FRANKFORT, Ky. –
Family members, friends and fellow Guardsmen were in attendance for the officer commissioning ceremony inside the rotunda of the State Capitol building Sept. 27.
Eight officer candidates from Officer Candidate School Class 63-21 became the Kentucky National Guard’s newest second lieutenants.
The ceremony commemorated the candidates completion of their training by the instructors with the 238th Regional Training Institute. The candidates went through strenuous physical activities and academic challenges that took place over the course of eight weeks for those in the accelerated program, and over an 18-month span for those in the traditional program, which was held one weekend a month for the duration.
Two candidates from this class were in the accelerated program while the other five were in the traditional program. All the candidates begin their initial phases of training at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Ky., but then those in the accelerated course go on to complete their separated phases in Alabama at Fort McClellan.
Brig. Gen. Haldane B. Lamberton, Kentucky’s adjutant general, was the keynote speaker and Capt. Christopher McGhee the OCS commander, presided over the event.
During the ceremony, 2nd Lt. Nathan Iglehart received the Commandant’s award.
2nd Lt. Jesse Mascoe was presented with the Army Physical Fitness Award and the Leadership Award.
Lt. James Ford took home the most prestigious award as the Distinguished Honor Graduate, as well as receiving the OCS Academic Award.
Traditionally, a newly commissioned officer will present a silver dollar to the first non-commissioned officer that presents a salute. According to McGhee, while the origins of the tradition are unknown, the coin symbolizes the receipt and respect due to the new rank and position.
“One comment that hit me early in my career from one of the many leaders that I have been fortunate to have was this,” said, Lt. Col. Derek Hart, commander of the 2nd Modular Training Battalion, 238th Regiment (RTI). “Never walk past a piece of garbage. It is simply doing the right thing. If you're out in the field, with no one around and you see that piece of garbage, are you going to be the one that picks it up and throws it away, or will you be the one that walks by? Be the kind of leader that is doing the right thing regardless of who sees.”
The eight graduates are now tasked to provide that kind of leadership for the Kentucky Army National Guard across the commonwealth.