MARINE CORPS BASE QUANITCO, Va. -- In less than two minutes, newly commissioned officer, 2nd Lt. Robert J. Szabo, was pinned by family members following his commissioning ceremony Nov. 24, 2015 at the National Marine Corps Museum. His father Chief Warrant Officer 4 Robert A. Szabo, Quantico Marine Corps Band director, completed the deed, as he shinned the brass of his son’s second lieutenant bars.
He, along with Officer Candidates-220 Company C, completed the 10-week Officer Candidates Class, which incorporated more than 4,000 pushups, 30 miles of hiking, 50 miles of running and 70 hours class room instruction.
Class 220 marked the anniversary of the 75th OCC graduation held on Brown Field. Throughout the day, leaders spoke of the first graduating class of 1940, many of whom were honored for successful leadership in WWII.
“After 10 weeks you have proven you have what it takes: leadership, morals, physical, and mental abilities. It will take just that to be successful in the fleet once commissioned,” said Brig. Gen. Terry V. Williams, Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. and Eastern Recruiting Region. “You should be proud because it wasn’t given to you, you earned it.”
Following a military parade and review on Brown Field, the officer candidates attended their commissioning ceremony at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Va.
Guest of honor Gen. John M. Paxton Jr., assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, went on to speak of historical Marines who served during WWII. He reminded the new graduates about the traditions of valor and commitment created by lieutenants who lead the Marine Corps through battle.
“On behalf of the commandant, the sergeant major, and 183,600 Marines, we indeed impose trust and confidence in you … to make the hard decisions and the right decisions, and to say, follow me,” said Paxton. “I want to thank each of you for volunteering to wear the cloth of our nation. I admire your stamina. I admire your resilience. I admire your courage. I admire your teamwork.”
Class 220 raised their right hand to take on the obligation and commitment of becoming an officer in the Marine Corps. Paxton, a career infantryman who was commissioned through Officer Training School in 1974, swore in the candidates.
“Thank you for lending us your sons and daughters to share them with the rest of the citizens of our country, through allowing them to pursue their dream,” Paxton said as he looked upward to address the visitors who peered down at the newly sworn in OCS graduates.
“This is a special day for these graduates. It marks the first base of officer development. As they continue on to The Basic School, which is the next step of their journey to becoming an officer of Marines,” said Col. Julie L. Nethercot, commanding officer of OCS, to the families and friends that filled the balconies and Leatherneck Gallery of the museum. “We look forward to serving with you in the operational forces in the future.”
Officers are seen as leaders amongst their comrades. A customary salute is rendered as recognition of chain of command. With that hierarchy comes the responsibilities of guidance. The officers will be charged to lead.
“History has proven that a building will stand solid only if its foundation has been properly prepared. These graduates of officer candidates stand before you now as benefactors of 75 years of wisdom from our leadership, past and present. They have been refined and tested and now rest upon hard eared foundations,” said Lt. Robinson, Chaplain of OCS, during his invocation.
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