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Shipping to OCS

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DocT

Dean of Students
pilot
I just recieved my orders to go back to seniors in two weeks. While I was at the OSO I was talking to a number of candidates who are heading out to juniors for 1st increment, and I know there are a number of them on this site. Talking to others heading back to seniors brought back tons of memories and gouge I had forgotten (supressed) and I wanted to share it here. For lack of a better format I'm just going to write chronologically.

In the next two weeks, train for maintenance. I made the mistake of not training last year for the last two weeks figuring I wanted to get to OCS totally rested for the initial PFT. Don't do this. Run three times a week for shorter distances to keep in condition. Do some pull-ups and some crunches so you aren't losing strength.

If you aren't in shape yet, it's too late. Hard training right now will only cause injuries or you'll get there worn out. This is not what you want. Get as much normal sleep as you can before you ship because you'll wish you had your own bed when you're there.

Don't get wasted the night before you ship. Flying to OCS and starting in-processing is stressful enough without a headache and hangover. You will want to be at the top of your game, in-processing is a great opportunity to read your regs and be a little sponge soaking up knowledge.

When you pack, put your running shoes somewhere readily accessable. You'll need them sooner than you think. When I shipped, we grabbed our luggage and moved down to a secluded wing of Reagan Int. where there was some OCS staff taking names and splitting candidates into groups for the buses. This is the last time you'll be able to kind of be on your own. It takes about 45 minutes to be checked off on the list, and once they move you to the buses, it's on. Nobody will really talk and it's a "holy $hit" moment when you start to realize what you've done. This magnifies when you get to the guards at the Quantico mainside gate. We had a LcCpl. get on the bus, wish us luck, shake his head, and wave us through. My heart was racing pretty fast.

After you wind your way to Brown Field you'll either pull right up to the barracks or to the edge of the grinder and be told to be quiet and get off the bus in a timely manner with all your trash. Do it. You'll immediately recognize your surroundings from the OCS webpage that you, if you're like me, have pored over the pictures a million times. They will hustle you through initial check in, give you your Candidate regs, and put you in your platoons and companies back out on the parade deck. Somewhere in this time you'll put your gear on a rack in one of the squad bays. Don't be picky because there is a good chance that you will move more than once before training begins.

The staff at this point aren't patient and may yell a little, but they are generally well mannered and just want to get things done. They aren't your platoon staff, who you'll meet a fews days later when training really begins. In-processing isn't designed to be stressful, but to get you squared away to begin training. Yes, the environment is new and you'll be nervous, but relax and do exactly what you're told. If you are super stressed out now, stand by come wednesday.

Don't be that candidate asking the staff to send you home the first night. You have no idea what's to come and will forever be sorry you at least didn't stay long enough try training. Not to mention, they won't send you home. If you really want to go home, wait till medical and tell the docs your ankles and knees hurt. You'll never meet your platoon staff if you do that. If you didn't tell MEPS about an injury or some medical problem, don't tell the docs at OCS if you want to train. They will poke and prod you until they find something wrong and send you home. Don't LIE, but if you want to train, convince them you are a picture of good health.

In-porcessing is just long days in a class room filling out form after form by the numbers. As stated previously, there is alot of down time and use this wisely. Learn your regs, especially weapons safety, rank structure, and general orders if you don't already know them word for word. Once the staff turns on the stress after pick-up, learning can be a little difficult. Stress can turn some geniuses into bricks really quickly. Also, chill. It will be your LAST chance until libo after week three.

You are being watched during this time. This is where your company/platoon reputation begins. Don't think you can smoke and joke because the staff isn't in your face 24/7. You'll be hating life if you clown around, and your fellow candidates won't appreciate the heat you bring down on the platoon/company.

I'll continue this over the next few days...but others feel free to chime in here. I know I felt better having an idea of what to expect as I started training.
Semper Fi, Doc
 

scotty008

Back at last
pilot
Great information. Thanks for being so descriptive. Though I'm going OCC, I would imagine things are more or less the same. Keep it coming!
 

DocT

Dean of Students
pilot
(cont.)

