Oct. 29, 2010

Virginia Officer Candidate School graduates 14 at Fort Pickett 

By Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne        
Virginia Guard Public Affairs       

FORT PICKETT, Va. — The Virginia National Guard celebrated the graduation of 14 Soldiers from the 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute’s Officer Candidate School Sept. 23 at the Fort Pickett Theater.


2nd Lt. Shawn D. Manthey is sworn in as an officer in the Virginia National Guard as Oct. 23 at the Fort Pickett Theater. Fourteen Virginia National Guard Soldiers from classes 52 and 53B graduated from the 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute's Officer Candidate School. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

The graduates, who were members of classes 52 and 53B, were Officer Candidate Jeffrey N. Barnes, 2nd Lt. Robert K. Dodd, 2nd Lt. James R. Eyester, 2nd Lt. Jarrod A. Fitzpatrick, 2nd Lt. Eric M. Johnson, 2nd Lt. Shawn D. Manthey, 2nd Lt. Cory D. Meyers, 2nd Lt. Luke F. Monck, 2nd Lt. Andrew S. Murray, 2nd Lt. Charles Smalls, Officer Candidate Brian K. Staton, 2nd Lt. Richard L. Stubbblefield, 2nd Lt. Daniel B. Tarrant and 2nd Lt. David A. Tiller.

Col. Marie M. Mahoney, the commander of the 183rd RTI, welcomed the graduates and thanked them for the hard work and dedication they showed during their course. She then introduced the guest speaker, Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, the Adjutant General of Virginia.

Long said that when he was coming up through the ranks, he used to wonder who would take his place and worried about the young Soldiers coming behind him. But that’s no longer a concern.

“I have not met a young person in uniform to be ashamed or embarrassed of,” he said. “You should be proud of these Soldiers and proud of what they are going to do for your country.”

He then offered some advice for the graduates as they begin their officer careers.

“You’re going to be a real leader and lead real people into dangerous places,” he said. “If you mess up, say you messed up and move along. You’re going to have to make tough decisions. People will respect you for that.”


The family of 2nd Lt. Richard L. Stubbblefield pins his new rank on as he is commissioned into the Virginia National Guard during a graduation ceremony for classes 52 and 53B of the 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute's Officer Candidate School Oct. 23 at Fort Pickett. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Although their families will have great expectations for them, it’s the expectations of their Soldiers and the ones they are leading that they should worry about most, Long said.

“You have to show that you care about them,” he said. “Then they’re going to want to know if they can trust you and if you’re committed to excellence.”

Long told the graduates that if they listen to their troops, earn their trust and show their commitment to something, things will work out for them as leaders.

Following the speech by Long, awards were given out to the graduates based on their achievements. 2nd Lt. Andrew S. Murray was awarded the Erickson Trophy as the honor graduate; Officer Candidate Brian K. Staton earned the Physical Fitness Award for scoring 300 on the Army Physical Fitness Test; Officer Candidate Jeffrey N. Barnes received the Commandant’s Award for Academic Excellence for the highest test average; 2nd Lt. Cory D. Myers was awarded the Col. James B. Moore III Award for most improved in leadership; 2nd Lt. Robert K. Dodd received the AUSA Leadership Award for the highest leadership ratings during OCS; and 2nd Lt. Eric M. Johnson earned the Harry Q. Rose Award, which is named after the only Virginia Officer Candidate School graduate to be killed in action in Vietnam and is given to the graduate who most exemplifies Rose’s values.

Finally, Sgt. 1st Class Ronald Stratton was recognized by the graduates as the most outstanding staff member of the cycle and received the Maj. Tom Bell Award.  

The OCS graduates then received the diplomas from Long, were sworn in by a person of their choice and the new lieutenants had their rank pinned on by family members or friends. 

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