Guam – After eight weeks of intense training and evaluation at the Officer Candidate School (OCS) on Fort George Meade, South Dakota, three Guam Guardsmen are now qualified to commission as 2nd Lieutenants.
Candidates Mark Scott, Blaine Martinez, and Christopher Duenas are close to a month away from becoming the Guam Army National Guard’s newest 2nd Lieutenants. After they are commissioned, the candidates will attend their Basic Course once their specific Army occupational branch is determined.
[Guam Army National leaders attended the graduation of three GUARNG OCS candidates at Mt. Rushmore recently, following the eight-week course held at Fort Meade, South Dakota. From left: Major General Benny Paulino, The Adjutant General for the Guam National Guard; Candidate Blaine Martinez; Candidate Christopher Duenas; Candidate Mark Scott; State Command Sergeant Major Dan Elliot, and Lt. Col. Ronnie Delfin, 203rd RTI commander. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by CPT John Guerrero)]
The South Dakota course is designed to train officer candidates by developing and assessing their leadership performance throughout three phases. Each phase tests candidates’ mental and physical abilities in high stress scenarios, similar to what they would be facing in combat.
Before going to South Dakota for OCS, the candidates completed an eight-month long preparation program conducted by the 203rd Regional Training Institute, Guam Army National Guard. Candidates learn leadership skills, tactical proficiency, and basic soldiering, among other things.
At the end of the program they must pass a 10-day field exercise that tests their knowledge and abilities acquired throughout the program, according to Lt. Col. Ronnie Delfin, 203rd RTI commander. If they perform well, they proceed to South Dakota to fulfill their requirements, he added.
“I’m extremely proud of their accomplishments in South Dakota… They represented Guam very well out there. Everywhere we went, the cadre of the 196th RTI always said, ‘You’ve got great Soldiers!’ Each year we send around five troops out there for qualification and we’ve had a very high success rate. So, obviously what we’re doing here is working,” Lt. Col. Delfin said.
Candidate Scott did so well that he was chosen to take on a leadership position in the final, company level mission, which only a select number of candidates are chosen for.
Last year, the Guam Army National Guard commissioned six candidates from the program
“This is the end of their OCS phase, but their career as officers is just beginning,” said Delfin.