FULTON — Fulton’s Jacob Bailey has taken the next step toward a life of leadership.
A ceremony was held Wednesday at Veterans’ Park in Fulton to commission Bailey as a second lieutenant in the United States Marines. Relatives and friends were on hand for the special event. These ceremonies typically occur during college graduation, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was delayed.
That didn’t matter to Bailey, who graduated in May from SUNY Morrisville.
“I’m pretty excited,” he said. “It’s probably the most important day of my life so far.”
Capt. Benjamin Farmer, the selection officer with the Marine Corps recruiting station in Albany, presided over the ceremony and administered the oath taken by Bailey.
Farmer said he is proud of Bailey for his selfless decision to become an officer in the Marines, and for all the hard work he has done to achieve that goal.
“He’s going to touch a lot of lives in a positive manner being an officer in the Marine Corps,” Farmer said.
A 2016 graduate of Fulton’s G. Ray Bodley High School, Bailey attended Onondaga Community College for a semester and then enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves. He has been in the Reserves since January 2017.
He went back to school at SUNY Morrisville and earned his bachelor’s degree in May in the automotive management program.
Wednesday’s ceremony began with remarks from Farmer. He outlined the path Bailey took to take this step, and described what lies ahead for him.
“As a member of the Platoon Leaders Class program, he was required to maintain full-time student status throughout the school year and attend Marine Corps training at Officer Candidate School (OCS) in the summer,” Farmer said.
OCS is located in Quantico, Virginia, and is where officer candidates are evaluated.
“It is a physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding test, and not all who attempt it succeed,” Farmer said. “Jacob met this challenge and proved that he has what it takes to be a leader of Marines. Now that he is graduated from college, he is ready to assume the title of second lieutenant.”
In May, Bailey will report to Quantico to attend the Basic School for six months.
“That’s where lieutenants are groomed by experienced officers in preparation for their first assignment as a Marine Corps officer,” Farmer said. “They study everything from how to conduct an attack in an urban environment to proper etiquette for a formal dinner with foreign dignitaries.”
Upon completion of the Basic School, Bailey will attend an occupational specialty school in preparation for service in the Fleet Marine Force.
Farmer then administered the oath to Bailey, and Jacob’s parents, Lisa and Greg Bailey, pinned the bars on the newly commissioned second lieutenant.
It was a special moment for his parents.
“It’s been a dream of his for a while, so he’s accomplishing one of his dreams,” Greg Bailey said.
Next, Cpl. Elijah Connel rendered 2nd Lt. Bailey his first salute as an officer in the Marine Corps. Bailey and Connel have trained together in Syracuse. Bailey responded back with a salute in respect to the enlisted members that he is going to lead.
All those in attendance gave enthusiastic applause to Bailey for his achievement.
“Everyone here should be proud to be a part of 2nd Lt. Bailey’s life,” Farmer said. “It’s great to see the support because somebody that is going to take on this type of endeavor is going to need it. He’s going to need his family’s love. He’s going to need his friends’ love. I encourage you to continue to support him because this is just the beginning.”
“I just want to thank everyone for showing up and supporting me through the years,” Bailey said. “It has led me to what I’m doing now.”
Farmer said he enjoys these ceremonies because of the significant commitment being made by the new officers.
“It’s the best part of the position that I’m in right now to be able to let him loose and go ahead and prosper and grow as an officer in the United States Marine Corps,” he said. “Regardless of what his occupation is going to be is the fact that he is going to be a leader. People are going to depend on him.”