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OCS Experience 001-17

Starts: 24 Oct 2016 Ends: 02 Feb 2017
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Reptile8030
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OCS Experience 001-17

Postby Reptile8030 Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:51 am

Paying it forward so people have an up to date idea of what OCS is like. Our class was different because we were initially cancelled due to our size, but everything is pretty much in the same order and your class experience will vary by what company you have and who your platoon leader is when you are in that company.

Weeks 1-3: Make sure you are running a lot before you arrive because that is all you are basically going to do for PT, PU and SU are on your own time. Try to arrive 2-3 days before so you can get the most up to date packing list because the information online is old and not up to date. Once you get here, go get everything you need based off the packing list and this goes without saying ,but be prepared to pass height and weight on the Sunday you arrive and the PT test on the Monday after. Ideally you want to be able to score at least a 270 or higher to guarantee you getting into a class. The worst thing about OCS is being stuck in HHC and you do not want to be there from something as simple as you failed to prepare physically. If you do not have a clearance, you will not class up initially and have to wait until the next class. Like I said you do not want to be in HHC any longer than you have to. The first week is introduction to PT for most companies, our company was different because of the cancellation. You are looking at running around 25 miles a week the first few weeks plus 3-5 mile ruck march every week. The classes for the first few weeks are your introduction briefings, personnel management, supply and leadership classes. The slides have all the answers underlined, just write them down or use your computer to take notes and study those notes and you will pass the tests easily. You will have the obstacle course the first week which is for OML points only. You want to be able to pass all obstacles on first try, if you get it on your second try then you get less points and if you fail twice you get no points. If you want a specific branch then you have to be top 10 in the class otherwise you will probably not get your number 1 choice. If you want MI then you must be top 5 in the class. Tip for cycle, do not go to sick call for any reason unless you are severely injured. Sick call will find a way to put you on profile for whatever reason and that will cause you to recycle. If you need medication or whatever, wait until the weekend and go to the ER when your are not missing class and there are no scheduled activities specifically on Sunday because you will have class and training on Saturday. Cell phone use is restricted during this period, so do not get caught with it.

Weeks 3-5: History and Land Navigation Weeks. Historically these are the most attrition causing weeks and there will be a lot of rumors swirling at HHC, ignore them all. These tests are overhyped and will cause you a head ache before you even begin them if you listen to all the rumors. To pass History Dr. Campbell writes all the information you need to know in red in his slides, all you have to do is write that down and study that information, in addition he makes the students research all the topics for the day of class so if you have some lackluster students who do no present well he will simply skip their portion for the day and you will have to go back and research that topic hopefully knowing the parts he had in red on the slides so make sure your class is on top of their game for doing their research and study exactly what he says. History is Dr. Campbell's version of it, do whatever he says. He gives you the study guide the first day, so continuously study that while writing or typing everything in red. Use your laptop for this class as he moves very fast and you will need to capture every bit of information as fast as possible. The last tip is to study in groups every night so everyone can make sure they got all the notes, if you try and study by yourself for this class you will fail. Land Navigation is week 5, if you failed the History test you will find out while at Land Navigation so bring your notes with you regardless if you think you passed or not because the History re-test is not until the Friday of Land Navigation and you will be out in the field for all of Land Navigation week. If you are weak at Land Navigation pay attention to the classes the cadre teach you, they will tell you exactly what to do and you will have plenty of training leading up to the Pre-test. Use the roads and attack points from the roads and you will be fine, it is not a self correcting course, if you try to break brush for all your points, you will get lost and likely fail. Use the roads as attack points, the vegetation is beat down right now so there are tons of trails that candidates have used that lead to a lot of points. If you are afraid to walk in the dark, you better learn how to because you need to find at least 1 point in the dark if you want to succeed. The pre-test day you have to get 5/5 points and you will pass Land Navigation. Test day you need 4/5 points as well as re-test day. You will have your 6 mile ruck march during these weeks as well.

