Dean Perez, Clatsop County Human Resources Director and Oregon Army National Guard lieutenant colonel, formally took command of Camp Rilea Armed Forces Reserve Center at a ceremony Saturday, Sept. 8.
Before an assembled audience of friends, family and Guard personnel, Oregon National Guard Adjutant General Raymond Rees said Perez’ role with the county and his background with Camp Rilea “make you a tremendous asset to this command.”
Perez, who takes over from outgoing commander Col. Christian Rees, called his assignment one of the “pinnacle” commands in the state.
As the post commander, Perez will be responsible for the ensuring that “any user of the post has the best training experience possible,” he said.
Camp Rilea was established in 1927 as a National Guard training site. Today the 1,800-acre installation located south of Warrenton provides training in small arms, explosives and urban combat for National Guard and active duty Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine units, as well as personnel from international military forces, the U.S. Coast Guard and state and federal law enforcement agencies. The camp, which is also home base to two National Guard units, the 116th Air Control Squadron and 234th Engineering Company, has hosted up to 200,000 personnel a year at its various facilities. It also makes its buildings and grounds available to the public for a variety of events.
Perez joined the Army National Guard in 1988 following a four-year enlistment in the U.S. Air Force. He was called to active duty twice and served two tours in Afghanistan in 2004-05 and 2006-07 as part of the National Guard-led effort to train the Afghan National Army.
Perez takes command at Camp Rilea as the nation’s military, including the National Guard, transitions out of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Camp Rilea will have a role in refurbishing equipment and retraining personnel for new roles, he said.
The facility is also one of a handful of military posts selected for a pilot “net-zero” program designed to make the base self-sustaining in energy and water usage.
Perez, who became Clatsop County Human Resources Director in 1999, also leads the county’s Emergency Management Division. Clatsop County has partnered with the Oregon Military Department and Camp Rilea on the development of a new county Emergency Operations Center at the camp’s Warrior Hall. The new EOC will provide a secure facility for county personnel to coordinate responses to natural and man-made emergencies with other local, state and federal agencies, including the National Guard.
PHOTO: Lt. Col. Dean Perez accepts congratulations from Oregon State Sen. Betsy Johnson at Saturday’s change of command ceremony at Camp Rilea.