Military-connected students now have the opportunity to complete Officer Candidate School (OCS) training as a result of a new partnership between Fort Hays State University and the Kansas Army National Guard (KSARNG). In addition, all students will be able to learn more about the military experience by taking Military Science classes through the Department of Leadership Studies before they commit to the OCS program.
Captain CPT Lonnie McIntyre, a platoon trainer/instructor for the 1st Battalion, 235th Regiment (OCS/WOCS) in Salina, was assigned to the FHSU instructor’s position by the Kansas National Guard earlier this year and made the trip to Hays for FHSU’s first class this semester. Fundamentals of Soldiering was an eight-week face-to-face course, and three more classes will be available in the spring.
OCS is one of the U.S. Army’s primary training programs for prospective Army officers. The program is generally open to qualified enlisted service members, noncommissioned officers and civilians who hold – or have nearly completed – a four-year college degree.
Dr. Seth Kastle, assistant professor of Leadership Studies and the university’s director of military program innovation, also wants to give all students the opportunity to explore a possible military career without a long-term commitment.
"There are tremendous opportunities for career advancement with the Kansas Army National Guard and being a commissioned officer," Kastle said. Candidates who successfully complete the rigorous OCS program receive formal commissions in the Kansas Army National Guard (KSARNG) as Second Lieutenants.
Candidates wishing to complete the FHSU OCS program must be current members of the KSARNG, who have completed 90 college credit hours, basic combat training, and OCS Phase I in Salina. During their senior year of college, candidates will complete two courses, one in each of the fall and spring semesters which will comprise Phase II of the commissioning process.
The two courses for Phase II are Platoon and Staff Leadership I and II, which will be offered for the first time in spring 2021. Fundamentals of Soldiering will be moved online for the spring semester, and Military Leadership Development will also be available next spring. All classes other than Platoon and Staff Leadership I and II are available to all FHSU students without incurring a commitment to the KSARNG.
Other courses being developed are: Introduction to The U.S. Army, Military Instruction, Army Physical Fitness and Nutrition and Basic Army Field Training.
Upon graduating from FHSU, Officer Candidates will attend Phase III of OCS at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State.
"This program is just one of several examples of FHSU pursuing new and innovative ways to engage the military and better serve current and former members of our nation’s armed forces," Kastle said.
A native of North Carolina, who has been in the military for more than 25 years, McIntyre became interested in the military at a young age after attending his older sister’s graduation from the basic trailing when he was 8 years old. He began his career in 1993 with the North Carolina National Guard and said his experience there made him realize the military could be a rewarding career. He went on to serve in the active duty Army, the U.S. Marine Corps, the Air Force Reserve and the U.S. Army Reserve before receiving his commission through the Army National Guard Officer Candidate School.
McIntyre, who has received numerous federal military awards and decorations, earned a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts from Ashford (Calif.) University and a Master of Arts in Executive Leadership from Liberty (Va.) University.
"FHSU is extremely fortunate to have an officer and leader the caliber of CPT McIntyre to lead this partnership and the OCS Program," Kastle said.
McIntyre moved to Salina two years ago and was pleased to be assigned to the FHSU instructor’s position.
"We are all looking forward to growing the program, and everyone at Fort Hays State has been great to work with and has been very supportive," he said. "This will definitely help students wishing to complete the OCS and also will help any student make some informed decisions and learn about all the opportunities that a military career can offer."
More information about the OCS program can be found at fhsu.edu/ocs.