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NEWS | Sept. 26, 2022

Kentucky National Guard celebrates its newest officers

By Andy Dickson, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office

Seven Kentucky National Guard Soldiers were commissioned to second lieutenant in a ceremony in the rotunda at the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort, Ky. on Sept. 24, 2022.

Officer Candidate class 64-22 received their commissions with family and friends present after attending the 18-month Officer Candidate School held by the 238th Regional Training Institute (RTI) in Greenville, Ky.

The candidates participated in the Kentucky National Guard’s traditional course which requires the Soldiers to attend one weekend a month to be tested mentally in areas of troop leading procedures, operation orders, military history, military law and justice, and communications.

In addition, the candidates must meet the physical demands of a 12-mile ruck march, Army physical fitness, and a 48-hour field training exercise.
Even though the course work is complete, the candidates will move on to continue their careers as leaders.

“Your learning does not end today,” said Army Brig. Gen. Brian Wertzler, deputy commanding general of the Kentucky Army National Guard and keynote speaker. “It is only the end of a chapter. You are now committed to continuous learning and leadership development. Your development will exponentially improve if you deliberately develop professional relationships with your unit.”

Family and friends of the newly commissioned officers pinned the second lieutenant ranks on the candidates’ uniforms during the ceremony.

The ceremony was not just for the new officers, but a way for the family to be a special part of the officers’ journey as a commissioned officer.

“The commissioning ceremony is as much, if not more, for the family and friends who helped get them where they are today,” said Army Lt. Col. Carla Raisler, commander of the 2-238th RTI, officer candidate program. “You too have been waiting with great anticipation and are, undoubtedly, extremely proud of their accomplishments and commitment. I know you too have made sacrifices. For the past 18 months, you endured their hardships and their weeks away without communication. Without you, none of this is possible.”

After taking the commissioning oath and the pinning of their rank, each new officer received their first salute from an enlisted friend or family service member. As a token of gratitude, each second lieutenant gifted a silver dollar, as granted by long-standing tradition, to the enlisted member.

These seven graduates will then move on to continue their training and education to be the future commanders of the Kentucky Army National Guard.

“Our way of life depends on the willingness of brave men and women who step forward and serve,” said Wertzler. “To dedicate themselves to a cause greater than themselves. Your decision and dedication to becoming a leader means you accept a responsibility to lead America’s sons and daughters and ensuring they are well lead.”

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