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Officer Candidate School (U.S. Army)

Officer Candidate School (U.S. Army)

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Encyclopedia
The United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

's Officer Candidate School (OCS), located at Fort Benning
Fort Benning
Fort Benning is a United States Army post located southeast of the city of Columbus in Muscogee and Chattahoochee counties in Georgia and Russell County, Alabama...

, Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

, provides training to become a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army. Officer candidates are drawn from enlisted members (up to Master Sergeant
Master Sergeant
A master sergeant is the military rank for a senior non-commissioned officer in some armed forces.-Israel Defense Forces:Rav samal rishoninsignia IDF...

), Warrant Officer
Warrant Officer
A warrant officer is an officer in a military organization who is designated an officer by a warrant, as distinguished from a commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission, or from non-commissioned officer who is designated an officer by virtue of seniority.The rank was first...

s, inter-service transfers, or civilian college graduates who enlist for guaranteed attendance at OCS after they complete Basic Combat Training
Basic Training
Basic Training may refer to:* Basic Training, a 1971 American documentary directed by Frederick Wiseman* Basic Training , an American sex comedy* Recruit training...

 (BCT).

Overview


OCS is a rigorous 12-week course designed to train, assess, evaluate, and develop second lieutenant
Second Lieutenant
Second lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer military rank in many armed forces.- United Kingdom and Commonwealth :The rank second lieutenant was introduced throughout the British Army in 1871 to replace the rank of ensign , although it had long been used in the Royal Artillery, Royal...

s for the U.S. Army's sixteen basic branches. It is the only commissioning source that can be responsive to the Army's changing personnel requirements due to its short length, compared to other commissioning programs and their requirements. Completing OCS is one of several ways of becoming a U.S. Army commissioned officer. The other methods are:
  • Graduation from United States Military Academy
    United States Military Academy
    The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

     (USMA) at West Point
  • Completing Reserve Officers' Training Corps
    Reserve Officers' Training Corps
    The Reserve Officers' Training Corps is a college-based, officer commissioning program, predominantly in the United States. It is designed as a college elective that focuses on leadership development, problem solving, strategic planning, and professional ethics.The U.S...

     (ROTC)
  • State-level Officer Candidate Schools programmed by the Army National Guard at Regional Training Institutes (RTI), with curriculum identical to the federal OCS program.
  • Direct Commissioning normally is used for accessions of Chaplains, medical professionals
    Army Medical Department (United States)
    The Army Medical Department of the U.S. Army – known as the AMEDD – comprises the Army's six medical Special Branches of officers and medical enlisted soldiers. It was established as the "Army Hospital" in July 1775 to coordinate the medical care required by the Continental Army during the...

    , and Judge Advocate General (JAG)
    Judge Advocate General's Corps, U.S. Army
    The Judge Advocate General's Corps of the United States Army is composed of Army officers who are also lawyers and who provide legal services to the Army at all levels of command. The Judge Advocate General's Legal Service includes judge advocates, warrant officers, paralegal noncommissioned...

     lawyers. Currently, the U.S. Army Reserve is using this method in limited numbers for the basic branches as well.
  • Interservice Transfer as a commissioned officer of another United States military branch.
  • Battlefield commissions, or meritorious commissions, though technically still provided for, have not been used by the US Army since the Vietnam War.


The U.S. Army Officer Candidate School is organizationally designated as 3rd Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment, 199th Infantry Brigade. It was redesignated from the 3rd Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment in June 2007. It is a subordinate unit of the Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE) also headquartered at Ft. Benning. As of January 2006 the battalion has five training companies
Company (military unit)
A company is a military unit, typically consisting of 80–225 soldiers and usually commanded by a Captain, Major or Commandant. Most companies are formed of three to five platoons although the exact number may vary by country, unit type, and structure...

 and a Headquarters Company in operation, designated HHC, Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, and Echo—each of which can conduct one class at a time, with a maximum of 160 candidates being trained in each class.

