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Ohio Army National Guard

The Adjutant General serves as the military chief of staff to the commander-in-chief (Governor) and as administrative head of the organized militia of the State of Ohio (Army and Air National Guard). The Adjutant General is responsible for maintaining combat readiness standards of the Army and Air National Guard in accordance with national command directives and applies National Guard assets at the direction of the Governor to suppress or prevent riot or insurrection, protect persons or property from violence, and assists the state in recovering from man-made or natural disasters and emergencies. The Adjutant General is the custodian of all military property owned by the State of Ohio or issued to the state by the federal government and is tasked with maintaining a roster of military personnel and the military records of all National Guard men and women.

The Ohio National Guard maintains a presence in 54 of the state's 88 counties. Ohio's Air Guard units are dispersed in seven geographic locations-Columbus, Toledo, Springfield, Cincinnati, Mansfield, Zanesville and Port Clinton -- and the state's Army Guard units occupy several training sites and 51 armories statewide. Taking into account the earnings of traditional Guard members as well as the full-time staff of the Adjutant General's Department, funds dispensed under the state tuition scholarship program, and monies awarded to state and federal contracts, the department had a direct economic impact in Ohio of $224,212,723 during Fiscal Year 1999. Using the Army Corps of Engineers Economic Impact Forecast System, the Ohio National Guard had a statewide gross economic impact of $1,023,486,238.

The Ohio National Guard was born in Marietta, OH, on July 25, 1788. The first law passed in what was then the Northwest Territory provided for the establishment of the Militia. The militia was ordered out in the Spring of 1812 to defend the American post at Detroit from the British and Indians during the War of 1812. Detroit was lost to the British, but a second Militia force was called up under the command of General William Henry Harrison, commander in chief of the Northwest Army. Using firepower and the bayonet, this force won the Battle of Fallen Timbers near Maumee, Ohio, permanently ending the British encroachment in the newly formed State of Ohio and the Northwest Territory.

In 1848, Ohio furnished 8,102 men for the war with Mexico, amounting to about one-eighth of the United States land forces. Ohio troops were engaged in the battles of Veracrus and Monterey. General Hammer, reporting to the Governor of Ohio about the latter battle, wrote: "I am sure you would have been proud of them [the Ohio troops.] They walked in to the most galling and murderous cross-fire of the enemy with the coolness of regular soldiers, not a man or officer flinching." Shortly after the Mexican American War, Ohio's second constitution was published, providing that all white male citizens of Ohio between the ages of 18 and 45 were to be enrolled in the Militia.

Despite President Woodrow Wilson's design to remain neutral, the United States declared war on Germany in 1917, primarily as a response to unrestricted submarine warfare by the Germans. Ohio, then the fourth largest state, made the fourth largest contribution in men to the Armed Forces in World War I, estimated at a total of 225,000 men. The largest contingent of Ohioans was the famed 37th "Buckeye" Division, which fought at Mountfaucon, in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, and in the Saint Mihiel Offensive. It was rated by the German General Staff as one of the five best American divisions. The Ohio National Guard also provided the 166th Infantry Regiment which served as part of the 42nd "Rainbow" Division, and one battalion of black soldiers which served in the 372nd Infantry Regiment.

During the period between the two World Wars, the Ohio National Guard was frequently called upon to perform relief duties during natural disasters. The greatest disaster in Northern Ohio since World War I was the great tornado of 1924 which struck the Lorain and Sandusky area with terrific force. Units of the National Guard saw considerable service in this area. Other major disasters have been the almost yearly floods of the Ohio River, those of 1936 and 1937 being especially severe.

The year 1939 brought another World War. By the Summer of 1940, the federal government was calling troops into service for training to defend the nation. The Ohio National Guard was mustered into service at Camp Shelby, Mississippi in October 1940. The 37th Division had 9,000 Guardmembers, but by early 1941 had grown to nearly 20,000 soldiers. The division served in the Pacific Theater, fighting on New Georgia, Bougainville, and the Philippines, where the division captured the heavily fortified city of Manila. Of 17 Congressional Medals of Honor awarded to Guard personnel, seven were awarded to members of the "Buckeye" Division. After the war, a separate Air National Guard was established in Ohio.

The outbreak of the Korean Conflict provided another opportunity for Ohio's Guard to serve the nation. In 1952, the 37th Division was ordered to active duty as a training division at Camp Polk, Louisiana. More than 25,000 soldiers were trained by Ohio National Guard personnel, and many of the original members of the division were sent to Korea as individual replacements.

After the Korean Conflict, the National Guard was reorganized and given responsibility for air defense within the state. As a result, Ohio's anti-aircraft artillery battalions converted to missile units and manned the full-time missile sites in the greater Cleveland area.

In response to heightened tensions in Europe, President John F. Kennedy called up reservists to prevent a war. Ten Ohio units, six Air Guard and four Army Guard, were placed on active duty during this "Berlin Buildup" which was considered the most successful mobilization in the history of the National Guard, proving once again the value of the well-trained citizen soldiers.

