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Louisiana National Guard graduates six new officers

By Staff Sgt. David C. Kirtland, Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office

NEW ORLEANS – The Louisiana National Guard’s 199th Regiment (Regional Training Institute) held a graduation ceremony to commission six new officers from the Officer Candidate School at LANG Training Center Pineville, April 13.

“Being a leader in the military is one of the greatest privileges that can ever be bestowed upon an individual. To make it even more special, statistically speaking, less than one percent of the American population even serves in the military and even less than that is chosen to lead at any level,” said Brig. Gen. Thomas Friloux, the adjutant general of Louisiana. “Today you are joining the ranks of America’s true heroes who understand the real meaning of duty, honor and country.”

In January, the graduating class, 65A, commenced an eight-week winter accelerated course of continuous and rigorous training at Fort McClellan, Alabama.

During his address as the representative for class 65A, 2nd Lt. Kyle Francis of the 165th Combat Sustainment Battalion, 139th Regional Support Group, underscored the profound sacrifices made by military families. “Whether you’ve been in the military two years or 13 years, none of what happens in the Marine Corps, the Navy or the Army comes without some level of sacrifice from a family member.”

Continuing, Francis expressed, “As we embark on this next journey that comes with greater levels of responsibility, the sacrifice required will grow. Thank you for your support, for pushing us to be greater versions of ourselves and believing in our ability to be better.”

During the ceremony, candidates were presented awards for accomplishments in physical training, leadership, and academics.

Second Lt. Quinten Romero, 3rd Battalion, 156th Infantry Regiment, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, was awarded the National Guard Association Award of Louisiana for highest physical training score.

Second Lt. Ryan Scherrer, 769th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 256th IBCT, was awarded the Army Commendation Medal and the Academic Board Award for the highest academic average.

The Army Achievement Medal and the Leadership Award were awarded to 2nd Lt. Chase Edwards, 2nd Battalion, 156th Infantry Regiment, 256th IBCT.

“Receiving the Leadership Award was nice and unexpected. I have always thought of myself as a ‘good’ leader but was surprised to have received it with the competition of my fellow new second lieutenants,” said Edwards. “Being honored with the Leadership Award pushes me to be an even better leader and to do my best to take care of the Soldiers I will be leading.”

After receiving their diplomas, Maj. Justin Bryson, the OCS company commander, led the newly commissioned second lieutenants in their Oath of Office. Subsequently, family members and friends pinned the gold second lieutenant rank insignia to the shoulders of newly commissioned officers.

Louisiana is among seven states within the southern region of the One Army School System, which encompasses Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi. This system sets uniform standards for individual training.

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