The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Julie Bentz Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Chris Petersen.

June 14, 2013


Julie A. Bentz was born in 1964 in Jordan, Oregon to Ron and Barbara Bentz. Her father was a deacon at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church and served the local Catholic Community. She attended Regis High School beginning in 1978, where she was elected Student Body President after a successful write-in campaign. Her instructors described her as "very effervescent, very outgoing." She enrolled at Oregon State University in 1982 with the support of an ROTC scholarship, having selected OSU from a list of 200 potential schools.

She graduated from OSU in 1986 with a BS in Radiological Health. From there she was deployed to Landstuhl, Germany as a Nuclear Science Officer, and her first years in service as part of the U.S. military team were spent responding to the Chernobyl disaster.

She was later redeployed to Texas where she trained combat medics deployed for the Gulf War. In 1991 she transfered to the Reserves and subsequently spent 3-4 years in Europe and Africa with a Catholic evangelizing missionary team. When she returned, she was assigned to a variety of posts ranging from enviromental science officer to strategic plans science advisor. During this time, she undertook graduate and post-graduate studies, earning an MS in Health Physics in 1996 and a Ph. D. in Nuclear Engineering in 1999, both from the University of Missouri. Her most recent degree is an MS in National Security Strategy from the National Defense University, National War College.

At the time of this interview Bentz was a United States Army Major General in the Oregon National Guard, assigned as Director, Strategic Capabilities, National Security Council at the White House.