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OCS By The Numbers

Discuss the history and heritage of the US Army and its Officer and Warrant Officer Corps.
Shinebox Tommy
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OCS By The Numbers

Postby Shinebox Tommy Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:34 pm

Greetings!

Reference for this post: https://www.ocsalumni.org/about-officer ... school.php

WW2: US Army commissions roughly 10,000-15,000 officers annually.

Korean War: US Army commissions about 7,000 officers annually.

Vietnam War: US Army again commissions 7,000 officer annually.

Global War on Terror Era: US Army is commissioning 1,000 (sometimes more) officers annually.

Given that the US Army active strength peaked at about 8 million in WW2 (much more than in other wars) & the vast majority of its officer cadre came through OCS, I find it surprisingly how relatively few officers came out of OCS. Why so few officers required in WW2 compared to other eras? Especially when US Army Air Corps (WW2 forerunner to the US Air Force, but part of the Army in the Big War) was much more officer-heavy.

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Shinebox Tommy
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Son of the Raven
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Re: OCS By The Numbers

Postby Son of the Raven Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:00 am

During WWII OCS was only commissioning prior enlisted personnel. It was not admitting College Ops (civilians). Additionally, many commissioned officers received battlefield commissions vs. having to go to school to become an officer.
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Shinebox Tommy
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Re: OCS By The Numbers

Postby Shinebox Tommy Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:25 pm

Not to quibble, and I don't know how authoritative Jim Gordon is, but this source disagrees:

https://www.quora.com/How-did-commissio ... rld-War-II

"The services recruited college graduates for direct entry into Officer Candidate Schools, after on-campus ROTC programs proved cumbersome, slow and insufficiently productive. "

Here too:

http://www.fatherswar.com/8thinfdiv/WW2 ... 0Rank.html

"The most common method of commissioning in WW2 was Officer’s Candidate School (OCS). These were branch specific army training schools that took in a civilian or enlisted man and, after approximately 90 days, turned out a 2nd lieutenant. The time frame gave rise to the term “90 day wonder” for a newly minted lieutenant. Every branch had its own officer’s school. Artillery officers were trained at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma; Armored officers at Fort Knox; Kentucky, Quartermaster officers at Fort Lee, Virginia or Fort Warren, Wyoming; and so on. 35% of men graduating from OCS were only high school graduates, and another 6.5% did not even have that much education. This was a remarkable percentage of non-college men being made officers due only to their ability."

"Experienced officers were in desperately short supply for most of the war. In 1943 only one out of 50 officers had any previous experience in the military."

The then 23-year old John F Kennedy tried to enter US Army OCS in 1940, with no military experience whatsoever. He was rejected due to medical reasons, but a year later as commissioned as an ensign in the US Navy.

"Getting young Jack into the navy took similar finagling. As one historian put it, Kennedy’s fragile health meant he was not qualified for the Sea Scouts, much less the U.S. Navy. From boyhood, he had suffered from chronic colitis, scarlet fever, and hepatitis. In 1940, the U.S. Army’s Officer Candidate School had rejected him as 4-F, citing ulcers, asthma, and venereal disease. Most debilitating, doctors wrote, was his birth defect—an unstable and often painful back."

Regards,
Shinebox Tommy
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Re: OCS By The Numbers

Postby Shinebox Tommy Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:27 pm

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Lionheart
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Re: OCS By The Numbers

Postby Lionheart Sun Feb 19, 2017 8:47 pm

This isn't my area of specialty, but I'm pretty sure that most officers in WW2 attended some form of OCS. But there wasn't a monolithic OCS...each branch and speciality conducted training and when they were complete, they were commissioned. For instance, the AAC didn't train LTs...it trained cadets. They were only commissioned upon graduation.

So, I have to call shenanigans on those WW2 numbers. They don't pass the common sense test.
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