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    Soldier inspired to join National Guard after seeing crisis response

    Soldier inspired to join National Guard after seeing crisis response

    Photo By Pfc. Michael Alexander | U.S. Army Officer Candidate Robert Berg, 147th Regiment, Regional Training Institute...... read more read more



    Story by Pfc. Michael Alexander and Pfc. Michael Baumberger

    196th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (03/08/2021) — The fires that raged across parts of California in 2017 affected many lives. For Officer Candidate Robert Berg, a member of the 147th Regiment, Regional Training Institute (RTI), many people he knew, including his wife’s grandmother, lost their homes.

    Berg said he was inspired to join the National Guard after seeing its response to the wildfires while he lived in California.

    “I used to be in the Marine Reserves back when I was in California,” said Berg. “The response that the National Guard had to those crises is what prompted me to want to transition over to the National Guard.”

    Berg said the National Guard helped the residents of Sonoma County by supplementing local firefighters and law enforcement, setting up aid stations and conducting aerial search and rescue missions.

    Shortly after moving to Ohio, he joined the Ohio National Guard. Berg was a member of the 1st Battalion, 137th Aviation Regiment for over a year before joining the 147th Regiment, RTI Officer Candidate School (OCS).

    “Once I joined the National Guard, I decided I wanted to be more of an asset to my community, the state and local mission, as well as the federal mission by going through the OCS program,” said Berg.

    A typical OCS drill weekend for Berg consists of little down time. The candidates get a quick start to the weekend following first formation. They conduct physical fitness training, then head to the classroom to begin training for the weekend.

    “It’s a very jam-packed weekend,” said Berg. “So there is very little to no downtime at all.”

    The OCS course that Berg belongs to is unique because it’s one of the RTI’s largest OCS iterations in nearly a decade. This can potentially pose obstacles for the candidates because it may be more difficult for them to integrate and work together. Additionally, the RTI trains Officer Candidates from not only the Ohio National Guard, but also other state National Guard members and Army reservists from across the United States.

    “I was not expecting to integrate with people from this many [organizations] when I set out to go into OCS,” said Berg. “But, I really do think that we’ve come together as a class.”

    Berg said their tasks and roles are constantly changing throughout the drill weekends, and they used this as an advantage as they have grown to appreciate each other's opinions.

    “So there’s a lot of intermixing,” said Berg. “I think it has really helped us all come together and appreciate everybody’s different perspectives.”

    The OCS course can be very demanding at times, as it’s designed to give candidates the framework needed for their role as a leader. They learn how to deal with both mental and physical stress, tactics training and how to give orders. In order to achieve these goals, the course must be fast paced.

    “The academics have been a lot more rigorous than my experiences going through enlisted schools,” said Berg. “The velocity and the volume of information that we’re supposed to digest and typically test on is a lot greater, and it certainly has been challenging.”

    Berg highlighted the importance of the OCS course and how it benefits the National Guard, not only on the state and local level, but also the federal level. He said having proficient leaders improves the overall readiness of the organization.

    “Leadership will dictate the tempo and the culture of pretty much every unit or organization, military or otherwise,” said Berg. “So by having a competent and engaging leadership, they can better prepare, train and plan for their drill weekends and further movements or missions and deployments.”

    Berg said he joined the National Guard to be a greater asset to his community. In the event of another natural disaster, perhaps he could be the one to lead a National Guard relief effort.



    Date Taken: 03.08.2021
    Date Posted: 03.08.2021 15:04
    Story ID: 390837
    Location: COLUMBUS, OH, US 

    Web Views: 86
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