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  • Anyone have questions about Alabama's AOCS?

    I just graduated the winter course, ask away while my memory is fresh.

  • #2
    Re: Anyone have questions about Alabama's AOCS?

    I hope to be attending AOCS in Alabama next winter. I here a lot of different stories about how it was horrible for some people and not bad for others. Of course my recruiter told me there is about a 50% fail rate...? Is that about right? Also, how is it compared to BCT physically? I know it is 8 weeks long straight through and i worry about getting worn out over that time. Any suggestions on what to prepare for most?

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    • #3
      Re: Anyone have questions about Alabama's AOCS?

      50% fail rate. Only if that includes people who never make it through zero phase to get on the bus. You will certainly be worn out, and I thought it was a lot more demanding than BCT.

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      • #4
        Re: Anyone have questions about Alabama's AOCS?

        Physically I honestly thought BCT was worse, at least in terms of PT. I had a particularly hard company for PT in BCT and I can remember many nights going out an hour early to final formation in order to get smoked. In OCS the worst part is the first two weeks, but I can remember two major smoking sessions - one after night land nav and the other somewhere midway through phase 1. If you want a number, shoot for 250 on the PT test at least before you arrive, but if you can pass your PT test you'll probably be able to pass OCS. Just remember as they say, it's not a course where you should shoot for minimum requirements.

        You'll get dropped a lot in the bays and between classes, but midway through OCS it starts getting easier PT wise, especially after the final record APFT. The hardest physical part was this little hill you have to run up between classes while wearing LBV/E with full canteens, kevlar and mapcase. It's not that bad once or twice, but in Phase II with all the classes you go through it starts wearing you out more. For us, those classrooms were shut down after a week and I felt it was almost too easy as we just had to run across the quad. PT is not scheduled every morning and when it is, a good chunk of the PT session is usually taken up by the student 1SG trying to march the whole company down onto the parade field and remember the commands.

        Physically, get running down and be comfortable with rucking/road marching. Some people dropped after the 5 mile road march because they didn't have tough feet and they got all blistered up and had to go home... that'd was midway in Phase 1 meaning they'd have to start from day 1 again if they returned. Many people kept getting blisters/leg injuries further down the course too.. personally I hiked most of the summer and fall to prepare, up to a 22-23 miler one day, but that's also a hobby of mine. Make sure you have a good pair of boots for those marches too. The other physical thing you'll just have to get used to is 4 - 5 hours of sleep per night and 0 - 2 on nights you're in leadership, but that's not something you can practice on. You pretty much just eat it up. Another thing is learn to do some pullups, you will be doing up to 8 before each meal. They'll likely start you low, but even at the end there were people who still couldn't do many and they were sent to the pit for it.. if you can do 5 consecutive before showing up you're probably fine.

        Other preperations you should do (hopefully in a phase 0) is reviewing mapreading, land navigation, call for fire, the 8 troop leading procedures and the 5 paragraph oporder. Land nav is one of the big tests that drop people and it's at the end of Phase 1. The more land nav you can do, the better. Call for fire is a test in Phase 2 that a lot of people have trouble with as there's a bit of math involved. I went through the course twice during drills/phase 0s before going to OCS and while I was iffy on it the first two times when I hit that test in OCS I only missed one question.

        The five para oporder and the TLPs are your bread and butter all through Phase 3 and you're expected to know their major parts in order when you show up. Be able to rattle them off and you'll get less trouble from the TACs. Also, grab a copy of the OC guide off the Alabama website and study the required knowledge section. Finally, get some DNC down re: marching people around - file from the right/left/in sequence, countercolumn, mark time, all the basic commands.

        Knowing the place of leadership in a company formation is useful and you need to be comfortable in front of a formation. If you have someone from your state who can teach you the basics of the pre-meal procedures and classroom procedures, learn from them. Otherwise when you get down there, be quietly mouthing the procedures and rehearsing them in your mind so you'll know what to do if they pick you for CO, XO or 1SG.

        For the dropout rate.. the number I heard tossed around was 30%. A good number of those people went traditional after Phase 1 or were talked into going it during Phase 2 as they weren't adapting. It seems about right to me but I couldn't provide you with a hard number on my class. If I can find one I'll write it down here.

        Winter is the best time to go, fyi, everyone agreed on that. In summer the land nav course would be fully overgrown and the heat would be intolerable.

        Hopefully that helps, might seem like a lot but it is really managable, especially with a good RTI. If you want more clarification on any of that, ask away.
        Last edited by SFC_Wilson; April 8th, 2011, 12:32 AM.

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        • #5
          Re: Anyone have questions about Alabama's AOCS?

          As far as pre-phase drills go, do you have to have all of the equipment on the packing list?

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          • #6
            Re: Anyone have questions about Alabama's AOCS?

            Originally posted by forcex View Post
            As far as pre-phase drills go, do you have to have all of the equipment on the packing list?
            You mean for the phase 0 drill itself? That would depend on your state and what they want. My state worked across several months getting us things on the list, although in the end I still had to pay about $200 - $300 out of pocket.. which isn't bad considering I've heard of people paying up to a thousand dollars for equip to go.

            As far as OCS itself, yes you are supposed to have all the equipment on the packing list. Several people showed up without two wool blankets, compasses, map cases and a few other sundries. You can draw some of this from supply there (or have TACs collect money for the PX sometimes) and in the few days we had of in-processing many lists of people missing equipment were made and submitted up the chain.

            Get your equipment and six part folders squared away as soon as you can.

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            • #7
              Re: Anyone have questions about Alabama's AOCS?

              I'm starting Zero Phase in February. Anything I should know/prep for? Now that you've been an officer for a while, what do you think of it? Any advice, suggestions. I'm leaving for AOCS in June. Thanks!

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              • #8
                Re: Anyone have questions about Alabama's AOCS?

                I've been busy with MP BOLC, so hopefully this message catches you in time.

                As far as Phase 0, that depends highly upon your state. You might just be prepared for things to **** in general and for you to get yelled at and smoked. Other than that it's hard to say, it depends what your state's RTI puts on the curriculum. Basic things like D&C are useful, you should try to never freeze up in front of a formation. Other than that, the stuff I suggested earlier is good. Know the Troop Leading Procedures and 5 Paragraph OpOrd. Good luck doing the June OCS, I hope you're used to heat. If possible I'd definitely try to acclimatize some to that.

                As far as what I think about being an officer so far - it's really a learning experience as a 2LT (especially in BOLC). I've come pretty far myself and grown a lot. I'll be glad to get back to my platoon now that I actually understand MP functions. A lot of being a PL is not only understanding your mission, but understanding your soldiers and giving them all you can. Of course, you also need to push on them to make them get better. It's a tough job and requires a lot of research and work, but it's definitely one where you develop. It's really not about the salutes or sirs but about what you can do to make the platoon better.

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