James Prather, of Independence, was recently commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Missouri National Guard after he graduated from the accelerated program at the officer candidate school in Fort Meade, S.D.

James Prather, of Independence, was recently commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Missouri National Guard after he graduated from the accelerated program at the officer candidate school in Fort Meade, S.D.

During a graduation ceremony at the Capitol Rotunda, Col. Glenn Hagler, Missouri Guard chief of staff, congratulated Prather and six other Missouri National Guardsmen on their accomplishment.

“This was another life-long goal accomplished,” said Prather, who is with Detachment 1, Company D, 1st Battalion, 138th Infantry Regiment, of Anderson.

To graduate from the program, candidates must have 90 hours of college credit, complete 645.5 hours of military instruction and hold a secret security clearance.

Prather said it took immense amounts of discipline to complete officer candidate school, but he discovered a lot about himself through the experience.

“I recognized my strengths and weaknesses as a leader,” he said. “I learned what I need to improve upon.”

His military goal is to someday command a battalion-sized infantry element in combat.

After eight years in the Marine Corps, Prather has been in the Guard for three years.

A 1991 graduate of North Kansas City High School, Prather earned a bachelor’s of science degree in computer information systems from DeVry University in 2003.

In his civilian career, Prather is an immigration officer for the Department of Homeland Security in Lee’s Summit.

He is supported in his military career by his wife, Dora, and daughter, Cassandra, 5, both of Independence, and his step-father and mother, Robert and Sharon Beck, of Kansas City.