In 1971, LTC George J. Roe received permission from BG Snow, the Commander General of the Oregon National Guard Reserve, to form a military highland bagpipe band. The band was called the Oregon National Guard Reserve Pipe Band and was made up of members of the Albany Scottish Pipe Band of Albany, Oregon. In addition to the MacLennan kilt brought from the Albany band the Army green class A jacket was added and tailored to accommodate wearing with the kilts.
In late 1980 the band received an invitation to participate in President Ronald Reagan’s 1981 Inaugural Parade in Washington DC. The band represented the eleven western states. For this occasion the band recruited additional pipers and drummers for other Oregon pipe bands to form a larger band. The trip to Washington was made with 20 pipers and additional drummers.
Publicity the band received from the Inaugural Parade increased awareness on the part of the military personnel in Oregon, resulting in the band receiving an increase in requests to perform. The schedule rapidly increased to include parades in Salem, The Dalles, Klamath Falls, Myrtle Creek, Athena, Lebanon, Sheridan, Lincoln City, Seaside, Eugene, Tillamook, Redmond, Woodburn, Fort Vancouver and Longview, Washington.
In the spring of 1981, WO William Edmiston became Pipe Major. LTC Roe continued with the band as a piper and the band director. In September of this year the band also received official permission from Chief Ronald MacLennan to wear the MacLennan tartan. In 1983 the band competed in the San Francisco Caledonia Society Highland games at Santa Rosa, California. In 1984 the first many Military Tattoos were held in Salem, at the Armory Auditorium. The band continued to compete and in the fall of 1984 made its first trip to Longs Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival in Estes Park, Colorado .
One of the other bands taking part in the Estes Park games was the Aberdeen Ladies Pipe Band, from Aberdeen Scotland. A friendship with Margaret Davis, the Pipe Major of the Aberdeen Ladies, was established during this time. With Margaret’s help an invitation was received to participate in the Aberdeen Highland games. The funds to make this trip were raised, and in June 1986 the band went to Scotland.
The band spent a week in the Aberdeen area, preparing for the competition. They also took part in a massed pipe band parade through downtown Aberdeen on the Friday prior to the games. A second week was spent touring Scotland.
In 1985 the position of Pipe Major was passed to WO James Wallace. Under Wallace, the band continued participating in local and statewide events and to travel outside of Oregon. During his tenure a second trip was made to Estes Park and to Scotland. The band also visited Antigonish, Nova Scotia for highland games.
In 1989 the ORNGR changed its name to Oregon State Defense Force resulting in a name change for the band to the Oregon State Defense Force Pipe Band.
The band continued performing around Oregon and continued sponsoring the Salem Military Tatoo until about 1994. In 1994 WO Ronald Baker became Pipe Major. During this time the band’s schedule included a trip in 1996 to Stone Mt. Georgia to honor the Chief of Clan MacLennan, Ronald G. MacLennan, whose tartan the band wears. The band also toured Disney World. At the completion of the 1996 season, Baker, who after years of dedication to the band as piping instructor, Pipe Sergeant and then Pipe Major decided to stand down for a period. David Ferguson assumed the position of Pipe Major in 1996. David Ferguson resigned from the band in July 1997 and Sfc. Alex Maich became Pipe Major. Maich was later promoted to WO.
WO Maich continued to serve as PM until 2005 when WO Baker returned to the PM position. Baker stepped down in September 2008 at which time Sgt. Richard Johnston became the band’s Pipe Major. PM Johnston was promoted to WO commensurate with his position.
PM Richard Johnston continued as PM until 2013 turning the reigns over to WO Stephen Fowler. In 2015 the OSDF was placed in permanent stand down once more requiring a name change. After careful consideration the band members chose Willamette Valley Pipes & Drums.