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    Officer Candidate School: Becoming an Officer

    Officer Candidate School: Becoming an Officer

    Courtesy Photo | Officer Candidate School is a program to identify, train, and grow the future leaders...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Benjamin Fair 

    196th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (06/26/2020) — Pressure of preparing and giving briefs, passing the next Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), or leading Soldiers into a mock battle can make potential officers in the Officer Candidate School (OCS) stress in a way that others will never feel in their lifetimes. Feeling the pressure of a 2nd Lt. rank attach to the back of the shoulder reminds candidates of the officers who came before them. As the rank comes across to the front of the uniform it moves to the future that this candidate will bring to the officer corps. As the rank finally attaches fully it connects the past to the present and continues a tradition of enlisted to officer. Standing on stage in front of family and Ohio National Guard leadership at the Regional Training Institute (RTI) in Columbus, Ohio the pressure changes from learning to lead to being the leader.

    Enlisted Soldiers join the Ohio National Guard (ONG) as a way to help pay for their college education and to serve their State and Nation among other reasons. As they complete their education, they then might have a need to further develop their leadership skills. A senior enlisted soldier or officer might see a junior enlisted soldier who has the skills of a leader but needs more refinement of their technique. The ONG has a program to help these Soldiers to fulfill that need. This is the OCS program that is held at the RTI and other training sites.

    Many of today’s ONG officers started their careers as enlisted soldiers but wanted more. They either had the will to take that extra leap of faith or had a push from a leader in their past who talked to them about becoming an officer in the ONG. They are products of one of the OCS programs that are offered to become a future leader in the Guard.
    OCS is a program to identify, train, and grow the future leaders of the Ohio Army National Guard. Enlisted soldiers who are currently attending college with 90 credit hours completed or a Bachelor’s degree can begin the process of the OCS program. The Soldier must also meet other criteria, such as:

    • At least 110 General Technical score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude
    • Pass APFT
    • Less than 42 at age of commission
    • Eligible for Security Clearance
    • Pass Physical Health Assessment or Chapter 2 physical

    There are three primary ways of completing the OCS program, depending on the program the candidate selects. Those three processes are a traditional, accelerated, or federal.

    Col. Jeff Watkins, 73rd Troop Command commander, said that the importance of OCS is “to continue the tradition of building leaders within the organization. We have a pipeline for leadership positions.”
    Being one of the largest state organizations in the United States means that leadership positions are always available, and there needs to be a source to pull from internally. When a senior leader sees a soldier who has skills to be a future leader, then they should be encouraged to become a leader of tomorrow.

    The traditional OCS program occurs once a year and is held one weekend a month and two two-week annual training periods for 18 months at the RTI. “A typical training weekend consists of Army Physical Fitness Training, candidates conduct a Commander’s Update Brief, and a culmination of classroom training and field exercises,” said Capt. Aaron Britt, Commander of OCS, 2nd Battalion, 147th Regiment (Regional Training Institute).

    National Guard Bureau accelerated OCS locations vary by season with durations of eight straight weeks, training seven days a week. Sessions start in the summer and winter.

    The federal OCS is located at Fort Benning, Georgia with 12 weeks of intense tactical and leadership training. Candidates must complete Basic Combat Training before they enter OCS. This course is split into two phases. Phase 1 covers basic leadership skills required of commissioned officers. Phase 2 puts all learned skills to test in the field. Candidates will be tested in their abilities to lead a team over an intense 18-day training mission.

    Ohio’s traditional OCS differs from other states due to multiple training facilities within the state and relationships with other states to utilize their training sites.

    “We have a ton of NCO’s (non-commissioned officers) and officers who are available for instruction at OCS,” Britt said.

    Most of those instructors have deployed overseas or in response to natural disasters. They can bring those experiences to training. It also differs from the other OCS programs as it allows candidates time in between duty training weekends to prep them for what they would face as an officer in the National Guard.

    “OCS is for Soldiers who want to move on to a leadership role within the military,” Britt said. “It is an incredible program that prepares them for leadership skills both in the military and civilian world.”

    If you are interested in OCS, the ways to join are to reach out to a local recruiter if you are a civilian, unit leadership for enlisted soldiers, or the Ohio National Guard mobile app.



    Date Taken: 06.25.2020
    Date Posted: 07.01.2020 11:23
    Story ID: 373197
    Location: OH, US

    Web Views: 300
    Downloads: 0