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Officer Candidates School
Ductus Exemplo - Leadership by Example

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.

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. 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. This includes the culminating leadership events such as the Small Unit Leadership Evaluation.

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 as a standard of conduct, 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 for future Marine officers by increasing core and upper body strength, developing proficiency navigating various obstacles, and hiking long distances under load.

Close Order Dirll - the basic way in which platoons march and move from place to place and one way that candidates learn discipline and teamwork. At first, candidates practice staying "in step" with the rest of the platoon and Sergeant Instructor cadence. However, as training continues, the platoon becomes a well-oiled machine performing synchronized, complex drill movements.

Academic Classes and Discussions - Candidates are challenged academically through guided discussions and a multitude of lectures on Marine Corps history, policy, regulations, and customs and courtesies. Candidates must pass exams regarding the information they are taught.

Leadership Reaction Course - an evolution designed to see how a candidate can perform as a fire team leader (four person team). During this evolution, the candidate will be given a problem that they have to negotiate with time restraints and limited equipment.

Team Assault Course - 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) - the culminating leadership evaluation event at Officer Candidates School. It is designed to evaluate a candidate's mental, moral, physical, and leadership 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.

Candidates undergo a variety of evaluations to screen their abilities 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. These evaluations include the aforementioned training events.

If a message is required to notify a candidate of an emergency situation at any time during officer candidate training, please contact your local America Red Cross to have an official message sent to Officer Candidates School, MCB Quantico, Virginia. In order to process the message quickly, please provide the candidate's name, social security number, company, and platoon.

Family Day events provide opportunities for the family and friends of candidates to learn more about Officer Candidates School (OCS) from the Commanding Officer. The candidates are also granted liberty for a portion of the day and will be free for several hours to show their friends and family around Brown Field (OCS) and the local area.

On Family Day gates typically open at 0500 in the Summer, and 0600 in the Fall and Winter. The first event of the day is the Commander's Motivational Run which is a two mile formation run that all graduating candidates and OCS staff participate in. Friends and family are invited aboard OCS to cheer their loved ones as they run by. The run will be conducted entirely aboard OCS and family and friends will be seated on the Parade Deck bleachers to view the event. As the candidates move one step closer to becoming Marine Corps officers this run serves as a reminder of the importance of building and maintaining the esprit de corps that is the hallmark our Corps.

The Commander’s Motivational Run typically starts between 0530 and 0600 in the Summer, and between 0700 and 0800 in the Fall and Winter. It is recommended to be parked in one of the designated parking areas no later than 10 minutes before the start time to ensure the safety of the runners and spectators as OCS personnel will cut traffic onto OCS and park remaining cars outside the entrance.

Upon completion of the run, Candidates are released to spend time with their families. Please note that Candidates must return for graduation practice in the late afternoon, usually around 1500.

Guests typically dress casually for Family Day. Restrooms and handicapped parking are available.

Traffic on the I-95 can be unpredictable, especially around the weekend. The drive from D.C. to Quantico can take as long as two hours, please plan accordingly.

Specific dates and times for each training company are released thirty days prior to family day and graduation and can be found on our Facebook site at: U.S Marine Corps Offer Candidates School, our .mil website, and from your Candidates Marine Officer Instructor (MOI) or Officer Selection Officer (OSO).

Keep in mind that Candidates can be disenrolled from training up until the day of graduation.


Please direct any questions or concerns to our Facebook page or call 703-432-6000. We hope to see you there!

Graduation Parade

The Graduation Parade takes place at Brown Field (Officer Candidates School) on the final day of training. The ceremony recognizes candidates who have met the challenge and successfully completed the demanding curriculum. During the parade, the top performing candidates and OCS staff receive awards, the Commanding Officer and Reviewing Officer will each address the guests, and the candidates will conduct a pass-in-review.

