FORT SILL, Oklahoma (May 7, 2020) -- A couple years ago, when then-Sgt. 1st Class Jason Blanco was thinking about his future in the Army he considered three options. He could stay enlisted and strive to become a sergeant major; he could put in a packet to become a warrant officer; or he could apply to theGreen to Gold program to complete his bachelor’s degree and become a commissioned officer.He discussed his options with his family and with his supervisor, Maj. Dick Dobkins, 30th Air Defense Artillery Brigade S3 operations, Dobkins recalled.“We talked about the pros and cons of being an officer, as well as putting in a warrant packet,” said Dobkins, who was similarly once air defense artillery enlisted Soldier. “Bottom line: He’s just a hungry guy who wants to challenge himself more, and to achieve excellence. He would be a success no matter which route he went.”Blanco and former Sgt. 1st Class Lauran Kissiah, who was also with the 30th ADA Brigade, were two of the nine Cameron University ROTC cadets who were commissioned as second lieutenants May 1; two other cadets will be commissioned this summer.There was no formal commissioning ceremony this semester at the CU campus because of the pandemic, so Kissiah and Blanco requested to have a small ceremony outside the 30th ADA Brigade Headquarters here.“I’m elated,” said Blanco after the ceremony. “The (ROTC) program was everything I hoped it would be. It’s been one heck of a learning journey.”Kissiah said he applied to Green to Gold because as an officer he could have more influence on mission planning, and on his Soldiers, as well as the retirement benefits. He noted that only about 100 Soldiers from 1,200 applicants Armywide were selected to begin the two-year Green to Gold program in August 2018.Both said they listed the ADA branch as their first choice when officer assignments were being detailed during ROTC.“I picked the branch  because it’s growing, and there is such a need for competent officers,” Kissiah said. “With my experience and knowledge it benefits me and the Army.”Now Kissiah and Blanco will begin the ADA Basic Officer Leader Course here June 8. They will graduate in November, and already have their assignments. Blanco will remain at Fort Sill with the 31st ADA Brigade; and Kissiah will move on to 4th Battalion, 5th ADA at  Fort Hood, Texas.Lt. Col. Seth Hall, CU ROTC Department of Military Science chairman, said the two brought experience to the program. He chose them to fill leadership positions in the Comanche Battalion.“They were the best in their class,” said Hall. “Former NCOs really make our program unique and sets us apart.”Dobkins administered the oath of office to Blanco, who then spoke.“I thank God for putting the right people in front of me, especially my wife and kids,” said Blanco, who was the 3-6th ADA Curriculum Developer of the Year in 2017. He thanked numerous people by name, many who were present.Capt. Steven Haley, executive officer to the ADA commandant, administered the oath of office to Kissiah. He described Kissiah as a squared away Soldier and a team player.Kissiah thanked his family for their support. He also thanked every team leader “who taught me right, wrong, or indifferent.”Kissiah and Blanco acknowledged Dyan Wright, CU ROTC Human Resources assistant, who was in the audience.“She is the lifeblood of the (ROTC) program, without her it does not work,” Blanco said. “I never met a human resources person that works so dag gone hard, and by herself.”The Kissiah and Blanco families were present for the commissioning, and helped fasten the second lieutenant shoulder boards on their respective Soldiers.As part of a longstanding Army tradition, when a new second lieutenant is rendered a salute for the first time it is celebrated. Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Burnley, ADA branch CSM, saluted Blanco, who returned his salute and then presented him with a silver dollar.Command Sgt. Maj. John Foley, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill CSM, saluted Kissiah, who returned his salute, and also presented him with a silver dollar.Candyce Kissiah said she felt relieved that her husband finished the program, and she is ready to start the next chapter in the family’s Army career.“I’ve always been ready to pick up and move, it comes with the territory, and have always been behind him 110 percent,” she saidMichele Blanco said she felt very proud of her husband, and she supported him as he went through his college studies.“Anytime he needed me to proofread his papers or other help I would do it,” she said. “If he needed time alone to do things, we gave it to him.”Cameron’s ROTC program has a special relationship with Fort Sill, Hall said.“We’ve got such  fantastic support from the FORSCOM (Forces Command) units, the TRADOC (Training and Doctrine Command) units, and the post headquarters,” he said. “We get training, and we get access to subject matter experts through Fort Sill. Most other cadets do not have this opportunity. We are so grateful for our relationship with Fort Sill.”