Kentucky Guardsmen pinned as newest officers

By Sgt. Lerone Simmons, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

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Newly promoted Warrant Officer Robert A. Herrin, receives his new rank from Gilbert Herrin, his grandfather and Korean War Veteran during Kentucky’s Warrant Officer Candidate school graduation ceremony at the State Capitol, Frankfort, Ky. September 27, 2015. The Kentucky Guard commissioned 9 new lieutenants and 10 warrant officers at the event. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Lerone Simmons)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — With the stage set in the heart of the Commonwealth, the Kentucky Army National Guard welcomed its newest commissioned and warrant officers during a graduation ceremony on the steps of the state Capitol in Frankfort, Kentucky, Sept. 27.

Attached to the 238th Regional Training Institute, Officer Candidate School class 57-15 and Warrant Officer class 15-001 completed rigorous training programs at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Kentucky and Fort McClellan, Alabama, earning their seats at the ceremony and commissioned as officers.

It was the last commissioning ceremony with Kentucky’s Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, adjutant general, presiding. Tonini will retire later this fall.

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The newest officers and warrant officers in the Kentucky National Guard are sworn in by Col. Hal Lamberton, commander of the 238th Regimental Training Institute, during a graduation ceremony at the State Capitol, Frankfort, Ky. September 27, 2015. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Lerone Simmons)

Tonini reflected on his more than forty-six years of service to include an ever-changing National Guard during his remarks.“Today’s Guard is the most experienced and combat ready since it’s inception.”

He highlighted the importance of striving for success and maintaining positive standards.

“Success doesn’t come to you, you go to it,” he said. “You are the key to our Soldier’s success.”

Second Lt. Benjamin R. Smith, OCS distinguished honor graduate and Louisville native, said he respected the legacy that Tonini leaves behind.

“We want to maintain the standards and expectations that the adjutant general has set out for the Guard,” said Smith.

Smith also credited the outstanding leadership for equipping his class with the tools to become great officers.

“The OCS program has helped us grow together with the help of our top-notch leadership,” he said. “They taught us how to properly take charge while maintaining a balance of military and personal life.”

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According to Warrant Officer Terry R. Roark, a Berea, Kentucky-native, the leadership imparted a high level of mentorship and direction onto him.

“The mentorship from the leadership has been phenomenal, their direction and guidance was key to my success,” he said.
For Capt. Jayson McDonald, lead platoon trainer assigned to the 238th RTI, the age-old question of “are leader’s made or born,” is one with a two-fold answer.

“They have to come in with confidence, drive, and the ability to learn,” said McDonald. “This is something I can not impart in someone, however, we provide them the opportunity and the challenging environment for them to create and execute a plan to succeed,” he said.

McDonald began training the class at Phase 0 and was proud of their success.

“I’m really impressed with them. A lot of them came in without any military experience but took the information they were given and applied it as necessary to make it to this stage,” he said.

The ceremony concluded with new officers receiving congratulations from family, friends and other Soldiers.

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