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Shipping to OCS

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DocT

Dean of Students
pilot
Not trying to nit-pick your post (which is seriously informative), but if you first turned in a 1st class PFT just before you shipped, how'd you get selected?

Hopefully others learn from your situation. Good Luck and Semper Fi, Doc
 

mmx1

Woof!
pilot
Contributor
DocT said:
Not trying to nit-pick your post (which is seriously informative), but if you first turned in a 1st class PFT just before you shipped, how'd you get selected?

Hopefully others learn from your situation. Good Luck and Semper Fi, Doc
Passed my first PFT in late April after five months of prep; got selected in early May with a 238. Not terribly unusual (the lateness, not my score; my PFT raised more than a few eyebrows at OCS), there were a few candidates who didn't get selected until the very last board, just weeks before the ship date. There was one candidate at juniors who told me he'd been an alternate (don't ask me how that works) and didn't find out he was shipping until days before the ship date when someone declined their spot. My package was otherwise strong (good letters and grades). But that didn't help my running.

Ah well, it's an opportunity to train up.
 

Tulman737

Registered User
mmx1 said:
A few notes from a 10-weeker:

Ten weeks is a long time, and there's hardly any downtime to heal, so whatever chronic injuries you have, get them taken care of, and ease off your workout schedule the week before you ship to reduce the risk of injury.

The 10-weekers were allowed to DOR prior to pickup (categorized officially as I(nital)DOR). One candidate did so when I was there. Don't do it. You haven't seen anything yet. Tough it out four weeks and then decide if it's right for you.

Put out on the PFT, because if you fail it (or any of the events), you'll be put on platoon probation off the bat. You can get by with borderline pullups and crunches, but failing the run will skyline you. By our intermediate PFT, 22:30 was the slowest time (mine). Colonel Rachal told me when I got boarded that while some candidates who arrive at OCS with a borderline run time (24 min is the minimum, my initial was 24:01) make it to graduation, most don't. Get that run time down.

(A brief aside: Probation in a nutshell):
If you fail a certain number of graded events, you'll automatically be put on some level of probation. You can also be placed there for various offences such as consistently lacking bearing. You really have to be a screwup for the latter to happen, most people got placed for event failures.

Platoon probation has no consequences, you'll just be watched more closely.
Company probation limits your liberty to Quantico Base, but you're still allowed to go to the PX and Q-town.
Battalion probation limits your liberty to Brown field. This really sucks, because if there's anything you need that the OCS PX doesn't have, you'll have to get your platoon-mates to do your shopping for you.

I was on Battalion probation... you don't want to be on it. You never get taken off probation once you're on it, so take that as a strong incentive not to fail anything.
(aside over)


Pay close attention when your Company and Platoon staff are introduced - take their name and rank down if you can. Pickup was crazy. I've blocked most of it from my mind (I saw photos of my platoon during pickup and I'm thinking .... I don't remember that). The only thing I would say is to keep your cool, move fast, and help your platoonmates. The routine varies by platoon and company staff, so what one guy did may not be what your platoon will do. For example, I had all my stuff in ziplocks in preparation for the seabag drag. It never happened. Instead, we came inside, dumped our stuff in our lockers, and spent an hour producing items on demand "get X...15, 14, 13....2 BACK ON LINE 1 DONE STAFF SERGEANT." Those of us with our meticulously packed ziplocks ended up ripping them apart and dumping the contents in our footlocker to find whatever it was we needed. Adapt, and think on your feet.

Like the original poster, I don't remember much from the first two weeks. The staff told us what to do and we did it.... fast. Whatever you do, don't let you platoon mates hang out to dry. Somebody missing a cover? Lend them yours. If somebody screws up, they will ask the candidates to his left and right (and later, his fire team and squad leader) why they didn't notice and correct him, and occasionally they will punish his neighbors/superiors as well.

