Soldiers from all over New Jersey packed into the Sea Girt National Guard Training Center theater for a meeting on the Officer and Warrant Officer Candidate Schools.
Maj. Gen. Glenn K. Rieth, The Adjutant General of New Jersey, spoke to the group of candidates about the benefits and responsibilities of becoming a commissioned officer.
"It will give you a tremendous foundation," said Maj. Gen. Rieth. "To be a leader in our National Guard is an honor and privilege."
Whether by command or by choice, 87 soldiers attended the meeting and every one of them left with some good information.
Pfc. Ebenezer Sarpeh did not want to attend the briefing, but is glad that he did. He walked away with guidance on how to fulfill a childhood dream.
"I found the information on Warrant Officer School to be very interesting," Sarpeh said. "I have always wanted to fly and this could be a way for me to make it happen."
Those interested in either program should contact the 254th Regiment Combat Arms at
Tech. Sgt. Lloyd Terry found himself surrounded by Army guardsmen for a different reason.
"I am trying to explore other options that I have," Terry said. "I have aspirations of being an officer and this program that the Army National Guard offers is something that I can do."
When asked why he considered crossing over into the Army for a commission, one word quickly came to mind.
"Opportunities," Terry bluntly stated. "There are more opportunities for me over here."
Pfc. Rasheema Waters felt a call to action while listening to the current officer candidates speak.
"It really motivated me to start my own PT regimen," Waters said. "Even though I don't have an active position,
Newly minted 2nd Lt. Ana Bolanos has her second lieutenant's rank pinned on by her mother Teresa, top left, and her sons Emanuel, left, and Gabriel, right, while Maj. Gen. Glenn K. Rieth, right, observes. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, NJDMAVA/PA.
this makes me want to wake up, go to the park and run. I want to prepare for what they have in store for me."
Within the New Jersey National Guard there are three branches a candidate can enlist in; Combat Arms, Support and Service.
Maj. Ronald Deloatch, 254th Regiment Combat Arms then explained the Macro schedule of training. There are three courses in becoming an officer; Basic Officer Leadership Course (BOLC) one, two and three. BOLC 1 is OCS and a 16 month program comprised of three phases of instruction.Phase one focus on Land navigation, a five mile road march and a training management exam. Phase two emphasizes on a seven and ten mile road march, examinations, a three mile formation run and a field leadership exercise. Phase three deals with combat water survival test, leadership reaction course, field leadership exercise two and leadership evaluations.
To apply to OCS a candidate must have at least 60 credits, a GT score of over 110, an SAT score of over 850, be less than 42 years of age.
Preparation is something that Spc. Nadia Santiago does not lack. "I have 11 years in the military," Santiago said. "I know I have the experience and leadership abilities that it takes. With OCS, I know I can offer more."
There were women, men, Air Force, Army and even a civilian in attendance. Their ranks ranged from private to two-star general. But they were all there for one reason that Terry summed up in one sentence.
"One team, one fight."