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Dickinson native among 9 newly commissioned Officer Candidate School graduates

Members of the 64th Officer Candidate School (OCS) class officially joined the North Dakota Army National Guard’s officer ranks during a graduation ceremony on Aug. 21. Among the graduates was a Dickinson native.

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Second Lieutenant Jonathan Kranz, center, is pinned by Master Sgt. David Rohrich, 1st Sgt. for the N.D. Officer Candidate School (OCS), left, and Capt. Eric Edwardson, 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery, during the graduation ceremony, Aug. 21, 2021, at the 164th Regiment Regional Training Institute. Edwardson encouraged Kranz to join the OCS program, as well as to complete Air Assault in May 2021. (Photo courtesy of North Dakota Army National Guard)

"In his search to be a great leader, the young centurion sought out the Republic’s veteran warrior. Looking up from his labor, the sage spoke: 'I know not what beats beneath your tunic, but what I saw in a leader from foot soldiers to proconsul is thus: One whose heart is with the Legion and whose loyalty is to the Republic.'" — LTG John M. Schofield, 1879

A physically and mentally challenging course designed to transform first-time Soldiers or those with prior military experience into strong, effective leaders is the hallmark of Officer Candidate School, and for 9 Soldiers who were recently awarded commissions for completing an intensive officer training program, it was the culmination of a dream.

Staff and cadre from the 2nd Training Battalion (Modular) at Camp Grafton Training Center, near Devils Lake, North Dakota, instilled in the future leaders of North Dakota's National Guardsmen the intangible traits that would have them become leaders in the world’s most powerful Army.

The keynote speaker for the event, Brig. Gen. Jackie Huber, N.D. National Guard deputy adjutant general, rendered remarks and offered advice to the graduates. Huber has served in the North Dakota Army National Guard since enlisting in 1989. Just a year later, in 1990, she deployed in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm with the Mandan-based 191st Military Police Company. Huber earned her commission as a second lieutenant through the University of North Dakota’s Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program in 1992. In 2003, she mobilized again for overseas in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, serving as the personnel officer for the 142nd Engineer Battalion.

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Class 64 of the N.D. Officer Candidate School listens as the keynote speaker, Brig. Gen. Jackie Huber, N.D. National Guard deputy adjutant general, renders remarks and offered advice to the graduates during the graduation ceremony, Aug. 21, 2021, at the 164th Regiment Regional Training Institute. (Photo courtesy of North Dakota Army National Guard)

Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, North Dakota adjutant general, presented the graduates with their diplomas, while Brig. Gen. Leo Ryan, North Dakota National Guard Army Component commander, administered the oath of office to the newest second lieutenants in the state. 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.

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Second Lieutenant Rachel Church, left, receives her Officer Candidate School diploma from Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, N.D. National Guard adjutant general, during the graduation ceremony, Aug. 21, 2021, at the 164th Regiment Regional Training Institute. (Photo courtesy of North Dakota Army National Guard)

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Second Lieutenant David Moll, left, receives the Erickson Trophy for distinguished leadership and academic ability from Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, N.D. National Guard adjutant general, during the graduation ceremony, Aug. 21, 2021, at the 164th Regiment Regional Training Institute. (Photo courtesy of North Dakota Army National Guard)

Students can pursue their commissions by attending a three-phased, 8-week accelerated course at Fort Meade, South Dakota, or at Fort McClellan, Alabama. OCS 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.

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From rear to front, David Moll, Jonathan Kranz, and Rachel Church raise their right hands as Brig. Gen. Leo Ryan, North Dakota National Guard Army Component commander, administers the oath of office during the graduation ceremony, Aug. 21, 2021, at the 164th Regiment Regional Training Institute. (Photo courtesy of North Dakota Army National Guard)

The program’s mission is to create leaders who are mentored, trained, and empowered and essential to the Guard’s three-pronged mission of supporting communities, the state, and the nation. To date, the North Dakota OCS program has graduated more than 1,400 Soldiers.

The 2nd Training Battalion’s (Modular) 64th OCS graduating class includes:

Rachel L. Church, of Helena, Mont.; Ryan L. Kamrowski, of Minot, ND; Jonathan G. Kranz, of Grand Forks, ND; Tanner J. Rafteseth, of West Fargo, ND; Ethan J. Zoeller, of Dickinson, ND; Erin N. Demoe, of Bismarck, ND; Trevor J. Kleineschay, of Strasburg, ND; David J. Moll, of Fargo, ND; Alexander R. Tryon-Tasson, of Minot, ND.

Related Topics: EVENTSDICKINSON
James B. Miller, Jr. is the Editor of The Dickinson Press in Dickinson, North Dakota. He strives to bring community-driven, professional and hyper-local focused news coverage of southwest North Dakota.
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