One of the best known generals in recent Oregon history is set to make an appearance in La Grande.
Maj. Gen. Raymond Rees will be the keynote speaker at the Reunion Weekend of La Grande’s National Guard unit, the 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Regiment. Rees will speak Sept. 15 during a dinner at the Blue Mountain Conference Center.
Rees served as Oregon’s adjutant general four times during his career. His first stint began in 1989 when he was appointed by Oregon’s governor. His final stint began in 2009 when he was appointed by Gov. Ted Kulongoski, and he served four years.
As adjutant general, Rees was responsible for providing the state of Oregon and the United States with a ready force of citizen soldiers and airmen, equipped and trained to respond to any emergency or situation, including deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Rees is credited with being instrumental in getting new National Guard armories built throughout Oregon including in La Grande. The current local armory was built about 15 years ago, said retired National Guardsman Lou Gerber of La Grande, who is helping organize Reunion Weekend.
Gerber said Rees is known for his ability to connect with the soldiers working under him.
“He is a soldier’s soldier,” Gerber said.
Rees, who grew up in Helix, graduated from Griswold High School in 1962 and the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1966. He served in Vietnam in the late 1960s and, upon leaving the active Army, joined the Oregon Army National Guard. He then advanced through command and staff positions of increasing rank and responsibility.
Reunion Weekend, which is open to the public, will begin Sept. 14 with a 5 p.m. pool tournament at the American Legion hall, 301 Fir St.
Activities will continue on Sept. 15 at the Blue Mountain Conference Center. A social hour begins at 1 p.m. followed by an informal dinner at 2 p.m. and an address by Rees. Those attending are encouraged to wear casual dress.
Tickets for the Reunion Weekend are now on sale for $20. The price of tickets will rise to $25 on Sept. 5. Tickets may be purchased in person in La Grande at the Blue Mountain Conference Center, 404 12th St.; American Legion Post #43, 301 Fir St.; Joe Beans, 1009 Adams Ave.; and Denny’s, 2604 Island Ave. Tickets will be available online at https://3-116cav.brownpapertickets.com.
For additional information call Lowell Beeman, a retired National Guardsman who is helping put on Reunion Weekend, at 541-963-9084 or 541-786-5605.