North Dakota Army National Guard commissions new officers

Michaela Granger
Special to Devils Lake Daily Journal

CAMP GRAFTON TRAINING CENTER — Members of the 64th Officer Candidate School (OCS) class officially joined the North Dakota Army National Guard’s officer ranks during a graduation ceremony, Aug. 21, 2021, at the 164th Regiment Regional Training Institute (RTI). Nine Soldiers were awarded diplomas for completing the intensive officer training program, which is administered by staff and cadre from the RTI’s 2nd Training Battalion (Modular) at Camp Grafton Training Center, near Devils Lake, North Dakota.

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.

Officer candidates may defer their commission upon graduating OCS, dependent on personal preference or the availability of an officer position within a unit. Three graduates of this class accepted their commissions as second lieutenants. They will now go on to lead platoons in North Dakota Army National Guard units across the state. Four candidates accepted their commissions at an earlier date.

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.

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.

econd 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

North Dakota has been training officers since 1957. 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.

Class 64 of the N.D. Officer Candidate School (OCS) with Lt. Col. (Ret) Dale Nelson, a graduate of Class 1 of the N.D. OCS program, after the graduation ceremony, Aug. 21, 2021, at the 164th Regiment Regional Training Institute.

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

  *Rachel L. Church, of Helena, Montana

**Ryan L. Kamrowski, of Minot, North Dakota

  *Jonathan G. Kranz, of Grand Forks, North Dakota

    Tanner J. Rafteseth, of West Fargo, North Dakota

**Ethan J. Zoeller, of Dickinson, North Dakota

**Erin N. Demoe, of Bismarck, North Dakota

**Trevor J. Kleineschay, of Strasburg, North Dakota

  *David J. Moll, of Fargo, North Dakota

    Alexander R. Tryon-Tasson, of Minot, North Dakota

                 * indicates acceptance of commission

                  ** indicates prior acceptance of commission