Thursday, August 19, 2010

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!

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