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  • First OCS 0 Phase drill impressions

    My state's OCS has officially begun! Our first 0 phase drill was two weekends ago, and it was something of an eye-opener for me. It's one thing to participate in a PT formation, get marched around, etc., it's another thing entirely to be the PSG running the show (I'll bet you can guess which FMs I've been reading recently). Fortunately, our class has a substantial advantage in that we're drilling with a couple of OC medical recycles. These guys are on top of the game and watching them perform in leadership has been invaluable.

    The drill kicked off with a PT test, followed by paperwork, stern admonishments and dire warnings. At this point, 20% of the class dropped--followed by my jaw. I couldn't believe it. Getting to OCS has been such a huge pain in the b*tt for me that I had difficulty comprehending people dropping out after being read the graduation requirements.

    The rest of the drill was spent receiving various briefings, familiarization with unit SOP, and a land nav refresher. The land nav course we ran on day 2 was nothing like BCT land nav. The site was much larger, was densely overgrown, featured a large water/marsh area in the middle, and was generally challenging to navigate. If the phase 1 nav sites are like this, I can see that effective use of perimeter roads is likely to be key to success.

    I've heard other 09S indicate that their commands regard 0 phase as optional. I'm not sure if it's optional or not, but in my view treating it as such is a mistake. I can already tell that showing up to phase 1 without the benefit of OCS prep will put just about anyone behind the curve.

    Overall, it was good experience and I'm looking forward to the next drill.

  • #2
    Re: First OCS 0 Phase drill impressions

    Great news. I plan on doing AOCS next year. Keep us posted!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: First OCS 0 Phase drill impressions

      Originally posted by rkh View Post
      My state's OCS has officially begun! Our first 0 phase drill was two weekends ago, and it was something of an eye-opener for me. It's one thing to participate in a PT formation, get marched around, etc., it's another thing entirely to be the PSG running the show (I'll bet you can guess which FMs I've been reading recently). Fortunately, our class has a substantial advantage in that we're drilling with a couple of OC medical recycles. These guys are on top of the game and watching them perform in leadership has been invaluable.

      The drill kicked off with a PT test, followed by paperwork, stern admonishments and dire warnings. At this point, 20% of the class dropped--followed by my jaw. I couldn't believe it. Getting to OCS has been such a huge pain in the b*tt for me that I had difficulty comprehending people dropping out after being read the graduation requirements.

      The rest of the drill was spent receiving various briefings, familiarization with unit SOP, and a land nav refresher. The land nav course we ran on day 2 was nothing like BCT land nav. The site was much larger, was densely overgrown, featured a large water/marsh area in the middle, and was generally challenging to navigate. If the phase 1 nav sites are like this, I can see that effective use of perimeter roads is likely to be key to success.

      I've heard other 09S indicate that their commands regard 0 phase as optional. I'm not sure if it's optional or not, but in my view treating it as such is a mistake. I can already tell that showing up to phase 1 without the benefit of OCS prep will put just about anyone behind the curve.

      Overall, it was good experience and I'm looking forward to the next drill.
      I too have been through alot to get here and there's NO WAY I'm quitting....

      I will attend Phase 0 for my state's OCS in May; I'll be sending you a PM with some questions!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: First OCS 0 Phase drill impressions

        Traditional OCS tends to have a high attrition rate because of the length of time. In AZ phase 0 isn't optional, if you're enrolled in the program then you have to attend and it is for the best. We spent a lot of time on land nav because that is the number one event that disqualifies people. So make sure you have it down really well.

        Keep us posted on your progress and if you have any questions just send me a private message.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: First OCS 0 Phase drill impressions

          Do they still require a night land nav test to pass?

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          • #6
            Re: First OCS 0 Phase drill impressions

            Originally posted by fmcityslicker View Post
            Do they still require a night land nav test to pass?
            Thats one of my first tests at Phase 1 / 1st AT. Written test, day practical & night practical.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: First OCS 0 Phase drill impressions

              they did as of last year. Night time being at sunset, so as soon as the sun sets you can being plotting, if you're fast enough you have about 45 minutes of sunlight to work with. I was fortunate to have two points in a row that were on the same azimuth for a grand total of 400 meters. You need two out of five to pass at night. No points are illuminated, no moving with your red light on, no walking the roads.

              To the OP, those people who dropped will probably be the majority. Next you'll have a handful of people drop in phase 1 with reasoning like saying they need to learn more about the army, learn to be a better PFC, NCO, Glass Maker, etc before being an officer, and those that fail land nav. After you get through those, you may have a few fall off due to schedule and duration of phase 2, but those are the big hurdles.

