"This summer myself and eight other Midshipmen at Ohio State's NROTC were afforded the opportunity to be trained, screened, evaluated, and ultimately successfully complete the culminating event of our college career.
Officer Candidates School, or OCS, is a six week requirement taken between the junior and senior year of college. Every Marine Corps Officer since 1891 has been required to successfully complete this physically and mentally demanding course. For the past three years at the NROTC unit we have been training for this summer. Training included day and night land navigation, physical training from endurance courses and physical fitness tests, to class room instruction in leadership and the evolution of warfare. Despite three years of intensive training, field exercises, and forced marches nothing could quite prepare us for this past summer as we experienced OCS first hand.
Officer Candidates School's primary mission is to screen candidates to see if they are able to move forward in some of the most stressful situations they have ever faced, or break in the face of chaos. The mental tests of OCS are unlike anything I had handled before. On average most candidates would get 4‐5 hours of sleep between posting security or getting gear ready for the next day. Unlike boot camp, at OCS you are placed into billet assignments in charge of others. Billets would range from a fire team leader (in charge of 3‐4 candidates) to Candidate Company Commander (in charge of over 500 candidates). The successes or failures of your men and women are a direct reflection of your leadership and in turn could be the reason why you are sent home. At OCS you were expected to succeed. Therefore the only thing they judged you on was your failures. Overall, 15% of the candidates would be sent home due to failure in leadership, integrity, or being medically unable to continue with the physical demands of training. Training included the obstacle course, Tarzan course, confidence course, endurance course, 12 mile marches, basic squad level tactics, and the Quiqily (pictured).
Although the differences between boot camp and OCS are great, they both have the same outcome in producing some of the most well qualified fighting men and women in the world. Successfully completing OCS has been the greatest experience I have had in my college career. I look forward to continuing Ohio State's tradition in training next year's class to not only graduate, but graduate at the Horseshoe."