weather icon Clear

New leader for Nevada National Guard

Updated August 28, 2019 - 7:00 am

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.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Pahrump Fairgrounds water applications protested by Great Basin Water Co.

For more than a decade and a half, the town of Pahrump has been working toward development of a huge patch of land with the ultimate goal of turning 427 acres of property into a major recreation facility, the Pahrump Fairgrounds.

Pahrump parcel fee hike overturned by Nye commissioners

Many Pahrump area property owners have been angry these past few weeks about a future hike in the per parcel fee assessed on their property taxes. And owners haven’t been shy about expressing their frustrations either.

Nevada 2020 Democratic caucus includes early voting option

The Nevada 2020 Democratic Caucus, the “First in the West” as it is proudly being hailed, is just over a month away, and the Nevada Democratic Party is preparing for the major undertaking that will help decide the Democratic presidential nomination.

Tourism Commission recommends candidates to lead agency

The Nevada Commission on Tourism has recommended two candidates from Northern Nevada to direct the agency that has been without a leader for more than two years.

Army veteran receives Silver Star medal – 50 years later

The forbidding jungle, hot and steamy on an early March day, shrouded the movement for the North Vietnamese Army as they infiltrated the border from Cambodia to South Vietnam’s Central Highlands.

Nye County employee faces theft, embezzlement charges

A longtime employee in the Nye County Juvenile Probation Department is facing at least three theft-related felonies for allegedly stealing more than $100,000 from the department.

Former Pahrump Arts Council official arrested

The former president of the Pahrump Arts Council was arrested in early January on suspicion of embezzlement. Kristin Swan also was arrested on suspicion of obtaining money under false pretenses and theft, between $640 and $3,500, according to information from the the Nye County Sheriff’s Office.

Nevada redistricting group files amended petition

A group seeking to turn the once-a-decade process of redistricting political lines in Nevada over to a commission rather than the Legislature has refiled a petition with the secretary of state, after a judge ruled the original was misleading.

After roughly a century, bighorn sheep return to Pyramid Lake

Nevada state officials and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe worked to reintroduce desert bighorn sheep to the hills above the lake Monday, the first time since the early 1900s that they’ve been seen in the area 50 miles north of Reno.