Kentucky Guardsmen graduate as new 2nd Lieutenants

SRR
By Spc. Scott Raper, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Brig. Gen. Lonnie Culver and the 2010 graduating class of Kentucky's Officer Candidate School salute during the National Anthem of the Commissioning Ceremony in Frankfort, Ky., August 28. The event was held on the steps of the state capital as part of a full graduation weekend for the new officers and their families.

 FRANKFORT, Ky. (September 2, 2010)–The Kentucky National Guard received 16 new lieutenants during a commissioning ceremony at the state capital in Frankfort, Ky., Aug. 28.  Kentucky’s Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini presided over the event. 

The graduation was the culmination of a long and demanding journey that makes up Officer Candidate School.  Some candidates began the process over a year ago through the traditional program while a few candidates took the accelerated route several weeks ago.  Either way, they all sat together with pride beneath the State Capital to be commissioned as army officers.  

Candidates began their morning early at the gravesite of Daniel Boone, Kentucky’s “First Guardsman,” at the Frankfort Cemetery overlooking the city.  The site is where the officers swore in as officers of the Kentucky Militia, a time honored tradition. 

At the capital they received awards and their commissioning certificates prior to taking the oath of office.  Awards were presented to individuals who excelled in physical fitness, academics and leadership. 

Newly commissioned 2nd Lt. Louis Donato is pinned by his daughters Emily and Abigail with help from Sgt. 1st Class David Laster while son Clayton looks on at a Commissioning Ceremony in Frankfort, Ky., August 28. A highlight of the graduation is the opportunity for family members to pin the officer's new gold bars on their uniforms.

 Highlighting the morning was the pinning ceremony.  Each candidate received their shiny gold bars from various family members.  Tradition continued as the newly commissioned officers rendered their first salute to an enlisted service member of their choice.  Brothers, uncles, friends and recruiters were chosen to complete the pose and receive a silver dollar from the saluting officer as the tradition states. 

The ceremony has a multi-purpose effect that is noted by those in attendance.  Newly commissioned 2nd Lt. Andre Geertsema saw it as preparation for their future. 

“It gets you in the right frame of mind because it confirms the responsibility of the job,” he said. 

And Mrs. Elizabeth Donato, wife of 2nd Lt. Louis Donato, praised the involvement of family as an important aspect of the day. 

“My kids have been looking forward to this for awhile now.  They got all caught up in the OCS thing too.  They got to pin him today and run around with the berets on.  It has a community feel to it, the whole family feels like we have become part of the military.  And that’s really important,” she said. 

Kentucky’s newest officers will soon head off to Officer Basic Course, which is specific training for the branch they have chosen.  They will then return to their units around the Commonwealth as platoon leaders with the hope of making a difference and providing inspiration to the Citizen-Soldiers who serve under them.

About kentuckyguard