MAGAZINE OF THE OHIO NATIONAL GUARD ~ Vol. 36, No. 1
Our People Make the Difference
Volume 36, No. 1 January/February 2018
FOCUS ON HISTORY
A closer look into the origins and lineage of the Ohio National Guard’s 196th Public Affairs Detachment (Mobile), which began in Worthington, Ohio.
Three men who served in the Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI) during the Civil War — Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield and William McKinley — all later would become U.S. presidents.
THE OHIO NATIONAL GUARD
he appearance of advertising in this publication, including inserts or supplements, does not constitute endorsement of the products or services advertised by the Ohio Adjutant General’s Department. Everything advertised in this publication will be made available for purchase, use, or patronage without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other nonmerit factor of the purchaser, user, or patron. If a violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser is confirmed, the Public Affairs Office will refuse to print advertising from that source until the violation has been corrected.
Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Jones says the proper attitude, teamwork and respect are the three ingredients to success in an organization. Respecting our members’ differences and appreciating that they all contribute something valuable makes the Ohio National Guard team stronger.
Interested in becoming a helicopter pilot for the Ohio Army National Guard? See what it takes to transition to warrant officer pilot in one of the Guard’s most exciting career fields. Also, the Army National Guard recently announced a new $15,000 Reenlistment Bonus for Soldiers.
Commander in Chief
Gov. John Kasich
Maj. Gen. Mark E. Bartman
Director, Government and Public Affairs
Maj. Matthew J. France
Public Affairs Officer (Federal)
Capt. Jordyn Sadowski
Public Information Officer (State)
Ms. Stephanie Beougher
Mr. Steve Toth
Layout and Design
Ms. Cindy Ayers Hayter
Army Historical Content
Sgt. 1st Class Josh Mann
- Army and Air National Guard Photo/
- Unit Public Affairs Representatives (UPARs)
- Ohio Army National Guard Recruiting and
Retention Battalion Marketing Office
The Buckeye Guard is an authorized publication for members of the Department of Defense (DOD). Contents of the Buckeye Guard are not necessarily the official views of, or endorsed by, the U.S. Government, the DOD, the Departments of the Army and Air Force, or the Ohio Adjutant General’s Department. The Buckeye Guard is published bimonthly and is available for viewing at ONG.Ohio.gov/buckeyeguard.html. The editorial content of this publication is the responsibility of the Public Affairs Office (NGOH-PAO), Ohio Adjutant General’s Department, 2825 West Dublin Granville Road, Columbus, Ohio 43235-2789. Direct communication is authorized to the editorial staff at 614-336-7003 or email@example.com. Guard members, Family and other interested persons are encouraged to submit any articles and photos meant to inform, educate or entertain Buckeye Guard readers. Submitted content, if approved for usage, may be used additionally or exclusively on the Ohio National Guard website, ONG.Ohio.gov, official Ohio National Guard social media sites, or in other Public Affairs Office products.
The appearance of advertising in this publication, including inserts or supplements, does not constitute endorsement of the products or services advertised by the Ohio Adjutant General’s Department. Everything advertised in this publication will be made available for purchase, use, or patronage without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other nonmerit factor of the purchaser, user, or patron. If a violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser is confirmed, the Public Affairs Office will refuse to print advertising from that source until the violation has been corrected.
HARD AS NAILS
Ohio Guard member plays for All-Army Rugby Team
For Spc. Zackaree Forro, a short kid with a strong build and quick step, both work and play — his deployment overseas and his inclusion on the All-Army Rugby Team, respectively — served as proving grounds for finding his military-life balance through hardship. READ STORY
THE BUCKEYE STATE'S BEST
Outstanding Airmen of the Year
The Ohio Air National Guard’s top Airmen were
announced recently in six categories, honoring those
who go above and beyond their daily duties, exemplified through their work ethic, community involvement and leadership. READ STORY
SERVICE before self
Airman volunteers in Ghana
Alone, in a remote region of Africa, surrounded by strangers and living in a shack without running water, Senior Airman Courtney Iannucci sacrificed modern comforts during a volunteer mission to help care for children in Ghana. READ STORY
the body, building the mind
Fitness has always played a part in Sgt. 1st Class Megan Simpson’s life. But it wasn’t until 2014, when Simpson returned home from a deployment in the Middle East,
that she became involved in bodybuilding as a way to
cope with stress. READ STORY
Our people are our organization’s greatest asset
The Equal Opportunity /Diversity & Inclusion Office provides opportunities for Ohio National Guard members to enhance their professional development and embrace diversity and inclusion. Among those opportunities is a reading list suggested by Maj. Gen. Mark E. Bartman, Ohio adjutant general.
