CAMP GRAFTON TRAINING CENTER, N.D. — Members of the 65th Officer Candidate School (OCS) class officially joined the North Dakota Army National Guard’s officer ranks during a graduation ceremony, Aug. 20, 2022, at the 164th Regiment Regional Training Institute (RTI). Fifteen Soldiers were awarded diplomas for completing the intensive officer training program, which is administered by staff and cadre from the RTI’s 2nd Training Battalion (Modular) at Camp Grafton Training Center, near Devils Lake, North Dakota.
Ten graduates of this class accepted their officer commissions as second lieutenants. They will now go on to lead platoons in North Dakota Army National Guard units across the state. One candidate accepted his commission at an earlier date. Officer candidates may defer their officer commission upon graduating OCS, dependent on personal preference or the availability of an officer position within a unit.
The keynote speaker, Lt. Col. Nicolette K. Daschendorf, commander of the North Dakota Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion, offered career advice to the graduates. She commanded the 164th RTI’s OCS Company when this class began their training.
Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, North Dakota adjutant general, presented the graduates with their diplomas, while Col. Russell Wolf, commander of the 164th RTI, administered the oath of office to those graduates accepting their commissions.
Lt. Col. Barbara Lowe, commander of the RTI’s 2nd Training Battalion, presided over the “pinning ceremony,” where the new officers donned their gold-colored second lieutenant bars. The graduates were joined by family and friends during the ceremony.
OCS students can pursue commissions by attending a three-phased, 8-week accelerated course at Fort Meade, South Dakota, or at Fort McClellan, Alabama. These students also have the option to participate in a traditional course, which is spread out over 16-19 months during National Guard training weekends with two additional 2-week training periods. Other sources of officer commissioning are available through North Dakota’s ROTC program with locations at the University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, Minnesota State University Moorhead, and Concordia College — Moorhead.
North Dakota has been training officers since 1957. The program’s mission is to create leaders who are mentored, trained, and empowered and essential to the Guard’s three-pronged mission of serving our communities, state, and the nation. To date, the North Dakota OCS program has graduated more than 1,400 Soldiers.
The 2nd Training Battalion’s (Modular) 65th OCS graduating class includes:
· Reily G. Altenburg, of Fargo, North Dakota
· Jordan R. Becker, of Grand Forks, North Dakota
· Michael J. Becker, of Bismarck, North Dakota
· John E. Fergades, of Orange, California
· *Thomas D. Geary, of Fargo, North Dakota
· *Michaela C. Granger, of Columbus, Minnesota
· *David R. Hooge, of Munich, North Dakota
· Dustin G. Kelly, of Bismarck, North Dakota
· *Brent A. Lafontaine, of Minot, North Dakota
· Ty J. Moser, of Pollock, South Dakota
· Kehinde H. Oyetunji, of West Fargo, North Dakota
· Cullen P. Shay, of Midland, Michigan
· Emma L. Steffens, of Fairmount, North Dakota
· Donte C. Stevens, of Opa-Locka, Florida
· **Kellen R. Tibor, of Bismarck, North Dakota
* indicates deferring commission
** indicates prior acceptance of commission
The North Dakota National Guard is a trained and highly motivated force of about 4,000 Citizen-Soldiers and Citizen-Airmen. We are always prepared to provide ready units, individuals and equipment in support of our communities, state and nation. Always ready, always there.