Leadership Message graphic.    BUCKEYE GUARD, Vol 40, No 1  (Jan./Feb. 2022)

Watch Gov. Mike DeWine’s special thank you message to Ohio National Guard members and their families for their service to their fellow Ohioans.

Ohio National Guard shows adaptability to support hospitals during critical time in pandemic

By Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr., Ohio Adjutant General

Just days before Christmas 2021, with cases of COVID-19 again surging in Ohio and putting a strain on our health care system, Ohio National Guard members put their personal lives on hold to answer the state’s call for help.

From December through February, a total of about 2,000 Guard members assisted at 18 COVID-19 testing centers and 62 hospitals across the state as part of clinical and general support teams. Among the many key jobs, they helped with patient care, cleaned rooms, delivered meals and collected COVID-19 testing samples.

Hand made cards form a heart on a wall.

Spc. Jessica Silhavy, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs

A group of fourth-graders from the Cleveland area wrote thank you cards to Ohio National Guard members who were deployed to Cleveland hospitals to help augment staffing shortages during a critical time in the COVID-19 pandemic. They are representative of numerous thank you cards sent by Ohioans to show appreciation for Ohio National Guard members who put their personal lives on hold to answer the state’s most recent call for help during the pandemic.

That’s in addition to nearly 500 other Guard and State Defense Force members who provided command leadership for such a large deployment, as well as support for other missions such as COVID-19 vaccinations, prison support and warehouse logistics.

What impressed me is how adaptable our teams were in order to shift among hospitals and regions of the state as the critical need shifted.

The deployment had a positive impact not only on the hospital operations but also on the morale of hospital staff — from the CEO level to the individual staff members of each hospital.

I have a stack of thank you letters from our fellow Ohioans of all ages, stating how much they appreciate what the Guard did. One patient commented about the professionalism of the Guard members at the hospital where he had heart surgery: “Their contributions were invaluable and without their assistance, my surgery would have been postponed.” A mom who got a booster shot along with her daughter from the Guard said every member they encountered “was extremely kind, patient and efficient.”

We truly have the best men and women in uniform here in the Ohio National Guard.

Our Citizen-Airmen and -Soldiers have stepped up in numerous ways to help in their communities since the pandemic began two years ago. Their selfless service to our great state and nation has been outstanding. I’m humbled to serve alongside the more than 16,000 men and women in the Ohio National Guard.

Always ready, Always there!

Official photo of Command Sgt. Maj. Chambliss

Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr.
The Adjutant General

Maj. Gen. John C. Harris, Jr. is the Adjutant General, Ohio National Guard, Joint Force Headquarters, Columbus, Ohio. He is a member of the Governor's cabinet and is responsible for the command of the Ohio National Guard and the military readiness of the Ohio Militia. The Ohio National Guard consists of the Ohio Army National Guard, Ohio Air National Guard, Ohio Military Reserve, and Ohio Naval Militia, totaling more than 16,000 personnel. General Harris leads the flag officer heads of these components in the day-to-day operation and management of the readiness, fiscal, personnel, equipment, and real property resources of the agency.

Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr.'s FULL BIOGRAPHY