The commander of the 3rd Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment (OCS), 199th Infantry Brigade is Lt. Col. John A. Best and the Command Sergeant Major Severino.

History


Except where noted, the history is compiled from the official Army history records.
Historically, OCS has provided the means by which the U.S. Army could generate large numbers of junior officers during periods of increasing personnel requirements, typically during wars. Prior to 1973, OCS was branch-specific, at one time there being eight separate schools; by 1964, the Army had consolidated OCS into two schools: Field Artillery OCS at Fort Sill
Fort Sill
Fort Sill is a United States Army post near Lawton, Oklahoma, about 85 miles southwest of Oklahoma City.Today, Fort Sill remains the only active Army installation of all the forts on the South Plains built during the Indian Wars...

, Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

, and Infantry OCS at Fort Benning. The Vietnam war brought expansion of the OCS program, but it was short lived. In 1973, OCS was made branch immaterial and was consolidated into two courses taught at Ft. Benning, and another at Fort McClellan
Fort McClellan
Fort McClellan, originally Camp McClellan, was a United States Army post located adjacent to the city of Anniston, Alabama. During World War II, it was one of the largest U.S. Army installations, training an estimated half-million troops...

, Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

 for female Officer Candidate
Officer Candidate
Officer Candidate is a rank in some militaries of the world that is an appointed position while a person is in training to become an officer. More often than not, an Officer Candidate was a civilian who applied to join the military directly as an officer...

s; the course length was reduced to 14-weeks. In 1976, the OCS at Ft. Benning integrated females, and became the only OCS left in the active Army, with the closure of the WAC School. The term "90-day wonders", both as a pejorative and term of affection, has been intermittently applied to junior officers commissioned through OCS since World War II.

World War II era


Officer Candidate School was first proposed in June 1938, as the Army began expanding in anticipation of hostilities when a plan for an officer-training program was submitted to the Chief of Infantry by Brigadier General
Brigadier General
Brigadier general is a senior rank in the armed forces. It is the lowest ranking general officer in some countries, usually sitting between the ranks of colonel and major general. When appointed to a field command, a brigadier general is typically in command of a brigade consisting of around 4,000...

 Asa L. Singleton, Commandant of the Infantry School. No action was taken until July 1940, however, when Brig. Gen. Courtney Hodges
Courtney Hodges
General Courtney Hicks Hodges was an American military officer, most prominent for his role in World War II, in which he commanded the First United States Army in Northwest Europe.-Early life and military career:...

, Assistant Commandant of the Infantry School, presented a revised plan to (then) Brig. Gen. Omar Bradley
Omar Bradley
Omar Nelson Bradley was a senior U.S. Army field commander in North Africa and Europe during World War II, and a General of the Army in the United States Army...

, Commandant of the Infantry School. In July 1941, the OCS stood up as the Infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

, Field Artillery
Field artillery
Field artillery is a category of mobile artillery used to support armies in the field. These weapons are specialized for mobility, tactical proficiency, long range, short range and extremely long range target engagement....

, and Coastal Artillery
Coastal artillery
Coastal artillery is the branch of armed forces concerned with operating anti-ship artillery or fixed gun batteries in coastal fortifications....

 Officer Candidate Schools, each respectively located at Fort Benning, Fort Sill, and Fort Monroe
Fort Monroe
Fort Monroe was a military installation in Hampton, Virginia—at Old Point Comfort, the southern tip of the Virginia Peninsula...

, Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

.
In addition to the aforementioned programs, there were Officer Candidate Schools stood up for other branches, for instance the Signal Corps at Fort Monmouth
Fort Monmouth
Fort Monmouth was an installation of the Department of the Army in Monmouth County, New Jersey. The post is surrounded by the communities of Eatontown, Tinton Falls and Oceanport, New Jersey, and is located about 5 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. The post covers nearly of land, from the Shrewsbury...

, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

. Due to the rapid creation of these programs because of wartime necessity, and then the rapid closures, or restructuring, soon after the end of the war, historical records were not always created or adequately maintained and little is known about many of these branch specific commissioning courses.

