Soldiers were commissioned through Officer Candidate School Aug. 28

Three New York Army National Guard soldiers from Yonkers, Mount Vermon and Syracuse raised their right hands and affirmed their oath of office as part of their graduation of the Officer Candidate School Commissioning ceremony Aug. 28, 2021, at Camp Smith Training Site near Peekskill.

The commissioning ceremony marked the completion of the 16-month Officer Candidate School course and recognized these future leaders of the New York Army National Guard.

New York National Guard Major General Michel A. Natali, the Assistant Adjutant General, Army administered their oath and the new officers were pinned by family members and received their first salute as newly commissioned second lieutenants.

  • 2nd Lt. Denzer Campbell of Syracuse, who will serve as an engineer officer with the 204th Engineer Battalion in Binghamton, enlisted directly into the OCS program in July 2019 and was the class distinguished honor graduate. He works for National Grid as an engineer.
  • 2nd Lt. Luis Maldonado of Yonkers, is an infantry officer who will serve with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry in New York City. Maldonado is a prior service noncommissioned officer with nine years of active duty as a petty officer with the U.S. Navy.
  • 2nd Lt. Zixin Mao from Mount Vernon, will serve on the staff of the 102nd Military Police Battalion Headquarters Company as an Adjutant General Corps officer in Auburn. Mao enlisted directly in the New York National Guard for the OCS program in March 2019. He is an Education Innovator with Fordham University.

Candidates complete a range of military and leadership skills, including land navigation, writing operation orders, conducting squad tactical exercises and achieving a comprehensive understanding of military history.

The training is administered by the New York National Guard’s 106th Regional Training Institute, with tactical officers providing training and mentorship to prepare the next generation of Army National Guard leaders.

The New York Army National Guard and Connecticut National Guard run an OCS program together; the goal of OCS is to prepare newly commissioned second lieutenants to assume responsibility as officers and hold future leadership positions, Natali said.

By martha

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