You will run your initial PFT before pick up on weds. This is so candidates aren't stressed out by the staff yet and they can get a good read on your physical preparedness. There is some bad gouge out there that says you want to "save" a little effort for the final PFT and show some improvement. Give 110% of your effort on the initial PFT! If you don't, you may just tank it and get boarded (stand tall in front of the Colonel, explaining why you didn't prepare for OCS). You may be sent home. Don't risk this. I don't know of any candidates who had a personal best on the initial PFT at Brown Field. The new environment, lack of sleep, etc. will all work together to shave points off your score. Also, the staff doesn't let trash slide. If you aren't locking your arms out or kipping on the pull-up bar they won't count. I lost 4 last summer. If your shoulder blades aren't hitting the deck on your crunches, they won't count. I have heard and I suspect the run course is a bit longer at OCS. I lost 35 seconds off my time, others lost as much a minute and a half. Be ready to put out on the PFT.

If you do score poorly on the PFT, DON'T LOSE YOUR BEARING! You will get a chit, you may have to take the remedial, and you will probably have to stand tall in front of the man. But if you want to stay, they will let you. A candidate in my Platoon last year only got 3 pull-ups and he stayed. Don't forget why you are there and all the work you put into this already. If you let doubt creep into mind, you will crack.

A word on the mental side. Your OSO would not have sent you if you weren't ready. You will succeed at OCS. Men have completed the course by sheer will power. Don't fail yourself by doubting your own abilities. Yes, statistics will say that 10% of you don't belong there. It's not you. Perhaps you'll have an epiphany while in-processing that tells you that the Marine Corps is not for you. This may be...but finish juniors. Then take as long as you need to decide if this is what you want to do. You will never be sorry you completed the junior course. If you turned in a first class PFT and were accepted by the board, you have the tools to complete juniors. Do It.

After the initial PFT you'll be ready for pick-up. I know there are all sorts of stories about this. Yes it's crazy. There will be men with 30 inch waists who can fly swarming all over your platoon. Tables and chairs will fly, chaos will ensue. You (and 250 other candidates) will exit a large classroom in less than 1 minute. Just wait for these words: "Platoon Sergeants, Take charge of your platoons and carry out the plan of the day!" When the Colonel says this, OCS begins. Again, DON'T LOSE YOUR BEARING! Mentally prepare for the chaos and insanity. Pick up your trash, and do exactly what you are told. From then on follow those rules. Do exactly what you are told. You will be fine. When your staff asks you a question, answer them in as loud a voice as you can muster. If you think you're wrong (you will be), answer as loudly as you can. Always sound off!

The sea bag drag will begin. All those pictures you've seen on the website are of this event. You will haul your trash all over Brown Field, you will dump and repack said trash over and over. It WILL get spread around the deck and mixed with that of other candidates. This is why you must label everything you bring clearly. Put your stuff in ziplock freezer bags, so instead of chasing 5 pairs of socks around the grinder, you're chasing one bag. You will enter and exit the squad bay several times. Do everything with speed and certainty.

The next three days will be filled with chaos and you will have no idea what's next. Go with the flow and things will fall into place. Personally, I remember very little from this time. There was lots of games and little sleep. I was hungry, tired, and uncertain of what I was doing there. This is normal. Look at the candidates around you, chances are they will be feeling the exact same way. If you begin to show signs of weakness and uncertainty around the staff, they will eat you alive. These things are like blood in the water to sharks concerning sergeant instructors: using personal pronouns, stammering while speaking, improperly addressing staff members, moving too slowly, basically everything you do. Don't freak out. You will grow accustomed to being screamed at. Also, things will fall into a routine which will make life much more managable for you. You will begin to be able to practice the all important time management aspect of being a candidate.

Don't grow too attached to your large and small bag issue that you will buy and lug around during in-processing. This will all be mixed together during pick-up. You will find that you are missing certain items and have an abundance of others. This will sort itself out as time goes on...for the most part. You will find at pugils that you don't have a mouthguard or something similar.

There is only one way your platoon will gaggle f%@# itself through the beginning of OCS, work together. There will be candidates who are slower to adapt or get things done. Help this candidate out. It might be you. Priors will be the backbone of the platoon for the first bit. Ask for their advice, and for the most part they will give it freely. The staff will get all warm and fuzzy when they see the platoon pull together. You will know this when they don't berate you for doing it. Don't let one candidate get hung out to dry...help that man.

You will have a bad day there, a bad evolution, etc. I had one day where my head was squarely in my a$$ and I couldn't perform proper inspection arms for the life of me. I caught hell in a very personal way in front of the company. Don't let this get you down. Don't Quit. If you do quit, don't blame the staff saying they had it in for you, or they didn't give you a chance. That's bull$hit. They are consummate pros at what they do...some of the finest of the Corps. If you go home, it's on you, not them. I'm not talking about injuries here, I mean DOR's.

enough for now. Anyone else want to add?
Semper Fi, Doc
 

motiv8r

Registered User
personally, I thought inprocessing was the worst part of OCS--both for juniors and seniors. For juniors, all I could think about was, why the hell did I decide to join the Marines? For seniors, it was even worse: why did I come BACK to this miserable place?