The Infantry course, on the other hand is well documented, and it stands today as the precursor of the branch immaterial course taught at Fort Benning. On 27 September 1941, the first Infantry OCS class graduated 171 second lieutenants; 204 men started the 17-week course in July. Testament to the ability of OCS to produce new second lieutenants quickly can be found in War Department decision that ROTC could not fulfill the national demand for officers; so in May 1943, the advanced course in ROTC was suspended and basic course graduates were immediately sent to OCS so they could be commissioned sooner.

During the war, the Army's policy of racial segregation continued among enlisted members; Army training policy, however, provided that blacks and whites would train together in officer candidate schools (beginning in 1942). Officer Candidate School was the Army's first formal experiment with integration. Black and white candidates lived separately, but all of the candidates trained together. Despite this integrated training, in most instances, the graduates would go on to join racially segregated units.
General Bradley is credited with establishing the format, discipline, and code of honor still used in OCS today. Bradley emphasized rigorous training, strict discipline and efficient organization. These tenets remain the base values of today's Officer Candidate School. Between July 1941 and May 1947, over 100,000 candidates were enrolled in 448 Infantry OCS classes, of these approximately 67 percent completed the course to earn commissions. After World War II, Infantry OCS was transferred to Fort Riley
Fort Riley
Fort Riley is a United States Army installation located in Northeast Kansas, on the Kansas River, between Junction City and Manhattan. The Fort Riley Military Reservation covers 100,656 acres in Geary and Riley counties and includes two census-designated places: Fort Riley North and Fort...

, Kansas
Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

, as part of the Ground General School. Due to the post-war downsizing of the Army and the declining need for new Officers, all but Infantry OCS was closed. Finally, on 1 November 1947, it was deactivated. The final class graduated only 52 second lieutenants.

There was also a school located in the South West Pacific Area
South West Pacific Area
South West Pacific Area was the name given to the Allied supreme military command in the South West Pacific Theatre of World War II. It was one of four major Allied commands in the Pacific theatres of World War II, during 1942–45...

 (SWPA) at Camp Columbia, Brisbane
Brisbane
Brisbane is the capital and most populous city in the Australian state of Queensland and the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane's metropolitan area has a population of over 2 million, and the South East Queensland urban conurbation, centred around Brisbane, encompasses a population of...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

. From photographs taken by the U.S. Army it is apparent that this course was integrated, and contemporary records indicate that the course was branch immaterial — perhaps the first branch immaterial course in the Army. Unfortunately, there is little information about the SWPA OCS, and its years of operation and other reliable statistical information are not readily available.

The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps
Women's Army Auxiliary Corps
The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps can refer to:* Women's Army Auxiliary Corps , a branch of the British military in the First World War* prior name of the Women's Army Corps, a branch of the U.S. military in World War II...

 (WAAC) was created by act of Congress on 14 May 1942, permitting them to serve, but not as Soldiers. At that time, women did not have military status and were not integrated into the Army. Their ranks, pay, and benefits were different than the Army, along with all administration. But, being a military organization that was modeled after, and parallel, to the Army, it required a way to train Officers; therefore it created its own WAAC OCS, which stood up on 20 July 1942 at Fort Des Moines
Fort Des Moines
Fort Des Moines can refer to:*Fort Des Moines No. 1 , a U.S. Army post that grew into Montrose, Iowa*Fort Des Moines No. 2 , a U.S. Army post that grew into Des Moines, Iowa...

, Iowa
Iowa
Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

. The course was six-weeks long, its first class consisting of 440 candidates. Upon graduation, the women were commissioned as third officers (equivalent to a second lieutenant). It is worth noting, that among the first candidates were 40 black women. Initially, black women were segregated, but in keeping with Army policies, integrating officer training, and with pressure from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, usually abbreviated as NAACP, is an African-American civil rights organization in the United States, formed in 1909. Its mission is "to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to...

