Redstone Test Center experimental test pilots, from left, Maj. Matt Gallup, Capt. Vinny Franchino and Maj. Jaryd Bailey are among Friday’s graduates of the staff officer course at the Command and General Staff School.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Redstone Test Center experimental test pilots, from left, Maj. Matt Gallup, Capt. Vinny Franchino and Maj. Jaryd Bailey are among Friday’s graduates of the staff officer course at the Command and General Staff School. (Photo Credit: Skip Vaughn ) VIEW ORIGINAL
Commencement speaker Maj. Gen. Tom O’Connor, commander of the Aviation and Missile Command, congratulates Maj. Jaryd Bailey, distinguished honor graduate Friday at Heiser Hall.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Commencement speaker Maj. Gen. Tom O’Connor, commander of the Aviation and Missile Command, congratulates Maj. Jaryd Bailey, distinguished honor graduate Friday at Heiser Hall.

(Photo Credit: Skip Vaughn)
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The top graduate of the latest class from the Command and General Staff School had the luxury of taking the four-month course at his home installation, Redstone Arsenal.

Maj. Jaryd Bailey, an experimental test pilot at Redstone Test Center, was the distinguished honor graduate from the staff officer course graduation Friday at Heiser Hall. The Apache helicopter pilot has been in the Army for 11 years and arrived in June from the test pilot school at Patuxent River, Maryland.

The 34 graduates included two other experimental test pilots in RTC’s Aviation Flight Test Directorate, Maj. Matt Gallup and Capt. Vinny Franchino. All three arrived in June from the test pilot school. Gallup, a Black Hawk pilot, was a distinguished graduate Friday which represents the top 10% of the class. Franchino is an Apache pilot.

“Being able to go home every night, not living in a hotel and spending weekends with Lawrie (Manning, girlfriend); those were all benefits of living here and taking the course here,” Bailey, 34, from Black River Falls, Wisconsin, said.

The Huntsville resident shared his thoughts about the 16-week course. “Overall, it was challenging because it required both recall, knowledge, fore testing and oral and written skills,” Bailey said.

“It was an interesting introduction to the joint world,” Gallup, 32, from Temple, Texas, said. “And it helped provide that background of where we’re going with the military as we transition from counterinsurgency to large-scale combat operations.”

Gallup, in the Army just over 10 years, enjoyed being able to go to his Harvest home every night. “It’s nice to have the kind of support base here that we’re part of. And so, if there were any issues we could work with our unit and we had our family members here as well,” he said.

Maj. Gerrit Van Ommering, of Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, was the third distinguished graduate and the top military history, tactics and overall contributor. The superior graduates, representing the top 30% of the class, included Maj. Brian Schwartzkopf, Maj. Robert Hinman, Maj. Amber Stratton, Capt. Emmanuel Bagho, Maj. Benjamin Neterer and Maj. Cody VandenRaadt. Schwartzkopf, of Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, said he was no relation to the late Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf. “No relation, I get that a lot,” he said.

Commencement speaker Maj. Gen. Tom O’Connor, commander of the Aviation and Missile Command, thanked the family members and the faculty and staff and congratulated the graduates.

“The expectation for you at this next level is to run your organization, run your team, run your unit,” O’Connor told the field grade officers. He encouraged them to “figure out how you can help those to your right and your left, because that’s what it’s all about.”

The class gift to the school was a framed poster from the classic 1949 movie “Twelve O’Clock High.”

The Command and General Staff School, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, educates and develops leaders for full spectrum, joint, interagency and multinational operations. The Redstone Arsenal Satellite Campus opened in January 2010; and Joe Judge is the campus director. The other satellite campus is in Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

Graduates of the Staff Officer Course, class 2023-003, include the following:

Staff Group Alpha: class leader Maj. Shay Lopez, staff group leader Maj. Sheila Williamson, Maj. Nicole Bracey, Maj. David Ells, Maj. Chad Evans, Capt. Vinny Franchino, Dr. R. Douglas Olds, Maj. Daniel Parra, Chaplain (Maj.) Gill Price, Maj. Shawn Rakes, Maj. Brian Schwartzkopf, Maj. Gerrit Van Ommering

Staff Group Charlie: staff group leader Maj. Robert Hinman, Maj. Jaryd Bailey, Capt. James Bunch, Maj. Rusty Cook, Capt. Gully Demelien, Maj. Matt Gallup, Maj. Porter Lockhart, Maj. Kristy Matinez, Maj. Christina Nalley, Maj. David-Jeremy Orate, Maj. Amber Stratton

Staff Group Delta: staff group leader Maj. Jeremy Briggs, Capt. Emmanuel Bagho, Maj. Kimberly Gordon, Maj. Jennifer Koontz, Maj. Benjamin Neterer, Maj. Jessica Oesch, Joseph Powers, Maj. Jose Ramirez, Maj. Brian Sutherland, Maj. Cody Vandenraadt and Capt. Frank Wood.