Survivors Guide to Navy
Officer Candidate School
Officer Candidate School can and will likely be one of the most challenging experiences of your life. There are no instructions you can read that will magically prepare you for what you are about to undergo. It is the goal of this brief writing to give you some tools for survival and keep you on track to commission as a Naval Officer.
Overview of the Curriculum:
Officer Candidate School (OCS) is a voluntary accession program, the goal of which is to groom Naval Officers. I mention that it is voluntary because from the first day there you will question whether or not you have made the right choice. Regardless of how bad it seems, all stress, be it physical, mental, or otherwise, is a test of your desire to become a Naval Oofficer. Though it may seem the Drill Instructors, Class Chief Petty Officers, and Class Officers would like nothing more than your D.O.R. (Drop On Request), you will see that they want capable officers above all else, and to ensure that, they make the program hard on individuals. They will break you down as individuals and build you up as a team. Work hard to be a team player and help your shipmates.
Typical OCS classes consist of officer candidates with a wide variety of designators. The most common designators are naval aviation, naval flight officers (NFOs), civil engineering corps (CEC), surface warfare officers (SWOs), submarine warfare officers (Sub Nukes), supply officers (Sup-O), special warfare officers, intelligence and cryptos. JAG, medical, dental, and other professionals do not go through OCS, but you will see them on easy street going through the motions in Officer Development School (ODS).
You will have prior enlisted (usually shortened to ‘priors’, also ‘mustangs’) officer candidates who have served a number of years of enlisted service (usually in the Navy, but not always). There will be fresh college grads and others who have worked a couple of years before deciding to join the Navy. OCS classes can run anywhere from 45-60+ officer candidates. The average OCS class is roughly 50 candidates. There is usually a summer rush due to high number of college graduates going to OCS after graduation in May. Classes are typically larger and convene more frequently than during the winter.
Three members of the staff at Officer Training Command Newport (OTCN) will be specifically assigned to your class. Collectively they are referred to as the Class Team. These members include a Class Officer, Class Chief Petty Officer, and a Class Drill Instructor. These three members will be primarily responsible for your class for the 12 weeks you are there; however, you will still have interaction with members of other class teams, especially the other Class Drill Instructors. Your Class Officer is a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy, usually a Lieutenant. The Class Chief Petty Officer could either be a Chief, Senior Chief or Master Chief in the U.S. Navy. Your Class Drill Instructor will usually be a Gunnery Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps though he could be a Staff Sergeant or First Sergeant.
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Any college age student that is morally and physically in shape should consider the Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Class (PLC) Program that leads to a commission in the Marine Corps. If qualified the candidate could be offered a guaranteed seat in the Naval Aviation Flight Program at NAS Pensacola after The Basic School (TBS). Have the student make an appointment with his local Marine Corps Officer Selection Officer (OSO) for details....................