 (NAACP), by November 1942, they were being trained in integrated units.

Cold War



With the outbreak of the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, and the Army's rapid expansion in response, the shortage of on-hand officers, and projected commissions, caused the Department of the Army to re-open Infantry OCS at Ft. Benning on 18 February 1951. The course was lengthened from 17 to 22 weeks, as a result of lessons learned from WWII; thus permitting more instruction in Infantry tactics. The Infantry Officer Candidate School became the 1st Officer Candidate Battalion, 2nd Student Regiment. The strength of OCS rapidly increased. As one of eight branch programs, Infantry OCS included as many as 29 companies with a class graduating every week. During the Korean War, OCS commissioned approximately 7,000 Infantry officers.

in April 1949, the U.S. Army established the Women's Army Corps
Women's Army Corps
The Women's Army Corps was the women's branch of the US Army. It was created as an auxiliary unit, the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps on 15 May 1942 by Public Law 554, and converted to full status as the WAC in 1943...

 Officer Candidate School at Fort Lee
Fort Lee
Fort Lee may refer to:* Fort Lee, New Jersey* Battle of Fort Lee was fought on November 19, 1776 between American and British forces.* Fort Lee , a United States Army post...

, Virginia. The WAC, an active component of the regular Army, descendant of the WAAC, operated this OCS for females seeking to enter the WAC Officer Corps. The "wash-out" rate was nearly identical to the men's programs, at roughly 37%, during its first four years; an alarming statistic to observers of both programs. By 1954 WAC OCS had been closed and merged with a commissioning program for female direct commissionees, due to the low numbers of women attending the WAC OCS course, due in part to tightened standards for selection — in response to investigations of the washout rates.

On August 4, 1953, the Department of the Army reduced OCS from eight to three programs: Infantry, Artillery, and Engineer, finally closing Engineer OCS in July 1954, leaving only the Infantry and Field Artillery schools open. With the onset of the Vietnam War, however, the OCS program was again expanded with officer candidates undergoing a grueling 23 week program of instruction with an extremely high attrition rate which was designed to prepare young officers to be platoon leaders in a demanding Vietnam jungle environment. In September 1965, Engineer OCS reopened at Fort Belvoir
Fort Belvoir
Fort Belvoir is a United States Army installation and a census-designated place in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States. Originally, it was the site of the Belvoir plantation. Today, Fort Belvoir is home to a number of important United States military organizations...

, Virginia, and before closing for good in 1971, over 10,000 Engineer Officers had been commissioned.

As the war in Korea edged into 1953, several classes of Infantry School OCS students were given authorization to transfer to the Medical Service Corps upon graduation. These selected officers (with previous medical experience) were assigned to Korea (after a short training course at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas), with the explicit duty of trying to keep the direct inductee Medical Officers alive. This was necessary because of the shortage of medical officers and the lack of combat preparation training provided to them after their direct induction into the army upon filing their first papers for citenzenship in the United States and their immediate assignment to Korea.

This the height of the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, Infantry OCS produced 7,000 officers annually from five student battalions, all located at Ft. Benning. Also, during the war, a female OCS was once again established; it was stood up at Fort McClellan, Alabama, as part of the WAC Center and School. Other OCS programs were located at Fort Gordon
Fort Gordon
Fort Gordon, formerly known as Camp Gordon, is a United States Army installation established in 1917. It is the current home of the United States Army Signal Corps and Signal Center and was once the home of "The Provost Marshal General School" . The fort is located in Richmond, Jefferson, McDuffie,...

