The Citadel NROTC earns top honors at Officer Candidates School
The Citadel NROTC unit earned top honors during the first summer session of Officer Candidates School with eight cadets and enlisted Marines walking away with honors.
Cadet Gregory Nolan, a Marine option midshipman, was named top Honor Graduate out of 757 officer candidates while Marine Staff Sgt Kristopher Turner was named Academic Honor Graduate.
In addition six others were named distinguished graduates. They are Marine Sgt’s Stephen Maraist, Brooks Grado and Brian Parker, Marine SSgt Christophe Emde, Cadet Tanner Cobb and rising Corps of Cadets Regimental Commander Cory Moyer.
The mission of Officer Candidates School is to educate, train and evaluate officer candidates to ensure each person has the leadership, physical, moral and intellectual qualities necessary to serve successfully as company grade officers, according to the Quantico, Va.,-based school’s web site.
“To become an officer means excelling in all endeavors. The Citadel midshipman and MECEPs are performing at superior levels at OCS and are arguably exceeding the performance of other colleges and universities with NROTC programs,” said Col. Brent Dunahoe, commanding officer of the NROTC unit at The Citadel. “This is a testament to our dual missions of producing principled leaders and officers for the Armed Forces.”
Thirty-two cadets and enlisted Marines graduated from OCS July 3 and an additional 31 are expected to graduate in August.
Dunahoe said the unit’s performance at OCS this summer is the best he has seen in part because of changes to training on campus. Beginning in spring of 2009, the NROTC unit, under the guidance of Marine Officer Instructor Capt. Shawn Rickrode, implemented a comprehensive and rigorous pre-OCS training program to prepare students for the challenges they will face during OCS.
“Because of our focused training, more students are completing OCS because they are mentally, physically and academically prepared,” Dunahoe said. “We have twice the number of distinguished graduates in 2010 than we did in 2009 and our academic performance has improved substantially.”
Nolan, a senior and commander of Papa Company in the Corps of Cadets, is a Spanish and political science major from Marcellus, N.Y. He earned top honors with the highest overall GPA combining academics, leadership and physical fitness.
“I took a lot of pride in representing The Citadel during my time at Officer Candidates School,” said Nolan, who wants to pursue a career as an intelligence officer. “Our performance as a whole was a testament to the dedication and discipline instilled in all of us by The Citadel NROTC.”
A business major from Gastonia, NC, Turner had the highest academic grade point average of all candidates during the session. Turner enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school eight years ago. A radio chief, he has served two combat deployments and three years in Okinawa, Japan. He is a sophomore business major
“At OCS I did not set out to break any records or be rewarded in any way. I went with the attitude that hard work pays off,’ he said. “This is both an amazing reward and a reminder to all that hard work and devotion will only lead you to success.”