FRANKFORT, Ky. –
Eyes of the Kentucky National Guard were focused on 30 individual Soldiers who became the Commonwealth’s newest commissioned officers during a ceremony on the Capitol steps, Sept. 27.
After completing a rigorous 18-month training program with Kentucky’s Officer Candidate School, including a final phase at Fort McClellan, Alabama, 16 Guardsmen earned their second lieutenant gold bars and were sworn in as commissioned officers.
The remaining 14 Soldiers were recognized for their recent graduation as warrant officers. Kentucky’s Warrant Officer Candidate School is a five-month program that has produced technical experts for the Kentucky Guard since 2011.
Kentucky’s newest officers’ experience spans from decades of enlisted service to just a few short months wearing the uniform. Warrant Officer Stephen Plouvier from Hodgenville, Kentucky, entered the military since 1985, while Fort Thomas, Kentucky-native, 2nd Lt. Sarah Powell enlisted in 2012.
Regardless of their time in service, the new leaders said their role leading Citizen-Soldiers of the Commonwealth is a challenge they are up to accepting.
“This was the next step for me to continue serving, I enjoy serving in the Kentucky Guard,” said Plouvier, who felt he had progressed as far as he could as an enlisted Soldier.
“Becoming a warrant was the best choice for personal growth, to become that technical expert and to mentor young Soldiers and noncommissioned officers,” he said.
For others such as Powell, personal growth started with raising her hand to join the Kentucky National Guard, and the commitment she made herself to get to where she is today.
“I worked really hard to prove that I could overcome obstacles and to challenge myself to become a better person,” said Powell.
Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, adjutant general for Kentucky presided over the event. Tonini congratulated the Soldiers and expressed his pride in which he called the “ready, reliable and accessible leaders of the future.”
“My charge to you is to lead our Guard forces with the resilience, the patience, the passion and the fervor you have shown to get you to this point,” said Tonini. "You are ready, now do it! You are our future."