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    N.C. National Guard Welcomes New Leaders to its Ranks

    N.C. National Guard Welcomes New Leaders to its Ranks

    Photo By Sgt. Odaliska Almonte | FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The North Carolina Army National Guard welcomed 23 new second...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Odaliska Almonte 

    North Carolina National Guard

    FORT BRAGG, N.C. – The North Carolina National Guard welcomed twenty-three new second lieutenants into its ranks during a graduation ceremony for the 139th Regiment’s Officer Candidate School (OCS), Class 59 at the John F. Kennedy Special Forces Warfare Center and School here, Aug. 19, 2017.

    Before the candidates officially became new officers, previous distinguished officers and graduates of Officer Candidate School were inducted into the NC Guard’s OCS Hall of Fame.

    Col. Robert H. Bumgardner, current commander of the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, and Col. Stephen P. Jones, Director of the J4 – Joint Logistics office, were presented with their Hall of Fame award.

    “It’s quite an honor to receive this award,” said Bumgardner. “But it is an equal honor to be a commander of the 30th ABCT that will be receiving such quality lieutenants,” referring to OCS class 59.

    Family, friends and fellow Soldiers were present as their loved ones entered a new chapter in their lives as N.C. Army National Guard Commissioned Officers.

    “It was a great experience. All phases of the OCS program are challenging and having my fellow candidates there helped me succeed,” said 2nd Lt. Kaci Clark, recipient of OCS 59’s leadership award. “The cadre team is outstanding, and I couldn’t be here today without their help and their guidance.”

    Brig. Gen. John A. Byrd, Assistant Adjutant General for Domestic Operations, administered the oath of office and provided a few words of advice.

    “You must rely upon your NCOs, lean on them for counsel, advice, and expertise,” said Byrd. “Listen to your NCOs, you owe that to them, however, the final decision will always be yours but seeking their counsel is wise.”

    During the traditional 14-month officer candidate school program, soldiers endure an arduous training regimen that consisted of three phases.

    Phase I is the first step in the OCS commissioning process; physical fitness, drill and ceremony and other basic skills.

    Phase II makes up the bulk of a candidates OCS experience where candidates learn leadership doctrine, military justice/heritage/tactics, communication skills, and field exercises among many other subjects.

    Phase III, the final phase, ensures all candidates learn troop leading procedures and they conduct a final field exercise.

    “I wanted to do the accelerated OCS program but now that I look back on it, I’m very appreciative that I went through the 14-month traditional program," said 2nd Lt. Kaci Clark, the recipient of OCS 59’s leadership award. “I think it matured me, having that extra time to maybe get the chip off my shoulder.”

    OCS class 59 particularly stands out for their accomplishment of being the “first time go” during ‘Call for Fire” exam in Phase II.

    “The artillery call for fire exam is traditionally the hardest exam that never has the whole class be a first time go,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Handley, 139th Regiment’s Executive Officer. “This class did it!”

    As another first for not only OCS Class 59 but for the N.C. National Guard OCS program, the recipient of the Leadership Award was a female candidate.

    Clark received the leadership award that came with the added distinction of receiving an 1822 Colt 45 Revolver.

    “I feel like every one of my fellow candidates deserves this award,” said Clark. “I know I went up there and received the award, but at the end of the day, I feel like we are all great leaders and we all deserve it. I’m just so blessed.”

    The newly commissioned officers will not only take their new leadership skills from OCS to their new Guard units but also into their civilian lives and careers.

    “I have my own business and the experience from OCS carries over into my civilian career.” said 2nd Lt. Austin Tate, OCS 59’s Academic Graduate Award winner. “I’m getting ready to hire people and I’ll have people that I’ll be in charge of and the overwhelming experience I received here will be a big contributor to that.”

    North Carolina National Guard’s Officer Candidate School was established at Fort Bragg on December 19, 1957, and has commissioned over 1780 officers.



    Date Taken: 08.19.2017
    Date Posted: 08.24.2017 15:21
    Story ID: 245838
    Location: FORT BRAGG, NC, US 

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