Newest officers join Kentucky’s ranks

By Sgt. Brandy Mort, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Newly commissioned 2nd Lt. Shannon Bush-Smith executes her Oath of Office during a graduation ceremony held at Billy G. Wellman Armory in Frankfort Ky., April 28, 2017. Bush-Smith and 10 warrant officers became the newest officers during the ceremony. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Brandy Mort)

Newly commissioned 2nd Lt. Shannon Bush-Smith executes her Oath of Office during an Officer Candidate School graduation ceremony at the Billy G. Wellman Armory in Frankfort Ky., April 28, 2017. Bush-Smith and 10 warrant officers became the newest officers during the ceremony. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Brandy Mort)

FRANKFORT Ky. – One second lieutenant and 10 warrant officers raised their right hands to render their first salutes during the 238th Regiment’s Accelerated Officer Candidate School and Warrant Officer Candidate School, Class 17-001 graduation ceremony held April 28, 2017 at the Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, Ky.

“Commissioning is an extremely important day in a candidates life. It culminates months of hard work and achievement, and signifies a new beginning as an officer in the Kentucky National Guard,” said Lt. Col. Brandye Williams, commander of the 2-238th Modular Training Battalion and the master of ceremonies for the graduation.

After the introduction of the ceremony, Williams introduced Col. Jeffrey H. Casada, commander of the 238th Regiment who administered the Oath of Office for the only officer candidate in the class, 2nd Lt. Shannon Bush-Smith.

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After Bush-Smith Swore in, Williams continued on as the master of ceremonies by awarding two warrant officers in the class 17-001 for demonstrating exceptional performance during the course.

“These graduates have been trained, tested, and evaluated in demonstrating the characteristics necessary to become Officers,” said Williams. “During this process, several graduates have distinguished themselves by earning some very coveted awards. We would like to recognize and reward the outstanding performance on the part of individual members of the graduating class.”

Chief Warrant Officer Ricky Skelton, WOC Commander, presented the Physical Fitness Award to Warrant Officer Michelle Menlendenz. The winner of the Physical Fitness Award is presented annually to the WOC graduate who demonstrates the highest performance in physical fitness.

“I was shocked to hear my name called. As a female and as one of the oldest candidates, I felt like I had something to prove,” said Menlendenz. “I had a vigorous physical fitness schedule and even challenged some of my classmates to help them succeed. I am honored to receive this award.”

Other awards included: Honor Graduate Award, National Guard Association of Kentucky Award, and the Association of the U.S. Army plaque, which were presented to Warrant Officer Jacob Rundle, a Tennessee Army Reservist.

After the awards were given, the new Officers received their rank and returned their first salute to a Non-Commissioned Officer. The first salute is a symbol to remind the officer of the vital role the NCO plays in the United States Army.

Menlendenz was pinned by Staff Sgt. Alexa Becerra, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment Readiness NCO.

“I am so proud of her. She has overcome numerous amounts of obstacles and is the epitome of resiliency. She has taught me how to be a great NCO, leader and how to be a good friend. She has pushed me to be where I am today, and I was honored to pin her,” said Becerra.

In keeping with tradition, the ceremony was brought to an end by a benediction, the playing of My Old Kentucky Home, and the departure of the official party.

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