Chief Master Sgt. Thomas A. Jones is the 10th state command chief master sergeant for the Ohio Air National Guard, Joint Force Headquarters, Columbus. As the senior enlisted advisor to the Ohio adjutant general, Jones is responsible for matters influencing the health, morale and welfare of assigned enlisted personnel and their Families. The Ohio Air National Guard consists of about 4,700 Airmen, including three flying wings, one intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance wing and six support units that serve our communities, state and nation for homeland defense and federal missions.
By Chief Master Sgt. Thomas A. Jones, State Command Chief Master Sergeant
One of the most fulfilling things about being in the Ohio National Guard is that you get the opportunity to serve with some of the most amazing people on Earth. I truly believe that in the National Guard, we have the most diverse group of individuals of any service on this planet. We have former active-duty Airmen, Marines, Soldiers and Sailors. In addition, we have doctors, nurses, teachers, firefighters and policemen. We have members that work in almost any profession you can think of, who want to be a part of this awesome team we have assembled.
I joined the Marine Corps in 1978 with my best friend Louis. We went into the recruiter’s office and signed up to join on the buddy system. We would be going to Parris Island together! We took the oath of enlistment before we even graduated high school. When we arrived at Parris Island, our drill instructor was shocked to find out Louis and I were buddies. You see, Louis is black and I am white. Diversity at this time was not seen as something to strive for. Louis and I didn’t notice our difference in skin tone. We valued our friendship and are still friends to this day.
Thank goodness times have changed. We are not completely where we need to be, but our senior leaders are invested in making sure that the members of our National Guard resemble the makeup of the communities where we live and work. For example, take a look at our four wing command chiefs in the state. Two of them are female and one of them is an Asian-American male. We realize that each individual brings special qualities that are needed to accomplish our mission. Accomplishing the mission together brings our members closer to each other.
One of the most inspiring stories that I have heard is from Staff Sgt. Eric Piime of the 121st Air Refueling Wing. He was born in Ghana. He remembers seeing the American flag on containers of food that were provided when he was young. He was so thankful for the food that he wanted to find some way to repay the U.S. He also had an interest in flying. He came to Columbus, Ohio, got his citizenship and joined the Air National Guard. He is now a boom operator on the KC-135R Stratotanker. He has been deployed and is working on becoming a pilot with the 121st ARW. He brings something special to our team. His great attitude is contagious. He has been noticed by Gen. David Goldfein, the Air Force chief of staff, because he saw a video story about Staff Sgt. Piime’s journey to where he is today (the video is also featured in this issue, in the “Always Ready, Always There” section).
Actually valuing each other for who we are and not for how we look or where we come from brings a sense of safety to our members. Our people are willing to speak up and bring new and innovative ideas on how we accomplish our mission. Our members need to know that there are no limits to the opportunities that exist in our National Guard. Attitude, teamwork and respect are my three ingredients to success in our organization. Respecting that each of us is different and brings something valuable to our team only makes us stronger.
As you read this issue of the Buckeye Guard, in addition to Staff Sgt. Piime, you will get a glimpse of some of the other amazing Soldiers and Airmen in our organization who have made great accomplishments, fought through adversity, overcome challenges and set examples of what can be achieved with determination and the right attitude, teamwork and respect for their fellow men and women.
READ FULL BIOGRAPHY
Video by Sgt. Andrew Kuhn, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs
In the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives
By Kenneth C. Davis, 2016, New York
Did you know that many of America’s Founding Fathers — who fought for liberty and justice for all — were slave owners?
Through the powerful stories of five enslaved people who were “owned” by four of our greatest presidents, this book helps set the record straight about the role slavery played in the founding of America. From Billy Lee, valet to George Washington, to Alfred Jackson, faithful servant of Andrew Jackson, these dramatic narratives explore our country’s great tragedy—that a nation “conceived in liberty” was also born in shackles.
