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Officer Candidate School

by Ens Anthony J. Weidner, USNR

Editor's note:  We asked Ens Weidner to chronicle his journey through OCS at Pensacola and give potential AMDOs a glimpse of what they could expect during the initial phase of their training at OCS.  Here's his journal.  You can send him comments at aweidner_2000@yahoo.com.

Ens Weidner is a prior-enlisted Nuke with 12 years of service who earned his degree through the EEAP.  He has had tours aboard USS Enterprise and USS John C. Stennis.  He will graduate from AMO school on 5 October 2000 and head for his first AMDO tour at NAS Mayport.


 

1.  These are only guidelines as to what you might expect. During my training at OCS, I noticed that every class did things a little differently, even classes trained by the same Drill Instructor (DI). The DI is a highly motivated marine Staff Sergeant or above who was specifically trained to instill military discipline and bearing into new candidates. Most of the candidates have had no military experience and therefore everyone must start from square one at the bottom of the military discipline learning curve. There is no credit or leniency given for your prior experience, regardless of the amount, you are just one of the members of a new class.

 

2.  OCS has a good web page with a lot of useful information.  The suggested $100.00 is a little bit short, but is a minimal start and should get you through your first four weeks. Afterwards you will either need more cash or a means of getting some, like an ATM or credit card. Other nice things to bring are as follows, but remember that there is really no place to store anything other than underwear and the likes, and when you move every other week it is a pain to move the extra stuff. Leave everything but the absolute bare essentials in your car or at home.

 

-  Small, warm military issue blanket that does not take up to much space

-  A check book or at least a voided check from your bank account for informational purposes

-  A large compartmentalized handbag to help with the moves and storing everything that is not allowed in your limited locker space

-  Small battery operated travel alarm clock

-  Do not bring a coat or a jacket unless you are leaving it in the car

-  Do not bring boxer underwear

-  Bring at least two week worth of underwear, you will have no access to wash them for about a week, and you will sweat a lot and get real dirty during that week

-  Small AA maglight

-  Toiletry items. (Soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, electric razor or manual razor.)

 

3. Everything at OCS is done ballistically, that is all communication outside the classroom is done at the top of your voice. Most likely you will loose your voice within the first week. If your class does not yell loud enough you will become a very strong and fit class very quickly.

 

4. There is PT every morning except Thursday and Sunday for about an hour and a half followed by a quick shower or breakfast. Runs will start at a little over a mile then increase in length to over five miles by about your seventh week. Remember the time you spend on scheduled PT is not a lot. The extra PT is to get you IN SHAPE.

 

5. OCS is a large challenge in time management, multi-tasking, and teamwork. You will be given more things than are physically possible to complete by yourself and they will challenge your ability to complete them at all. Stress management is also a large part of your training at OCS because you will experience more stress than most people have ever felt, your drill instructor will insure of that.

 

6. There will be quarters every Monday morning for all classes that are past the indoctrination phase. Your class chief will be there to help with any serious problems that you may have (i.e. pay, family, medical, or parking).

 

7. You will train seven days a week until at least your fourth week, and then you will still train most of the days. Rest will be between taps and reveille if you are lucky enough to get that much.  There is no reason that you can not get seven hours of sleep with proper time management.

 

8. Once you start academic classes in the second week you will have classes every day, sometimes for most of the day (0700 Ė 1600).

 

9. Chow time is the Drill Instructors favorite time to give each class a little special attention, so there will be at least 3 times each and every day that your class may get some remedial physical exercise. The chow hall is anything but a relaxing place. There is a procedure on how to sit, eat, and drink.  BUT remember all these procedures or postures help muscle memory for the Drill period.

 

10. There will be two extremely stressful and physically testing exams called the Military training tests. They are given during your 4th and 9th weeks and in two parts each. The first part is a knowledge section/physical inspection given by the Class Officers. The second is a locker inspection/bearing composure test (how well you handle your locker being torn apart) by the Drill Instructors.

 

11. During the early phases of your training very little is told to you as to what you will be doing even in the next hour or so. It is a way to test your stress managing ability and time management. Make use of every moment you can find including the few extra moments you may have during head breaks, which trust me are very short breaks during the first week. (Head break = bathroom break).

 

12. Pilots and NFOs will have remedial swim practice on Tuesdays and Thursdayís evening after the third class swim test in preparation for API after graduation.

 

13. You start your training as an indoctrination class then you move to an unsecured class, to a secured class, then finally as Candidate Officers. The indoctrination phase lasts one week and is the time for you to do all the administrative necessities, to start to learn how your life at OCS will be for the next 13 weeks, and to get your first issues. The unsecured candidate phase is when you are not allowed to go anywhere by yourselves. Your time for the phones and laundry will be limited to a few hours on the weekends, and there is no liberty at all. In the secured officer candidate phase you can use the phones during an hour and a half each night if you have time and you will also get limited liberty only on the weekends. The first opportunity to get secured is during your 4th week MTT, but most donít make it. The time that most classes secure is after the 6th week personal inspection. After you get your secured status and your weekend liberty, they can be, and sometimes are taken away at anytime. The final phase of your training at OCS is the Candidate Officer phase. It is the last two weeks of OCS after all your graded evolutions are done and all your academics are done. You are basically finished with your training. It is the time you get to apply what you have learned and are accepted as part of the OCS Staff to supervise the junior classes and perform many of the duties required to run OCS.

 

14. During your indoctrination phase and academic class time you will get Military leadership courses scattered throughout your schedule. The material is non-testable but is extremely important to understand your job in the fleet.

 

15. There are no slow times regardless of what the schedule may say. If the day seems a little short on activity, expect that time to be utilized by your Class Drill Instructor preparing your class for military life with some constructive criticism, and remember that everything he does has a purpose, even if it is only to thicken your skin.

 

16. Whenever you are not in your room everything must be locked up in itís designated space, otherwise the Drill Instructors will ensure that you will be cleaning your room for at least a few extra hours just to get it organized again.

 

17. The amount of outdoor training that your class will receive will depend on the season that you are going through OCS in. In the summer when it is over 90 degrees outside most of the time you will spend more time indoors. Morning PT may also be held in doors during the winter if it is real cold outside. But donít think that just because you are indoors that your physical training will be easier, because trust me it is not.

 

The following is a rough timeline of events that occurred during my training at OCS divided into weeks and days.

 

WEEK 1

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

WEEK 2

Day 1 

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

 

WEEK 3 

Day 1 

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

 Week 4

Day 1 (The stress and anxiety that I was feeling was beginning to subside and I was beginning to feel more relaxed and at home with the schedule)

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day6

Day 7

 

Week 5

Day 1 (Scheduled pace started to slow down, but it was still quick and heavy)

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

 

Week 6

Day 1

Day2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

 

Week 7

Day1

Day 2

          No PT because we were on the Yard Patrol Boats all day practicing what we learned in Seamanship classes

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

 

Week 8

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

 

Week 9

Day 1

Day 2

 

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

 

Week 10

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

 

Week 11

Day1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6





Last updated 8.23.00