Weeks 6-9: These weeks are warrior training battle drills and Squad Lanes. During these weeks you will learn and test on how to dismantle and assemble 2 machine guns, a rifle and the radio we use. You will also have to be able to deliver a 9 line Medevac over the radio and successfully perform first aid tasks. You will have plenty of instruction and training for these tasks as you begin training for this in week 3. Very simple training. You will all learn how to call for fire and have a test on that as well. Again the answers are outlined in the slides, write them down and study them and you will pass. Week 9 is Squad Lanes. This is the largest point event in OCS and will turn the OML upside down for a lot of people. You will have to successfully issue and OPORD and execute a mission directly after with your squad twice worth 660 points. Pay attention closely to every class you have leading up to this and make sure your squad is on point every time you go out. If they are being lazy or not paying attention it will cause you to lose points when you are running the lane. You are always going to have one or two people who have no idea what they are doing or just do not care, place them in useless positions to maximize your effectiveness on the lane. You will need a terrain model kit and OPORD shell if you want to be successful for Squad Lanes. You will also do the 9 mile ruck march during these weeks. PT at this point is scarce, so ensure you are doing PT on your own time because you will be thrust into physical events and be expected to perform the same as you did early on in the course or better.

Week 10: Platoon Lanes, this is your capstone event. It is just a bigger version of Squad Lanes hence Platoon. This is a check the block event, show up and do the right thing. When you are placed in a position of leadership do your best to fulfill that role. Be a team player and you will survive this week. It will be a suck fest and immediately after the last day you will do the 12 mile ruck march so take care of your body. You will branch this week as well.

Week 10-12: The name of the game at this point is to survive and stay out of trouble and you will be fine. Pass the final APFT and Graduation run (5 miles in 45 minutes). Like I said previously once you hit week 6 there is barely any PT in the morning so you have to be responsible and do PT in the evenings on your own time. You will get more privileges during this period and be able to drink on weekends, it is up to you if you think having some fun is worth you not having a great career.

Other tips: Avoid sick call like the plague, do PT on your own time every chance you get, pay attention in all classes, be a team player and do the right thing at all times. Remember one thing and one thing only that you volunteered to come to this course and you will be as successful as the amount of effort you put in. You come to this school to get your bar and nothing else. Good luck to future OC's, post your questions below if you have any.
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Re: OCS Experience 001-17

Postby skasif11 Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:03 am

Reptile - Thanks for the write up, I haven't read one of these in a while, and it definitely took me back a few years.

I like the fact that they use some of the FTX testing as part of the OML now. Back in 2009/2010, you branched during week five or six, and some of the folks that branched IN didn't know what they were getting themselves into. By the time squad/PLT lanes were complete, a few had buyer's remorse.

One thing that I don't think is talked about much on these threads, are the end of course AARs. A lot of the changes that come from the OCS format (can't really change the curriculum), most likely comes from the student critiques at the end of course AAR.

Congrats on graduation, now the fun really begins!
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Re: OCS Experience 001-17

Postby Farmer1992 Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:21 pm

Reptile8030- Congrats on graduation and starting the next chapter of your career. Were the ruck marches in formation or time hacks complete at own pace?
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Re: OCS Experience 001-17

Postby Reptile8030 Wed Feb 15, 2017 4:42 pm

Thank you all. The current BC actually has an extremely good AAR with each company. He has a one on one session with the candidates in order to improve the course as best as he can.

The ruck marches are done in formation to TRADOC standard. 3 miles an hour. The 12 mile ruck march is done in formation and it is 4 hours long. 35 lb ruck, ACH, rifle and FLCC worn.
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Re: OCS Experience 001-17

Postby tarheel503 Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:23 pm

I was also in 001-17. Reptile's writeup is very good and beat me to it, since I was going to write a recap of my own, so I will just add on a few key points:

First, take what you read online or hear at HHC with a grain of salt. Just because your friend's cousin's girlfriend's dog did something in XYZ company doesn't mean that you will be doing it. Just because some guy back in 2011 posted something on Rallypoint, Reddit, or even here on ArmyOCS, doesn't mean you will be doing it. The curriculum keeps evolving. For instance, there is a OCS SOP dated 2014 that keeps floating around online with a big set of "required knowledge" to memorize, like quotes from famous Officer's and so forth. We did none of that. That's just one example. The BC said in his AAR though that they are working on standardizing the experience more across companies; just be aware that a lot of information online about OCS is outdated.

