April 18, 2011

Three candidates from OCS Class 54A commissioned as lieutenants

By Cotton Puryear
Virginia Dept. of Military Affairs

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Three officer candidates from Virginia National Guard Officer Candidate School Class 54A received their commissions as second lieutenants during a graduation and commissioning ceremony held April 9 at Fort Pickett. Officer Candidates Andrew L. Jackson, Erin K. Sutton and Joseph T. Weeren each took the oath of office and had their new rank pinned on during the event.

 

Three officer candidates from Virginia National Guard Officer Candidate School Class 54A received their commissions as second lieutenants during a graduation and commissioning ceremony held April 9 at Fort Pickett, and OCs Andrew L. Jackson, Erin K. Sutton and Joseph T. Weeren each took the oath of office and had their new rank pinned on during the event. Weeren also received both the Physical Fitness Award and the Leadership Award. All three officer completed the accelerated OCS program which lasts two consecutive months at Fort McClellan, Alabama. The Virginia Guard OCS is part of 3rd Battalion, 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Va. Department of Military Affairs)

Click HERE to see more photos from the event on the Virginia National Guard Flickr site.

Weeren also received both the Physical Fitness Award and the Leadership Award. All three officers completed the accelerated OCS program which lasts two consecutive months at Fort McClellan, Ala. The Virginia Guard OCS is part of 3rd Battalion, 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute.

“I had the pleasure of visiting them down in Alabama several weeks ago and was very pleased to learn that they were literally at the top of their class,” said Maj. Tom Klump, commander of the Virginia Officer Candidate School. “They were top of the class in terms of academics, physical fitness and leadership evaluation, and this is a testament to their hard work and outstanding potential as second lieutenants and reflected positive on Virginia’s program.”

Klump explained that the OCS program has both the “traditional” and “accelerated” format. The accelerated program normally graduates three to six new lieutenants in April of each year. The traditional program is roughly 18 months of drill weekends with two different two-week annual training periods. Each October approximately 15 to 25 lieutenants are commissioned through the traditional program.

Jackson branched Infantry, Sutton Adjutant General Corps and Weeren branched Military Intelligence.

Jackson is currently completing his undergraduate education Virginia Tech and will bring “youthful enthusiasm and motivation” to the Virginia Guard officer corps, Klump said. Sutton currently works in the National Guard Bureau Personnel Office and was described by Klump as a “seasoned NCO with deployment experience.” Klump assessed Weeren as a “battle-hardened veteran” who joined the program after having served on active duty.

All three had to qualify in the “Phase Zero” program before they could enter the accelerated program at Fort McClellan. The phase focuses on physical fitness training, land navigation training and troop leading procedures.

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