A command sergeant major in the Washington National Guard was killed Monday when his motorcycle hit a semitrailer in rural Eastern Oregon, according to the Oregon State Police.
Kelly Wortman, 45, of Puyallup was riding south on U.S. 395 about 20 miles south of Ukiah in Grant County when the bike crossed the center line in a corner, hitting the trailer of a northbound semitrailer about 10:30 a.m., according to the State Police.
Wortman died at the scene.
He was the command sergeant major for the National Guard’s operations office and served part-time as command sergeant major of the 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, according to a Facebook post by Maj. Gen. Bret D. Daugherty, the adjutant general for Washington.
“He was a good friend and an even better NCO,” Daugherty wrote in the post, referring to a noncommissioned officer. “His loss is tremendous, and I urge you to support each other during this tremendously difficult time.”
Wortman deployed three times to Iraq: once during active duty during operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield, and twice with the 81st Stryker Brigade, National Guard spokesman Joseph Siemandel said.
During his first deployment, Wortman received the Army Commendation Medal with valor.
“He was a great, great NCO, really good person, really good friend to the soldiers,” Siemandel said.
Wortman’s Oklahoma accent stuck with him even after 24 years working with the National Guard, Siemandel said. He was a big fan of his home-state Oklahoma Sooners and had Seattle Seahawks season tickets.
Wortman was on his way to a conference in Idaho when he crashed.
Alcohol and speed are not believed to be factors in the collision, Oregon State Patrol Capt. Bill Fugate said.
The driver of the truck, 47-year-old Matthew Gilliland of Pendleton, Oregon, was not hurt.
Wortman is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and his daughter, Maya, Daugherty’s Facebook post said.