NORMAN — Oklahoma Army National Guardsman Maj. Keith A. Varner, a native of Purcell, recently was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel in a ceremony at the Oklahoma National Guard Headquarters.
Varner began his military career in 1987 when he enlisted in the Oklahoma Army National Guard as an air traffic controller. He attained the rank of staff sergeant before attended Officer Candidate School and receiving a commission as a second lieutenant in 1992.
After receiving his commission, Varner attended the Infantry Officer Basic Course, followed by the U.S. Army’s rotary-wing pilot course, where he trained to fly the Army’s UH-1 “Huey” helicopter.
As the Huey left the Army’s inventory, Varner transitioned to the UH-60 “Blackhawk” and continued to serve the Oklahoma Army National Guard as a rotary-wing pilot until taking a position with the Oklahoma Army National Guard’s Recruiting Command in 2006.
His awards include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Achievement Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Reserve Components Achievement Medal with Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Silver Hourglass and M Device, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, Oklahoma Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Oklahoma Guardsman Medal, Oklahoma Recruiting Medal, Oklahoma State Active Duty Medal, Oklahoma Long Service Medal (25 years), Army Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Senior Army Aviator badge, the Air Assault Badge and the National Guard Basic Recruiting Badge.
Varner, a 1987 graduate of Purcell High School, has a bachelor’s degree in human resources management from the University of Central Oklahoma. He and his wife, Kathryn, have a daughter, Sydney, 13, and son, Joshua, 9. They have been married for 22 years and are members of the Quail Springs Church of Christ.
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