, Georgia (Signal Corps); Fort Sill, Oklahoma (Artillery), Fort Lee, Virginia (Quarter Master),Fort Eustis, Virginia (Transportation), Fort Knox, Kentucky (Armor), Fort Belvoir, Virginia (Engineer) and Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland (Ordinance). In April 1973, a branch immaterial OCS was established at Fort Benning, ending the Infantry and Field Artillery based courses. In 1976, with the end of the gender separate Army, the women's OCS was merged with the branch immaterial male course, creating a program very similar to the modern OCS. The United States Military Academy
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

 at West Point
West Point, New York
West Point is a federal military reservation established by President of the United States Thomas Jefferson in 1802. It is a census-designated place located in Town of Highlands in Orange County, New York, United States. The population was 7,138 at the 2000 census...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, also admitted its first female cadets in 1976. However, due to the length of instruction there (4 years), the newly gender integrated Officer Candidate School had the distinction of commissioning a female second lieutenant before USMA.

Modern OCS



Today, Officer Candidate school is offered in two ways. Active duty OCS is a 12-week long school, taught "in residence" at Ft. Benning, Georgia. Its primary purpose is to commission Second Lieutenants into the Active Army, with a secondary purpose of training selected individuals for Reserve duty as commissioned officers.

The Army National Guard also runs OCS at Regional Training Institutes (RTI) in many states. This is the same program of instruction as the OCS program conducted at Fort Benning and are accredited every three years through Fort Benning.

Active Duty


The Army's Officer Candidate School is programmed to teach basic leadership and Soldier tasks, using the Infantry battle drills found in Army Field Manual
U.S. Army Field Manuals
U.S. Army Field Manuals are published by the United States Army's Army Publishing Directorate. As of 27 July 2007, some 542 field manuals were in use. They contain detailed information and how-tos for procedures important to soldiers serving in the field. They are usually available to the public at...

 3-21.8 as a framework for instruction and evaluation of leadership potential. A total of 71 tasks are taught and tested while at OCS. A candidate should expect to be under constant observation and evaluation by their cadre. Mental and emotional stress is induced through a variety of controlled methods, to test problem solving and moral resolve. Additionally, the course is meant to be physically demanding, with numerous tactical road marches, timed runs of varying distance from 2 miles to 5 miles, and Army Combatives
Combatives
Combatives is a United States Army term for hand-to-hand combat training and techniques.-History:Militaries have long taught unarmed combat, both as physical conditioning and as a supplement to armed combat. Among the samurai of Japan, such combatives were known as Bujutsu...

 training. Beginning with the first class of FY 2008, the calendar length of OCS was shortened from 14 weeks to 12 weeks, thus allowing for more classes to be conducted each Fiscal Year; thereby raising the maximum capacity of the school to train Second Lieutenants to meet future commissioning needs as the Army grows. The current capacity of each class that is conducted is limited to 160 Officer Candidates.

Officer Candidate School is conducted in two phases: basic phase; and senior phase. Students are referred to as either Basic Officer Candidates (BOCs) or Senior Officer Candidates (SOCs) as their classes progress. Initially, upon arrival, the candidates have very few privileges, and enter into a controlled environment similar to BCT, although they are expected to act like leaders and take charge and responsibility immediately. As they progress through the course, they may earn and request privileges. Their bearing, deportment, and behavior, both individually and collectively, will affect the return of their privileges.

In September 2010, OCS implemented a policy of total immersion. This system removes the possibility of candidates earning on- or off-post passes and using their vehicles during the first 6 weeks of school, restricts the consumption of alcohol to 2 designated days during the course, and prohibits students to carry cell phones while in uniform.

All candidates are commissioned as Second Lieutenants upon graduation.

Army National Guard


The program at the RTI's is offered in two different formats to accommodate the reserved component citizen soldiers. The traditional OCS program is a 16 month course of instruction conducted from April to August of the following year and is broken down into four phases:
Phase 0 - is two drill weekends and designed to prepare Officer Candidates for the OCS program. Phase 1 - is a 15 day annual training period held in June. Phase II - is conducted one weekend per month for a period of 13 months. Phase III - is a final 15 day annual training period, culminating with graduation and commissioning. The Army National Guard also offers an "Accelerated" OCS program which is a 56 day, full-time program. Upon successful completion of Army National Guard OCS the candidates are commissioned Second Lieutenants if they possess at least 90 semester hours, and must complete Basic Officer Leadership Course (BOLC) II and III within 24 months. The commission received from this version of OCS is the same federally-recognized commission as offered through Fort Benning OCS.