Second, we were not granted overnight passes in Senior phase. This may have been the case with classes in the past, but the current BC vetoed it. I'm not going to speculate on reasoning or argue the merits of that policy on here, but just know that this is a new thing.

As far as PT goes, expect to run a lot. We had three fall out of our grad run, which is 2.5 miles out and 2.5 miles in at a 9 minute pace, with about a 10 minute break in between for the rock throwing ceremony. If running 5 miles at a 9 minute pace is a problem for you, work on that. Also, our "mid cycle" PFT didn't happen until after branching, so effectively our only PFT that counted for OML purposes was the very first one. As Reptile stated, if your heart is set on military intelligence, it is imperative that you place among the top of your class.

Lastly, we had some females toward the bottom of the OML force branched into Armor and Field Artillery. OCS is currently not allowed to force branch females into Infantry but that policy is expected to change by 2018. I am not going to argue the merits of this or argue the merits of the OML system in general on this thread, but just know that this is a thing.
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Re: OCS Experience 001-17

Postby tarheel503 Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:27 pm

Something else I wanted to mention, about the student leadership positions. I was a squad leader for two weeks before HBL, and then I was the student CO for the two weeks of Squad FLX. That's another story entirely on why I was in leadership for four weeks instead of two, but beside the point for now. If you get selected for a leadership position, don't freak out. Cadre is not setting you up to fail and you will get guidance as necessary. "Be a good dude" as our senior trainer would say, and you'll be alright.
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Re: OCS Experience 001-17

Postby rob3mf Thu Feb 23, 2017 2:18 pm

Nice write up. It's nice to hear about some of the timeline changes from older info online. I'm shipping out next month then OCS in June. How many people were in your class? What was your OML rank/number? What did you end up branching. Don't think I caught any of that info reading through your post. Thanks and congrats!
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Re: OCS Experience 001-17

Postby tarheel503 Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:25 pm

We graduated 67, started with somewhere in that ballpark of high 60s/low 70s, and with recycles and inserts it ended up at 67. Note that this was an abnormal situation and classes are usually around 120. Our class was smaller due to the recent problems people have been having with security clearance processing.

I was 21/45 for active duty, also roughly in the middle of the whole class when you throw in NG and Reserve. Branched Engineer.
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Re: OCS Experience 001-17

Postby army101 Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:50 pm

What are the highest, lowest, and average APFT scores for cadets that graduated? Congratulations and good luck with your Army career!!!!
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Re: OCS Experience 001-17

Postby neonpla Thu Feb 23, 2017 11:21 pm

Great write up Sir. I'll be attending in april and am super nervous because of all the outdated info I keep finding. Ive been running about 10-12 miles a week, I will have to double that it seems. Thanks for the info!

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Re: OCS Experience 001-17

Postby Benmarino1991 Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:15 am

What is the furthest distance that you ran for time? I've been told you run a 5, 7 and 10 mile run.. (no idea if thats accurat) just want to know so I have the goal in mind.

I see that you said 5 miles in 45 mins. anything further than that?

thanks!
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Re: OCS Experience 001-17

Postby Son of the Raven Sun Feb 26, 2017 11:36 am

IIRC, OCS discontinued the long run graded events. Obviously, they could be reinstituted but I don't believe that is currently the case. They may still do these events, but not grade them. As for the actual distances, it was 2, 3, and 5 mile runs. I know my class never did 7 or 10 mile runs. Again, things change all the time so your mileage may vary.
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Re: OCS Experience 001-17

Postby Benmarino1991 Sun Feb 26, 2017 3:41 pm

IIRC, OCS discontinued the long run graded events. Obviously, they could be reinstituted but I don't believe that is currently the case. They may still do these events, but not grade them. As for the actual distances, it was 2, 3, and 5 mile runs. I know my class never did 7 or 10 mile runs. Again, things change all the time so your mileage may vary.
Thank you :)
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tarheel503
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Re: OCS Experience 001-17

Postby tarheel503 Sun Feb 26, 2017 4:19 pm

The longest and hardest run we did was roughly 6 miles from the OCS footprint to the National Infantry Museum and back. What made it hard is at the turnaround point, we turned it into a release run, and the run back to the footprint is mostly uphill. We did not do graded release runs although we sometimes incorporated them for PT purposes. Mondays would usually be our long run days, about 5-6 miles, Tuesdays were usually interval work like sprint drills on the track at Doughboy stadium, and the rest of the week would be mixed up running and bodyweight exercises. We did do some kettlebell a few times, and we also did a couple non-graded rucks for PT purposes.

