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News | March 14, 2023

Portland MEPS Technician's Quick Action Disrupts Gunman

By Army Maj. Brian Anderson, Portland MEPS commander Portland MEPS, Oregon

It was close to 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 16 and the dinner rush was in full effect at a pub in Troutdale, Ore. A man entered the pub armed with a shotgun tucked under his arm. Visibly intoxicated, he quietly approached the bar with the intent of confronting the bartender on duty that night. What he didn’t plan on was two incredibly brave and selfless patrons disarming him, thwarting the attack. One of those two brave men was David Foland, administrative support technician, Portland MEPS.

As some patrons fled the bar, Foland and another patron confronted the man, grabbing the shotgun, and tackling him to the ground. They continued to hold him down until deputies arrived at the scene.

Foland, a 24-year Army veteran, retired in 2011 while serving as a First Sergeant in the infantry. His confidence in his physical abilities stemmed from his Army experience and practicing as a semi-pro mixed martial arts fighter for 14 years.  

“Dave Foland is one of the most selfless and caring people I have ever had the pleasure of working with,” said Army Maj. Brian Anderson, commander, Portland MEPS. “He is always eager to help others. Hearing about this brave act was not a huge surprise. Dave is just the kind of guy who knows something had to be done and he would not be a bystander.”

On March 7, the Western Sector Command Team, Marine Corps Col. Jesse Sjoberg and Army Command Sgt. Maj. Roger Rendon, took the opportunity to recognize Foland by presenting him with the Western Sector Coin for Excellence, during their annual visit to Portland MEPS.

“In the Army we are taught to stay alert at all times, have a battle buddy, and look after one another,” said Army 1st Sgt. Nicholas Berkey, Portland MEPS senior enlisted advisor. “This dependability is something we all know about Dave. I am so grateful he was there and able to help protect those people from something that could have turned out to be incredibly tragic.”

As Foland reflects on that frigid February night, he knows he himself is lucky to not have been harmed for stepping in. Luckily, it all worked out and no shots were fired in the pub. 

“The police were very happy with how it went down, but it could have been so much worse,” said Foland. “My guardian angel definitely works overtime.”