The parade takes place on the Parade Deck of OCS and lasts approximately one hour. Gates typically open between 0530 and 0600 for vehicular traffic, and the parade starts at 0900. General audience seating is in the bleachers, VIP seating is in the reviewing stand, and physically-disabled seating is available within the tents or at the front of the bleachers.  Visitors are encouraged to arrive early as seating is first come first serve. The event is free and open to the public; however, visitors must present valid ID, and be prepared to show vehicle registration and proof of insurance to access the base. Attendees are encouraged to check the weather as the graduation date approaches and dress appropriately, as the ceremony is outside. In the case of severe weather, the graduation ceremony is moved indoors, and the timeline is shifted later. Specific details are released via our Facebook page in the case of weather changes. Parking is limited, carpooling is highly encouraged.

The uniform for graduation is Woodland MARPAT Utilities or Business Casual.

Event times, parking details, maps, and any announcements can be found on our Facebook site at: U.S Marine Corps Offer Candidates School, our .mil website, and from your Candidates Marine Officer Instructor (MOI) or Officer Selection Officer (OSO).  


Handicap and VIP parking will be available aboard Brown Field, Officer Candidates School, the day of graduation.  General Parking will be described in the information packet provided by your Candidate via email and posted our Facebook site. Parking is limited, carpooling is highly encouraged.

Commissioning Ceremony

For those candidates who successfully complete the course and choose to accept their commission as Second Lieutenants in the United States Marine Corps, the Commissioning Ceremony takes place on the Parade Deck following the Graduation Parade at OCS.

The commissioning ceremony is a formal ceremony where the candidates will transition from their status as a candidate to that of a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. The ceremony lasts approximately 30 minutes. Following the ceremony, the new Lieutenants will conduct their own ceremony where individuals of their choosing will pin gold bars, the rank insignia of a Second Lieutenant, on their uniform. At that time they will also receive their first salute, from an enlisted member of the armed forces, past or present, of their choosing. Traditionally, the new Second Lieutenant exchanges a silver dollar to the enlisted member rendering them their first salute. Often candidates request their first salute from Staff Noncommissioned Officers from their platoon staff as they play a significant part of the development of the individual from a candidate to a Marine officer. Families are allowed to take pictures on the parade deck for up to ninety minutes following the ceremony but are reminded they also need to pack their candidate’s belongings prior to departure within this time.

Prior to purchasing flights, please keep in mind that candidates can be dropped from the program up until graduation day. While this occurrence is unlikely, refundable flight tickets are recommended as a precaution.

The uniform for graduation is Woodland MARPAT Utilities or Business Casual.


Handicap and VIP parking will be available aboard Brown Field, Officer Candidates School, the day of graduation.  General Parking will be described in the information packet provided by your Candidate via email and posted our Facebook site. Parking is limited, carpooling is highly encouraged.


Any E-9, O-6, GS-15, a civilian/government equivalent, and above personnel with a candidate graduating/commissioning at OCS that would like VIP seating should pass their information through their candidate so that the candidate informs their platoon staff four weeks prior to graduation.

Please direct any questions or concerns to your candidate’s Marine Officer Instructor (MOI) or Officer Selection Officer (OSO), or call 703-784-2306. We hope to see you there!

Transition to The Basic School (TBS)

Following the Commissioning Ceremony, all Second Lieutenants will be free of their obligations to Officer Candidates School and are now responsible for checking into TBS.  The new Lieutenants must follow the timeline and guidance explicitly stated on their individual orders for administrative check-in to TBS. More guidance will be provided from the TBS Staff upon check-in.

Officer Candidates School is located on Marine Corps Base (MCB) Quantico. MCB Quantico is located in Northern Virginia, near Prince William County. It is accessible from Interstate 95 or Highway 1. MCB Quantico is south of Washington D.C. and north of Fredericksburg, Virginia. There are exits on both the north and southbound lanes of I-95 that will provide access to a Quantico gate.

Traveling Southbound on I-95

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. Turn right over the railroad tracks onto Flemming Rd to enter Brown Field.

Traveling Northbound on I-95

Take Exit 148A, "Marine Corps Base Quantico." Merge right from the exit. Proceed to MCB 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. Turn right over the railroad tracks onto Flemming  Rd to enter Brown Field.


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.