See the Adjutant General's full reading list
on the Ohio National Guard website.
Ohio Guard member plays for All-Army Rugby Team
Zackaree Forro has a dream to play rugby as an Olympian. To get there, he’s been working hard to forge himself under stress as steel to heat and pressure.
Warm-weathered and hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico was the grounds for his metalworking last fall. Spc. Forro, a communications specialist with the 137th Signal Company out of Newark, Ohio, deployed there with about 40 Soldiers in October and November, providing mobile satellite, telephone, internet and information technology support for military assets after Hurricane Maria.
“(We were) working side by side with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) to set up an application center for people to get emergency relief and (also conducting) food and water missions to bring aid to people who (couldn’t) come get it,” Forro said.
The mission came midsemester in his senior year at Notre Dame College in South Euclid, Ohio, and midseason for his school rugby team’s playoff push as a nationally-ranked contender.
Aside from maybe rugby, it’s a sacrifice that all Guard members understand. Every Guard member understands that keeping balance, while running through one’s civilian life on one side and one’s military life on the other side, can be difficult. One might tackle two other jobs to make more money to cover expenses. One might take on a heavy load of challenging classes. One might struggle to find space for Family and friends. Every Soldier’s run between the two commitments is unique, but most learn how to break through and find their legs in the balance. Typically, it’s accomplished through hard work and the application of good advice.
For Forro, a short kid with a strong build and quick step from Mentor, Ohio, both work and play — his deployment to Kuwait and his inclusion on the All-Army 7s Rugby side, respectively — served as proving grounds for finding his balance through hardship.
“Balancing the Guard, the sport that I’m on scholarship for and school, which I’m taking 19 credit hours right now, gets hectic, but it makes me push harder. I feel like I will be successful because I’m used to being busy,” Forro said.
Forro deployed to the 100-degree temperatures of Kuwait and practiced rugby, an exhaustingly physical endurance sport, with the Kuwait National Rugby Team as part of a greater public relations effort — a multicultural, multinational experience.
“That was such a valuable learning experience,” Forro said. “The person I am today, and the player I am, even is affected by that deployment.”
Forro, like many Guard members, signed up for the military to help fund his college education, but he says it was always in his plans to join the military.
“I really wanted to attend college and get my degree,” Forro said. “The military was always something that I felt strongly about, and I wanted to serve after I graduated. I found out about the Ohio Guard and the Ohio (National) Guard Scholarship, and it was a no-brainer for me. I would be able to serve and attend college at the same time.”
Forro, then, earned a rugby scholarship at Notre Dame College, helping him pay in-full for a private college education, and he found that his military training helped him excel in that environment.
“My Soldier skills transfer to the rugby field and as a co-captain on the Notre Dame College rugby team,” Forro said. “Most of the Army values — if not all — apply to rugby. (The values) allow me to realize that I need to not only be a solid, coachable player, but also an ambassador to the sport and my team. Just as I represent the Ohio Guard on the Army team, I need to make sure I’m doing the right thing because people are always watching. Plus, it keeps me in check; I’m able to look myself in the mirror at night and say that I represented well and to the best of my ability.”
Forro is known for pushing his abilities to the limits.
“He’s tough as nails,” said Jonathan McDonald, a teammate of Forro’s at NDC.
Forro played through a high ankle sprain Sept. 24, 2017, in then-10th-ranked NDC’s 31-26 win over then ninth-ranked Army, perhaps NDC’s best-ever victory in rugby 15s, and also gave Forro bragging rights as he and his teammates beat his service’s collegiate team.
Athletes typically do not play through high ankle sprains because it can be extremely painful and playing through the injury can potentially set back recovery. However, Forro said he knew his team needed him to get the win, and he felt he needed to sacrifice himself for the team.
It’s part of Forro’s mantra — to push hard through adversity.
“Be relentless in whatever you want,” Forro said. “There are going to be sacrifices, but results come if you work hard.”
Forro’s dedication to work is recognized by his head coach and teammates.
