In this post we will be answering a few more questions we received about OCS. Knowledge is power.
Missed part 1? Click here.
1) What is liberty like at Officer Candidates School?
At OCS, you will hear over and over again that liberty is an evaluation period. It exists not just to give you time off but as a test for how candidates behave when left to their own devices. Fortunately, it's an easy test to pass. Stay within the candidate clothing regulations, don't drink if you're underage, have a buddy with you at all times, and come back Sunday afternoon well before liberty ends.
Liberty typically begins after your third week at OCS, and occurs every weekend from that point on.
Before liberty starts on Saturday afternoon, candidates are inspected in their civilian clothing to ensure that they look presentable to go off base. Check out our packing list for the civilian clothing you want to make this part significantly easier. Don't be that candidate with wrinkled clothes who fails the inspection and holds back the entire platoon.
Once the liberty bell is sounded, there is a significant bottle neck as every single candidate must sign out of the company log book. This part can be frustrating as the first hour of your precious liberty time may be spent waiting in line to sign out.
Once you have signed out, if you choose to leave, you cannot go anywhere alone, and must have a buddy with you at all times.
Many candidates choose to get a hotel room nearby (with other candidates) to catch up on food and sleep. Liberty is also a good opportunity to study and prep your gear for the coming week.
2) What is the Endurance Course like at OCS?
For most candidates, the hardest physical event at OCS is the endurance course (E-Course) which starts with the obstacle course directly into a 3.5 mile run in boots with a load bearing vest, two full canteens, and a rifle.
The course is hilly, with obstacles to navigate throughout such as the cargo net, water, a horizontal rope, and barbed wire, to name a few. The maximum time (slowest time to pass) is relatively easy to meet, however pacing yourself is important and navigating certain obstacles is tricky for some.
Carrying the rifle will significantly hinder your running form, but holding it by the slip ring is the easiest way to do it.
Passing the E-Course is a graduation requirement, and a few candidates will be sent home for failing it.
You will have two opportunities to run the E-Course before the graded event.
The first time will be as a platoon, and the second will be on your own (not for score).
By the time you run it for real, you should be very familiar with the length, the obstacles, and the pace you need to maintain to complete it.
Not sure which boots to wear for it? Check out our packing list here.
3) What is chow (food) like at Officer Candidates School?
Glad we've gotten to the important stuff.
There are four types of chow at OCS.
1) The chow hall. This is the best of the four. Sure you only have about two minutes to shovel the food down your throat while being screamed at, but at least it tastes good and the portions are big. The chow hall is comparable to a college dining hall or cafeteria. Three meals in one day at the chow hall? That's about as good as life gets at OCS.
2) Box chow. Pretty self explanatory. You will not always have time to go to the chow hall, nor will there always be room for your platoon or company. You will receive boxed meals which consist of some type of deli sandwich, hard boiled eggs, fruit, granola bar, and any other miscellaneous snacks.
3) Field chow. Same deal as boxed chow. You will get this when the chow hall isn't an option. Hot food in containers will arrive in a truck. Candidates will rotate serving the food to the other candidates. Portions will be small and you will be unsatisfied.
4) MREs. When you are in the field, you will be eating MREs. Trading with other candidates is good to go, and you can usually eat whenever you want in the field. Chow is continuous. If you get the creamy spinach fettuccine MRE no one will want to trade with you. Can you really blame them?