Story by SSG Leticia Samuels on 08/27/2019FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The North Carolina National Guard 139th Regional Training Institute held a commissioning ceremony as part of their traditional and accelerated Officer Candidate School (OCS) programs at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, here, on Aug. 24, 2019.
Sixteen candidates, making up Class 61, were promoted to the rank of second lieutenant after completing an extensive officer candidate school course. Col. Miriam Hayden, director of North Carolina Army personnel and Col. Charles Morrison, North Carolina National Guard Chief of Staff were also inducted into the Hall of Fame.
"There are 16 officer candidates that have just finished a part of their life that they will look back on forever," said Col. Anita Massey, the 139th Regional Training Institute Commander. "Officer candidate school was one of the most rewarding programs I ever went through. It helped me both professionally in the military and my civilian career."
The N.C. Guard's OCS is designed to train, assess and evaluate potential commissioned officers in the fundamentals of leadership and basic military
skills; instill the professional and physical fitness ethic; evaluate leadership potential; and commission those who qualify as second lieutenants in the Army Total Force.
The Army Total Force combines reserve component forces with National Guard and active components into one operational force.
The OCS has three phases in various locations to include Fort Bragg, McCrady Training Center, in Eastover, South Carolina and Fort McClellan, Alabama.
Phase I consists of applied map reading, day and night land navigation, field leadership, Army training management, and a 5-mile foot march.
Candidates complete a field leadership exercise, seven and ten-mile foot marches, a three-mile formation run, and classroom studies to include: operations, leadership, military justice, military intelligence, supply activities, military heritage and history, tactics and call for fire throughout the second phase.
In the final phase, candidates learn troop-leading procedures; experience a challenging leadership reaction course, infantry squad tactics, and combat water survival training.
"We will face adversary and many more challenges throughout our military careers but don't ever ring the bell," said 2nd Lt. Timmy Marshburn, the Class 61 president. "Not ringing the bell means we must face our challenges. In doing so, we have to remember the daily commitment to doing the right thing is more important than finding the right answer."
In military culture, "ringing the bell" often refers to the inability to quit a task once initiated.
The graduates were presented with individual awards, recited the Officer's Prayer and received diplomas of completion making the official portion of the graduation ceremony. Family members also had the honor of pinning on candidates' bars or rank.
In 1958, Maj. William P. Keeton was given the challenge and responsibility of the North Carolina Military Academy with the primary purpose of developing and producing commissioned officers for the state through its OCS program, which later blossomed into what is now the 139th RTI and has commissioned over 1,800 officers.
"What you see here today is the foundational strength of our military," said Brig. Gen. Allen Boyette, the North Carolina assistant adjutant general of sustainment. We are proud of you and your accomplishments today and look forward to what you are going to do in the future. You are living up to the North Carolina National Guard motto of Always Ready, Always There,'"