OCS Class 54 conducts service project in Blackstone

Soldiers from Virginia Officer Candidate School Class 54 pose with cadre and members of the Blackstone Volunteer Fire Department Aug. 25, 2012 after applying a fresh coat of paint on the walls of the station’s hallways. The project was part of the Phase Two requirements of their course curriculum. (Contributed photo)

BLACKSTONE, Va. — Virginia Officer Candidate School Class 54 conducted a community service project at the Blackstone Volunteer Fire Department Aug. 25 2012 as part of the Phase Two requirements of their course curriculum. Candidates coordinated with the Fire Department Chief and applied a fresh coat of paint to the station’s hallways.

“The National Guard is a community-oriented organization, and this project gave us a chance to go out and interact with a community that supports us,” said Capt. Brad Churchill, senior trainer for the OCS Class.

As an all-volunteer force, the station chief was happy to open the doors to the OCS Class for their project while at the same time providing them with a tour of the facility and explaining the various pieces of gear and equipment used by the firefighters, Churchill explained. Candidates could relate to the level of commitment and dedication exhibited by the firefighters, and they were also impressed by the quick response time required of them to stay in the all-volunteer unit, he said.

“As Guard Soldiers, we understand the importance of a quick reaction force, especially when we’re called upon by the Governor or the Adjutant General for state active duty in cases of emergency relief or natural disasters,” stated Officer Candidate Jami Clements, OCS class president.

Class 54 is composed of seven officer candidates with varying degrees of military experience and age, ranging from prior active component noncommissioned officers to officer candidate option enlistees.  They will attend Phase III at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., next month and will graduate and commission in October at the 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute Auditorium.

For more information on the Virginia Officer Candidate School, visit them at http://vko.va.ngb.army.mil/VirginiaGuard/ocs/index.html