Most of my platoon admitted to having doubts about being there during those first days after pickup, because it is utter suckitude. I know I did, and I was was pretty locked-on mentally. It'll pass. Like klostman said, this isn't how the real USMC functions. My OSO came by and told me, hey, we never treated you like that at the office. It's just a phase you have to go through, for them to see that you can function under the stress of combat. They can't start shooting at you, so the have to resort to playing mind games and screaming very loud to simulate that level of stress and chaos. Remember that. The games and mental abuse will ease up over the weeks, especially after week 4 and the first wave of DOR's, and as the candidate billet holders begin to exercise their authority.

Whatever you do, DON'T EVER GIVE UP. It will be physically rough, but if you were selected, you have the ability to make it. Getting through the runs and humps is to a large degree mental. I had a great deal of trouble physically; I didn't pass a PFT until a month before I shipped, and failed my initial run by 1 second. About three weeks in, after getting placed on Company probation for straggling on runs and getting dropped from our first hike (Da Nang hill killed me), I realized I should have taken more time to prepare. But here I was at OCS, and I knew I couldn't DOR, or stop giving 100%, because if that happened I'd never get a chance to come back.

I was sent before the Colonel in the fifth week. With me was another candidate who'd caught pneumonia and missed a good deal of training.
The XO walked by as we were waiting and asked all of us waiting for the board if we wanted to be here. Most of us sounded off "YES SIR" unhesitatingly. He mumbled some stuff about "this summer is basically shot, but this candidate would like to return next summer". He was dropped and wasn't given the opportunity to reapply, because he gave up.

No matter how badly you think you are doing, the decision to drop you is the Colonel's, not yours. The attitude of "it's going rough, so I'll quit and try again next summer" is not what they're looking for.

SOUND OFF. Don't be they guy lip-synching. They will catch you, and your platoon mates will hate you for it when the PTI makes you do pushups for not being loud enough. Besides, as other posters have mentioned, it's fun. Moreover, it's good practice for when you have an enlisted billet and have to do some screaming of your own (everything is done for a purpose at OCS). I lost my voice the day after pickup from all the screaming we did, and quickly learned how to drop to a lower pitch like the SI's did so they could still shout(if you pay attention, they lose their voices too). I sounded like a damn frog, but I kept my volume. When it came time for me to be Cand. Platoon Sergeant, sure, I lost my voice, but I could still shout orders. Don't be the candidate squeaking out orders to the platoon (or worse, the company) because they never figured out that trick.

One big problem my platoon had was "too many Chiefs, not enough Indians." Everyone wanted to show off how good a leader they were, so naturally everyone contributed their 2 cents on how **** should be done. All that leads to is disorder and chaos. We had a couple of guys get chewed out for doing stuff they weren't supposed to (like shaving at the wrong time), because some non-billet holder shouted out a suggestion that they, in the confusion, took as an order from the chain of command. If you aren't in a billet, shut up and follow the chain of command. Pass suggestions up the chain, and in the meantime, listen to your billet holders, no matter how much you may disagree with them. When we finally figured this out around week 5, things went a lot smoother.

You will get sick. By the second week everybody had a nasty cough, and three guys in my platoon ended up with pneumonia (two ended up dropping, but the third is still there as of week 9 despite two weeks on bedrest/light duty - show them you want to be there and they'll keep you around). Use that hand sanitizer often, and bring it with you when you go out to the field.

Yea, I miss OCS, partly because I got NPQ'd and my platoon is a week from graduation.
I hear you, i got NPQ'd in the 1st week this summer and all i can think right now is that my platoon C2 is a week from graduation, and it really sucks.
 

DocT

Dean of Students
pilot
mmx1 said:
Passed my first PFT in late April after five months of prep; got selected in early May with a 238. Not terribly unusual (the lateness, not my score; my PFT raised more than a few eyebrows at OCS), there were a few candidates who didn't get selected until the very last board, just weeks before the ship date. There was one candidate at juniors who told me he'd been an alternate (don't ask me how that works) and didn't find out he was shipping until days before the ship date when someone declined their spot. My package was otherwise strong (good letters and grades). But that didn't help my running.

