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NEWS | March 4, 2024

Serving with Intention: D.C. National Guard’s Office of the Staff Judge Advocate (OSJA) expands

By Master Sgt. Arthur M. Wright D.C. National Guard

In 2000, 1st Lt. Nick Harrison was a college student also serving active duty at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.  He had camaraderie, structure, and was emboldened to be more purposeful in every action.

“Veterans' educational benefits were instrumental in completing my bachelor's degree and subsequently pursuing a Juris Doctor and a Master of Business Administration between overseas deployments—Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait,” 1st Lt. Harrison said.  “These benefits underscored the military's commitment to supporting its members' lifelong learning and career advancement.”

Thirteen years later, he joined the District of Columbia National Guard, after transitioning from active duty to the Oklahoma National Guard.  The relocation helped him secure a position as a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) and provided pivotal moments for more personal and professional growth.

“I was placed in one of the military police companies, marking the beginning of a new chapter in my service,” 1st Lt. Harrison said.  “My transition into a role as a government contractor was directly facilitated by my company commander in the D.C. National Guard, who personally helped me secure the position.  This pivotal moment in my career illustrates the profound influence of the leadership and mentorship within the Guard, showcasing the tangible support provided to servicemembers in advancing their goals.”

Coming from a disadvantaged background, 1st Lt. Harrison saw the military not just as a pathway to service within something greater than himself, but a place to defy odds.  Last year, he made the decision to attend the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, motivated by his commitment to leverage his legal expertise for the betterment of service members.  On Feb. 28, 1st Lt. Harrison walked across the stage to receive his official certification as a military legal professional as part of the school’s 222nd Officer Basic Course.

“I'm poised to advocate for the rights and welfare of our troops with the utmost dedication and professionalism,” 1st Lt. Harrison said in response to completing the five-month course.  “This accomplishment is a testament to the power of perseverance, and I plan to utilize my skills to contribute positively to the D.C. National Guard and the communities we serve."

In addition to deepening his understanding of military law, 1st Lt. Harrison is encouraging young adults and professionals alike to consider service and serving with intention.

“I'd say the D.C. National Guard offers an unparalleled opportunity to make a significant impact—both in your own life and in the lives of others.  It's more than a commitment to serve,” he said.  “It’s a chance to grow, to challenge yourself, and to be part of a community dedicated to upholding our nation's values.  If you're seeking a path that offers both personal development and the chance to contribute to a greater cause, this organization might just be the journey you're looking for.”

The D.C. National Guard Office of the Staff Judge Advocate (DCNG OSJA) is comprised of the offices of the Army Staff Judge Advocate and the Air Staff Judge Advocate and is staffed by full and part-time (traditional) attorneys, legal administrative warrant officers, paralegal noncommissioned officers and junior enlisted personnel trained in the paralegal career field.  The DCNG OSJA fosters personnel readiness within the D.C. Air and Army National Guard by providing professional and timely legal assistance to all members, eligible family members, and military retirees.  

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