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    High Honors for Cal Guard's OCS Class of 2017

    Cal Guard OCS Class of 2017

    Photo By Maj. Jason Sweeney | Second Lt. Thomas Loretz has his gold bars revealed during the Cal Guard OCS Class of...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. Jason Sweeney 

    69th Public Affairs Detachment

    The California Army National Guard Officer Candidate School Class of 2017 was one for the record books.

    The class included candidates who attended the traditional 18-month course at Camp San Luis Obispo, California; accelerated courses at Fort Meade, South Dakota and Fort McClellan, Alabama; and the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia.

    In a first for any OCS class, California candidates swept the distinguished honor graduate categories at both accelerated OCS courses and at the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School.

    On Aug. 26, twenty-six candidates from the Class of 2017 came together to pin on their gold bars as newly minted second lieutenants at a graduation ceremony at Camp San Luis Obispo’s Perlee Theater.

    During the ceremony, attended by friends, family and military members, 2nd Lt. Rhian Rogan was awarded the General Albert L. Leman Annual Award for her achievements in the 18-month traditional course, which is run by the Cal Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 223rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute.

    “We worked hard,” Rogan said of her classmates. “Everyone had a willingness to stick with it and work hard. It was worth it.”

    Of the 26 candidates, three completed the accelerated course at Fort Meade; four completed the accelerated course at Fort McClellan; and seven the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning. For these courses, the Cal Guard candidates were mixed in with candidates from around the country.

    Second Lt. DeVory Darkins was the distinguished honor graduate at Fort Meade, 2nd Lt. James Hutchcraft was the distinguished honor grad at Fort McClellan, while 2nd Lt. Joshua Eggli took the distinguished honor grad slot at Fort Benning.

    Second Lt. Marilu Sandoval was the distinguished honor graduate for the traditional course at Camp San Luis Obispo.

    Also graduating in the Class of 2017 were 16 officer and warrant officer candidates from the California State Military Reserve (CSMR). The CSMR is a volunteer operational force that supports the Cal Guard. This was the first class to graduate new CSMR officers from California's newly formed Naval Militia.

    Maj. Gen. Lawrence A. Haskins, Commander of the California Army National Guard, presided over the ceremony while Brig. Gen. Kelly Fisher, California National Guard Land Component Commander, was the guest of honor.

    In her speech to the graduating class, Fisher told the candidates of the importance of diversity and inclusion to both the Cal Guard and nation. She urged the candidates to lead by example as they leave school and move on to leadership positions with their units.

    “Embrace the Army values and hold them dear,” Fisher said.

    Capt. Cedric Williams, an OCS instructor, was selected by the candidates to be the keynote speaker. Williams quoted Pres. Ulysses S. Grant, Alexander the Great and Aristotle, and urged the candidates to take care of their troops and continue to learn through their Army career.

    “Being an officer is synonymous with being a scholar,” he said.

    “Today is the culmination of many hours of hard work,” 2nd Lt. Rhian Rogan said during her speech. “Never forget what an honor it is to serve as an officer in the United States Army.”

    Her father, Roy Rogan, said he has a son who serves as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force who will now have to salute his younger sister.

    “We felt that the military is a good opportunity and gives them a chance to grow up,” Roy Rogan said.

    Of his daughter’s experience at OCS, he said, “She was telling me along the way how tough it was. I’m very proud of her.”



    Date Taken: 08.26.2017
    Date Posted: 08.31.2017 20:37
    Story ID: 246857

    Web Views: 1,241
    Downloads: 1