SALEM Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees, the Adjutant General of Oregon, has notified Gov. John Kitzhaber of his plan to retire on July 31, following a 47-year career in the military, including 17 years as Oregon's adjutant general under four different Oregon governors.
A retirement ceremony for Rees is scheduled for noon July 13 at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem. The event will include military displays, booths and a Howitzer salute.
As Oregon's adjutant general, Rees directed, managed, and supervised the administration, discipline, organization, training and mobilization of the Oregon National Guard, the Oregon State Defense Force, Joint Force Headquarters, and the Office of Oregon Emergency Management.
Rees was responsible for developing and coordinating all policies, plans and programs of the Oregon National Guard in concert with the governor and legislature of the state. He also served as the governor's homeland security advisor.
The three-term adjutant general also served as an air operations officer and troop commander during the Vietnam War from December 1968 to November 1969. He also served in many high-level command positions throughout the U.S. Army and National Guard Bureau including, Director of the Army National Guard, and then Vice Chief and Acting Chief of the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C. He also served as Chief of Staff at U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM)/North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).
Rees' first term as Oregon's adjutant general began in May 1987, when he was appointed by Oregon Gov. Neil Goldschmidt. His second term as adjutant general followed his appointment as Acting Chief of the National Guard Bureau in 1994, when Oregon Gov. Barbara Roberts reappointed him to the post as leader of Oregon's Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen. Under Govs. Roberts and Kitzhaber, Rees served five years as adjutant general.
Rees' final assignment as adjutant general began in July 2005, when Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski asked him to return to Oregon. At the time, Rees was serving as chief of staff at USNORTHCOM/NORAD at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. Rees served two consecutive four-year terms as adjutant general under both Gov. Kulongoski and Gov. Kitzhaber.
In addition to serving as adjutant general under four different governors, Rees' military career also spanned 10 U.S. Presidents. When Rees began his military career as a U.S. Army West Point cadet in 1962, President John F. Kennedy had been in office for only a year.
A native Oregonian and Vietnam veteran, Rees was raised in Helix, Ore. Aside from serving with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam, he also served with the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Germany, and with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Through the course of his military career, Rees has been recognized with numerous civilian and military awards, including the Defense, Army and Air Force Distinguished Service Medals, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross. He is also qualified as a parachutist, Army aviator, and Army Ranger.