While you're in HHC, you will do morning PT, and also in the afternoons on Monday/Wednesday/Friday the athletic trainer will lead you in a Crossfit-style weight training workout. There is a connex on the far side of the PT field with a bunch of barbells, weights, medicine balls, and stuff like that, which is used when he leads PT. HHC has priority use for it, but as we got to intermediate phase, our student leadership and cadre worked out an agreement with them that we could use it after hours. By that point though, you should also be able to go to the on-post gyms after the duty day so it should be a moot point. I highly recommend the Whittington Gym over on Harmony Church, although the closer Audie Murphy Gym is also good. The main gym is the Smith Gym, and it's the most "health clubby" type gym with basketball courts, racketball, a smoothie shop, studio classes, so if you're into that kind of thing then great, but the weight room esp. squat racks is limited and often crowded. You'll have more room at Whittington or Audie Murphy.

Side note, the OCS DFAC is actually pretty good. I mean it's not going to win any Michelin stars or James Beard awards any time soon, but as far as DFAC's go, it's pretty good, especially the breakfast. Definitely a big step up from Sand Hill.
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Re: OCS Experience 001-17

Postby rob3mf Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:27 pm

Damn quite the different details from some other info online. Much appreciated again. Do you remember if your class had branch details slots available? I ask because seems like every day I bounce around branch choices and would definitely be interested in choosing something non-combat that got combat arms branch detailed. Thanks in advance.
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Re: OCS Experience 001-17

Postby Son of the Raven Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:58 pm

Damn quite the different details from some other info online. Much appreciated again. Do you remember if your class had branch details slots available? I ask because seems like every day I bounce around branch choices and would definitely be interested in choosing something non-combat that got combat arms branch detailed. Thanks in advance.
It depends on the manning needs for the Army at the time the class does branching. Over the last 14 years of seeing branching details on this site, I cannot remember a class that did not have some branch detail slots. It does not mean that it could not happen (or has not) but the percentages are probably small. Other than that, no one will be able to project what branch details will be available for any given class. Not unless they work in the Ascensions Branch at HRC.
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Re: OCS Experience 001-17

Postby rob3mf Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:01 pm

Thanks SOTR. Guess I'll just have to wait to see!
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Re: OCS Experience 001-17

Postby philsmith883 Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:02 pm

I saw that you mentioned that it recommended that you score a 270 or above to "class up". Is that still true currently? I was under the assumption that once you get a school date your "in" OCS and that your APFT score just counts toward the OML.
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Re: OCS Experience 001-17

Postby Son of the Raven Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:16 pm

I saw that you mentioned that it recommended that you score a 270 or above to "class up". Is that still true currently? I was under the assumption that once you get a school date your "in" OCS and that your APFT score just counts toward the OML.
Your assumption is wrong and that's OK because it's a reasonable one. However, there are factors that no one tells you that impact your chances. In addition to all the people that are accepted into a class, there are those who are holdovers from previous classes because of things like an injury, leadership failure (day 1 recycle), etc. That means that they get the chance to get into your class during the day 1 APFT. Therefore, if there are 160 slots but 180 people testing then the bottom 20 are not going to make the cut. They will get to try again with the next class as long as they don't fail the APFT. Theoretically, if you keep ending up at the bottom of the APFT ranking (and still passing) you will never get into a class as long as there are more bodies than seats.

If you look at old class threads you will see that some of the cutoffs were in the mid 200s (245-260) or higher. That's where the "score as high as possible" thing comes in. My class only had 155 people to start with (including holdovers) so we all made it as long as we all passed.
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Re: OCS Experience 001-17

Postby philsmith883 Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:58 pm

Thank you for your reply!

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