New OCS Class Begins

New OCS Class Begins
MAJ Michael Quinn Sullivan, PAO, TXSG
2011/11/30Photo of O.C.S. Hate with class in background
AUSTIN, Texas – With an emphasis on practical leadership development, the Texas State Guard’s redesigned Officer Candidate School has begun with 17 soldiers starting their journey to second lieutenant.

“The only person who is going to beat you out of being an officer is you,” OCS Commander COL Tom Hamilton told the candidates on the first evening. “An officer isn’t what you do, it’s who you are.”

A revised OCS curriculum has been more than 18 months in the making, designed with the specific needs and mission of the TXSG in mind.

“This is an investment in the future of the Guard… We want leaders who will be prepared to handle what they aren’t prepared for,” Hamilton said earlier in the evening, as the candidates processed in Building 32 at Camp Mabry. “There’s always one more thing to do, one more task.”

Being prepared to handle those tasks is what attracted JoAnna Kearns of Leander to pursue the challenges presented by OCS. She currently serves as S1 for the 2nd Battalion of the 2nd Regiment.

“It seemed to fit,” said Kearns, an insurance broker whose husband is also in the TXSG. “I like to try to keep things going, keep things moving and organized.”

She will have the opportunity for that. Candidates spend two to three days a month at Camp Mabry, through the six-month program, sitting through course lectures, practical exercises and physical training. They also have at-home assignment to be completed in the intervening weeks.

Hamilton said the OCS program developed for the TXSG is fundamentally different than a program for the US Army or National Guard, recognizing that often soldiers going through the program are older with more life experiences under their belt.

“These are all very smart, very mature and capable people,” he said. “We have a pilot, an attorney, folks with multiple advanced degrees. Each one of them is incredibly impressive on their own.”

MAJ Troy Evanovich, the OCS executive officer, clearly agreed with his boss’ assessment. But, he also told the candidates during their in-brief, that the program will require them “rely on each other.”

“You cannot do this alone,” he said. “Leadership includes recognizing you need the support of those around you.”

Candidate Joe Tillman of Brock has served in the TXSG for three years. He was attracted to OCS by the challenges presented by taking on new leadership within the TXSG. He currently serves in the Maritime Regiment’s 3rd Battalion.

“I want to be a stronger leader,” said Tillman, who works in the restaurant business. He is a TXSG recruiter, on the Maritime Regiment’s pistol and rifle team, and serves as his company quartermaster.

COL Hamilton, OCS Commander, noted the program also includes two three-day programs – one at Camp Swift and the other at Fort Hood.

“Everything the candidates do, every day they are here, is graded, and everything they do is done with a purpose behind it,” he said. “It’s going to take a lot of sacrifice on their part to get through the program.”

Candidate James Lumpkin of Pflugerville said he was eager to embrace those sacrifices as he handled a broom and helped his fellow candidates clear out the back of Building 32 – turning it into a temporary dormitory.

“I enjoy serving,” said Lumpkin, who works as the director of operations for the University of Phoenix’s Austin campus. “I’m looking forward to making some new friends here, leaning on each other, building our leadership skills and finding new ways to serve the Guard and the people of Texas.”


The Texas State Guard is one of three branches of the Texas Military Forces (TXMF), operating under the command of the Adjutant General of Texas and the Governor as Commander-in-Chief of all state military forces. The TXMF includes the Texas Army National Guard and the Texas Air National Guard.

The mission of the Texas State Guard (TXSG) is to provide mission-ready military forces to assist state and local authorities in times of state emergencies; to conduct homeland security and community service activities under the umbrella of Defense Support to Civil Authorities; and to augment the Texas Army National Guard and Texas Air National Guard as required.

Headquartered at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, the TXSG functions as an organized state militia under the authority of Title 32 of the U.S. Code and Chapter 431 of the Texas Government Code.