The first women to achieve the rank of Major General with the Oregon National Guard delivered Oregon State University’s commencement address Saturday.
Major General Julie Bentz, trained as a nuclear engineer, helped the Guard adapt to modern combat challenges. She invented equipment and health protocols to deal with chemical exposures and other hazards of today’s battlefields.
The Scio native told OPB before giving her address that she has no reservations about recommending a military career to any young Oregonian - including young women. “In any profession,” Bentz says, “any career set, there are going to be challenges. For myself, I find I’m much more set up to help find solutions on the inside. There’s nothing those kids will encounter that we can’t solve and make better.”
Bentz graduated from Oregon State in 1986. She says this is a period in which Guard members are trying to find new ways to serve, now that overseas deployments are becoming less common. She says it’s a challenge for guard members to put their battlefield training and experience to work.