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First OCS 0 Phase drill impressions

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  • #16
    Re: First OCS 0 Phase drill impressions

    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.

    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.
    The land nav classroom instruction at Ft. Leonard Wood this past summer was actually pretty solid. In fact, some of the practical point plotting exercises we did at OCS were virtually identical to what I saw at BCT. What neither course taught, though, were things like how to manage the guesswork that goes into adjusting pace count when snaking through really rough terrain, or how to remember that you're supposed to be walking toward THAT pine tree (out of the 1000 or so pine trees in front of you). These things you just have to develop a feel for.

    I wouldn't sweat your bad BCT experience too much. If you show up there able to plot your points and calculate an azimuth, you'll at the very least be on equal footing with most people in your class.

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    • #17
      Re: First OCS 0 Phase drill impressions

      Originally posted by Marine2Guard View Post
      This unauthorized at most RTI's and is a definate no-go at Alabama and Maryland.
      I'll seek clarification on this, and I appreciate your comment.
      Last edited by rkh; February 11th, 2012, 12:57 AM.

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      • #18
        Re: First OCS 0 Phase drill impressions

        For a secondary you might consider something small. At Alabama I used one of those tiny thumb LED ones. While I was plotting I just bit down on the switch so I had both hands free and light. I did have to avoid drooling all over the map but it was useful.

        Make sure to keep accountability of your equipment. I've seen people fail due to lost maps. If you store your stuff in a mapcase or pocket just make sure you have it before departing your point.

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        • #19
          Re: First OCS 0 Phase drill impressions

          We had someone fail and lose honor grad because of it. Why? crawling through the brush in land nav. His cargo pocket ripped and all his stuff came out.

          Dont worry too much about the land nav. Learn to terrain associate and hand rail the roads. I had never even seen a military compas before or a map when I did it and I was a first time go on day and night. Pay attention, relax, and you'll be fine. I even passed the map reading test with my forehead bouncing off the desk. I was half asleep the whole time. The same guy who failed was next to me nudging me awake. I had never seen a map before. If I can do it, you can too.

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          • #20
            Re: First OCS 0 Phase drill impressions

            "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."

            Can you elaborate? What could be so bad that 20% of the class would drop after being read warnings and requirements? What do you think were the most severe statements that made people drop?

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            • #21
              Re: First OCS 0 Phase drill impressions

              Originally posted by atd242 View Post
              Can you elaborate? What could be so bad that 20% of the class would drop after being read warnings and requirements? What do you think were the most severe statements that made people drop?
              I'm not sure what triggered all the drops, but a lot of people struggled on the PT test and might have been concerned about PT overall. OCS' policy is that 2 PT failures (even non-consecutive failures) earns a disenrollment. The historical 70+ percent attrition rate was also explained to us and we briefly saw the senior class and confirmed it to be true.

              We were told that even if you slug it out, pass all PT, academics, marches, etc., you can still be disenrolled for leadership failure if the cadre feels you aren't performing at the level that they expect. I'm not sure how much lattitude they actually have to do this, but the prospect of attending OCS drills for 20 months and then getting kicked out shortly before graduation for poor leadership may have put some people off.

              The waiver policy was explained, and there might have been waiver issues with some of the candidates. My state is no longer accepting moral waivers at all, even for people who were recently allowed to enlist and attend BCT on an 09S contract. At least one 09S I know of was later involuntarily dropped for an ancient high-school hijink that resulted in a (minor) misdemeanor conviction.

              Let me know if you have any other questions.
              Last edited by rkh; March 9th, 2012, 01:08 PM.

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              • #22
                Re: First OCS 0 Phase drill impressions

                I have so many questions I don't know where to begin. From what a regular OCS drill is like, to what you think the hardest part is, to how much credence your branch preference has, to whether you can branch and get placed somewhere else besides your officially assigned branch, to what its like once you are an officer day to day on drills and in between, etc.

                I have email if that's easier for you, though its fine to do it here too.

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                • #23
                  Re: First OCS 0 Phase drill impressions

                  Originally posted by atd242 View Post
                  I have so many questions I don't know where to begin. From what a regular OCS drill is like, to what you think the hardest part is, to how much credence your branch preference has, to whether you can branch and get placed somewhere else besides your officially assigned branch, to what its like once you are an officer day to day on drills and in between, etc.

                  I have email if that's easier for you, though its fine to do it here too.

                  I'm about 3 months into Phase 0, and the drills seem to follow a predictable format. A typical phase 0 weekend might run in this sequence:

                  Saturday morning PT test, download POVs and set up barracks, classroom/admin time, chow, transit to land nav course, day land nav, MRE chow, night land nav, transit to barracks, hygiene, smoke session, lights out. Sunday starts with a 3-5 mile PT run, classroom/admin, chow, cleanup and final formation.

                  The overall environment is similar to BCT, but the class leadership has much more responsibility than in boot camp. The PL and PS receive very general instructions from the cadre and are tasked with getting the training tasks done. For those without experience, the leadership stuff is a challenge.

                  The hardest part for me actually isn't what goes on at drill (OCS's formal graduation requirements aren't that much more demanding than BCT's), but rather managing all the time consuming prep work that's required between drill periods.

                  The branch selection process is going to vary a lot from state to state. The folks in my class who are going accelerated received their branch briefing last month and came away with the impression that anyone could get into any available branch. There is no OOML with rigid numbers of branch slots and competition for those slots.
                  Last edited by rkh; March 9th, 2012, 02:48 PM.

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                  • #24
                    Re: First OCS 0 Phase drill impressions

                    In my state, Phase 0 practices a lot on the land NAV and drill and ceremony portions of OCS. When you get to phase 1 you may be leading a squad, platoon or company and they want to make sure that you at least kind of know what your doing. You get smoked a lot as well, but it is just 48hrs and then you go home. We had a lot drop in phase 0 as well and then a few who didn't get their waivers in time and had to be recycled to the next class.

                    Once back from phase 1, you still get smoked a lot right as drill is starting, but then it is class room time. Lessons to get through and tests keep you busy for the most part. Any down time we had was spent getting ready for an inspection, studying for the next test or prepping for the next day. Not a whole lot of down time.

                    Once you get through all of the tests, then the fun really starts. You start heading out to the field to practice lanes and prepping for phase 3. By this time smokings are almost non-existant and we were humorously called 3rd LT's. Not yet an LT, but progressed enough that we started acting like an LT and being treated like an LT.

                    As far as day to day as an officer, every experience varies. I take the path that while I am an LT, my readiness NCO still has far more experience than I do and he has proven that he is someone to listen to and take advice from. He lets me lead and make the decisions, but I know enough that if he is offering a little advice, I should listen. I personally am surrounded by people who have a lot of experience, so I do try and listen and learn and that has gone a long ways towards being accepted not just as a butter bar, but as someone who can learn and hopefully be a good senior officer some day.

                    If you have specific questions just PM me. I'm happy to help as I can.

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