              Lots of people seem to panic about the ruck marches. Dont. You're walking for a distance. sure youve got some weight but just strap it on and walk.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: First OCS 0 Phase drill impressions

                Originally posted by Chris36 View Post
                Thats one of my first tests at Phase 1 / 1st AT. Written test, day practical & night practical.
                This is my understanding as well. For the night course, we're authorized one red lens auxiliary flashlight in addition to the (lousy) GI issue light. I'm trying to figure out whether I should go with a helmet-mounted light, or some sort of "turn night into day" uber-light.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: First OCS 0 Phase drill impressions

                  Originally posted by rkh View Post
                  This is my understanding as well. For the night course, we're authorized one red lens auxiliary flashlight in addition to the (lousy) GI issue light. I'm trying to figure out whether I should go with a helmet-mounted light, or some sort of "turn night into day" uber-light.
                  This unauthorized at most RTI's and is a definate no-go at Alabama and Maryland.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: First OCS 0 Phase drill impressions

                    I am most nervous about the land nav; we did not hardly cover ANY of it at basic training. We got as far as plotting points on a map and then our DS got mad becuase people were talking, threw the maps and compasses back in the crate and back into to the closet....and that was the extent of my platoon's land nav.

                    When we went out for the hands on part, to try for the streamer? We knew nothing of pace count, azimuth, back azimuth.....NADA.

                    So I am getting a 'crash course' from some I know who are good with it and hopefully I can get it down. It would help to know EXACTLY what we are tested on so I can focus on THAT first.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: First OCS 0 Phase drill impressions

                      Originally posted by show_stopper999 View Post
                      they did as of last year. Night time being at sunset, so as soon as the sun sets you can being plotting You need two out of five to pass at night. No points are illuminated, no moving with your red light on, no walking the roads.
                      We had to wait until the sun went down. I had so much scratches on my face from the brush. Walking the roads is a no-go day or night.

                      Originally posted by Chris36 View Post
                      I am most nervous about the land nav; we did not hardly cover ANY of it at basic training. We got as far as plotting points on a map and then our DS got mad becuase people were talking, threw the maps and compasses back in the crate and back into to the closet....and that was the extent of my platoon's land nav.
                      Basic "Combat" Training circa 21st Century. Jeez

                      Just practice rucking and you get better in time. Weight on the back becomes a non-issue once your body is use to it. It is not like air assault where you will need to run; you can pass by just fast-walking.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: First OCS 0 Phase drill impressions

                        Originally posted by show_stopper999 View Post
                        they did as of last year. Night time being at sunset, so as soon as the sun sets you can being plotting You need two out of five to pass at night. No points are illuminated, no moving with your red light on, no walking the roads.
                        We had to wait until the sun went down. I had so much scratches on my face from the brush. Walking the roads is a no-go day or night.

                        Originally posted by Chris36 View Post
                        I am most nervous about the land nav; we did not hardly cover ANY of it at basic training. We got as far as plotting points on a map and then our DS got mad becuase people were talking, threw the maps and compasses back in the crate and back into to the closet....and that was the extent of my platoon's land nav.
                        Basic "Combat" Training circa 21st Century. Jeez

                        Just practice rucking and you get better in time. Weight on the back becomes a non-issue once your body is use to it. It is not like air assault where you will need to run; you can pass by just fast-walking

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: First OCS 0 Phase drill impressions

                          Originally posted by fmcityslicker View Post
                          Basic "Combat" Training circa 21st Century. Jeez

                          Just practice rucking and you get better in time. Weight on the back becomes a non-issue once your body is use to it. It is not like air assault where you will need to run; you can pass by just fast-walking
                          I'm good with the rucking....I do 2 ruck marches a week (clear my head), sometimes 2x 5 miles, sometimes a 5 & 7.. I am up to 30lbs and well within the alloted time. I'll be rockin a 10 mile well before I even have to test on it.

                          (I have felt the to prepare and train on it as I am barely 5'5'' with short little legs and I have had to work on lengthening my gait to keep up with you long-legged males!)

                          I NEED to be tutuored on the Land Nav! LOL

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: First OCS 0 Phase drill impressions

                            The helmet lamp in phase 1 was a no-go as well in South Dakota a couple of years ago, but we could use them in phase 3 under a poncho during personal time. For Arizona we had 5 drills prior to phase 1 and we spent every one of them doing something with land nav. Then in phase 1 we spent nearly the entire first week going over the training, doing day and night practice runs, so by the time we completed the tested excercise I think there was only a handful that had to retest. The key is plotting points, make sure you do it right and double check as you go from point to point. It was slower for me, but helped ensure accuracy.

                            We also had a lot drop prior to first phase and then a few just after first phase. Its a long process, so set your mind on the goal and take each drill as they come. If you look to the end right away it can be daunting, but if you take each drill and each day as they come, then it is much more manageable.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: First OCS 0 Phase drill impressions

                              In South Dakota phase 1 we were not allowed helmet lights either. In phase 3 we could use them under a poncho briefly, only during personal time. In Arizona we had 5 drills before phase 1 and we spent all of them on land nav, day and night. The key is to make sure you plot your points and keep double checking as you go through. Don't second guess yourself, but make sure that you didn't make a mistake and that you know where your next point is. There is plenty of time if you keep moving and have a sense of urgency. We had a handful that had to retake the night test (I don't think anyone had to retake the day test) and most of them passed on the second try.

                              The majority of people drop before phase 1, that is where we lost the most. When talking to them they would say they couldn't put up with TACs for 15 months. It was those of us that just took one drill at a time and one day at a time during drill that made it through. It kept us focused on the tasks at hand and not feel overwhelmed in the early days.

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