By Nathalie Hardy • Columnist • 

Bravo looking for a few good men and women

But the commitment goes much deeper, said Bravo Battery’s commander, Capt. Derek Hotchkiss.

“There’s a lot of homework, but it’s not just that,” he said. “There’s a lot of training and work that happens between the times you are standing in formation at the armory.”

He also noted, “These guys are ready, at the drop of a hat, to report to the armory to respond when needed.”

While his soldiers are proud to serve, Hotchkiss said, the dedication takes a toll. “I can’t say enough how important family and community support is to our success,” he said.

The battery is currently in need of a family-readiness volunteer. He said the assignment is critical in his operation and he hopes someone will step up to fill it.

“Essentially, that person is at the helm for families, acting as a single point of contact,” he said. “It’s not just planning barbecues and coordinating social functions, though that’s certainly an important part of it, but it’s also doing things like calling the phone tree once a month to make sure we have current contact information, that kind of thing.”

Hotchkiss said he is also looking for more recruits to beef up the battery, which currently stands at 88. “In our battery, we can find something to suit a person’s interests, whether its more technical or getting their hands dirty,” he said.

The local unit started as an infantry company. When it got a new artillery battery mission in 2005, soldiers had the option of transferring to a different unit or remaining in McMinnville and undergoing artillery training.

It has been deployed overseas three times. Its domestic assignments included response to Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and flooding in the Oregon logging community of Vernonia.

To learn more about opportunities with the unit, contact Hotchkiss at 503-359-0334.

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