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Eastern Ohio Military Affairs Commission

The Regional Chamber launched the Eastern Ohio Military Affairs Commission (EOMAC) in 2015 to preserve and promote the value of military operations between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, with an emphasis on the Youngstown Air Reserve Station and Camp James A. Garfield Joint Military Training Center, formerly known as Camp Ravenna Joint Training Center.

These unique regional military assets in the region include the USAF Reserve 910th Airlift Wing, which is the only aerial spray capability in the military. Furthermore, the 21,000-acre Camp James A. Garfield site has transformed in recent years from a World War II munitions to an advanced training site for thousands of troops in the Ohio National Guard.

EOMAC is a proud member of the Association of Defense Communities and part of the Ohio military commission network, with peers around the state, including Task Force Lima, Toledo Military Affairs Commission, Ohio National Guard Association and Dayton Development Coalition.

Military Members at YARS

EOMAC Team/Partners

The commission is led by Attorney Vito Abruzzino. Outside of this role, Atty. Abruzzino is a Major in the United States Army Reserve and has served with the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps at Fort Jackson, S.C., and Fort Bragg, N.C. Abruzzino is a graduate of the West Virginia University College of Law and has also acted as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in Columbia, S.C.

EOMAC is proudly supported by generous contributions from the Western Reserve Port Authority, Trumbull 100, Regional Chamber and Trumbull County Community Foundation.

Accomplishments/Updates

  • Ohio Support: EOMAC is working with the Ohio Federal Research Network and state leaders to continue to grow opportunities to build national defense capacity at regional installations and to evaluate the potential for university and military research partnerships.
  • Military Value: The Reserve and Guard throughout the region continue to protect the nation by the most efficient and effective means. Data demonstrates that these installations offer major contributions to defense, all while keeping federal expenditures at a minimum. Keeping facilities and materials upgraded for optimal performance is a key to continuing this trend in excellence.
  • Community Partnership: Citizen soldiers contribute to our installations and communities. EOMAC is proud to grow these contributions through the USAF Community Partnership Program, in which 910th Air Reservists are receiving training credits to address local safety, education and emergency issues with stakeholders throughout the region.

Recent News

OP-ED: Stay the Course for YARS and Camp Garfield

Jan 04, 2019
OP-ED by By Vito Abruzzino, Esq., Executive Director of the Eastern Ohio Military Affairs Commission During the past 12 to 18 months, much has happened concerning our local military assets. Both Camp Garfield (formerly Camp Ravenna) and the Youngstown Air Reserve Station (YARS) have had, arguably, their best year in more than a decade. To that end, the community as a whole, our state legislative leaders and our federal delegation have all contributed to their recent successes, with a nice “push” from the Youngstown /Warren Regional Chamber’s advocacy arm, the Eastern Ohio Military Affairs Commission (EOMAC). Where we go from here largely depends on staying the course and continuing to ring the bell for our local military installations.

Stay the Course for YARS and Camp Garfield

By Vito Abruzzino, Esq., Executive Director of the Eastern Ohio Military Affairs Commission

During the past 12 to 18 months, much has happened concerning our local military assets. Both Camp Garfield (formerly Camp Ravenna) and the Youngstown Air Reserve Station (YARS) have had, arguably, their best year in more than a decade. To that end, the community as a whole, our state legislative leaders and our federal delegation have all contributed to their recent successes, with a nice “push” from the Youngstown /Warren Regional Chamber’s advocacy arm, the Eastern Ohio Military Affairs Commission (EOMAC). Where we go from here largely depends on staying the course and continuing to ring the bell for our local military installations.

The Regional Chamber created EOMAC four years ago to defend and support the military missions that call our corner of the state “home.” With the help and financial support of the Chamber, Western Reserve Port Authority, Youngstown Air Reserve Base Community Council, Trumbull 100, Portage Development Board and the Community Foundation of Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, the Chamber and EOMAC have been able to accomplish some things for both Camp Garfield and YARS that would have been little more than pipedreams a few years ago.

For one, Camp Garfield continues to be the best choice for a potential $4.6 billion east coast missile defense site, and we, as a community, need to continue to lobby for its selection. And you don't have to take our word for it… Earlier this year, the independent Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance gave Camp Garfield its endorsement over the other two locations in the running. We look forward to hosting MDAA Executive Director Riki Ellison next year.

As for the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, the milestones that have been accomplished these past few years have resulted in the direct economic impact increasing for the first time since 2012, to more than $100.8 million. Just one example of direct economic impact is that YARS, the Mahoning Valley’s fourth-largest employer, spends more than $1 million per year on hotel rooms that generate bed tax revenue for our tourism bureaus and port authority.

Specific accomplishments in 2018 include cutting the ribbon on a $9 million indoor firing range that is shared with local police agencies to train and qualify on their small arms and securing $9 million in federal funds for a new, secure gate that will help protect the facility from a future Base Realignment and Closure.

Through community advocacy, Camp Garfield was able to secure $8 million for a new crew-served weapons qualification range. This range will allow Garfield to become the preeminent training installation in the State of Ohio and on-par with installations that have much more name recognition across the reserve force, like Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia and Fort Dix, NJ. If we, as a community, continue to invest in advocacy to expand the footprint and training resources at Camp Garfield, it certainly has the potential to become a massive economic driver for the region, well beyond its current impact of approximately $30 million annually.

If lodging and barracks improvements at Camp Garfield are funded through federal dollars, as hoped, the sky is the limit, quite literally, on this gem that straddles Portage and Trumbull counties.

The future looks bright. In 2019, the State of Ohio is expected to create a cabinet-level position dedicated to our military installations. And in 2020, the Thunder Over the Valley air show featuring the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will return to YARS, pumping more dollars into the local economy.

Great things are to come if Eastern Ohio stays the course, buttressing our military assets. I look forward to continuing the work with all of our local supporters, including our state and federal elected officials, who together form the driving force behind the EOMAC.