right, incoming commander of Oregon Training Command, returns the unit guidon to Command Sgt. Maj. Scott D. McCoy, the senior enlisted leader, during a change of command ceremony in Salem on Sunday.


Camp Rilea’s first local commander is changing work addresses to the Pentagon.

Col. Dean Perez, who has led the Oregon Training Command headquartered at Camp Rilea Armed Forces Training Center for four years, will begin his new post in October. Lt. Col. Noel Hoback took over for Perez during a change of command ceremony Sunday morning in Salem.

Perez, who served two tours in Afghanistan, became Camp Rilea’s commander in 2012 before earning a promotion under a new system designed to more efficiently utilize manpower and resources at four Oregon National Guard training centers.

In his new position, Perez will work under a new U.S. Army program that prioritizes talent specialization after soldiers are recruited.

“It’s a great opportunity,” said Perez, who plans to return to Astoria following his two-year tour.


A ‘gem’


Perez’ stint as the head of 90-year-old Camp Rilea did not last long. Although Perez described Rilea as a “gem,” three other training centers in the state — Adair, Biak and Umatilla — have been in need of improvements. State National Guard leaders identified lack of coordination between the camps as an issue.

Soon after his appointment, he collaborated with a group of other state National Guard leaders to create a more efficient system to manage the sites. Born out of those discussions was the Oregon Training Command, and Perez became its first commander in 2013.

Oregon Training Command, with 82 soldiers at its disposal, now decides which camps receive the resources and manpower necessary to sustain themselves. The differing environments at the camps also allow soldiers to train for various types of warfare.

“The model has worked pretty well,” Perez said. “We’ve created a lot more capacity to manage our lands and our facilities. We’re much better able to serve our soldiers with better training.”

While this transition was taking place, Perez accepted a position with Clatsop County as administrative services director. He moved to Bothell, Washington, in 2015 to become a human services coordinator with the Seattle suburb, though he continued in his role with the Oregon Training Command.


Management skills


Perez said personnel and resource management skills are key to being successful in the position.

Hoback, who lives in Grants Pass, is also a program director at Rogue Valley Youth Correctional Facility. He has more than nine years of command experience that includes deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The most rewarding part is going to be training soldiers throughout the state of Oregon,” Hoback said.

Hoback, 48, said he does not foresee many changes at Camp Rilea. Instead, much of his focus will go toward improving Camp Umatilla.

“There’s nothing changing at Camp Rilea,” Hoback said. “It’s the premier Oregon National Guard training center.”

Hoback met with Lt. Col. Peter Helzer, the camp’s commander, earlier this month and will be his immediate supervisor. Helzer said he does not know Hoback well yet, but his patience is similar to that of Perez.

Because of Rilea’s stability, relations with the command will mainly center on long-term planning.

“Now it is really about balancing the standing up of Umatilla with not letting things fall by the wayside at other facilities,” Helzer said.



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