A student on scholarship will complete three summer training cruises of four to six weeks duration. During the first cruise, students are introduced to the submarine, amphibious warfare (Marine Week), surface warfare, and aviation communities. For Navy option students, the second and third cruises can be aboard nuclear submarines, surface ships, or with aviation units of the Pacific or Atlantic fleets and may include overseas travel. Marine Option students conduct their second summer training session at Mountain Warfare Training School in Bishop, CA and attend Officer Candidate School in Quantico, VA for their final summer training evolution. During summer training events, the students receive one-half of the pay of an Ensign/Second Lieutenant, plus room and board.
College Program students who are selected for a scholarship or Advanced Standing at the end of their sophomore year will conduct, at a minimum, one summer training evolution following their junior year. It is an afloat cruise (Navy Option) or attendance at Officer Candidate School (Marine Option) of the same type and with the same pay as described for the Scholarship Program.
Officer Candidate School
USMC OCS was an intense learning experience. It is specifically designed to evaluate leadership potential in Officer Candidates by placing them in a chaotic, high-stress environment. Candidates are in a constant state of physical exhaustion, mental tiredness, and sleep deprivation specifically tailored to bring out the best and worst in their personalities.
NRTOC Students are required to attend 6 weeks of OCS. Our program is comparable to the final 6 weeks of the Platoon Leaders Class program. This means Midshipmen and MECEP Marines are expected to have a substantial amount of knowledge upon arrival. This baseline skill level varied quite a bit between schools. Some Candidates were masters of drill, but were totally unable to perform on agility based events such as the Obstacle Course.
Based on my observations, I would say the UI/WSU Battalion prepares midshipmen very well academically and physically. The PT at OCS is difficult and requires mental fortitude, but it is not impossible. They have shifted the focus of PT away from pure running and toward combat-fitness and total body development. The Pre-OCS workouts run by SSgt Garner and GySgt Tyson helped enormously.
The academic lessons ran almost exactly according to the lessons taught in Semper Fi. This meant almost no strain in passing the academic tests. As long as I looked over the material a few times before the test, I had no problems.
In my platoon, we were able to make use of each Candidate’s strengths in order to overcome each Candidate’s deficiencies. For example, I showed up to OCS with no idea how to properly make a bed with hospital corners. A nearby Candidate helped me. Later on in the cycle, I helped another Candidate by showing him how to stretch out his hips in order to alleviate his growing knee problems. Candidates helped each other according to their specific strengths. Teamwork was one of the most important lessons OCS taught me about leadership.
Overall, OCS was a lot more mentally challenging and a lot less fun than I expected it to be. This meant, however, that I learned a lot more about myself and leadership in general from the experience. I graduated from OCS having frown immensely in my abilities and zeal as a future Officer in the United Stated Marine Corps.
- Midshipman Boots