Kentucky Guard honors newest officers, warrant officers

Story by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

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Second Lt. Dakota Lawler is pinned by his fiancee, Ashley Holley and grandfather, Neil Lawler during a commissioning ceremony in Frankfort, Ky., Sept. 27, 2014. Lawler and 15 other Soldiers were commissioned as the newest officers in the Kentucky Guard, while 14 other Guardsmen were honored as recent graduates as the newest warrant officers. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

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 swore in as commissioned officers.

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Second Lt. Sarah Powell is given the oath of office by Col. Hal Lamberton during a commissioning ceremony for the newest officers in the Kentucky Guard. Powell enlisted into the Guard in 2013 and will become a platoon leader with the 940th Military Police Company. (U.S. Army National guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

The remaining 14 Soldiers were recognized after 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.

Click here for more photos from the ceremony.

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 in 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 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 my personal growth, to become that technical expert and to mentor young Soldiers and non-commissioned officers.”

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 held at the state capitol. 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.”

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The newly commissioned officers of Officer Candidate School Class 56-14. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

The newly commissioned officers of class 56-14 included:

2nd Lt. Seth Ryan Frost (Mount Juliet, Tenn.) – Kentucky National Guard Training Center

2nd Lt. Zachary Joel Hahn (Lexington, Ky.) – 103rd Brigade Support Battalion

2nd Lt. Thomas D. Hobbs (Hardinsburg, Ky.) – 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry

2nd Lt. David B. Holobaugh (Louisville, Ky.) – 1123rd Engineer Company

2nd Lt. David Douglas Keeven (Versailles, Ky.) – 103rd Brigade Support Battalion

2nd Lt. Taylor Curtis Carter Landsdale (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) – 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery

2nd Lt. Dakota Neil Lawler (Paducah, Ky.) – 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade

2nd Lt. Cassandra Jo Mullins (Hindman, Ky.) – 149th Signal Company

2nd Lt. Bradley Michael Osbourne (Louisville, Ky.) – 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery

2nd Lt. Christopher T. Porter (Morgantown, Ky.) – 149th Brigade Support Battalion

2nd Lt. Sarah Ashley Powell (Fort Thomas, Ky.) – 940th Military Police Company

2nd Lt. Hope Alexa Smith (Lexington, Ky.) – Bravo Company, 351st Aviation

2nd Lt. Sebastian Harrison Stanley (Glasgow, Ky.) – 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry

2nd Lt. Constantine Joseph Sztendera (Campbellsville, Ky.) – 299th Chemical Company

2nd Lt. Joseph Lynn Tucker (Frankfort, Ky.) – 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery

2nd Lt. Andrew McDaniel Wilson (Lexington, Ky.) – 1204th Aviation Support Battalion

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The newly graduated warrant officers of Warrant Officer Candidate School Class 14-001. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

The newly commissioned warrant officers of class 14-001 included:

Warrant Officer Jonathan Marcus Bailey (Lexington, Ky.)

Warrant Officer David Benjamin Chandler (Radcliff, Ky.)

Warrant Officer William Martin Cottrell (Louisville, Ky.)

Warrant Officer Brandon Wade DeArmond (Penrod, Ky.)

Warrant Officer Dustin Cade Lewis (Mount Washington, Ky.)

Warrant Officer Jessica Ann Peel (Harrodsburg, Ky.)

Warrant Officer Stephen Edward Plouvier (Hodgenville, Ky.)

Warrant Officer Orbin Scott Rudd (Frenchburg, Ky.)

Warrant Officer Robert Wayne Sewell (Verona, Ky.)

Warrant Officer Jeffrey T. Valentine (Barbourville, Ky.)

Warrant Officer Matthew Daniel Vincent (Owensboro, Ky.)

Warrant Officer Ronald James Wamsley (Denver, Colo.)

Warrant Officer Lawrence Shannon Webb (Louisville, Ky.)

Warrant Officer Jess Marius Willard (Portland, Tenn.)

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