“He is probably one of the hardest-working players I have ever coached,” said NDC head coach Jason Fox, “and I have many hard working student-athletes on this team.
“Zack has the respect from all, due to this work ethic and level head, on and off the field. We have missed his leadership this season very much, as he (was) in Puerto Rico since after the Army game.”
Forro gives credit to the development of his attitude toward hard work and perseverance for his inclusion in the dominant U.S. All-Army Rugby 7s Team, which almost perennially wins the Armed Forces Rugby Sevens Championship Tournament, including both years Forro has played in the tournament, in 2015 and 2017.
U.S. Army 7s is “a very professional environment,” Forro said, “and I was blown away by the amount of things that I was able to learn from players and coaches, so I fell in love right away with the U.S. Army team and its culture.
“Rank and where you’re from don’t matter on the All-Army team,” he said. “We don’t refer to people by their rank. Everybody’s a brother out there; it becomes literally one team and one Family. There are a lot of great leaders. We had a lieutenant colonel, who is now a colonel, who is playing for us still, Nate Conkey. The amount of knowledge that those leaders have, in and out of the Army and in life in general, is great. The culture that the team creates allows a young guy like me to absorb those life lessons on and off the field.”
Forro said it’s an absolute honor to represent the Ohio National Guard, his unit and his chain of command.
“The opportunity is there for Guard members to play for their all-branch team, but it’s a little more difficult to be put on orders,” said Forro, who made the All-Armed Forces Team. “It’s important to make sure the All-Army sports information gets out to Soldiers.”
Forro first played for U.S. Army 7s in 2015, and he’s played well enough for Army and NDC to earn an invite to train with the U.S. Olympic Men’s Rugby Team, which also travels the world as an International Rugby Board 7s participant. Forro traveled to Chula Vista, California, in early September and is now being evaluated as a potential member of the U.S. team. If he’s invited to join, Forro said he plans to get into the Army World Class Athlete Program, which has a primary mission to support nationally and internationally ranked Soldiers in participating on the U.S. Olympic team. The program is headquartered at Fort Carson, Colorado.
“Your active-duty station is the Olympic Training Center for three years,” Forro explained, “then, following the Olympics, you do one year with your regular active-duty station.”
Forro said his goal is to represent his country in the sport he loves. Many people who know him believe he can do nearly anything he sets his mind to.
“I am very proud of Zack’s accomplishments and well-deserved attention from national selectors,” Fox said. “He will go on to do great things both on the rugby field and in life.”
Certainly, he represented his country and did great things as a U.S. Soldier performing humanitarian missions in the Caribbean.
“I was very excited to do it because I (had the opportunity to) go and help people who have nothing,” Forro said.
His latest deployment may once again push his civilian goals back a bit, but Forro said he understands that is part of the commitment of being a Citizen-Soldier.
“I may have to extend college for one more year (because of this hurricane relief effort), but, honestly I’m pretty happy,” he said, adding that he can look himself in the mirror “at night and say that ‘I represented well and to the best of my ability.’”
Spc. Zackaree Forro Communications Specialist
137th Signal Company
Hard as Nails
Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Chad Menegay, 196th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
(From left) Airman of the Year: Staff Sgt. Jordan E. Hopson, 121st Air Refueling Wing
Noncommissioned Officer: Tech. Sgt. Aimee M. Davey, 178th Wing
Sr. Noncommissioned Officer: Senior Master Sgt. Rebecca L. Shell, 179th Airlift Wing
First Sergeant: Master Sgt. Shawn F. Murray, 178th Wing
Honor Guard: Senior Airman Michael R. White, 180th Fighter Wing
Company Grade Officer: Capt. Marcus Bosch, 178th Wing
The OHANG Outstanding Airmen
of the Year award winners announced
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — The 178th Wing hosted the 2017 Ohio Air National Guard Outstanding Airmen of the Year (OAY) awards banquet to honor the nominees from units across the state, Jan. 6 at the Courtyard Marriott.
