Virginia Army National Guard welcomes 14 new lieutenants

The Virginia Army National Guard welcomes 14 new lieutenants to its ranks with the commissioning of Officer Candidate School Class 60 and 61B Aug. 25, 2018, at Fort Pickett, Virginia.  (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Matt Lyman)

FORT PICKETT, Va. — The Virginia Army National Guard welcomed 14 new lieutenants to its ranks with the commissioning of Officer Candidate School Class 60 and 61B Aug. 25, 2018, at Fort Pickett, Virginia. Class 60 was the traditional OCS program that runs nearly two years and taught by a cadre from the Fort Pickett-based 3rd Battalion, 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute, and Class 61B was the eight-week Accelerated OCS program at Fort McClellan, Alabama. The ceremony marked the end of the journey for the candidates as they took their oaths of office, received their OCS diplomas and their second lieutenant bars and delivered their first salute as new officers.

The process of becoming officers in the traditional OCS program began with Phase Zero, comprised primarily of physical and mental challenges and designed to ensure the quality and caliber of the candidates who continue on in the program. Phase I consisted of a two-week training period replete with challenges designed to test the candidates in a variety of ways. Phase II included a year of monthly drill periods that included classroom time as well as time spent outside of drill weekends working on class and community projects. Phase III, the final phase of OCS, consisted of a final two-week training period that acted as a final test of the officer candidate’s leadership abilities and tested the knowledge they had gained over the previous months.

The Troutville-based 29th Division Band provided ceremonial music for the event.

The following awards were presented to members of Class 60 for outstanding duty performance:

  • Officer Candidate Robert E. Ingersoll received the Erickson Trophy and was recognized as the distinguished honor graduate who stood out in all areas of the OCS environment.
  • Ingersoll received the Harry Q. Rose Award which is given by the Virginia National Guard Association and recognizes the candidate who has distinguished him or herself in leadership throughout the duration of the program. The award is named for Capt. Harry Q. Rose, the only graduate of the Virginia OCS to have given his life in the service of his country.
  • Ingersoll earned the Physical Fitness Award, given in the form of an Army Achievement Medal, in recognition of scoring 299 out of 300 points on the Army Physical Fitness Test score of 299, the highest in the class
  • Officer Candidate Roger L. Harris II received Commandant’s Award for Academic Achievement for achieving an average academic score of 95 percent, the highest in the class.
  • Ingersoll received the Leadership Excellence Award as the candidate who earned the highest overall leadership ratings during all three stages of the course. Throughout OCS, each officer candidate serves in different leadership roles and are then rated by their platoon trainers in extensive leadership evaluation reports.
  • Officer Candidate Joe N. Kriz received the Col. James B. Moore III Award, named for the first commandant of the Virginia Officer Candidate School, as the candidate who is considered to have made the most progress throughout the duration of the course.
  • Capt. Joshua N. Hillsman received the Maj. William T. “Tom” Bell Commandant Award for Leadership Excellence which is presented to a cadre member who the candidates determined to have had a significant impact on their growth and development as future leaders.

The graduating class of the Virginia National Guard’s Officer Candidate School Class 60 is as follows:

  • Thomas D. Brennan is branching field artillery and will serve as a platoon leader with Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
  • Nicholas M. Caesar is branching engineer corps and will serve as a platoon leader with the 180th Engineer Support Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group.
  • Lee Colon is branching military intelligence and will serve as a platoon leader with the 229th Engineer Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
  • Michael D. Deighan is branching engineer corps and will serve as the intelligence officer for the Headquarters and Support Company 276th Engineer Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group.
  • Brian P. Drumm is branching transportation and will serve as the executive officer for the Echo Company, 429th Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
  • Roger L. Harris II is branching military intelligence and will serve as the assistant battalion intelligence officer with the 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment, 29th Infantry Division.
  • Luis D. Hernandez Merced is branching military intelligence and will serve as a platoon leader with Delta Company, 229th Engineer Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
  • Robert E. Ingersoll is branching armor and will serve as a platoon leader with Bravo Troop,  2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
  • Joe N Kriz is branching infantry and will serve as a platoon leader with Charlie Troop, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
  • Allen D. Rogers is branching infantry and will serve as a platoon leader with Detachment 1, Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

The graduating class of the Virginia National Guard’s Officer Candidate School Class 61B is as follows:

  • Jon S. Howard is branching signal corps and will serve as a platoon leader with Charlie Company, 229th Engineer Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
  • Ross T. Johndrow is branching infantry and will serve as a platoon leader with Detachment 1, Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
  • Denis Seliverstov is branching military intelligence and will serve as a platoon leader with the Delta Company, 229th Engineer Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
  • Jonathan T. Shelton is branching infantry and will serve as a platoon leader with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.