Ohio National Guard News

Training center renamed to honor past, transition to future

Story by Capt. Jordyn Craft and Staff Sgt. Michael Carden, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs
Video by Capt. Aaron Smith, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs

Photos by Staff Sgt. Michael Carden, Ohio National Guard

Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr. (right), Ohio assistant adjutant general for Army, unveils a new sign for Camp James A. Garfield during a ceremony Oct. 10, 2018, at the newly renamed training site near Newton Falls, Ohio. Formerly known as Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center, the installation is undergoing $37 million in upgrades as part of a plan to become a world-class training destination for military units as well as civilian law enforcement and first responders.

Man standing beside small (waist-height) cannon.

A cannon is fired during the renaming ceremony.

Workers on top of roof of worksite.

Workers install solar panels.

View from back of audience/classroom of Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr., Ohio assistant adjutant general speaking from podium.

Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr., Ohio assistant adjutant general for Army, speaks about the history and future plans for Camp James A. Garfield.

Ohio National Guard Soldiers raise the U.S. flag.NEWTON FALLS, Ohio (10/18/18) — In a ceremony that culminated in cannon fire, the training area that once was known as Camp Ravenna was renamed to Camp James A. Garfield, to honor the legacy of the 20th U.S. president and Ohio National Guard general officer as well as marking the transition from its roots as an ammunition manufacturing plant to its future as a state-of-the-art training facility.

“The renaming represents a (significant) point in the history of this location,” said Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr., Ohio assistant adjutant general for Army. “We will never forget our history, but this marks a point where we are looking forward to emerging missions.”

With more than $37 million in upgrades underway, the renamed training site aims to become a world-class training destination.

“We are building Camp James Garfield for the future,” Harris said. “Our commitment is that this will be a state-of-the-art training facility, not just for our Soldiers but for our first responder partners, for neighboring National Guard states to come here and train.”

Representing a long legacy of service to the Ohio National Guard, state of Ohio and the nation, James A. Garfield was the name selected for the modern joint military training center, which is building the next generation of military forces with increased capabilities to address the modern tactics and warfare training of today.

Garfield received his commission in 1861 after the onset of the Civil War. He had been serving in the Ohio Senate helping to appropriate funds to build the Ohio volunteer forces that would be known in the 20th century as the Ohio National Guard. Within two years of joining the military he was promoted to the rank of major general and elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served nine terms, and would go on to be elected president of the United States in 1880.

The legacy of Garfield’s military service in Ohio was carried on by three generations of his descendants who all served in the Ohio National Guard. Garfield’s great-grandson fought in Europe during World War II, when Camp Ravenna, known then as the Ravenna Army Ammunition Plant, was manufacturing ammunition for use by American troops overseas. The plant operated through WWII, the Korean War and Vietnam Conflict. The Ohio National Guard has used the 21,000-acre installation located in Portage and Trumbull counties as a joint military training center since 2013.

A 7-year-long construction project is slated to be finished in 2022, with modern upgrades across the training area such as new ranges, command buildings, simulators and barracks.

“All of these upgrades enhance the training experience for the Soldier,” said Col Daniel Shank, the construction and facility management officer for the Ohio Army National Guard. “Camp Garfield will now be able to provide training options for all requirements, from individual to crew-served weapons, to buddy team live fire lanes to heavy maneuver space to a state-of-the-art simulations environment.”

One of the benefits to the expanded capabilities is that Ohio units will no longer have to travel out of the state to complete many of the required tasks needed for combat, instead saving Soldiers’ time and taxpayers’ money.

While the current slate of projects is scheduled for completion within the next five years, planners are already projecting future projects to ensure mission readiness for developing national requirements.

“We are looking forward,” Harris said. “We still have lots of available real estate that we can use for emerging missions. The spectrum is wide open for what we can do.”

The Ohio National Guard, with more than 16,000 personnel, responds with ready units and personnel when called for federal, state and community missions and is an operational reserve of the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force.

  share on facebook