The following information will give you an idea of what your loved one is going through while at Officer Candidates School, give you some tips that will help you and your candidate adjust, and list helpful tips that will ease your transition as a family member of a candidate undergoing Marine Officer training.
Description of Officer Candidate Training
Ductus Exemplo - Leadership by Example
The mission of Officer Candidates School (OCS) is to educate and train officer candidates in Marine Corps knowledge and skills within a controlled and challenging environment in order to evaluate and screen individuals for the leadership, moral, mental, and physical qualities required for commissioning as a Marine Corps officer. Marines are forged in a furnace of shared hardship and tough training. This intense experience creates bonds of camaraderie, espirit de corps, and standards of conduct so strong that Marines will let nothing stand in the way of accomplishing their mission. Marine Corps officer candidates are trained and challenged not only physically and mentally, but morally as well. These three challenges, when combined, forge the bedrock of the character of a Marine officer.
The Training Cycle
Officer Candidate Training is divided into five phases and is broken down by Training Week. Each phase builds upon the others, reinforces those skills and values necessary to become a Marine Officer, and provides goals for the candidates.
Phase I In-Processing (Days 1-4) is the beginning, where the foundation and reinforcement of Core Values and ethics starts, and where candidates begin administrative and medical in-processing, receiving their gear and uniforms, take the Initial Physical Fitness Test (IPFT), learn basic military customs and courtesies, and are placed in their respective training company.
Phase II Transition (Week 1-3). Combat Conditioning and learning about the Marine Corps in classes on General Military Subjects, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP), and physical fitness. Here your loved one will be indoctrinated into the Marine culture, Marine Corps leadership, and close order drill. This is the hardest three weeks your loved one has probably ever endured as they undergo a transition of "I" to "we."
Phase III Adaptation (Week 4-5) begins the evaluation process, with an increased responsibility on billet holders and an emphasis on leading one's peers. Candidates receive additional training in land navigation and basic tactical training.
Phase IV Decision Making and Execution (Week 6-9). Candidates are evaluated on four major leadership events, demonstrating leadership traits and principles while exhibiting knowledge of tactics instruction in a field environment. They are tested academically and physically, and face the defining evaluation of the SULE test of mental, moral, and physical challenges.
Phase V Out Processing (Week 10). Candidates feel the transition from officer candidate to Basic Marine Officer during the final week leading up to graduation and commissioning.
Honor, Courage, and Commitment. These are the Marine Corps' Core Values. Combined with training on ethics and leadership traits, they are incorporated into every aspect of training, resulting in Marine Officers who are committed to our core values in service to their country. These values make up the bedrock of a Marine's character. During training candidates learn to embrace these values, learn how to know right from wrong, and develop leadership traits like integrity, discipline, teamwork, duty, and Esprit de Corps. Platoon staff members also conduct guided discussions with candidates after training events to reinforce these values.
Combat Conditioning builds a strong foundation in general fitness by increasing core strength and upper body development through power movements and events like the obstacle and confidences courses, MCMAP, and conditioning hikes. The confidence course is an 11-station obstacle course that helps the candidates build confidence as well as upper-body strength.
Drill is the basic way in which platoons march and move from place to place and is one way that candidates learn discipline and teamwork. At first, candidates practice staying in step with the rest of the platoon and Sergeant Instructor. However, as training continues, the platoon becomes a well-oiled machine performing synchronized, complex drill movements.
Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, or MCMAP, is a martial art that was designed to be the "synergy of mental, character, and physical disciplines." Candidates are introduced to the fundamentals of MCMAP early on in the training cycle, and continue to progress through graduation.
Academics Training allows the candidates to exercise their minds and covers subjects ranging from Marine Corps history, policy and regulations, Marine customs and courtesies, to basic lifesaving procedures.
Leadership Reaction Course is an evolution designed to see how a candidate can perform as a fire team leader. During this evolution, the candidate will be given a problem that they have to negotiate with time restraints and limited equipment.
Team Assault Course is an evolution designed to give the individual candidates the skills needed to work as a small unit to be able to negotiate different types of obstacles. During this evolution, candidates will also be put under a controlled amount of stress to be able to further evaluate their leadership skills.
Small Unit Leadership Evaluation (SULE) is the culminating leadership evaluation event at Officer Candidates School. It is designed to evaluate a candidate's mental, moral, and physical development. For many, SULE II will be the first time a candidate has reached the limits of their mental, physical, and emotional endurance; SULE II will demonstrate that they are capable of much more than they previously believed.
Evaluations are crucial to the proper screening of candidates to become Marine Officers. Candidates are evaluated daily by their Sergeant Instructors for their performance and how well they are developing an understanding and personal ownership of core values, ethics, and leadership. They must also pass the seven graduation requirements. In addition to the Combat Course, LRC I and II, SULE I and II, they are also tested in their academic knowledge and practical application of General Military Subjects and physical fitness. SULE II and the Battalion Commander's Inspection are the final two requirements that all candidates must pass to become a Marine Officer.
Family Day and Graduation
Family Day and Graduation take place on the last two days of training. Family Day gives candidates' loved ones the opportunity to hear about Officer Candidates School from the Commanding Officer and allows for time to meet the candidates' training staff and ask questions. The candidates are granted liberty for the afternoon. Graduation is a formal ceremony and parade that takes place the morning of the final training day.
Officer Candidates School is located on Marine Corps Base (MCB) Quantico. Quantico is located in Northern Virginia, near Prince William County. It is accessible from Interstate 95 of HWY 1. Quantico is South of Washington D.C. and north of Fredericksburg, Va. There are two exits on both North and Southbound lanes of I-95 that will provide access to a Quantico gate.
From the North: Take Exit 150A, Triangle/Quantico, and turn Right from the exit to proceed to Marine Corps Base, Quantico Main Gate. Follow Fuller Rd and veer right onto Barnett Ave. Follow Barnett Ave to the traffic signal and turn left onto Range Rd. Range Rd merges left over a bridge onto Bauer Rd, passing the Marine Corps Air Field, HMX-1, and Larson's Gymnasium. Turn right over the railroad tracks onto Flemming Rd to enter Brown Field.
From the South: Take Exit 148A, Marine Corps Base Quantico. Merge right from the exit. Proceed to Marine Corps Base Quantico Gate Zulu-4. Follow Russell Rd to Dunlap Circle, and stay right passing the Crossroads Inn. Keep right to a stop sign, and turn Right onto Range Rd. Range Rd merges left over a bridge onto Bauer Rd, passing the Marine Corps Air Field, HMX-1, and Larson's Gymnasium. Turn right over the railroad tracks onto Flemming Rd to enter Brown Field.
Airports: The nearest major airport to Officer Candidates School is the Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA). The next closest airport is the Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). Transportation from these airports is not provided; both airports have multiple rental car agencies.
If a message is required to notify a candidate of an emergency situation at any time during officer candidate training, please contact your local Red Cross to have an official message sent to OCS Quantico, VA. In order to process the message quickly, please provide the candidate's name, social security number, company, and platoon.