It is interesting to note that in TY 2009 the U.S. Army will begin sending soldiers to the accelerated OCS program conducted by the National Guard RTI's. This was determined to be a more cost efficient way of producing officers compared to expanding the Fort Benning program.

Basic Officer Leadership Course


Beginning in 2001, the Army began to experiment with a new course, called Basic Officer Leadership Course (BOLC). In short, through several test phases, and program of instruction reviews, the course was established in 2006 as a branch immaterial leadership course, and renamed BOLC II. BOLC I is an Officer's commissioning source, for example, ROTC, USMA, or OCS; while BOLC III is their branch specific Officer Basic Course (OBC). BOLC II is 7-weeks in length, and designed to ensure that all new Officers, regardless of commissioning source (to include JAG and most Medical Service Corps
Medical Service Corps
Medical Service Corps may refer to:* Medical Service Corps -a branch of the Air Force Medical Service* Navy Medical Service Corps -a service of the United States Navy...

 Direct Commissionees), are at the same level with basic leadership skills, individual Soldier skills (such as physical fitness and weapons qualification), Infantry tactics, and the orders process. Certain non-prior service commissionees, such as doctors who get directly commissioned, attend a variation of BOLC II known as Officer Basic Leadership Course (OBLC). It is primarily for Medical Service specialties like Doctors and Surgeons who have no prior service with the military and takes place at Fort Sam Houston
Fort Sam Houston
Fort Sam Houston is a U.S. Army post in San Antonio, Texas.Known colloquially as "Fort Sam," it is named for the first President of the Republic of Texas, Sam Houston....

, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

. It includes all the normal OBC classes, but includes a segment on basic soldiering skills such as marching, customs and courtesies, and rank structure.

In 2009, the Army streamlined the Officer training pipeline by removing BOLC II and renaming BOLC I to BOLC-A and BOLC III to BOLC-B. Three weeks of training was added to BOLC-B which includes basic soldiering skills such as land navigation and weapons qualification.

This is the only possibility of attaining an officer's commission without the prerequisite of having a bachelors degree. There are, however, requirements that allow basic qualification for entrance into Officer Candidate School for the Army Reserves. These include having at least 90 credits from an accredited college, approval from the Officer Candidate School board, and falling in the age range of 18 to 41 years.

The Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame


The U.S. Army Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame was established in 1958 to honor Infantry Officer graduates of the Officer Candidate School Program who distinguished themselves in military or civilian pursuits. In 2002 the Hall of Fame was opened to graduates from all U.S. Army Officer Candidate Schools from across the history of the U.S. Army.

Selection and induction into the Hall of Fame is not guaranteed. The qualifying criteria for selection are as follows:
Commissioned from any active component Army OCS program and accomplished one of the following:
(1) Awarded the Medal of Honor
(2) Attained the rank of Colonel while serving on active duty or the reserves.
(3) Elected or appointed to an office of prominence in the national or state government.
(4) Achieved national or state recognition for outstanding service to the nation.
(5) Attained an exceptional wartime service record.


All U.S. Army Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame inductees are considered notable. There are over two thousand inductees; just a few of them are listed here to represent all the others:
  • General John Shalikashvili
  • Honorable Hugh J. Addonizio
  • Honorable William F. Buckley, Jr.
    William F. Buckley, Jr.
    William Frank Buckley, Jr. was an American conservative author and commentator. He founded the political magazine National Review in 1955, hosted 1,429 episodes of the television show Firing Line from 1966 until 1999, and was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist. His writing was noted for...