AIRMAN OF THE YEAR
Staff Sgt. Jordan E. Hopson
Security Forces Journeyman
121st Air Refueling Wing, Columbus
Year Entered Military: 2013
Tech. Sgt. Aimee M. Davey
Signals Intelligence Analyst
178th Wing, Springfield
Year Entered Military: 2011
SENIOR NONCOMMISSIONED OFFICER
Senior Master Sgt. Rebecca L. Shell
179th Airlift Wing, Mansfield
Year Entered Military: 2000
Master Sgt. Shawn F. Murray
178th Wing, Springfield
Year Entered Military: 1982
HONOR GUARD MEMBER
Senior Airman Michael R. White
180th Fighter Wing, Swanton
Year Entered Military: 2013
COMPANY GRADE OFFICER
Capt. Marcus Bosch
178th Wing, Springfield
Year Entered Military: 1993
The winning Airmen will compete at the national level against winners from all 54 states, territories and the District of Columbia, with the potential to earn the title of Outstanding Airman of the Year for the entire Air National Guard. The 2016 Air National Guard Airman of the Year was Staff Sgt. Jennifer D. Masters of the 178th Wing.
The OAY award seeks to honor Airmen who go above and beyond their daily duties. Strong work ethic, community involvement, and leadership are some aspects that help judges determine who will represent the Air National Guard’s best for 2017.
Col. Gregg Hesterman, 178th Wing commander, offered thoughts on the three Airmen under his command who earned top statewide honors.
“Out of 11 units, the 178th brought home three of six awards overall,” Hesterman said. “I’m totally amazed, but not surprised at all by the performance of our Airmen. It’s just so exciting to see our members bring home the trophies.”
Reactions from some of the award winners included surprise as well as gratitude for those who helped get them there.
“I feel shocked,” said Bosch of his feelings after winning the CGO tier award, making sure to credit his leadership and fellow Airmen for his success. “I didn’t do it all on my own,” he said.
Added Davey: “I (felt) super surprised, but grateful. I’m thankful for my supervision giving me the opportunity to shine.”
Hopson said his win will motivate him going into 2018. “With it being a new year and just being promoted now, I’m working to further my accomplishments and take it to another level,” he said.
Recipients stand with award alongside Maj. Gen. Stephen E. Markovich (left of recipient), commander, Ohio Air National Guard; Col. James R. Camp (right of recipient), Ohio assistant adjutant general for Air; and Chief Master Sgt. Thomas A. Jones, OHANG State Command Chief.
Outstanding Airmen of Year
Ohio Air National Guard Guard’s
Story by 178th Wing Public Affairs
Ohio National Guard Airman volunteers in Ghana
By Airman 1st Class Hope Geiger, 180th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Alone, in a remote region of Africa, surrounded by strangers and living in a shack without running water, Senior Airman Courtney Iannucci made it her mission to adjust to a foreign culture while caring for orphans.
Iannucci, an intelligence specialist assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, sacrificed modern comforts during a three-week trip to Ghana on a volunteer mission in 2016.
She flew into Accra, the capital of Ghana, alone, where she met a man standing with a sign that said “International Volunteer Headquarters,” the volunteer program she found online. She was one of two Americans who volunteered. The rest were from all over the world. There were many volunteer programs she could have chosen, but she knew she wanted to travel to Africa to experience a new culture that was out of her comfort zone.
“I traveled alone to Africa, where I lived in a shack and slept on a rectangle on the ground that wasn’t really foam, with a mosquito net around me to keep out the poisonous spiders,” Iannucci said. “I couldn’t wear my western clothes, I had to go pick out some fabric at a market where they made me dresses and pants. To shower, I had to walk a mile to a well to fill up a heavy bucket, and I would stand behind a brick wall and dump it on myself.”
Living in Ghana for three weeks, in her concrete shack she only had light from a single lightbulb to live by every day, she tried to blend into the culture as much as possible. Her attire was modest and culturally appropriate. Most of her meals were rice-based, with minimal amounts of protein.
“It was very minimal and different, but I could adjust,” Iannucci said.
She wanted to live in the same conditions the orphans were living in. They were better able to bond and build trust with her.
“We had about 30 orphans,” Iannucci said. “The kids weren’t fully orphaned, they have parents, but their parents can’t take care of them. They either couldn’t afford to or they just didn’t care if they survived.”
There were more children who needed help, but the volunteer program could only afford to care for a limited number of them.
