White Rectangle

Berry first Nevada Guard African-American general

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mike Getten
  • Joint Force Headquarters Public Affairs
Brig. Gen. Ondra Berry became the Nevada Guard's first African-American general in a ceremony at the Nevada Capitol on Nov. 12. He was federally recognized Oct. 17.

Gov. Brian Sandoval presided over the ceremony in the Guinn Room on the second floor of the Capitol. He commented about Berry's outstanding military service and distinguished career.

"This is a great day for Nevada and the Nevada Guard," Sandoval said. "You really are a trailblazer, a leader and what I like to call a true Nevadan."

Berry follows the path blazed by other African-American military leaders including Brig. Gen. Benjamin Davis Sr., the first African-American general in the U.S. military (promoted Oct. 25, 1940) and his son, Gen. Benjamin Davis Jr., the first African-American general in the U.S. Air Force and the second in the U.S. military (promoted to brigadier general on Oct. 27, 1954).

"I know I stand on the shoulders of many who came before me," Berry said. "Does it bring on additional scrutiny, pressure, spotlight or expectations? Absolutely!"

"Every time an Airman puts on this uniform, somebody out there is scrutinizing them and their actions. That's what people do whether they are the first in their family to go to college, join the military and reach a certain rank or any number of firsts. To whom much is given; much is required, that's just the expectation."

Upon his promotion, Berry became the Nevada Air Guard's assistant adjutant general. The job entails advising the adjutant general on matters concerning the Nevada Air Guard and acting as a liaison for the Nevada Air Guard.

"I am humbled by the promotion and I appreciate the opportunity Brig. Gen. Bill Burks has given me. I will do my utmost to ensure he has made the right decision at the right time for the right person," Berry said. "My job is to directly support General Burks and help pursue the things the Nevada Air Guard requires to make it successful."

Berry emphasized his belief that all Airman and Soldiers should aspire to reach their military goals. He quoted Whitney M. Young Jr. during his comments.

"It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one then to have an opportunity and not be prepared. You keep preparing and stay prepared for future opportunities - that's what I will do," Berry said.