Wayne A. GreenMAJOR GENERAL GENE A. KATKE

Commander 244th Combat Communications Squadron

1 July 1977 to 30 September 1983

Retired effective Nov 15, 1994

Major General Gene A. Katke is the adjutant general of Oregon, assigned to the Military Department in Salem. He is responsible for command, control and supervision of both the federal and state missions of the Oregon National Guard and serves on the governor's cabinet as secretary of public safety and security.

He was graduated from Benson High School, Portland, in1952, with a technical electronics diploma and went on to earn a bachelor of science degree in business and technology from Oregon State University. The general then earned a master's degree in business administration from Portland State University in 1975. His military education includes Squadron Officers School, 1970; Air Command and Staff College, 1973; and Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 1978.

General Katke enlisted in the Oregon Air National Guard in March 1953 and served as a communications specialist until Oct. 14, 1966. On Oct. 15, 1966, he received a direct commission to first lieutenant. He was assigned as a communications officer with the 244th Mobil Communications Squadron, Oregon Air National Guard, until July 15, 1971. While assigned to the 244th, he held the position of communication systems staff officer from July 16, 1971 to April 30, 1975, and supply operations officer from May 1, 1975 to March 31, 1976. On April 1, General Katke was assigned as commander of the newly-formed 244th Mobile Communications Flight, a position he held until Oct. 31,1976. He then accepted a position as a supply management officer with the Washington ANG, 252nd Combat Communications Group, Camp Murray, Washington on November 1, 1976. On July 3, 1977,General Katke returned to Oregon to assume command of the 244th Combat Communications Squadron, a position he held until Sept. 30, 1983. From Oct. 1, 1983 until March 27, 1988, he was assigned to Headquarters, Oregon Air National Guard, as a communications electronics staff officer. On March 28, 1988,General Katke was appointed deputy commander of the Oregon Air National Guard and then was named assistant adjutant general, Oregon Air National Guard, on June 26, 1990. General Katke was appointed as adjutant general on May 28, 1991.

General Katke's awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with two bronze oak leaf clusters, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, Combat Readiness Medal with one silver and one bronze oak leaf cluster, Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal with three bronze oak leaf clusters, National Defense Service Medal Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon with one silver and three bronze oak leaf clusters, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with two hourglass devices, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon with one bronze star, Air Force Training Ribbon, Oregon Exceptional Service Medal, Oregon National Guard Meritorious Service Medal- Thirty Year Award, Oregon Thirty Year Faithful Service Medal, Oregon Faithful Service Medal with one silver oak leaf cluster, the Perfect Attendance Ribbon, and the Oregon Distinguished Service Award.

General Katke was promoted to and federally recognized as a major general on March 11,1993.


KATKE Gene A. Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Nov. 15, 1934 – January 30, 2015

The Oregon National Guard is deeply saddened by the passing of Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Gene A. Katke, the first Oregon Air National Guardsman to serve as Adjutant General, Oregon.

Gene Albert Katke was born Nov. 15, 1934, in Portland, Oregon, to Albert and Marie Katke. He was their only child, but he had many aunts, uncles and cousins. He attended Benson Tech High School, where he was active in the Glee Club and radio. One of his other interests was hot-rodding, and he was a founding member of the Road Knights Car Club. He graduated from Benson with a technical electronics diploma in 1952.

Katke earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business and technology from Oregon State University. He later earned a masters degree in business administration from Portland State University in 1975.

He met the love of his life, Harleen Joyce Hardman, and they were married for 55 years. They had three sons; Martin, Gregg and Scott. Gene and Harleen loved international travel, the Oregon coast, and researching their family genealogies.

Katke began his 41-year career with the Oregon Air National Guard in March 1953 as an airman first class and served as a communications specialist until Oct. 14, 1966. On Oct. 15, 1966, he received a direct commission and was assigned as a communications officer with the 244th Mobile Communications Squadron. While assigned to the 244th, he held positions as communication systems staff officer, supply operations officer, and was then assigned as commander of the newly-formed 244th Command and Control Flight. In November 1976, he accepted a position as a supply management officer with the Washington Air National Guard, 252nd Combat Communications Group, Camp Murray, Washington.

In 1977, Katke returned to Oregon to assume command of the 244th Combat Communications Squadron, a position he held until Sept. 30, 1983. He was then assigned to Headquarters, Oregon Air National Guard, as a communications electronics staff officer before being appointed deputy commander of the Oregon Air National Guard in 1988. He was named assistant adjutant general, Oregon Air National Guard, in June 1990. Katke was appointed as adjutant general, Oregon, on May 28, 1991. He was promoted to and federally recognized as a major general on March 11, 1993. He retired in 1994.

Katke’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with two bronze oak leaf clusters, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, Combat Readiness Medal with one silver and one bronze oak leaf cluster, Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal with three bronze oak leaf clusters, National Defense Service Medal Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon with one silver and three bronze oak leaf clusters, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with two hourglass devices, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon with one bronze star, Air Force Training Ribbon, Oregon Exceptional Service Medal, Oregon National Guard Meritorious Service Medal-Thirty Year Award, Oregon Thirty Year Faithful Service Medal, Oregon Faithful Service Medal with one silver oak leaf cluster, the Perfect Attendance Ribbon, and the Oregon Distinguished Service Award.

His civilian career included: production, purchasing and sub-contracting assignments with Cascade Corporation from 1958 to 1966; federal credit union management from 1962 to 1966; production control management with Warn Industries from 1966 to 1968; production engineering management and managerial management on the corporate staff of Omark Industries from 1968 to 1974; and manufacturing engineering management with Dillingham, Inc. He owned and managed residential rental property since 1965. In 1979, he turned his love for sailing into a business by purchasing Sexton’s Chandlery, a small retail boating supply store. With his sons, he moved the business to a more favorable location, which included a shop and boat yard. Katke was president of both Sexton’s Chandlery Inc. and of Tomahawk Boat Works, Inc., founded in 1983. He continued to be a presence in the business until very recently.

Preceded in death by his wife, Harleen, he is survived by their sons Marty, Gregg and Scott. Condolence letters may be sent care of Marty Katke at 303 NE Tomahawk Island Dr., Portland, OR, 97217.

 

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