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    Mini-OCS returns to Parris Island

    6th Marine Corps District Mini Officer Candidate School at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Shannon Doherty | U.S. Marine Officer Candidates, with 6th Marine Corps District, discuss their plan for...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. Tyler King 

    6th Marine Corps District

    Prior to World War 1, the Naval Academy and enlisted Marines who earned an officer’s commission formed the core of Marine Corps officers. However, as the military expanded during and following World War 1, the need arose for a school specifically designed for the development of Marine Corps officers. Tracing its roots back to Washington, D.C. in 1891, Officer Candidates School (OCS) moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, before finally settling in Quantico, Virginia in 1940, just a year before the United States’ involvement in World War 2 began.

    Roughly 2,000 officer candidates arrive at Brown Field in Quantico, Virginia to attend OCS each year. They come from all over the country with various backgrounds and attend either the Platoon Leaders Course or Officer Candidate Course. Regardless of the course, candidates are put through myriad tests designed to assess a candidate’s mental and physical strength, as well as to evaluate their leadership potential. The training is arduous; between 20-25 percent of officer candidates who arrive at Brown Field do not become officers, whether through injury, physical, mental or leadership deficiencies, or voluntarily dropping from training.

    For years, the 6th Marine Corps District has sought to prepare its candidates for the rigors of OCS and has invited Marine Officer candidates to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island (MCRDPI) to conduct a mini-OCS. The COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to the mini-OCS for several years, but in 2023, 6MCD restarted the event, and in March, over 300 officer candidates and 6MCD Marines descended to MCRDPI for a glimpse of OCS.

    The intent of the mini-OCS is simple: provide officer candidates a peak into the challenges of OCS. Psychologically, the mini-OCS is designed to help candidates understand some of the physical and mental strain of OCS, which in turn helps the candidates better prepare before leaving for their course.

    Candidates from across the district arrived throughout the day on Friday, 31 March. After all candidates had arrived, they met their training staff. Drill instructors from MCRDPI trained the candidates during their time on the island, providing them the same personalized attention afforded to brand new recruits when they arrive for recruit training.

    The next day, the candidates met with Marines from the Parris Island Weapons and Field Training Battalion who taught the basic tenets of land navigation and hand and arm signals, as well as gave the candidates a chance to refine their communication and leadership skills by conducting challenges at the Leadership Reaction Course. Candidates at the LRC learn the basics of briefing a Five Paragraph Order, but going through the LRC reveals other lessons as well: communicating ideas clearly, knowing when to adjust the plan, and remaining calm when the plan does not work as intended.

    Marines and candidates left the island Sunday morning. Despite spending less than 48 hours on the island, the candidates gained a new understanding of what is waiting for them at Quantico. 6th Marine Corps District Assistant for Officer Procurement, Maj. Dan Webber, was proud to have the event return after the multi-year hiatus. “Our candidates completed tough and realistic training as they navigated the stress of OCS-like conditions. They are ready to excel at OCS. Support from across Parris Island, especially from the Drill Instructors, exceeded all expectations. They made the event successful.” The road to commissioning into the Marine Corps is a long one for these candidates, but the training the candidates received will be a psychological boost when facing the challenge of OCS.



    Date Taken: 04.07.2023
    Date Posted: 04.21.2023 14:01
    Story ID: 443133
    Location: PARRIS ISLAND, SC, US 

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