TOLEDO, Ohio — Twenty years ago if you were to join the National Guard, your duties would most likely be local, like in 2014 when the Ohio National Guard assisted during the Toledo Water Crisis. But since 2001, their duties are needed everywhere.
"Before 9/11 it was almost unheard of for the National Guard to get called out. It was one of those in case of emergency, break the glass and pull out the national guard and deploy them. But now we are fully integrated into the active component" said Commander of the Ohio National Guard Colonel Dan Shank.
Colonel Shank spoke exclusively with WTOL, and said the number of Ohio National Guard soldiers going overseas is rising.
In fact a number of different units throughout Ohio have been or will be sent overseas soon. Each unit has about a four year cycle, where every fourth year the unit is ready to deploy in case they are needed.
"So they think about us immediately as soon as they have missions come up" said Colonel Shank.
One of the big reasons many join the National Guard is for free college tuition. But as the growing number of politicians push for free or extremely reduced college tuition, that could change.
"It might! It might come, if it happens then we will just deal with it when it does come" said Colonel Shank.
The biggest changing component of the Guard its physical fitness test. Right now a soldier must complete two mile run, two minutes of sit-ups and two minutes of push-ups in a certain time frame. But over the next two years, it will be a more full body test with a run at the end.
"It really simulates the actions you would simulate in combat. You have a ball throw you have to do over your head, but that simulates helping your buddy over a wall, you have to carry two 40 pound kettle-bells down and back on a run for 25 meters, that simulates carrying ammo cans. You have to do a dead lift" said Colonel Shank.
Many units around Northwest Ohio are already starting to integrate the new test into their training, and hope to have it fully developed by 2021.