Inprocessing was the worst part because anticipation is usually worse than reality for bad things and better than reality for good things. What makes inprocessing so hard is all of the down time and hurry up and wait. You get a lot of time to think about how much it is going to suck once real training starts. Once you hit pickup and get going with training, however, you won't have time to feel sorry for yourself.

By the way, don't DOR or try to escape (unless in doing so, you do something really creatively stupid like the guy who tried to build a raft out of garbage bags and float across the Potomac. That was priceless :)). Unless you are injured, they will keep you for 4 weeks regardless. So if you try to walk to Stafford in the middle of the night after pickup day, and you get caught by the MPs and brought back, imagine what it's going to be like being part of a platoon of guys who see you as the one who gave up on them and quit, the one who couldn't take it.

By the way, if you think about it, both Juniors and Seniors are really only 4 1/2 hard weeks: middle of week 1 to end of week 5. Factor in the 3 days of libo you get and it's really only a total of 4 weeks. That ain't s***.

Oh yeah, and they will cheat you out of pullups. On our inventory PFT at Seniors last summer, I did 6, and on the 7th, the guy counting me said "one". I was like, you have got to be f***ing kidding me, over.

One final thought. One of my favorite sayings is, "If it's a bad time, it's a good story." OCS kind of sucks when you actually go through it, but after you leave, you will not be able to think about it without laughing. In fact, when you are reunited with the guys you know from your platoon later on, you will have each other in stitches within minutes reminiscing, doing SI impressions, etc. It will be more than worth it in the long run: not just for the memories, but because it's a necessary step to become a Marine officer.

Get some

Moto
 

esday1

He'll dazzle you with terms like "Code Red."
It will go a lot faster if you try to enjoy it whenever you can. Even with stuff like sounding off to the staff, you can think of it as a way to let out some aggression. The staff like it when they see the intensity they put into training you come back from a motivated candidate. One of my favorite parts of the "routine" at OCS was standing on line in the squad bay at reveille and taps, when me and the candidate across from each other would always try to over-shout each other. There aren't many times in your life when you're expected to run around shouting at the top of your lungs (believe me, every now and then I wish I could do this at law school), so make the most of it. There are a few things at OCS that are enjoyable- singing cadences, combat course, some of the PT events, fire team and squad assaults, confidence/ tarzan course, etc. Even though OCS overall as a whole isn't fun, if you enjoy it where you can it will get you through some of the crap in between.
 

KBayDog

Well-Known Member
DocT said:
enough for now. Anyone else want to add?
Semper Fi, Doc
Thanks, Doc, I think I will.

Two things: 1. Don't take it too seriously. That is, take it seriously - it is serious business, and it is the beginning/end of your career. Just remember to find at least ONE thing every day to laugh at before you hit the rack. If you have a good sense of humor, don't get wrapped around the axle about the stupidity you will see (from the other candidates AND yourself), you might actually grow to enjoy yourself. If you enjoy yourself, you have already "beat" the staff.

2. YOU CAN'T STOP THE CLOCK. Keep driving - OCS will be over before you know it.

If you start to get frustrated, think about the Marines you are about to lead. Enlisted Marines go through 13 weeks of sheer hell. There is no libo. There is no "casual" time in-processing - it is balls-to-the-wall from the minute the bus pulls up to the receiving barracks. They aren't allowed to "run" themselves - they have a DI in their face all day and night, telling them what to do and how to do it. Recruits have to be "on" 24/7. You get to blow off steam each weekend for 24 hours. Think about them, and your little troubles will seem so trivial.
 

Malice 1

Member
pilot
Fellas, your scaring the candidates.

I guess I will add my 2 cents.

Teamwork is essential. We all learned sharing and caring in kindergarten, use it at OCS.

After the "sea bag drag", you will have very little of your own stuff, and a lot of other peoples stuff. Share. You might get lucky and end up with 4 extra pairs of unmarked trousers that are your size. Remember that some poor bastard in 3rd squad now how to walk around OCS with no pants on, because you have them all. Spread the word that you have extra XXX so it can get back to it's respective owner.

