GEORGIA PUBLIC SAFETY TRAINING CENTER, Forsyth, Ga. August 14, 2016 – In a ceremony steeped in tradition and carried out with military precision, the Georgia State Defense Force (GSDF) recently graduated seven candidates from the combined Officer Candidate School/Warrant Officer Candidate School (OCS/WOCS). Two candidates were appointed as Warrant Officers and five were commissioned as Second Lieutenants in a ceremony attended by Brig. Gen. Danielson, Commanding General, GSDF; Col. Watts, Commander, Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC); Lt. Col. Vance, Deputy Commander, TRADOC; and Command Sgt. Maj. O’Leary.
As family, friends, and fellow GSDF Soldiers looked on, the candidates were marched into the auditorium by Staff Sgt. Tello, the senior OCS/WOCS noncommissioned officer (NCO). Chief Warrant Officer 3 McCowan, OCS/WOCS Commandant, served as master of ceremonies during the event. Brig. Gen. Danielson addressed the attendees and made a point of thanking the family and friends of the graduates for their support. “Without your support, we could not do our job in service to the citizens of Georgia,” Danielson told the guests. Lt. Col. Vance and Command Sgt. Maj. O’Leary also made remarks about the importance of competent and effective leaders in the GSDF. The OCS/WOCS Honor Graduate, Officer Candidate Chapman, also delivered a speech about the importance of teamwork and his experience during OCS/WOCS. In his speech, Chapman said, “As officers, we have a duty to set an example to others. We are obligated to give our fellow Soldiers and the people we serve nothing but the highest level of commitment.”
Assisted by family and friends of the candidates, the Commanding General then pinned each candidate with his new rank. Wearing their new officer ranks, Lt. Col. Vance then administered the oath of office. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the OCS/WOCS Honor Graduate marched the class out of the auditorium to receive the traditional “First Salute.” Continuing a longstanding tradition in the military, the newly commissioned officers presented a silver dollar to their senior NCO, Staff Sgt. Tello, in exchange for the honor of receiving their first salute from him.
OCS/WOCS is an intensive, six-month course conducted at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth. Officer candidates receive training in officership, ethical leadership, GSDF operations and structure, search and rescue tactics, effective communication, military history, and field leadership applications. The program, which includes residency and distance learning components, is administered in both classroom and practical field settings. OCS/WOCS is designed to graduate officers and warrant officers that are the functional equivalent of their Georgia Army National Guard counterparts.