Working with Beavers

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Beavers at the Barracks

When I was assigned as the Senior Army Active Duty Advisor to the 104th Timberwolf Division in 1989, it was commanded by Major General Daniel F. Hitchcock. Ceneral Hitchcock was employed by Pacific Power but also critical was his source of commission. He was commissioned a second lieutenant thru the Army ROTC program at Oregon State University.

Nearly 70% of the Army’s officer Corps is commissioned thru Army ROTC at now over 275 colleges and Universities throughout the United States. These officers make up the leadership at many Active, Reserve, and National Guard units throughout the Army’s force structure. General Hitchcock commanded till 1991. I departed the same year but worked closely with the three follow -on commanders.

During my two years with the Timberwolves at Vancouver Barracks I had the pleasure of working with a progression of three other Oregon State University Army ROTC Beavers who eventually commanded the Timberwolf Division. Following Hitchcock, General Thomas E. Mattson took command for 4 years till 1995. General Mattson worked in the lumber business. Following Mattson , was Major General Curtis A. Loop in 1995. His civilian job was with the Army Corps of Engineers. Next was Major General Jon R. Root whose civilian job was as a department director at OSU. Major General Terrell K. Moffett assumed command in 2003 and was a Military Academy graduate. He is now retired as an attorney in Mississippi.

These four Beaver officers represented the Oregon State University Army ROTC program with professionalism and bring credit to the program and its dedication. Their back -to -back commands is unique and special to Army Reserve units. It is the only case where one university has dominated the top leadership position for 16 years. The proud history of the division and initial WW11 training in Oregon followed by its distinguished combat record in Europe make it a unique unit to command. During the 16 years there was obviously no room for dogs, cougars, or ducks. Beavers ruled in a difficult time of transition for the division.

After being reactivated on December 1, 1946 at Vancouver barracks the division will relocate to its new home at Ft Lewis this year. The Division has provided the City of Vancouver with two general officers while assigned to Vancouver. Shortly, there will be a new facility for the 2nd brigade, 95th Division and the 396th Combat support Hospital on Fourth Plain Blvd and the Timberwolf presence will be gone. It is a sad day for Vancouver but a proud Day for the country that the Timberwolves will continue to contribute to the defense of our nation. Nightfighers!

Larry J. Smith, Colonel of Infantry, US Army (Retired), is a Vancouver City Councilman.