“It’s heartbreaking because I couldn’t help everyone and that was the realization of being there,” Iannucci said. “When you volunteer there you want to save the world and help everybody but you realize you can’t actually do that. I had to understand, I was helping as many as I could and giving these kids a better life.”
Each day revolved around the children. Iannucci and the other volunteers would wake up early, dust off, clean their shacks and start preparing food for the children. She would then walk into the village to pick them up to bring them back to the food.
“Some of them refused to walk back, so we would have to carry them,” Iannucci said. “We would sit them down, pray, give them food and walk them to class.”
When the children were done with class, she took them back to the shacks, fed them dinner, helped them with their homework and spent time with them playing games.
Volleyball was a favorite. Iannucci brought a soccer ball with her, but the kids wanted to play volleyball with it. She used the single lightbulb’s hanging electric wire in her shack as the volleyball net.
“Other than that we had bubbles,” Iannucci said. “The kids loved bubbles. Just how excited they were over them, was great. They would be entertained for hours over just bubbles.”
She was shocked how happy the children were.
“They had nothing, but they were so happy every day,” she said. “They were always excited to see the volunteers and the small little things we would bring them for the day, like bubbles.”
The days were exhausting, but having a good group of people around her made it better.
“Everyone was able to make it fun and make me smile every day,” Iannucci said. “Seeing the kids happy with everybody made it all worth it.
“I went through all of those things because a lot of volunteer programs, you help kids but you stay in a place where you are comforted,” she said. “I wanted to experience a different culture and this was the best way to do it. I don’t think I would have the heart to take care of orphans while I’m staying in a really nice hotel.”
It was hard for Iannucci to leave the children she had cared for when her time there was over.
“Even when I was leaving, the second I left I knew other people were coming, so it made me feel better knowing the kids had new people to care for them,” she said.
The happiness of the children influenced some changes in her life. When she went home she threw away a ton of her stuff, because she realized she had so many things she did not need. She stopped using her phone for a little while because she was not used to having it. The experience made her appreciate things she never did before her trip, like showering and driving her car. This experience was different for her. She stepped out of her comfort zone and was able to make a huge impact on not just her own life, but others.
“Every day I still kind of think about it,” Iannucci said. “It made me more conscious of everything I’m doing now. Like when I am taking a shower, I feel really lucky to have a shower and to be able to wash my hair.”
Iannucci said she plans on going on more volunteer trips in the future.
“I want to go to India or the Philippines next, because I want to go somewhere that has a totally different culture,” Iannucci said. “They’re not places I would normally travel or vacation to, but I know they have a lot of orphans.”
Despite the hardships she faced, Iannucci embodies the core Air Force value of “Service Before Self” and is committed to serving others, both at home and abroad.
“I am not at all surprised by Airman Iannucci’s willingness, dedication and desire to help others,” said 1st Lt. Justin B. Tucholski, intelligence officer with the 180FW. “Every time she is serving at the base, her optimism and grateful attitude are contagious. In my opinion, one of the best things about being in the Ohio Air National Guard, is our connection and direct ties to the local community. Airman Iannucci embodies the “Citizen-Airman” concept, maximizing on the skills and knowledge obtained in the military and paying it forward.”
Story by Stephanie Beougher, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Fitness has always played a part in Ohio Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Megan Simpson’s life. She was the first female on the Shawnee High School powerlifting team in Springfield, Ohio, and she’s spent plenty of time in the gym as an adult and a Soldier. It wasn’t until 2014, when Simpson returned home from a deployment in the Middle East, that she became involved in bodybuilding.
“I was going through a rough transition and needed something else to help me focus. I found bodybuilding was a great way to cope with outside stressors,” Simpson said. “It helps me maintain a healthy lifestyle, and helps me teach my children about healthy eating, balance of nutrition and workouts and enjoying life.”
Simpson competes in an average of two shows a year and has won numerous trophies in novice and masters’ categories. Her office at the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 216th Engineer Battalion in Woodlawn, Ohio, is decorated with the hardware she’s brought home, including four first place trophies and the overall winner at the 2017 Midwest Battle of the Champions in Indianapolis.
