The Kansas National Guard will conduct a graduation and commissioning ceremony for the Officer Candidate School in Salina.
The ceremony will be Saturday, Aug. 25, 1 p.m., at the Kansas Highway Patrol Academy, 2025 E Iron Ave. in Salina.
Graduating officer candidates, who will be commissioned as second lieutenants, are Jonathan Bailey, Kansas City; Ynacio Bautista, Topeka; Tyler Blosser, Wichita; Alex Brooks, McPherson; Nathaniel Fields, Stilwell; Joseph Huss, Garnett; Edward Magana, Wichita; Luis Mejia, Junction City; Austin Sigg, La Harpe; Teza Simunyola, Overland Park; and Roberto Valencia, Junction City.
Following the graduation and commissioning, retired Col. Russell Richardson will be inducted into the OCS Hall of Fame.
Richardson was commissioned as a second lieutenant of field artillery from the Kansas Army National Guard Officer Candidate School in 1986. For the first 17 years of his career, he served in each of the major artillery commands in Kansas, commanding at the battery level with Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 130th Field Artillery and Battery F, 1st Battalion, 161st Field Artillery and commanding the 2nd Battalion, 130th Field Artillery.
In 2003, Richardson deployed to Bosnia and Herzegovina as the training and movement officer of Joint Military Affairs, monitoring all training and movement of both the Bosnian and Serbian armies.
In 2007, Richardson deployed to Kosovo as chief of operations for the 35th Infantry Division during the time that Kosovo declared its independence as a country. Upon returning from Kosovo, Richardson became the officer in charge of the Premobilization Training Assistance Element, responsible for training over 7,000 Soldiers for deployments in the Sini, Kosovo, Bosnia, the Horn of Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2011, Richardson deployed to Afghanistan as the commander of Kansas Agribusiness Development Team 4 to assist the farmers of Afghanistan improve their farming and business practices and way of life.
From 2012-2016, he held several staff positions of increasing responsibility. These include officer in charge of the Domestic All-Hazard Response Team and liaison officer with the 35th Infantry Division.
In 2013, he served as the assistant chief of staff operations officer with 35th Infantry Division and was promoted to colonel in 2013. As personnel officer, Richardson was influential in updating the training and actively prepared the 35th ID for Warfighter 2016 and their deployment in 2017.
Richardson’s awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with bronze star, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, the Kosovo Campaign Medal and numerous other awards.