Ah well, it's an opportunity to train up.
Ahhh, it makes sense then. Thanks for the clarification. I was selected in Feb. for the end of May class back in '04 so I had some time. Keep running, Doc
 

pjxc415

Registered User
pilot
I'm going to be honest here, I'm not an OCS grad trying to make OCS sound easy in any way, but I did not think pick up was bad at all, nor was the first week bad at all. Pick up you get yelled at, have to dump your bag, put it back in, dump it, etc. The rest of the week is just getting messed with, but you're really not that tired so who cares? Once that excessive sleep deprivation kicks in after the first week and you realize you have two weeks until your first libo, thats when things get *hitty, and boy do they ever. First three weeks are the worst mentally, and weeks 4 and 5 can be equated to two straight weeks of getting kicked in the nahds. Just my 2. Golf Company perspective, sorry to butt in on your PLC thread. Any other plcers agree with me on the pick-up/week one analysis?
 

DocT

Dean of Students
pilot
pjxc415 said:
Just my 2. Golf Company perspective, sorry to butt in on your PLC thread. Any other plcers agree with me on the pick-up/week one analysis?
Don't kid yourself, Golf Company is the exact same as PLC Seniors. Golf and Echo Companies just shadow eachother through the schedule. That's why there is such rivalry on Brown Field between the two. So your experience can absolutely be applied to the PLC program.

I can see that perspective totally. Pick-up is such an adrenaline rush you don't really notice any physical exhaustion. The first week of games and insanity are really a mental kick in the slats, and that all depends on the person. Running is tiring for everyone after a certain distance, it comes down to preparation. The mental aspect of the games and your ability to deal with them is also a matter of how prepared you are mentally to take the exhasperation and frusteration of the games and berating.

One difference in the PLC junior/seniors route is having pick-up and the first week twice. Take this to the bank: the second time around it's not so exciting and overwhelming, and how much the games suck is apparent the entire time. For myself, the inverse of your experience was true. The more exhausted and tired I became as the training schedule wore on, the more motivated I became due only to the closing proximity of graduation.
 

pjxc415

Registered User
pilot
hmm you became more motivated the closer graduation got. yeah i guess so, although i thought graduation was sort of anit-climactic. i think the times when i felt the most exhiliration were on our first libo (graduation itself was not nearly as good as walking off that base and feeling that first sense of relief), after SULE II was over (though it didn't last long because our instructors immediately started playing f-f games the second we got back to the barracks), and on family day. it was pretty motivating seeing that movie, all that we had accomplished, and finally being able to see our families. Graduation was just more of a formality after all that BS, and especially those grueling graduation practices in which the monotony was worse than our in-processing days. My idea of not having fun: standing at the poa or parade rest for 5 hours during the BCOs inspection, and then immediately moving to stand at the poa or parade rest for a 3 1/2 hour graduation practice. THAT SUCKED.
 

motiv8r

Registered User
17? Hell, I think my platoon had 17 the first week :D

Honestly though, those essays freakin' SUCKED. My worst ever moment at OCS was probably this one time when I finished an essay at 2330, looking forward to getting a few hours' sleep before being woken up for firewatch at 0245, only to realize in horror as I was walking up the squad bay to drop it in the box, that I had failed to write it in head-to-toe format....man, it still ruins my day just thinking about that one....[shudder]......
 

pjxc415

Registered User
pilot
we never had essays assigned to the whole platoon, but our instructors loved given em out individually. one kid got one for "improper stretching," another for "improper use of the scientist" (we still don't know what that means). i think my worst was a night i already had one to write and pulled first fire watch. our sgt inst loved making us report over and over and i jacked it up once, got another essay on the spot during fire watch. oh and for those of you who haven't gone yet, if you're lucky enough to get plt sgt right before first libo, expect to write a few essays while other candidates are walking out the door, i had 3.
 

