Raven Conversations

Raven Conversations

Join the public affairs office as we explore the latest news and information around the Washington National Guard. Raven Conversations will focus on the latest training events, news and community engagements our Guard members participate in. Each episode will feature an in-depth conversation with a special guest covering a wide variety of topics.

Episodes

October 21, 2021
On this episode, Jason sits down with three Washington National Guard Airmen who volunteered for the massive effort to help Afghanistan Evacuees transition to life in America. They traveled to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey where they were a part of more than 200 Airmen working 24 hour operations helping more than 9,500 evacuees continue their journey to the U.S. They worked long, tireless days assisting with tasks ...
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Joe Siemandel, the State Public Affairs Officer, and Karina Shagren, the Military Department's Communications Director, sit down and chat with Adam Wasserman, the manager for the state's Enhanced 911 system. He talks about the history of the E-911 system, how it works and what the future holds with the new Text-To-911 features that are becoming more popular across the country.
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September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month and on this episode we talk to Jennika Cardenas. Jennika is the R3SP Coordinator for the state and she brought with her a long-time member of the Washington National Guard, Aaron McCarthy. Aaron opens up to us and shares his heart wrenching story and his battles with TBI and PTSD. 24/7 Veteran and Military Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 Press 1 or Text 838255 Military OneSource: 1-...
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Today's episode is a special one. It's Pride Month and we invited a few members of the LGBTQ community to come in and talk about their experiences serving openly in the military and the Washington National Guard. We talked with Chief Warrant Officer 4 Valerie Mariano, 1st Lt. Johanna Lockhart, Capt. Callie Kiaunis and Travis Linares-Hengen, who works in the Emergency Management Division. Travis's story is particularly c...
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It's is now June and we are marching right into fire season. That fun time of year where we all come together to fight a common enemy. Department of Natural Resources are reporting more than 400 fires this calendar year already. Those can range from small backyard fires that get a little bit out of control to larger fires that require a crew of firefighters to extinguish. So the dry, hot conditions are ripe for another more act...
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In this episode I sat down with Jeff Hehe and Dakota Ross. Dakota was a student at the Washington Youth Academy and Jeff was his mentor. We talked about the mentor/mentee relationship, how Jeff was instrumental in Dakota's education and how one can volunteer as a mentor. If you would like to get more information on how to apply to be a mentor at the academy, send an email to: elizabeth.bergmann@mil.wa.gov
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The month of May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month. Each year millions of people are diagnosed and live with some sort of mental illness, ranging from stress and anxiety to ADD or OCD. Many of our Guard service members are tasked to serve in extremely stressful situation and that can take a toll on our mental health. Luckily we have a whole slew of professional life counselors at your service to help you get the assist...
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In this episode Sara sits down with the members of the G5 staff, Lt. Col. Joshua Daily, Maj. Steven Riley, Capt. Jack Meeker. We talk about planning, how the Washington Army National Guard developed their strategic plan, and how they are measuring success and adjusting the plan as they go. If you are interested in the strategic plan you can find it here: https://issuu.com/wanationalguard/docs/washington_army_national_guard_strategi...
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In this episode Jason and Sara sit down with Lt. Col. Bruce Simpson, Task Force Medical Surge to talk about the mission for Task Force Medical Surge, Lt. Col. Simpson’s unique COVID experience, and the way ahead. If you would like to tell your story on the podcast or if you have a tip for a good story, please send an email to Jason Kriess at the Public Affairs Office at jason.r.kriess.mil@mail.mil
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In this episode Jason and Sara sit down with Col. James Perrin, Commander of the 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team. During our chat we focus on the year ahead for many of the 81st SBCT members, with multiple mobilizations coming up while still maintaining a large presence in the COVID response missions.
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Sara sits down with Angela Taylor and Sgt 1st Class Sarah Cowart to talk about Sexual Assault Awarness and Prevention Month. We give a overview as to what a Sexual Assault Response Coordinator does, what a Victim Advocate does, and issues that come up outside the realm of annual training requirements. I hope you find this informative, and if you need to use these resources please check out the information here: SAFE Helpline: 1-87...
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April is the month of the Military Child and recognition of the sacrifices military children make. In this episode Sara and Jason sit down with members from the Washington National Guard Youth Council, Mackenzie Hale, Ethan Warner and their sponsor Robbin Seeberger. In this discussion we talk about some events the Youth Council has going on in support of the month of the military child and other ways they are staying engaged with ...
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In this episode Sara and Joe sit down with Capt. Brady Plunkett, the Operations Officer for the 10th Civil Support Team. We caught up with the CST to talk about their recent deployment to the nation's capitol to assist with the Presidential Inauguration, some exercises they have coming up and checking in on missions we’ve seen in the past. If you have any suggestions for future topics or are interested in co-hosting please co...
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In this episode Sara and Joe sit down with Maj Charles Parsons commander of the 242d Combat Communications Squadron. Maj Parsons explains the mission of the 242d Combat Communications Squadron, and their dual purpose to also provide a Joint Incident Site Communication Capability (JISCC) for specific exercises and events. We also talk about the JISCC’s recent deployment to the nation's capitol to assist with the Presidential Ina...
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In this episode Sara and Joe sit down with Col. Adam Iwaszuk, the Director of the Construction and Facilities Management Office. We talk about how the Washington National Guard prioritizes its construction projects, the life cycle management of existing buildings and what the long term projects and locations look like in the future. If you have any suggestions for future topics or are interested in co-hosting please contact us: s...
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In this episode Sara and Jason sit down with Master Sgt. Amanda Bergquist from the 141st Air Refueling Wing. MSgt Bergquist is a dental hygienist that has been chosen from a pool of applicants to attend Ranger school later this year. We talk to her about the application process and what training she has been doing to prepare for Ranger school. This interview is again recorded through Teams so please bear with some of the audio inco...
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In this episode Joe and I sit down with Lt. Col. Angela Gentry, Washington National Guard G2/J2, Lt. Col. Casey De Groof, commander 341st Military Intelligence Battalion, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Andrew Rose, Washington Army National Guard Senior Military Intelligence Warrant and Command Sgt. Maj. Tim Harris, command sergeant major 56th Theater Information Operations Group to speak about the Washington National Guard’s Intelligence ...
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In this episode we continue our holiday families in the guard theme from last year and Joe and I sit down with the COL (RET) Gerald Dezsofi. During our conversation we talk about his experience in the Washington National Guard, as a leader at all levels through his career as a Military Intelligence Officer. We also talk about how the Information Operations environment has changed throughout his time as the 56th Theater Information ...
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In this episode we continue our holiday families in the guard theme from last year and Joe and I sit down with the COL Jonathan Beddall, PVT Jordan Beddal, and CDT Joshua Beddall. During our conversation we talk about what made the Beddall’s join the Washington Army National Guard, what it’s like having a high ranking father and what they would say to other families that are considering the guard. If you have any suggestions for ...
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In this episode Sara and Joe sit down with the Washington Air Guard Education and Retention office, MSgt Sarah Swann, MSgt Jessica Evans, MSgt Jonathan Rivera, and TSgt Roman Watson. During our conversation we talk about joining the Washington Air Guard, the new Beta Federal Tuition Assistance Program and the new Washington State Grant available to members of the Washington National Guard. To reach the WAANG education office call...
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