To stay in winning shape, Simpson works out five days a week, does cardio three to six times a week, and keeps to a strict diet and drinks plenty of water. She calls her Family — husband Dennis, 10-year-old son Lincoln, 8-year-old daughter Isabella, and her mother Elizabeth McDonough — her “team.” The team is her cheering section during competitions and her support during training.
“It really is a team effort and I have the best one around,” she said. “What bodybuilders do is intense and to the extreme when we get closer to show time, but my Family gets it. They put up with my carb depleted attitude.”
She credits her children with keeping her on track.
“If they catch me eating a cookie they’ll ask, ‘Mom is it a cheat meal?’ ‘Mom can you have that?’ They crack me up.”
Bodybuilding has been a plus for Simpson when it comes being physically fit for the Ohio National Guard. Since she started competing, she exceeds the scores she needs to pass the Army’s physical fitness standards. On the flip side, her National Guard training has been a big benefit to her in bodybuilding.
“My discipline, focus and drive from being in the military helps me through the mental trials of bodybuilding,” Simpson said. “Your body is an amazing machine and pushing it to its limit is enlightening and motivating.”
Photos by Sgt. Andrew Kuhn, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs
Ohio National Guard Soldier takes on
Finds outlet for stress relief, post-deployment
‘A Beacon of Hope’
Contact your Region Career Counselor
Airman 1st Class Nicholas Butler, a firefighter with the 178th Wing in Springfield, Ohio, often went to Chipotle for lunch most days, however it was particularly busy one Thursday so he went to O’Charley’s instead. Following his meal, as he exited the restaurant he noticed an elderly woman choking at her table, and he jumped into action and performed the Heimlich maneuver on the woman to save her. His technical training as an Air Force firefighter equipped him with the basic medical skills to be ready when it was needed.
Photo by 178th Fighter Wing
Always Ready, Always There
to cancer warrior
Ohio Army National Guard Lt. Col. Jeffrey Watkins grew up hearing stories about his Family’s famous periodic dinner guest — civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, who was a frequent visitor to Cleveland in the 1960s, which meant frequent meals at Watkins’ grandmother’s house. Watkins, who attended the 33rd annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Breakfast this January in Columbus, points to influences from his Family, King’s teachings and growing up in a culturally diverse Cleveland suburb as helping shape his values.
Not his usual lunch spot,
not a usual lunch
Fishing has always been a passion for
Sgt. 1st Class Richard Wright of Joint Force Headquarters-Ohio. What started as a childhood pastime with his father, fishing on Lake Erie, has evolved into some serious angling. A few years ago, Wright had the opportunity to fish alongside some of the top professional anglers in the world during a National Guard-sponsored fishing tournament. That’s where he made his mark.
Video by Staff Sgt. Michael Carden
Ohio National Guard Public Affairs
Historic first at 179th Airlift Wing
When Senior Master Sgt. Sean D. Woodson was promoted to the rank of chief master sergeant last August, his promotion marked a historic milestone at the 179th Airlift Wing in Mansfield, Ohio, as he is the first African-American to attain the rank in the wing’s history. Woodson is the 179th Airlift Wing first sergeant, where he is responsible for the morale, welfare and conduct of all the enlisted members and is the chief adviser to the commander concerning the enlisted force.
READ MORE | WATCH VIDEO
Photo by Airman 1st Class Christi Richter,
179th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
In September 2016, Sgt. 1st Class Wendy Hernandez woke up from minor surgery and found out she had stage 4 colon cancer. Reality sunk in when her oncologist laid it out for her — aggressively fight the disease or she would lose the battle. She credits her Army National Guard Family for helping her in the fight against cancer and last fall was one of 80 cancer survivors who rappelled down the side of a Toledo, Ohio skyscraper as part of fundraiser for a nonprofit organization that helps cancer patients and their families.
Humble beginnings, big goals
Swimming with Sharks
Tom Burden, an F-16 mechanic with the 180th Fighter Wing, has invented a product called the Grypmat, a flexible, non-slip tray designed to hold tools on uneven or sloped surfaces. He appeared on the ABC television show “Shark Tank” recently to give his pitch in the hope that he could securing funding from one or more of the “Sharks” to further his business enterprise.