DocT

Dean of Students
pilot
My worst night was early on in Seniors. I had taken all the nasty white nametapes from juniors off my cammies, thinking we would just get new ones at seniors. Well, we didn't.

(So for those of you coming back from juniors, leave that trash on you cammies)

I got an essay for not having nametapes on my cammies and then had to sew new ones on by hand with that chinsy little sewing kit you buy in small bag issue. I didn't sleep a wink that night.
 

wutzu

Registered User
I was assigned an essay on self-discipline to be written in red, blue, and black ink. Wrote it about how I had dishonored my Company staff by smoking and joking. Boy did I get an ass-chewing for that. the SI who read it chewed me for writing a ****ty essay, and chewed me for making it look like "a rainbow". He re-assigned the essay, single-spaced. For the second essay, I took the safe route and wrote about the Roman Legion's slaughter at the battle of Cannae.

I missed the initial haircuts because I had a heat on the Initial PFT. Talk about being skylined. Any time an SI looked at me, they came over and chewed my ass. I spent an hour and a half one night cutting off all my hair with my razor and the scissors from the sewing kit. Then I got even more flak, and had to explain to my Platoon Commander where all my hair went.
 

tperng

Registered User
This post has been a veritable mine of information. :)

I have a few more questions about OCS for those of you who've "been there, done that":

1) I haven't started running in boots yet. My OSO told me that running in boots is not really a requirement. I don't have access to a military exchange or commissary. The only pair of boots I own are light civilian hikers. Should I start running in my hikers? Not sure that would really help.

2) Do candidates purchase cammies and boots at OCS? Or is that stuff "rented out" like the canteens so it can be reused by other training cycles?

3) Are candidates allowed to ice themselves at the end of the day? If so, where do we get the ice?
 

TransAmatt

Registered User
1) I never ran in boots before I went down there and I don't think it is really that important to do so. On our first libo I went to the Quantico boot store and bought some Bates lightweight jungles that feel more like running shoes. I thought they were great for PT and if I would have known about them or had access to some before I wnet down there I would have bought some.

2) The boots and cammies will come out of your paycheck and you will take them home with you, unless you don't graduate. Make sure your boots fit, you only have about a week to return them if they don't and you dont want to end up with a pair of boots that dont fit like I did.

3) There is an ice machine and bags on the quarterdeck that you are encouraged to use.
 

mmx1

Woof!
pilot
Contributor
to teperng:
1) I would start running in boots. It'll strengthen your legs and feet - the extra few ounces on your feet make a big difference, and would reduce your risk to injury if you're already acclimated to the additional weight. If you want to get a pair of issue boots to train in and break in for OCS, you can get them through quanticoboot.com or (my preference) direct through Danner.com (one of the manufacturers).

The Danners are more expensive but their civilian boots have an excellent reputation. I bought mine with a 15% coupon(enter DWLABOR5 at checkout, should be good until labor day) which eased the pain a bit, knocked it down to 163 shipped (I didn't flinch, I spent about $400 on orthotics and other gear prior to OCS... my feet are real jacked up). Word is that they're a bit small; I had to send mine back and exchange for a size wider. If you can, go to a retailer near you that sells their civilian line and check the fit there.

2) You're issued cammies and boots, and have the opportunity to purchase additional items on libbo (i.e. inspection gear). You will keep your uniform items if you graduate, otherwise you'll return them to supply.

3) You can get ice after lights out. There's an ice machine in the barracks, and firewatch collects ice for everyone. After a few weeks, though, so many people were hurt that we had to ration ice.
 

mmx1

Woof!
pilot
Contributor
matt, are you sure about the paycheck deduction? By my rough estimate no such thing happened, though I never got a look at my LES. Priors who were supposed to bring uniforms had to purchase out of pocket for any items they failed to bring (and I hear it's the same at Seniors).
 
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