Kentucky OCS graduates 11 new officers

By Spc. Sarah Gossett, 133rd Mobile public Affairs Detachment

2nd Lt. James Swanson is pinned as an officer during a commissioning ceremony in Frankfort, Ky., Sept. 22, 2018. Swanson and 10 fellow Guardsmen were sworn in in the Capitol Rotunda, graduating OCS Class 60-18. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Sarah Gossett)

FRANKFORT, Ky. – In a long-standing tradition in the commonwealth, 11 Citizen-Soldiers from Officer Candidate School Class 60-18 became commissioned officers in the rotunda of the Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., Sept. 22, 2018.

The ceremony commemorated the 11 officers’ completion of Officer Candidate School,which included of a five-mile run, multiple foot marches, and a 48-hour field training exercise, as well as many other strenuous physical activities and academic challenges over the course of a year and a half. Each class is instructed by cadre with the 2nd Battalion, 238th Modular Training in Greenville, Kentucky.

Dozens of family members, friends and fellow Guardsmen filled the Capitol for the annual commissioning ceremony. Lt. Col. Bobbie Jo Badgett, 2/238th commander, presided over the event, and Kentucky Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Stephen Hogan was present as the keynote speaker.

“OCS is extremely challenging, and a few times we were in danger of students dropping, but this class bonded together and carried each other to the finish line,” said 1st Lt. Eric Barton. “They were truly united from the beginning. This class will make a major positive impact on our organization.”

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The motto for this graduating class, “Here We Stand,” holds a significant meaning for the character of this class. According to their cadre, this group had a friendship and bond that they had never seen before in a class.

The candidates being commissioned get to choose who pins on their rank and receives their first salute, and while many selected family members and military friends that have had an impact on their lives and careers, a few graduates chose fellow candidate Staff Sgt. Orlando Gonzalez to render their first salute before he officially commissions at a later date.

“Being able to balance your civilian life and career with your military career in the National Guard is something that is not easy to do,” said Distinguished Honor Graduate, 2nd Lt. Andrew Palus when asked about his time in OCS. “I don’t think there’s anything in the Army that is quite like this; having to put yourself in the mindset of being pushed to your max mentally and physically for an entire weekend, and then go back to your civilian life.”

Palus said that the bonds that they formed during their time in OCS will be carried with them through their careers, and that the one thing he will definitely miss from OCS is being with his fellow candidates.

“Commissioning is truly a special day for all of us associated with OCS,” said Badgett. “But for these Soldiers, today is the beginning of a new path of dedication and leadership. I’m so proud of them and of what they will do for the Kentucky National Guard.”

The 11 newly commissioned officers will go on to fill the ranks and provide leadership for varied units across the Kentucky Army National Guard.

Officer Candidate School Class 60-18

2nd Lt. Holly Buffum – Military Police – 617th Military Police Company

2nd Lt. Nicholas Daetwyler – Transportation – 2112th Transportation Company

2nd Lt. Jacob Flora – Engineer – 206th Engineer Battalion

2nd Lt.  Andrew Greer – Adjutant General – 206th Engineer Battalion

2nd Lt. Brandon Huffman – Medical Service Corps – 1/623rd Field Artillery

2nd Lt. Ryan Khosrofian – Field Artillery – A Battery 1/138th Field Artillery

2nd Lt. Andrew Palus – Signal Corps – 138th Signal Company

2nd Lt. Emmanuel Smith – Field Artillery – B Battery 2/138th Field Artillery

2nd Lt. James Swanson – Field Artillery – 1/623rd Field Artillery

2nd Lt. Joye Toro – Ordnance Corps – 1/149th Infantry