The Unofficial LPA Guide to OCS Gear

You will be issued (actually you purchase) bagfulls of uniforms, gear and equipment at OCS. If you make it, you keep all of it. Most of it will be useful to you as a Second Lieutenant at TBS and beyond. Some of it is only suitable for OCS use, however. You don’t want to be that Lieutenant who looks like a candidate instead of an officer. So here’s a handy little guide to help you make the call.


The MARPAT uniforms you wear at OCS have garish white name-tapes on the front and back (seriously) of them. They are nasty-looking but if you take the nametapes out, launder them, and get correct tapes put on, they will be absolutely functional for after TBS. Don’t junk them unless they have holes or tears that make them unserviceable.

Bottom Line: Keep


Camp Stool

OCS Camp Stool
The OCS Camp Stool is identical to this, but with camoflage fabric

The candidate camp stool. You probably loved it when you could finally get off your swollen, blistered feet to sit on it while at OCS. Well, no different after the fact. I’ve seen officers in the fleet pull out the camp stool while in the field to sit on. They were truly the envy of everyone around. The camp stool is the only thing I regret throwing out at OCS. There’s no stigma in the fleet about having a stool from OCS, so go for it!

Bottom Line: Keep


Skivvy Shirts

You buy lots of cotton shirts as well as more sweat-wicking ones at OCS. The nylon wicking type are good to go. However, the cotton ones are destroyed at OCS by marking them repeatedly with your unit and name. If you look at a picture of a candidate, there is a permanent large letter of his unit along with his name stenciled on the back. There is usually a logo on the front, often the letter and number of the OCS company and platoon. Candidates use permanent market, ink, spray paint, and even black shoe polish to make it permanent.

This means that you will never, ever remove the marking from the shirt. If you wear it as an officer in the fleet, you will look like a total cheapskate and a worthless or clueless candidate. New skivvy shirts are like three dollars at the PX. That’s really too steep a price to look halfway respectable in front of your Marines?

Bottom Line: Trash


Look at those nasty skivvy shirts, proclaiming their boot candidate status. Once you are no longer a candidate, you don’t want to be confused with a candidate.


Silkies are no longer used as part of unit PT workouts–when a whole platoon goes on a run, for example–but they are still the coolest workout attire ever. And you can use them as underwear, and PT shorts whenever you work out apart from official PT sessions.

Wear them all the time. Proudly.

Bottom Line: Keep the greatest combination of underwear and running short ever



GI Glasses or “Birth Control Glasses” are usually referred to as BCGs at OCS. Those are the thick framed, Vietnam-style glasses that make it impossible to be attractive to the opposite sex, hence the name. As soon as you can wear any contacts or glasses that don’t make you look terrible, do it.

Save the BCGs for …Halloween.

Bottom Line: Save for if your glasses break or there is a Vietnam-themed Halloween party


Candidate Web Belt

At TBS, you will earn the sweet MCMAP tan belt for the first rung in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program ladder. The candidate web belt should then never be worn againwith cammies, only the appropriate MCMAP belt. It can be used with blues and your service uniform, however, so save it just for those purposes.

Bottom Line: Keep only good-conditioned belts


That High-and-Tight

Well, let me quote the current philosopher-in-residence of the Marine Corps, Terminal Lance. He explains that you look like a clueless boot if you wear a high-and-tight.

Oh boots… There is something magical about them, so saturated with opinions they think are their own. The ever-revered high and tight I’m sure served its practical purpose at some point in the war-laden culture of the military. It is also true that it is an easy to maintain haircut that has hygienic qualities associated with it. However, it looks absolutely ridiculous as a real solution to a head of hair. Even when you’re overseas, you’re better off just buzzing the entire scalp completely than wearing this absurd ‘do.

The High and Tight itself carries with it a kind of strange physical representation of how motivated one is. Nipples turn into Eagle, Globe and Anchors and farts sound like the Marine Corps Hymn. It is as if the very spirit of Chesty Puller and Smedley Butler are manifested in this grotesque molestation of one’s own body of hair. I may remind you motivators though, that Chesty Puller did not wear a high and tight.


Bottom Line: Lose it


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