It seems like common sense and good integrity would eliminate the need for me to say such things, but it doesn't. A lot of candidates try to hoard gear "just in case" they need it. Don't be that guy.

OCS staff will constantly hound you about continuous evaluations. They say that "someone is always watching". Several candidates took this too heart. They would back stabb other candidates in thier platoon just to make themselves look better for their Evals. Dont' do this. The last 2 weeks of my seniors session, we had a lot of guys backstabbing eachother, just so they could get ranked higher.

Examples of backstabbing: Don't overthrow a candidate billet holder. If he is doing a bad job, give him advice after hours, or behind closed doors. Don't overthrow him in front of the company. That is rude as hell.

If someone needs to borrow some white tape at 2AM, get out of your rack, open your foot locker and give it to them. Don't be an a$$ and say "I don't have any" just because you are too lazy to get up.
 

KBayDog

Well-Known Member
Malice 1 said:
If someone needs to borrow some white tape at 2AM, get out of your rack, open your foot locker and give it to them. Don't be an a$$ and say "I don't have any" just because you are too lazy to get up.
And then tell him not to be an a$$ by waiting until 0200 to decide that he needs to wake you up to get some white tape. That's just as (if not MORE) inconsiderate than not helping him out. Waking someone up at 0200 because you need white tape shows a lack of initiative, planning, and respect.
 

Malice 1

Member
pilot
Yeah, you're right. I should have said 0400. That is when many started bustling around pepping and primping for the day.
 

KBayDog

Well-Known Member
That's even worse of an excuse - he could have solved the tape issue the night before.

(You can tell I am an advocate of the 7 "Ps", and I HATE procrastination!)
 

DocT

Dean of Students
pilot
Malice 1 said:
Examples of backstabbing: Don't overthrow a candidate billet holder. If he is doing a bad job, give him advice after hours, or behind closed doors. Don't overthrow him in front of the company. That is rude as hell.

If someone needs to borrow some white tape at 2AM, get out of your rack, open your foot locker and give it to them. Don't be an a$$ and say "I don't have any" just because you are too lazy to get up.
Roger that. There will be billet holders who are jacked up. Don't F any guys over by calling him out, or refusing to put forth your maximum effort just because you don't think the rain room needs to be swabbed again. Always bust your a$$ for your candidate staff. People WILL take notice if you do this and when you're cand. plt. sgt. they will do the same for you.

Inspect what you expect as a billet holder. If you are a squad leader and tasked with having your squad shaved for inspection, you had better check because someone in the squad won't do it. Then it will be your a$$. You are responsible for each candidate in your squad. You may ask Candidate Smith if his footlocker is squared away, or if he punched his bore. He may say yes. Check anyway. I was tasked once as a squad leader with squaring away the deck under the racks of my squad. No ghost farts, no dirt, nothing. I had the squad scuz under the racks twice. But, I didn't get on my knees and check each rack myself. The first thing the Staff Sgt. does when he walks out is look under the racks I was supposed to have had scuzzed. He finds pencils, ghost farts, nail clippers, and SKITTLES! My world spun and crashed to the ground very fast. INSPECT WHAT YOU EXPECT

As far as using "the fairies" to burn the midnight oil and get stuff done, don't do it if you don't have to. Make a bunch of extra name tapes and stick them under the lid of your footlocker. This takes about 30 seconds and will save you from asking for tape later. You should not be studying every night for classes. It has been said before but it's worth repeating: This isn't rocket science. Prepare before you come regarding general orders, leadership traits, etc. The other stuff can be learned easily by following the lectures with your ELO's and TLO's and taking notes. This way you won't sleep during class and you won't be up at night with your moonbeam trying to learn knowledge because you were bobbing for c___ during lecture. The exams aren't tricky, they come right off your outlines and they are all multiple choice.

Hydrate. They aren't going to pour water down your throat, you are expected to do this yourself. If you drop with heat exhuastion during one event, you will recieve the silver bullet in front of your company, and you'll get a big yellow circle painted on the back of your PT shirt. If you drop again at anytime for heat while at OCS you are gone, no questions asked. It's simple and there are no cheats or gouge for hydration. You know what it takes to stay hydrated, so do it.

Hmmm what else? Again, anyone want to add?

Semper Fi, Doc
 

JDawg2332

Getting some since 1775
This is how you get through OCS. You get through the days from chow to chow. and you get through the weeks from prayer and praise to prayer and praise, then later on libo to libo
 
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