Oregon has a long history of association with the United States Navy. The battleship USS Oregon (BB3)-the “Bulldog of the Navy”, a veteran of the Spanish American and First World War, was loaned to the State of Oregon for use as a Portland museum, from 1925 until 1944.
Oregon State University hosts an active NROTC unit in Corvallis, Oregon and active reserve forces from all branches of service are well represented in the state. In addition, the Navy drops anchor in Portland each summer as a major participant in the Rose Festival.
There are many veterans’ organizations in existence today. Besides the nationally known groups like Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and American Legion, there are literally hundreds of special interest groups. All of these groups have in common a desire to share experiences, help their communities, promote patriotism and support our nation.
It is estimated that within Multnomah County alone, there are more than 50 thousand veterans. Unfortunately many post and club facilities have limited resources and constrained ability to support past and current veterans. Ranger’s flight deck could be made available to veteran’s organizations, to mark milestones of a wide variety of audiences, from individuals, to whole crews and companies. It is an appropriate setting for enlistments, re-enlistments, promotions, drills and retirement ceremonies. The ship would also be used for memorial recognition.
When a veteran passes, he or she is entitled to have honors rendered in recognition of his or her service. As such, space will be dedicated aboard Ranger as ‘hallowed ground’ where services can take place, honor and color guards can store their equipment and families can receive visitors.
For today’s active veterans, Ranger represents a substantial facility available for reintegration when returning home to Oregon or Southwest Washington. Training areas can be established, support services can be made available aboard ship, and those returning home can go to one place to receive the support and connections they need.