Brig. Gen. Ondra L. Berry, a 32-year veteran of the Nevada Air National Guard, longtime Reno police officer and most recently a senior vice president in MGM Resorts International human resources office, has been named Nevada’s 30th adjutant general and the first African-American to hold the position in the state’s 154-year history, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Monday.
“Brigadier General Berry has served the State of Nevada and his country with distinction as a member and leader of the Nevada Air National Guard,” Sisolak said in the news release provided by the Guard. “Beyond his exemplary experience in the military, Brig. Gen. Berry’s diverse background in senior leadership roles in local law enforcement and business gives him an invaluable perspective on the qualities and skills necessary to succeed at the highest levels.”
The adjutant general serves as the state’s highest-ranking military officer overseeing more than 4,000 Nevada Army and Air Guard members.
“I am honored and humbled to be selected to lead such a fine organization,” Berry said in a statement. “I live by the motto that, ‘to whom much is given, much will be required’ and I am ready to deliver.”
Berry is set to replace retiring Brig. Gen. William Burks on Sept. 1. Burks was appointed adjutant general in 2009 and is the sixth-longest tenured adjutant general in Nevada history.
Burks said: “I know the governor had a very difficult decision to make. Ondra will do an outstanding job and will take the organization to new heights.”
The change of command ceremony is set for 10 a.m. Sept. 7 at the Nevada Air National Guard Base in Reno, 1776 National Guard Way.
Career in Nevada
Berry, 60, of Sparks, enlisted in the Nevada Air National Guard in 1986. He commissioned in 1990. In 2001, he took command of the 152nd Mission Support Flight. He was named the assistant adjutant general, Nevada Air National Guard, in 2015.
Berry spearheaded numerous initiatives advocating community policing and diversity throughout his career in law enforcement and the military. In the early 2000s, Berry founded Guardian Quest, a diversity and inclusion training company.
After leaving the Reno Police Department in 2005, Berry took a full-time position as the senior vice president of diversity and inclusion at MGM Resorts in Las Vegas. In 2008, Berry began work as the director of the office of cultural transformation at the National Guard Bureau, his first of several positions working as an adviser to the chief of the bureau.
Berry was awarded the National Guard Diversity Award in 2008 and the Outstanding Diversity Award by the NAACP in 2012.
Berry, who served 25 years in the Reno Police Department, was named deputy chief of police in 1995. He retired from the department in 2005 as the assistant police chief.
He has worked on various commissions and boards throughout his career, including United Way and the Truckee Meadows Boys and Girls Club. In 1990, along with now-Washoe County School Board Trustee Angie Taylor, Berry founded the Northern Nevada Black Cultural Awareness Society.
A native of Evansville, Indiana, Berry moved to Nevada in 1980.
He has a bachelor’s of arts, secondary education, from the University of Evansville in Indiana where he played running back for the Purple Aces.
Berry also has a masters of arts, public administration, from the University of Nevada, Reno. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Air War College.
Berry is married to his wife, Margo. They have three children: son, Jarel; daughters Zivy and Dulcenea.
At a glance
Brig. Gen. Ondra L. Berry will become Nevada’s 30th adjutant general during a change of command ceremony Sept. 7 at the Nevada Air National Guard Base in Reno.
The adjutant general of Nevada is the senior officer of the Nevada National Guard overseeing command of more than 4,000 Nevada Army and Air National Guard personnel and responsible for both the federal and state missions of the Nevada National Guard.
The adjutant general is appointed by the governor of Nevada. The position of adjutant general in Nevada was created following the state’s Organic Act in 1861. Here’s a look at Nevada’s 30 adjutants general.
1862-1864: H.P. Russell
1865-1867: John D. Cradlebaugh,
1867-1870: Chauncey N. Noteware
1871-1874: James D. Minor
1875–1883: Jewett W. Adams
1883–1886: Charles E. Laughton
1887–1889: Henry C. Davis
1889: Samuel Chubbuck
1889–1890: Frank Bell
1890: Charles Henry Galusha
1891–1895: Joseph Poujade
1895-1898: Charles Henry Galusha
1898: George W. Cowing
1898–1903: James R. Judge
1903–1906: Lemuel Allen
1907–1911: Denver Dickerson
1911–1915: Gilbert C. Ross
1915-1926: Maurice J. Sullivan
1927–1947: Jay H. White
1947: Marlowe M. Merrick
1947–1966: James A. May
1967: Addison A. Millard
1967–1979: Floyd L. Edsall
1979–1983: William F. Engel
1983–1986: Robert J. Dwyer
1986–2001: Drennan A. Clark
2001–2005: Giles E. Vanderhoof
2005–2009: Cynthia N. Kirkland
2009–2019: William R. Burks
SOURCE: Nevada National Guard