Virginia Army National Guard welcomes three new lieutenants

Three officer candidates were commissioned as 2nd lieutenants in the Virginia Army National Guard April 28 during a graduation and commisioning ceremony held at the 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute’s auditorium.

Three officer candidates were commissioned as second lieutenants in the Virginia Army National Guard April 28 during a graduation and commissioning ceremony held at the 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute’s auditorium. (Photo by Lt. Col. Tim Donnellan))

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Three officer candidates were commissioned as second lieutenants in the Virginia Army National Guard April 28 during a ceremony at the 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute’s auditorium.   Col. Paul Griffin, the Virginia National Guard director of the joint staff, was the guest speaker for the event.

“You have the power to be anything you want,” said Griffin.  “As long as you are honest and stay above board, you will have a great career.

“Remember to always do the right thing and make the right decisions, even if they are not the most popular,” said Griffin.

The OCS candidates who graduated were  2nd Lt. Kelle Hein,  2nd Lt.  Charles Byrd, and 2nd Lt. Ryan Yancey.  The graduates completed Officer Candidate School conducted by the 3rd Battalion, 183rd RTI at Fort Pickett.  All three graduates were part of the OCS Accelerated Class Program

Ryan Yancey was prior enlisted and achieved the rank of staff sergeant.  Yancey has been deployed  twice and returned from Afghanistan in October 2011.  He has chosen Field Artillery as a career  field.  Yancey received his first salute from his father, Command. Sgt. Maj. Thomas Yancey, during the ceremony.

Byrd was prior enlisted and achieved the rank of staff sergeant.  He has deployed three times and returned from Iraq in January 2012. Aviation is his military career choice.

Hein was a non-prior service officer candidate with over a year of service in the military. Transportation is his career field.

Following Griffin’s speech, the graduates received awards for their performance during the course.  Hein earned the Physical Fitness Award and Byrd was presented with the Leadership Award.

After the presentation of awards, the graduates received their diplomas and had their new ranks affixed to their uniform by family members and friends.

To view photos from this event, visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157629592462490/with/6993039116/