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Officer Candidate School graduation, Hall of Fame ceremony set for Aug. 20

Aug. 10, 2022 | By Bailey Hittle
The Kansas National Guard’s 235th Regiment will host a graduation ceremony for Officer Candidate School – Class 66 Saturday, Aug. 20 at the Kansas Highway Patrol Academy, 2019 E. Iron Ave., Salina. The ceremony will begin at 4 p.m.

In conjunction with the ceremony, retired Col. David G. Nickum and retired Col. David A. Leger (posthumously) will be inducted into the OCS Hall of Fame.

This year’s OCS graduates are Ishwar Dutt, Lawrence; Marcello Esposti, Wichita; Angelic Giesbricht, Pleasant Hill, Missouri; Godlove Koleihn, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Giovanni Popoca, Lansing; Joseph Nail, Dodge City; Oscar Repreza, Wichita; and Brandon Wagner, Augusta.

“Growing up in a military family, I know the importance of service, integrity, and accountability. I commend your dedication and service,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Congratulations to Class 66 of the Kansas National Guard Officer Candidate School -- and a special congratulations to retired Colonel David Nickum and the late retired Colonel David Leger on their induction into the school’s Hall of Fame.”

Retired Col. David G. Nickum

Retired Col. David G. Nickum enlisted in the Kansas Army National in December 1956 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1962 in the Kansas National Guard Officer Candidate School -- Class 6. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management and master’s degrees in Business Management and Information Systems Management.

Nickum's military education includes Transportation Officers Basic Course, Army Rotary Wing Aviators Course, Armor Officer’s Advanced Course, Command and General Staff Officers College, Army Logistics Executive

Development Course, and a professional certificate in Maintenance Management Information from the Army Management Staff College.

Nickum served as an enlisted musician in the Kansas National Guard's 42nd Army Band, where he later became the full-time administrative/supply technician and the unit armorer and bus driver.
After his commission and completing the Transportation Officers Basic Course and Rotary Wing flight training, he became a platoon leader in the 137th Transportation Company, Light Helicopter and later as aero scout platoon leader, 169th Aviation Company. He was activated with the 69th Separate Infantry Brigade in May 1968. While on active duty, he was assigned to the First Air Cavalry Division in the Republic of Vietnam, 15th Transportation Corps Aviation Maintenance Battalion as the assistant intelligence and operations officer, and later became the battalion Headquarters Company commander.

After release from active duty, he transferred to the 326th Area Support Group, United States Army Reserve, as the staff aviation maintenance officer. During that assignment, he was selected for the group's Active Guard-Reserve security, plans and operation officer position. He was later assigned to Headquarters, Sixth U.S. Army deputy chief of logistics as the aviation and watercraft maintenance officer, with additional duty as liaison officer to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Region 9.

His final assignment was to Headquarters, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Monroe, Virginia, as deputy chief of staff of Personnel Administration and Logistic as chief of Mobilization, Personnel and Logistics Plans. His team was assigned the task of developing and later implementing Continental Replacement Stations at six active Army mobilization and training locations in the United States.

His awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leave clusters, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal-two awards, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with three bronze service stars, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with palm device, and the Army Aviator Badge.

Retired Col. David A. Leger

Retired Col. David A. Leger attended Warrant Officer Rotary Wing Flight Training at Fort Rucker, Alabama, in 1981 and was assigned to Company B, 2nd Aviation Battalion, Camp Casey, South Korea. Leger finished his active duty in the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry at Fort Riley, Kansas and, in 1987, went to work full time for the Kansas Army National Guard at Army Aviation Support Facility #2 in Salina. The following year, he commissioned as a second lieutenant after completing the Kansas Army National Guard Officer Candidate School -- Class 32.

Leger’s career assignments included aviation unit maintenance platoon leader; commander of Company D, 135th Aviation; commander of Company D, 1st Battalion, 108th Aviation Regiment; 1-108th Aviation logistics officer; 35th Division aviation officer; 1-108th Aviation battalion executive officer; 1-108th Aviation Battalion commander, and commander of AASF#2. In the last 11 of his 35-year career, he led Kansas aviation as the state army aviation officer, representing Kansas nationally and gaining respect from his peers and leaders.

Leger participated in Operation New Horizons as the aviation officer in charge to Belize in 2001 and to Panama in 2005. In 2003, he deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina as the executive officer of the 1-108th Aviation. In 2012, he commanded the 1-108th Aviation Battalion on a deployment to Kuwait, successfully providing critical aviation support to the U.S. retrograde from Iraq.

Leger completed multiple military education courses, including the Aviation Maintenance Officer course and Command and General Staff College. He also completed two baccalaureate degrees, the latter in mechanical engineering from Kansas State University.

His awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster, Armed Force Expeditionary Medal, NATO Medal (Bosnia-Herzegovina) and the Master Army Aviator Badge.

Leger passed away on Sept. 8, 2021