News: Maryland's newest officers
BALTIMORE - Dec. 7 is a date to most that is linked to the attack on Pearl Harbor. For six members of the Maryland Air National Guard, Dec. 7, 2012, is a date to remember when they were commissioned and pinned on the rank of second lieutenant. All six members graduated together from the Academy of Military Science, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
Normally one or two members of the same unit are in a class together.
"Having other members of the Maryland Air National Guard there with me made the transition from the enlisted side to the officer side much easier", said 2nd Lt. Jake Weiser, a C-27 pilot candidate.
"It was great because I knew that I had a support structure outside my team. I was able to help other Maryland members. It was good we all had the opportunity to go as a group and we would make it out as a group," said 2nd Lt. Charles J. Wille, now a maintenance officer with the 175th Maintenance Squadron.
Wille was voted class speaker. He spoke to the families during the open house part of graduation.
"Anytime you did a group activity, you had the support of your fellow Maryland Air National Guardsmen," he said.
"It was like an additional layer of trust and assurance," said 2nd Lt. William O. Ferguson, cyberspace operations officer, 175th Network Warfare Squadron.
"It was difficult. It was very similar to basic training for the first couple of weeks. A lot of leadership skills, and we were put in leadership positions right away," said 2nd Lt. James R. Sells, an A-10 pilot candidate with the 104th Fighter Squadron.
Second Lt. Jake Weiser, 135th Airlift Squadron said, "Lessons from basic training were instrumental in officer's school. I felt like instructors expected prior enlisted to teach non-prior enlisted about enlisted life."
"AMS was a lot harder than basic training," said 2nd Lt. Rachel G. Bowen, officer in charge, Manpower and Personnel Flight, 175th Force Support Squadron.
Bowen, who said her parents were both officers and inspired her, wanted to become an officer since she was 11 years old.
Wille recalled 2nd Lt. Brandon M. Krantz, a C-27 pilot candidate, showing initiative from day one. There were only three copies of the dorm setup manual for 100 students. Krantz went to a copy store so everyone would have a copy.
"Maryland made an impact for the entire school. We learned that information is not something to be hoarded," Wille said.
"These individuals who I went to school with will definitely be friends for life," Wille said. "Even outside this base, they will be there for support."