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    Leading from the front: officer candidates prepare for real-world operations

    Officer Candidate School

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Jennifer Reynolds | Officer Candidate Michelle Sieminski, a member of the West Virginia Army National...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Jennifer Reynolds 

    196th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    Columbus, Ohio — Members of the 147th Regiment, Regional Training Institute’s (RTI) Officer Candidate School (OCS) class 68 are motivated for more reasons than just simply leading soldiers. The harsh realities of domestic emergencies had a direct impact on their decision to become future officers.

    West Virginia National Guard Officer Candidate Michelle Sieminski, who was adopted from Venezuela when she was six-years-old, was motivated to join the Army after seeing the patriotism displayed after 9/11.

    “OCS is teaching me a lot more about leading Soldiers rather than passing down information and passing down directions and a little more about Soldier care,” said Sieminski.

    Candidates, like Sieminski, travel from throughout Ohio and other nearby states to the RTI to sharpen their leadership skills and gain the knowledge necessary to lead Soldiers. Part of their training focuses on Soldier care and decision-making, which is crucial to succeeding in the role of a platoon leader.

    OCS instructors also prepare candidates for the harsh reality of decision-making under physical and emotional stress, such as what people experienced during emergencies like 9/11 and wildfires. Candidates are put through rigorous training to make split-second decisions during both domestic disasters and combat operations. This type of training enhances reaction time while conducting difficult maneuvers.

    Officer Candidate Robert Berg, a former Marine Reservist, became motivated after seeing his hometown in California damaged by wildfires.

    “The response that the National Guard had to those crises is what prompted me to want to transition over to the National Guard,” said Berg. “Once joining the National Guard, I decided I wanted to be more of an asset to my community, state, and local mission, as well as a federal mission by going through the OCS program.”

    The program’s instructors take pride in equipping the candidates so they will succeed at their units upon graduation. They also encourage their candidates to use critical thinking skills to help them adapt to a wide range of missions.

    “The hardest part is teaching the candidates how to think,” said Capt. Paul Laurent, an OCS instructor at the RTI.

    OCS Class 68, the largest traditional class in over nearly a decade, started its training in April of 2020 and has continued to push forward during the COVID-19 pandemic. Without hesitation, instructors and candidates persevered together and trained effectively.

    OCS at the RTI continues to advance and adapt to meet the needs of today’s Army. Pulling from battles of the past, national disasters, and the current pandemic, OCS instructors continue to lay the blueprint for the next class of potential second lieutenants. The RTI’s motto, “Cargoneek Guyoxim” (Always, Ready), remains true to this day, as they continue to train the future leaders of the National Guard and Army Reserves.



    Date Taken: 03.08.2021
    Date Posted: 03.08.2021 10:33
    Story ID: 390810
    Location: COLUMBUS, OH, US 

    Web Views: 78
    Downloads: 0