FORT PICKETT, Va. — Four Virginia Army National Guard officer candidates pinned on second lieutenant rank at a graduation and commissioning ceremony held April 12, 2014, at the 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute at Fort Pickett. The officers of OCS Class 57A completed the eight-week Accelerated Officer Candidate School Course at Fort McClellan, Ala., to earn their commissions.
“I certainly am proud of you,” said Col. Doug Messner, commander of 183rd RTI. “This was a long, hard road, and it is designed to be long and hard. We have put you through significant tests, and we have found you capable. I am impressed with the quality of people we have.”
Messner told the new lieutenants that “the hard part is not over.” He reminded them that they will be responsible for the training and readiness of the men and women they lead, and they will have a significant influence on their lives.
He also pointed out the challenge these new officers will face with the expected reduction in resources in the coming years and how they will have to be smarter, faster and more tech savvy. “You have to be more innovative and come up with solutions this last generation of officers didn’t have to come up with,” Messner said.
“Welcome to the officer corps,” Messner said in closing his remarks. “Be proud of your accomplishments, but don’t stop running.”
Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, presented the candidates with a framed diploma.
Each candidate selected who would administer their oath of office, pin on their rank shoulder boards and the NCO to receive their first salute and silver dollar. The silver dollar salute is an Army tradition that newly commissioned second lieutenants present a silver dollar to the first enlisted Soldier who salutes them. The coin symbolically acknowledges the receipt of respect due the new rank and position.
The following officer candidates were awarded their commissions during the ceremony:
Second Lt. Graeme S. Carroll of Harrisonburg graduated from the University of Virginia with a bachelors in Middle Eastern Studies. He is former Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and currently works for the U.S. Department of State. He branched Military Intelligence and will serve as an assistant intelligence officer for Winchester-based 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
Second Lt. Demetrius J. Hollis of Strasburg graduated from Colorado Technical University. He previously served in the U.S. Air Force as an aerospace physiology instructor and a security forces Airmen. He branched Quartermaster and will serve as a platoon leader with Norfolk-based Company G, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
Second Lt. Christopher M. Wright is a police officer in Williamsburg and deployed with the 229th Military Police Company to Iraq. He earned his degree from Old Dominion University in criminal justice and is pursuing a masters degree from George Washington University. He branched Signal Corps and will serve as a platoon leader with the Hampton-based Company C, 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
Second Lt. Rodney A. Woodson is a police officer with Prince George County and a resident of Henrico. He is a former Marine and deployed with the Virginia Army National Guard in 2011. He has degree from Kaplan University. He branched Ordnance and will serve with the Blackstone-based 3647th Maintenance, 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group.
View photos from the ceremony on Flickr: