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  • #16
    Re: OCS Federal vs OCS State

    Not to muddy the waters, but to give the other side. I did state OCS and it was brutal as far as having to look towards that once a month that you had to go to drill. However, as a non-prior service candidate at the time the 15 months afforded me a lot more time to adjust to the military way of doing things. When you take over as an LT and your fresh from the streets there is a lot of credibitlity that has to be earned. A person who goes through one of the fast track schools of OCS straight from BCT has very little experience, but they are now standing in front of a formation that has people with 5, 10, 15 and 20+ years of experience and he has to be able to lead them with less than 6 months of experience and all of that experience is in a training environment. Someone who goes fast track has 9 wks of BCT and then 8 to 12 wks of OCS and now is standing in front of all of these people and saying follow me.

    The 15 month program gives you more time to see what military life is like, albeit in a training environment, and to really learn the jobs of the variuos parts of a unit. Coming from the 15 month program I understood supply and the challenges of getting ready for a drill weekend because I had to work with the supply sgt several times over the 15 months. I understood the personnel portion and having paperwork ready for drill, ordering meals to support the class and cadre, reserving vehicles, checking equipment, using it and turning it all back in between drills and a whole lot more. I have talked with those that did the fast track programs and they didn't have to work with supply sgt's, order their vehicles and do all of the paperwork because there just wasn't time for it all in a very short period of time. I had to do risk assesments of every activity and put it in the correct forms and load it to the correct websites so it could be signed off by cadre prior to showing up for drill. I had to develop contingency plans for weather and other unforseen events and have those approved as well. SOME of my fast track counterparts didn't have to do that and some have no idea what I'm talking about when I ask if they have done this stuff in prep for drill.

    All of that said though, I was envious of those that were able to do the fast track and get it all done in a far quicker time. The drills were hard and it was hard to balance the family/professional/OCS responsibilities, but it was no harder than having to do it as LT today. Is one better than another, maybe, maybe not. But I just wanted to give you a perspective from someone who did the 15 month program and at least has a perspective on how it COULD be good.

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    • #17
      Re: OCS Federal vs OCS State

      Originally posted by Portree228 View Post
      Not to muddy the waters, but to give the other side. I did state OCS and it was brutal as far as having to look towards that once a month that you had to go to drill. However, as a non-prior service candidate at the time the 15 months afforded me a lot more time to adjust to the military way of doing things. When you take over as an LT and your fresh from the streets there is a lot of credibitlity that has to be earned. A person who goes through one of the fast track schools of OCS straight from BCT has very little experience, but they are now standing in front of a formation that has people with 5, 10, 15 and 20+ years of experience and he has to be able to lead them with less than 6 months of experience and all of that experience is in a training environment. Someone who goes fast track has 9 wks of BCT and then 8 to 12 wks of OCS and now is standing in front of all of these people and saying follow me.

      The 15 month program gives you more time to see what military life is like, albeit in a training environment, and to really learn the jobs of the variuos parts of a unit. Coming from the 15 month program I understood supply and the challenges of getting ready for a drill weekend because I had to work with the supply sgt several times over the 15 months. I understood the personnel portion and having paperwork ready for drill, ordering meals to support the class and cadre, reserving vehicles, checking equipment, using it and turning it all back in between drills and a whole lot more. I have talked with those that did the fast track programs and they didn't have to work with supply sgt's, order their vehicles and do all of the paperwork because there just wasn't time for it all in a very short period of time. I had to do risk assesments of every activity and put it in the correct forms and load it to the correct websites so it could be signed off by cadre prior to showing up for drill. I had to develop contingency plans for weather and other unforseen events and have those approved as well. SOME of my fast track counterparts didn't have to do that and some have no idea what I'm talking about when I ask if they have done this stuff in prep for drill.

      All of that said though, I was envious of those that were able to do the fast track and get it all done in a far quicker time. The drills were hard and it was hard to balance the family/professional/OCS responsibilities, but it was no harder than having to do it as LT today. Is one better than another, maybe, maybe not. But I just wanted to give you a perspective from someone who did the 15 month program and at least has a perspective on how it COULD be good.
      As someone who as actually done BOTH State OCS and Accelerated OCS (long story...), I can attest to the fact that AOCS is the way to go if you're in shape and don't have sub-average intelligence. Hands down. While you may get some extra time at State OCS to learn things that may be overlooked at Accelerated OCS, it's not worth spending the extra time nor is it something that someone with > 110 IQ can't pick up quickly.
      Last edited by TxIntel 1978; September 25th, 2013, 09:20 AM. Reason: Word choice

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      • #18
        Just graduated state OCS completing phase 3 at AOCS... GO FEDERAL!!!!! AOCS is extremely physically and mentally demanding beyond anyone can prepare for because it's designed for prior service members at the rank of E6 and higher. Federal and Traditional State OCS is designed for those new to the Army/Guard.

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        • #19
          Federal OCS is the "easiest" if that's what you're looking for. I know several from officers that went Federal and they said there's nothing to it. Federal can be almost impossible to get depending on your state thought.

          If you can't get Federal, definitely do AOCS. AOCS is not as hard as people make it out to be. As mentioned already, if you're in decent shape and of average intelligence, you'll be fine. You don't need prior service to make it. The majority of OC's when I went through were non-prior service (including myself) and the only people to drop AOCS were due to injuries. We may have had one drop due to academic failure, but that's it.

          State OCS programs vary in quality as well. Some states have very good State programs, others not so much. This becomes apparent during Phase 3. You could tell which OC's had been in AOCS the whole time, which ones came from a solid State program and those that did not.

          Something else that you should consider is that you will be taking Phase 1 and 3 with AOCS candidates somewhere such as AMA anyway. Why not go ahead and knock out Phase 2 in 4 weeks while you're there and in the right mindset? Do you really want to stretch out a 4 week phase out into 18 months?

          I'd only recommend State OCS to those that actually need to break OCS down in a more traditional drilling status due to work or family issues as opposed to being away for 8-12 weeks at a time.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by new2lT View Post
            Just graduated state OCS completing phase 3 at AOCS... GO FEDERAL!!!!! AOCS is extremely physically and mentally demanding beyond anyone can prepare for because it's designed for prior service members at the rank of E6 and higher. Federal and Traditional State OCS is designed for those new to the Army/Guard.
            Stop spreading disinformation. This "designed for E6 and above" is what your OCS cadre told you to scare you away from it; it's completely made up. All three programs are based on the same curriculum which is accredited by OCS at Fort Benning. Also, why are you commenting on AOCS if you attended the traditional program?

            ​I am an AOCS graduate (YG 2007) and it's not "designed" differently from the other programs. We had plenty of non prior service candidates attend and complete it successfully with no problem. The claim that it's "demanding beyond what anyone can prepare for" is just madness; in terms of difficulty, it pales in comparison to litany of other Army schools. It's not fun but it's not that big of a deal.

            ​Again, I challenge anyone to offer a specific example of how "networking" with other candidates during OCS actually had a material impact on...anything, ever. You don't need to "network" (whatever that means) as a 2LT. You need to listen to people who know what they are doing and learn how to do your job.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Jersey Dirtbag View Post

              Stop spreading disinformation. This "designed for E6 and above" is what your OCS cadre told you to scare you away from it; it's completely made up. All three programs are based on the same curriculum which is accredited by OCS at Fort Benning. Also, why are you commenting on AOCS if you attended the traditional program?

              ​I am an AOCS graduate (YG 2007) and it's not "designed" differently from the other programs. We had plenty of non prior service candidates attend and complete it successfully with no problem. The claim that it's "demanding beyond what anyone can prepare for" is just madness; in terms of difficulty, it pales in comparison to litany of other Army schools. It's not fun but it's not that big of a deal.

              ​Again, I challenge anyone to offer a specific example of how "networking" with other candidates during OCS actually had a material impact on...anything, ever. You don't need to "network" (whatever that means) as a 2LT. You need to listen to people who know what they are doing and learn how to do your job.
              +1. I went through AOCS (2010) as a non prior service. It's not hard just like Jersey Dirtbag said. If you're scoring > 270 on the APFT and you are above average intelligence, you will make it.

              As for the networking part of State OCS, that's garbage. State OCS would have not done either Jersey Dirtbag, showstopper_999, or myself any good since we ALL IST'd from NJ to MD.

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              • #22
                I attended the traditional program, hereís my take on it. Keep in mind your YMMV depending on your region.

                Portree228 did bring up some good points. You do learn a lot by doing it spread over 18 months. I would suggest you not be so dismissive of networking/face time you get either. Iíve seen networking/face time effect positions, awards and evals in all three components. It might smack of ďgood oleí boy systemĒ but thatís the reality youíre in. The officers that teach the classes are the future company/battalion/brigade commanders. Many of them are the full time staff youíre going to need to get ranges, training space ect. Yes you can overcome this but youíre going to have a tougher time, especially if youíre state is large and geographically spread out.

                One thing youíre not going to get in AOCS or Federal OCS, is exposure to what youíre state has far as branches and units. Over the 18 months, you learn from other candidates and officers what branches have good promotions, what units have good leadership ect. This isnít something youíre going to get from the OSM. Depending on how your state does branching, this is the time to get your flight packet together or letter of acceptance to that unit you want. This is why Iím always against someone wanting to branch MI or Signal when no MI or Signal units exist in a state. Thereís no career for that person.

                Mentorship is something youíre not going to get in Federal OCS and limited at best doing AOCS. You get so many little things from down time with the TACs or your instructors. If you donít have a mentor, even as an officer, Iíd strongly suggest you find one.

                Quality of the programs. This is very subjective and can easily change from cycle to cycle. Iíve met some great TACs and not so great TACs. I lucked out and had pretty good TACs.

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