Under the Kennedy administration's flexible response theory, the National Guard was reorganized, a process that eventually led to the loss of 37 organizations from the Ohio National Guard. This included the famed 37th Division, which had served in two World Wars and the Korean Conflict. The 73rd Brigade was formed from the remains of the 37th Division and placed under command of the 38th Division headquartered at Indianapolis, IN.

Although Ohio Army National Guard units were deployed to Southeast Asia, many Vietnam veterans joined the National Guard, using their experience to help maintain the readiness of the force.

During the Persian Gulf War, and as a result of the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein's military, the Ohio National Guard stood ready to play its part in the coming war. A total of 965 Ohio Army Guard and 594 Ohio Air Guard personnel participated in the operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Whether transporting supplies across the Saudi Arabian desert or securing bases in Europe, the Ohio National Guard was a vital part of the war effort.

Severe winter storms in 1977 and 1978 gave the National Guard further opportunities to serve the people of their state. With a wind chill factor at minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit and snowfall of 12 inches, 5,005 Guardmembers performed rescue missions for those stranded by the storm. Armories across the state were opened as safe shelters, and total expenditures for the snow emergency of 1978 was $1,238,125, an average cost of $1.60 per hour.

This tradition of service has continued to the present with the flood relief after the Shadyside flood of 1990, which killed 26 people. During the extensive flooding in the midwest during the Summer of 1993, Ohio sent the 641st Quartermaster Detachment to Iowa to help with the purification of water. The Ohio National Guard also has the responsibility of providing security at state corrections facilities should the need arise, as it did when the inmates of the maximum security prison at Lucasville rioted and took control of a cell block Easter Sunday, 1993. The more than 800 Army and Air Guardmembers who were called out for the 11-day siege were deemed "key to helping end the riot" by civilian officials.

Service to the state has always been an ethic within Ohioans. This has been evidenced by service in the active forces and the Ohio National Guard, but also in the military reserve forces, such as the Ohio Military Reserve. The Ohio Military Reserve supplements the military forces of the Ohio Army and Air National Guard in times of natural disaster and state and national emergencies.

Another voluntary force, the Ohio Naval Militia existed prior to World War II as a Federal Reserve of the United States Navy. On January 11, 1977, the Ohio Naval Militia was reactivated. Although the Militia does not have a federal mission, it can greatly assist the Ohio National Guard during floods along the Ohio River and during training on the shore of Lake Erie.

With the rapid disintegration of the Soviet Union, the threats facing the United States have changed dramatically, and the Ohio National Guard is changing to meet the many possible threats of the future. The greatest change was the dramatic down-sizing of the military, both active and reserve components. The size of the Ohio Army National Guard was reduced from 15,000 to 11,500 and is scheduled to be reduced further. The 73rd Infantry Brigade (Separate) and the 107th Armored Cavalry Regiment were deactivated, their remnants being formed into the 37th Armor Brigade, under the command of the 28th Armor Division, Pennsylvania National Guard.

To meet the demands of the future, the Ohio Army Guard has received modern equipment, such as the M1 Abrams main battle tank, Cobra and Blackhawk helicopters, and the Hawk anti-aircraft missiles.

The Ohio Army National Guard maintains 79 armories, and is present in 79 communities.

In FY99 the Ohio Army National Guard made significant contributions at the local, state, national and international levels. Brigadier General James Caldwell assumed command of the Forward Command Element located in Honduras for United States Army, Southern Command. Additionally, Ohio acted as the Lead State for Task Force Esteli in Nicaragua, supporting seven separate construction projects including schools, clinics and latrines. Engineers, doctors, veterinarians and military police participated in two-week rotations to accomplish this vital mission. Other international missions included sending soldiers to Kuwait, Korea, and Germany. Nationally, Ohio sent units to training centers across the country to participate in training exercises with our active duty counterparts as well as Army National Guard units from other states.

Locally, the OHARNG joined state and federal agencies in an effort to provide relief to the victims of the tornado that touched down in Cincinnati in April 1999. Engineers and military police were the main contributors in this effort. Participation in such programs as Jobs for Ohio Graduates, McConnelsville Town Meetings, Red Ribbon Campaign, Higher Ground character development programs, Adopt-A-School and Teen Education and Motivation provided exposure at both local and state levels.

During FY00, the Ohio Army National Guard maintained its number of units, though it inactivated one unit, the 2145th Surgical Detachment, and it activated another, the 191st Engineer Company (Dump Truck). The Army Guard's FY00 Force Structure Allowance settled at 10,701, a reduction of 29 slots from the previous year.

The Ohio Army National Guard had five units selected for the Force Support Package (FSP) program by United States Forces Command. The following FSP units were required to maintain a high level of combat readiness to provide the national command authority a rapid response force in support of national military strategy:

  • 2-174th Air Defense Artillery Battalion (Avenger), McConnelsville
  • 838th Military Police Company, Youngstown
  • 135th Military Police Company, Brook Park
  • 324th Military Police Company, Middletown
  • 5694th Engineer Detachment (Fire Fighting Group), Mansfield

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