military reserve

Ohio Military Reserve

The Ohio Military Reserve (OHMR) supplements the military forces of the Ohio Army National Guard and Ohio Air National Guard in times of natural disaster and state and national emergencies.

The Ohio Military Reserve serves under the Governor as Commander in Chief through the office of the Adjutant General and is headquartered at Rickenbacker ANGB near Columbus, Ohio and Camp Perry near Port Clinton, Ohio. In order to accomplish this primary mission to aid civil authorities most OHMR units have been trained and organized as Military Police. There are also Medical, JAG, and Chaplain detachments. The OHMR also maintains a military training academy to conduct state versions of standard professional development courses such as Basic Entry Level Training (required for all non-prior service personnel), Primary Leadership Development Course, Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course, and the Basic Officer Course.

The OHMR is divided into multiple brigades that cover the entire geography of the state of Ohio. Each brigade is subdivided into a Headquarters Company and one or more battalions. Most line units are staffed with a higher average proportion of Officers and Noncommissioned Officers (NCOs) than their corresponding active duty counterparts. This is reflective of the OHMR's historical mission of serving as a leadership and training cadre that can be expanded rapidly in the event of a statewide emergency. As a practical matter it also reflects the high proportion of prior service military personnel who are permitted to enter the OHMR at their former rank.

Recently, the OHMR has been undergoing a reorganization which is more mission focused. The first step has been to drop its Military Police designation. Elements are presently simply calling themselves Support brigades, battalions, or companies. Eventually those descriptors will likely become more specific. This is more in keeping with the OHMR's mission to provide support to both civil and military authorities during disasters or terrorist events in a broader arena than just "police" functions. The OHMR is working closely with the American Red Cross and other agencies to train its personnel in specialties not found in the National Guard or other military organizations such as shelter management, damage assessment (to FEMA standards), volunteer management and coordination, etc. These skills are in addition to their traditional physical security, communications, navigation, first aid, survival, and other military skills.

The OHMR is categorized as a State Defense Force which occupy the third tier of the Total Force Concept along with the service auxiliaries (The other two tiers are the active armed services and the National Guard/Reserves). About half the states have such organizations and all the states are authorized to form them under Title 32 of the U.S. Code. The Ohio Military Reserve is itself authorized under Section 5920 of the Ohio Revised Code.

Promotions are generally dependent on time in grade / time in service, satisfactory duty performance (including drill attendance), and completion of professional development courses. Advanced Officer and NCO coursework consists largely of online courses available through the U.S. Army Independent Professional Development program (AIPD)and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Senior Officers are required to complete the non-resident, active duty Command and General Staff Course and the War College.

In 2005, a bipartisan state legislative committee was created to investigate the effective utilization of the OHMR and make recommendations for changes and/or implementation. The committee presented its report and recommendations early in 2006 with the agreement of all commission members - except for the Adjutant General and the Director of Public Safety, who filed a joint letter of dissent. To date, none of the recommendations of the report have been implemented.

Recently, the Adjutant General of the State of Ohio has tasked the OHMR to launch a major recruiting campaign to "significantly increase" its current manning level of approximately 600 personnel. Regardless, there has been little support of any training or cooperative effort relative to the OHMR. The OHMR has had difficulty in receiving authorization for cooperative training activities between the itself and civil authorities (the agencies which the OHMR is designed to support). In many situations the OHMR represents a low-cost alternative to the National Guard, performing many of the same missions with significantly less expense (and in some cases more appropriate training) than the National Guard.

Members of the OHMR wear BDUs. The OHMR dress green (class A and B) uniform is the same as the Army's with the exception of a red, rather than black, nameplate and SDF specific insignia. In lieu of the black beret with a red flash worn by some other states, the OHMR wears the old-style 'garrison' hat.

The OHMR has a "sister service", the Ohio Naval Militia which operates out of Camp Perry, located near Port Clinton, Ohio.


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