Video by Sgt. Andrew Kuhn
Ohio National Guard Public Affairs
The Ohio National Guard
Spc. Griffin Nyachae is a wheeled vehicle mechanic assigned to Company E, 1st Battalion, 137th Aviation Regiment. In his civilian life, Nyachae organizes events designed to exhibit African culture, and hopes to eventually build sustainable housing for the less fortunate in his native Kenya. He is a budding entrepreneur who is taking the Guard’s mission to support its communities to heart, working to extend it to a worldwide level.
Photos by 1st Lt. Aaron Smith, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs / Courtesy photos
Angling to be the best
NEW $15,000 Reenlistment Bonus for Soldiers!
Hosting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
at the family dinner table
Staff Sgt. Eric Piime, a boom operator with the 121st Air Refueling Wing, emigrated from Ghana to the United States and became
a U.S. citizen so he could serve in the
Air National Guard and contribute to the country he calls “a beacon of hope.” Watch this story about his quest to achieve the American dream.
Video by Senior Master Sgt. Ralph Branson
121st Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
THE OHIO NATIONAL GUARD
LINEAGE LINK UP
196th Public Affairs Detachment
2011: Maj. Marshall Jackson (left), detachment commander, and unit 1st Sgt. Steve Toth add the Meritorious Unit Commendation streamer to the guidon of the 196th Public Affairs Detachment. The award was earned while the unit was deployed to Iraq in 2010-2011.
1980: 196th Public Affairs Detachment, when it was stationed in Worthington, Ohio.
196th Public Information Detachment
DATE & PLACE OF BIRTH
1 February 1972, Worthington, Ohio
To provide direct public affairs support
to units deployed in support of Army, joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multinational operations.
War on Terrorism
Iraq – Transition of Iraq
Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered
Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered
IRAQ 2010 – 2011
2015: Spc. Hannah Selinsky (left) and Pfc. Christine Lorenz, both members of the 196th Public Affairs Detachment, capture video footage and photos at a weapons range during the Fuerzas Comando special operations exercise, July 17, 2015, in Poptun, Guatemala.
1989: Staff Sgt. Robert Jennings (center) and Spc. Andy Allinson (right), broadcast journalists with the 196th Public Affairs Detachment, interview Sgt. Robin Wright, noncommissioned officer in charge of postal, at Camp Castle, Honduras.
View a more detailed lineage of the
196th Public Affairs Detachment
2004: Sgt. Kim Snow, 196th Public Affairs Detachment, takes photographs of combat operations in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
See what it takes to transition to warrant officer pilot in one
of the Guard’s most exciting career fields. Ohio National Guard aviators fly some of the most versatile and technologically advanced aircraft in the world to accomplish missions such
as troop transportation, cargo airlift, medical evacuation and disaster relief. READ MORE
Call the State Aviation Office
at (614) 336-7066 to find out more
Interested in becoming a helicopter pilot for the Ohio Army National Guard?
Back issues of the Buckeye Guard
(1976 to present)
Watch us on the Ohio Channel
Watch our companion, the video Buckeye Guard, on the Ohio Channel, a service of
Ohio’s Public Broadcasting Stations.
Ohio Channel web site | Past Episodes
Need help from the PAO?
If you would like to request public affairs support or guidance for your upcoming training event or unit activity, contact Capt. Jordyn Sadowski, state public affairs officer, at 614-336-7449 or Jordyn.R.Sadowski.firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a story to tell?
Guard members, Family and other interested persons are encouraged to submit any articles and photos meant to inform, educate or entertain Buckeye Guard readers. Submitted content, if approved for usage, may be used additionally or exclusively on the Ohio National Guard website, official Ohio National Guard social media sites, or in other Public Affairs Office products.
How to submit photos/articles
Call the editor at 614-336-7003
with any questions or concerns.
Rutherford B. Hayes: 19th president
James A. Garfield: 20th president
William McKinley: 25th president
The Ohio National Guard’s ties to Presidents Day
Three U.S. presidents served in the Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI) during the Civil War. The OVI was part of the Ohio Volunteer Militia, which would eventually become known as the Ohio National Guard. Beginning with George Washington, and most recently George W. Bush, 20 U.S. presidents have served in their state’s militia or National Guard.
Volume 36, No. 1 - January/February 2018