Army commissions new officers
August 11, 2002
Iman Mtafiti made his dream come true Saturday when he became the oldest person commissioned as an officer in the Nevada Army National Guard.
“I always knew I wanted it,” said 40-year-old Mtafiti. “I focused and went for it.”
Mtafiti, like seven other men and women, graduated from the Officer Candidate School to become second lieutenants, the first officer rank, during a ceremony held at the Capitol building.
Mtafiti has served in the Army for two years as an enlisted personnel, and before that he was in the Air Force for five.
The ceremony was the end of an 18-month course in which the candidates endured physical training and classroom education, said Maj. Zachary Doser, who taught the candidates from the beginning.
“It’s a very demanding 18 months,” he said.
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The Officer Candidate School has a 40 percent attrition rate, he said. Out of the 17 candidates who started the school 18 months ago, only eight were commissioned as officers on Saturday.
The class was the 45th in Nevada.
Daniel Thielen, who was also commissioned as a second lieutenant Saturday, described the experience as both wonderful and terrible at the same time.
“The burden is both scary and a great honor,” he said of serving his country as an officer.
Col. Randall Sayre spoke to the newly commissioned officers and their families and friends who gathered for the ceremony.
“Where you’re going is not a job,” Sayre said to the officers. “It’s a tradition and an accomplishment.”
The sound of cameras clicking and friends and family cheering filled the the old Assembly chambers at the Capitol building.
Friends and family clapped as each newly commissioned officer stepped to the front of the room to be pinned by someone they chose, either a family member, friend, or colleague.
The next step for the new second lieutenants is to attend officer basic course, which lasts four to six months, depending on their assignments.
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