NewsCovering Louisiana


Cousins unite at Pineville's Officer Candidate School

Posted at 3:53 PM, Jun 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-30 16:53:39-04

PINEVILLE, La- An American cadet and a Belize cadet were complete strangers at their June 3 drill at the Officer Candidate School in Pineville until they realized they were cousins.

On that Thursday, the Louisiana National Guard says the two immediately took notice of their resemblance; having the same last name was just a bonus.

"My father's side of the family is from Belize, and our skin has a distinct look," Savannah admitted.

Savannah Baizar, an officer candidate and soldier with the Forward Support Company, 528th Engineer Battalion out of Monroe, grew up in Las Vegas.

Until just a couple of weeks ago, the cadets never heard of one another.

Renon Baizar is a Belize Defence Force soldier and was raised in Punta Gorda, Belize.

He is one of several soldiers sent from Belize to attend OCS with Louisiana guardsmen as part of the State Partnership Program.

"In our family we have nearly identical noses, so I knew, alright, this is probably my cousin," Renon laughed.

When Savannah consulted with her father and traced their intertwining genealogy, the two were able to confirm that they were indeed second cousins.

Both Baizars were happy to have found one another, they say.

Upon completion of OCS, the Baizars hope to build stronger family ties going forward.

The State Partnership Program leverages whole-of-society relationships and capabilities to facilitate broader interagency and engagements spanning military, government, economic and social spheres.

Since 1996, the two countries have since participated in approximately 270 events.

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