Jackson Guard Soldier commissioned to rank of second lieutenant
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. -- After more than 10 years among the enlisted ranks, Karen Silas of Jackson, Mo., was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant last week during a ceremony at the Missouri National Guard armory in Cape Girardeau.
Silas, 30, attended Missouri Officer Candidate School at Fort Leonard Wood from spring 2008 until September of 2009. Silas was promoted on April 2 and sworn in by Maj. Scot Ratcliff, the administrative officer for the 1140th Engineer Battalion.
"I was coming up on the 10-year mark toward retirement and you come to a point where you're either going to stay in and make a career out of it or you're going to get out," Silas said. "I decided to make a career out of it and go to OCS. I love what I'm doing. I love my job, so being an officer helps me to help more people on a larger scale."
Silas began her duties as the 1140th's human resources specialist last week. Her new duties include overseeing appointments, discharges, separations, branch transfers, interstate transfers, retirements, survivor benefits and more. Silas is also the S-1 officer as part of her regular Guard duties, making her responsible for various other personnel issues.
Second Lt. Silas is going to be a great fit in the S-1 section, Ratcliff said, noting that she has worked at the unit level, the battalion level and the brigade level.
"She is very detail-oriented, well organized and mature," Ratcliff said. "Many administrative transactions are repetitive; however, she is always working to come up with ways to increase productivity for not only her, but the staff and the admin NCOs at the unit level."
Silas has displayed leadership characteristics above her pay grade even before she was commissioned, Ratcliff said.
"Her common sense approach to solving problems and teaching has already paid off," he said. "Our admin NCOs at the unit level are becoming more efficient and proficiency is increasing every day."
Silas has worked toward becoming an officer for quite some time.
"It was a long year and a half," Silas said of the process. "It is a great feeling of accomplishment to see how far I've come."
Silas is married to Spc. David Silas, who is currently deployed to Afghanistan. They have four children: Jillian, 10; D.J., 8; David, 4; and Mason, 3.
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