Thursday, August 19, 2010

Home Sweet Post Housing...Or Not

It seems for a while I haven't had anything to talk about and all of a sudden tons of things are coming to mind. We did just go through branching and now we are planning (or trying to) the next step after OCS.

Call me naive if you will. I really wasn't sure what to expect when it came to housing. We thought living on post during training would be the best option for a number of reasons. 1) If we couldn't live together then I would at least be close when he can come home and 2) we won't be there very long.

So I call Ft. Sill today just to get an idea of what I needed to do. Well, it didn't get well and I knew it wouldn't. Since we don't have official orders yet we can't even be put on the waiting list for housing and housing for his rank has a waiting list of 2-3 months. What does this mean for us? We are going to have to get an apt.

Don't get me wrong, I really don't mind living off post. But what we have found that it is harder to find a place because we have two dogs. Or maybe that is just around here. Also, since we don't know where the good areas are in a new place that makes it a little tougher.

One resource that I hope is useful is relocation center. When I called about housing I was given a different number to call to help with housing off post. Has anyone has experience with this?

I know it will all work out. Just curious about the time between OCS and reporting that really has me wondering where home is going to be.

All About OCS

I'm not sure how many of you have had to experience going through OCS as the spouse, but like anything else that has to do with the military it can be exciting and stressful all at the same time. Any failure on a test can get you sent back to the beginning.

The best part is that I can talk with John on the phone, Skype with him on the computer, and because he gets weekend passes I can go and visit. Although, I have only gone down for the big events such as graduation and branching.

Officer Candidate School is a 12 week course for Army soldiers to teach them what it takes to be a leader in the Army. These are not just candidates from basic, but also prior service, reserve and guard as well. Each week they sit in a class room for lecture and go over things such as land navigation, history of the Army and various other topics. Tests, PT tests and Land Navigation are all part of their testing. With the tests they are given two tries to pass. It is best to pass on the first try because if you have to retake it the highest you can score is a 70%.

Depending on how well they perform on these various topics depends on how high they are ranked out of the class. Ranking is very important (although it matters more to some than others). The higher a candidate is ranked, they have a better chance of getting the job they want.

Week 6 is when they Branch. This means they pick what job they want for the next three years of their military career. Again, it is important to do your best because the person ranked the highest gets to choose their branch first and so on. The good news is that reserve, guard and prior service already have their branch before starting OCS so those are less people competing for a branch.

Each class is given a allotment list that shows the class how many slots are open in fields such as Infantry, Fiance, Transportation and others, along with details if any. A detail is when they choose one field to do for the next two years, but then they will switch to another field after that. John branched Military Intelligence with a Field Artillery detail. Should he not get Medical Services his job for the next two years will be FA and then he will go into MI. When the slots are gone, they are gone.

In week 7-9, which John is currently in, they are in the field doing Land Navigation and other activities. You will not talk to your solider while they are in the field, so it is like being in basic all over again. However, land nav is rough from what I hear. Out of John's class 60% failed the first day, 20 people failed the second day, and I hope everyone passed today. If they don't pass on the third try they are then recycled.

John passed the first day. I was really worried, but thankfully he was able to sneak a text to me letting me know he passed. So far he hasn't had to retake a test or anything, but no matter what I am proud of him.

At the end of all this is a social, formal and finally commissioning. I am excited commissioning because I can finally be back with my husband and all we have to worry about is getting through training.

Good luck to anyone is going through OCS or about to go through OCS!

Monday, August 16, 2010

And We Are Moving To...

Over the weekend I was in Georgia for Branch Day. For those who don't know what Branch Day is, it is the day all OCS soldiers choose what their job will be in the Army for the next three years. Each Officer Candidate has been ranked based on PT scores, test scores and a few other things as well. Currently John is 40 out of 150 some. The lower you are ranked the less likely you are to get the job you want. However, for the most part everyone gets their first choice. Out of this class I would say there were abotu 10 who may not have been happy but only because of their ranking.

Each class gets a slot allotcation sheet that tells them how many job openining there are in Infantry, MI, Transportation and others. Candidates go up one at a time (in the order they are ranked), choose a job and then say, "I am Officer Candidate Pennington and I choose...". Prior service, guard and reserve already have their jobs going into OCS so they go up and state "I am" instead.

Anyone wanting to do Aviation, Medical Services or Engineering must fill out a packet. Aviation and Engineering both found out about their positions, but Medical Services have not. John is hoping for Medical Services.

So because we are still not sure about Medical Services John still had to pick a branch he wanted. Right now he will be doing Military Intelliegence with a Field Artilery detail. This means John will go for training at Ft. Sill, OK and do in FA for two years and then go and train to be in MI. Fingers are still crossed for Medical Services to come through though.