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Florida Army National Guard officers to graduate today during Camp Blanding ceremony

August 19, 2011
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Twenty-six officer candidates of the Florida Army National Guard will graduate as the state's newest military leaders during a formal ceremony today, Aug. 20, at Kennedy Bullard Armory, Camp Blanding Joint Training Center, Starke.

Officer candidates usually enter the Florida Army National Guard officer training program as enlisted soldiers and go through a grueling 14-month school that mirrors the U.S. Army's active duty curriculum. Two of the candidates participated in an accelerated eight-week officer candidate class.

The new lieutenants will join Army National Guard units to serve in leadership positions. Some will become full-time military members with the Guard while some will perform their traditional Guard role by attending unit training one weekend per month and two weeks each year.

This year the Florida National Guard's Officer Candidate School (OCS) program will present its first Distinguished Alumni Award to the family of former Florida OCS graduate Maj. Rocco Barnes. Barnes, who served with the California Army National Guard and U.S. Army Special Forces community, died in Afghanistan in 2009.

Officers graduating from class and the accelerated class live in and represent communities throughout Florida. The officer candidates and their hometowns include:


David Arnett, St. Johns

Naisha Baron, Gibsonton

Kent Berus, Ponte Vedra Beach

Stephen Brown, Riverview

Trevor Chase, Jacksonville

Brian Dahlstrom, Mt. Dora

Mery Downing, Jacksonville

William Dozier, Fernandina Beach

Eduardo Figueroa, Orlando

Matthew Flashenburg, Seminole

Andrew Gaden, Edgewater

Adam Kapetanis, Orlando

Kyle Kettinger, Wesley Chapel

Juan Maldonado Jr., Melbourne

Jose Martinez, Pinellas Park

Micheil McElvey, Tampa

Christopher Middleton, Pomona Park

Elkin Parrales, St. Augustine

Tory Perfetti, Oldsmar

Patrick Rubly, Tampa

Jeremy Sockwell, Winter Garden

Zachary Tedder, Fort Myers

Tumeka Turner, Tampa

Erik Vidal, Miami

Accelerated Class:

Jeffery Negrotto, Milton

Jason Schwartz, Oviedo



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