    , political commentator
  • Major General George F. Close Jr.
  • Honorable Robert J. Dole
    Bob Dole
    Robert Joseph "Bob" Dole is an American attorney and politician. Dole represented Kansas in the United States Senate from 1969 to 1996, was Gerald Ford's Vice Presidential running mate in the 1976 presidential election, and was Senate Majority Leader from 1985 to 1987 and in 1995 and 1996...

     politician
  • Colonel Leland B. Fair
  • Lieutenant Colonel Don C. Faith, Jr
  • General Tommy Franks
    Tommy Franks
    Tommy Ray Franks is a retired general in the United States Army. His last Army post was as the Commander of the United States Central Command, overseeing United States Armed Forces operations in a 25-country region, including the Middle East...

  • Colonel Ronald F. Fraser
  • Major General Michael D. Healy
    Michael D. Healy
    Major General Michael D. Healy spent 35 years serving in the military, completing tours in Korea and Vietnam. Although he is now retired, he has been granted permission to wear the symbolic Green Beret to honor his service to the Special Forces...

  • Colonel John L. Insani
  • Major General Phillip Kaplan
  • General Robert C. Kingston
  • Brigadier General Julia A. Kraus
  • General Frederick J. Kroesen, Jr.
  • Colonel Leo J. Meyer
    Leo J. Meyer
    Leo J. Meyer was a soldier in the United States Army, one of only three hundred and three men who have been awarded three Combat Infantryman Badges out of more than the twenty-three million men who served in the US Army between December 1941 and December 2007. Colonel Meyer was inducted into the...

  • Colonel Robert Nett
  • Brigadier General Belinda Pinckney
  • Colonel Alan Reich
    Alan Reich
    Alan Anderson Reich was the founder of the National Organization on Disability. In 1962 Reich suffered severe spinal injuries in a diving accident, confining him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life...

  • Colonel Rick Rescorla
    Rick Rescorla
    Cyril Richard "Rick" Rescorla was a retired United States Army officer of British birth who served with distinction in Northern Rhodesia as a member of the Northern Rhodesia Police and as a soldier in the Vietnam War as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army...

  • Honorable Winthrop Rockefeller
  • Colonel Archibald D. Scott III
  • Colonel Carolyn R. Sharpe
  • Lieutenant Colonel Wilbur A. "Sid" Sidney
  • Honorable Caspar Weinberger
    Caspar Weinberger
    Caspar Willard "Cap" Weinberger , was an American politician, vice president and general counsel of Bechtel Corporation, and Secretary of Defense under President Ronald Reagan from January 21, 1981, until November 23, 1987, making him the third longest-serving defense secretary to date, after...

     Secretary of Defense
  • Lieutenant General David S. Weisman
  • Major Dick Winters, whose service was portrayed in "Band of Brothers"

OCS Alma Mater


Old Benning School for Boys:

Far across the Chattahoochee, to the Upatoi,
Stands our loyal Alma Mater, Benning School for Boys,
Forward ever, backward never, faithfully we strive,
To the ports of embarkation, follow me with pride,
When it's time and we are called to guard our country's might,
We'll be there WITH OUR HEADS HELD HIGH, in peacetime and in fight,
Yearning ever, failing never, to guard the memory,
The call is clear; we must meet the task [for] FREEDOM'S NEVER FREE!

Current OCS:

Far across the Chattahoochee, to the Upatoi,
OCS our Alma Mater, Benning's pride and joy,
Forward ever, backward never, faithfully we strive,
To the ports of embarkation, follow me with pride,
When it's time and we are called to guard our country's might,
We'll be there WITH OUR HEADS HELD HIGH, in peacetime and in fight,
Yearning ever, failing never, to guard the memory,
The call is clear; we must meet the task [for] FREEDOM'S NEVER FREE!

See also


  • Military academy
    Military academy
    A military academy or service academy is an educational institution which prepares candidates for service in the officer corps of the army, the navy, air force or coast guard, which normally provides education in a service environment, the exact definition depending on the country concerned.Three...

  • Officer Candidate School
    Officer Candidate School
    Officer Candidate School or Officer Cadet School are institutions which train civilians and enlisted personnel in order for them to gain a commission as officers in the armed forces of a country....

  • Training and Doctrine Command

External links