Commissioning of 97th Cadet Class and 11th Potential Officers Class
Photos by John O’Byrne
Earlier today the commissioning of the 97th Cadet Class and 11th Potential Officers Class took place in Collins Barracks, Dublin. The ceremony is a very important and proud day for the members of both classes and represents the successful completion of intensive military training.
The 97th Cadet Class began their training on 5 October 2020, in the Military College, Defence Forces Training Centre. Over the course of the last 18 months they have completed numerous military, tactical, physical and academic challenges. The class is comprised of cadets from the Army, Air Corps, Ordnance Corps, Corps of Engineers and cadets from the Armed Forces of Malta.
The 24 Non-Commissioned Officer students of the 11th Potential Officers Course (POC) commenced training on the 26 April 2021, in the Military College. These students followed in the footsteps of only just over 200 NCOs who have completed a Potential Officers Course, commissioning from the ranks, as Officers of Óglaigh na hÉireann In total, the students of the 11th POC have a combined service of 409 years, with individual service ranging from 9 to 24 years respectively, and a total of 79 missions overseas in the service of the State, in countries such as Kosovo, Bosnia, Chad, Mali, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Syria, and many more. Student individual specialisations include special forces operator, sniper, reconnaissance commander, armoured reconnaissance, logistician, administration, aircraft maintenance, human performance, electronic warfare specialists and many more skillsets from the broad spectrum of military operations.
The commissioning ceremony consisted of the Oath of Commissioning being read out by a Commissioned Officer and repeated by all Officer-Cadets. Each Officer-Cadet then marched forward in line. The Officer-Cadet then had their rank markings uncovered by an Investing Officer of The Irish Defence Forces. The Officer-Cadet then marched forward and congratulated by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D. on behalf of An tUachtarán, Michael D. Higgins. The newly-Commissioned Officer then marched over to the Sergeant Major of the Cadet School, Regimental Sergeant Major Stephen O’Neill, for his/her first salute.
The Lieutenant General William Callaghan Sword is awarded to the best Potential Officer in tactical exercises and
practical leadership. It was presented by Lt. Gen. William Callaghan (RIP),
former Force Commander, United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. It
consists of a sword mounted on a mahogany backing, on which a brass
plate has the following inscription:
Awarded annually to the soldier who obtained 1st place in Tactical Training and Practical Leadership Ability.
This year’s winners included Cadet Ryan Bradley and Captain Bryan Collins.
A first for a Defence Forces was the commissioning of a husband and wife team: Lieutenant Valerie Cole and Captain Philip Cole were students together on the 11th Potential Officers Course.
There to congratulate the newly commissioned cadets was the Defence Forces Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Seán Clancy,